Lo-Fi Mojo: The Poets

Written by Lo-Fi Mojo, Music

Lo-Fi Mojo

Hailing from Glasgow, Scotland, The Poets had a lot of things going for them in the mid-’60s: a unique sound, a cool look (high-necked jackets and ruffled fronted shirts – hey, it was cool for the time!), some great songs, huge local popularity and being signed and managed by Andrew Loog-Oldham, who happened to be in the area eloping with his underage (in England) bride when he allegedly saw a picture of the band in the local paper, liked what he saw, sought them out, and liked what he heard

At one point called “The Best Band in Scotland,” 10 years, a few singles and innumerable lineup changes later, The Poets were done. Which is too bad, given their proto-Byrds sound (read: 12-string guitar) and highly original songcraft, based more on folk music song structures rather than the blues/R&B sounds favored by most of their peers. Loog-Oldham’s dense production was also startling for the time; historical rumor has it that the Stones were a bit jealous of the time and energy Loog-Oldham seemed to be spending with his new wunderkinds, let alone the experimental production efforts being at odds with the Stones’ own material at the time.

“Now We’re Thru” was their first single, released on Decca in 1964. Apparently, when he first heard an advance copy, John Lennon deemed it “weird,” an interpretation obviously shared by the emcee of this BBC music television program (or would that be “programme?”):

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“That’s the Way It’s Got to Be,” released on Decca in early ’65, begins with a striking slab of a bass riff, which the observant ’60s music freak will note is virtually duplicated on the Spencer Davis Group’s “Keep On Running” a year later.

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Its failure to chart more or less did the band in, as shortly thereafter, the lineup (and sonic style) changes began that ultimately saw all of the original members jumping ship (though the band lived on in name for a few more years).