The Truth ‘Who’s Wrong? Mod Bedlam 1965-1969 (2014) review
Finally The Truth regarding ‘Who’s Wrong’ including Jimmy Page
The Truth ‘Who’s Wrong? Mod Bedlam 1965-1969 (RPM Records, Retro 962, 2014)
Arguably mod in every aspect of their lives besides music the British duo, Frank Aiello and Steve Jameson, known collectively as The Truth, were in fact a couple of London hair designers with a thirst for Carnaby Street clothes and the mod life style in general. They were discovered by Pye Records’ Jeff Cooper and signed to a contract, thus beginning the musical saga of The Truth as told in this excellent, highly recommended, 18 track, 48 minute retrospective compiling both sides of the band’s 7 singles supplemented by 4 bonus tracks. During their tenure at Pye The Truth released 4 singles, beginning with ‘Baby Don’t You Know’ c/w ‘Come On Home’ in 1965. The a-side is a pop tune filled with horns and gorgeous vocals, far removed from the sound of The Small Faces with whom Aiello and Jameson were close friends and together performed a package tour in 1966. The b-side is another horn filled number featuring a saxophone solo, bringing Ray Charles’ ‘What’d I Say’ to mind immediately. The single failed to sell, but Cooper arranged for a second single to be released. Barely two months after their debut The Truth released ‘Who’s Wrong’ c/w ‘She’s A Roller’ a couple of real rockers, a drastic change from their debut. The a-side and title track for this collection is a wonderful mixture of fuzz guitar, driving beat and booming vocals courtesy of Aiello. The song was perfectly fitted for Top 40 radio, such an essential part of the music industry of the day. I can hear ‘Who’s Wrong’ blasting from the horrible AM radios cars were outfitted with in those days, something I very much miss. The b-side is a rollicking number with prominent piano and gorgeous harmony vocals. Despite the quality of the song and performance the single like its predecessor failed to chart. To their good fortune the band’s manager, Cooper, knew Lionel Conway who worked for Dick James Music publishers of The Beatles music. Conway played ‘Rubber Soul’ for Cooper who convinced Pye to release a song from the album ‘Girl’ as the band’s third single, timing its release with that of the LP. Desiring an Animals’ like sound Cooper hired Alan Price to play organ on ‘Girl’ which was beginning to climb the charts when another UK band, St. Louis Union, released the song as a single resulting in neither band attaining a hit though The Truth’s version did sell relatively well. Aiello’s plaintive vocals on the b-side ‘Jailer Bring Me Water” bring Joe Cocker to mind, an awfully large set of lungs to fill. The fourth and final Pye single coupled a competent Kinks cover ‘I Go To Sleep’ with ‘Baby You’ve Got It’ a snappy little rocker bearing dubious songwriting credit to Cooper. Regardless the record failed to sell and there would be no more Pye releases. While on a package tour that included Crispian St. Peters (‘The Pied Piper’), Aiello and Jameson met Dave Nicholson, St. Peters’ manager who signed them to Decca’s Deram imprint resulting in a 45 coupling their cover of The Troggs’ ‘Jingle Jangle’ with ‘Hey Gyp’ a Donovan tune. The a-side was a nice up-tempo rocker complete with phased vocals, gorgeous keyboards and a driving beat, while the b-side featured smoking lead guitar and showed the new direction of the band but again sales were poor. For their next single Nicholson chose a revved up cover of the Left Banke’s classic ‘Walk Away Renee’ featuring a young Jimmy Page on lead and backwards guitars. Although the single did not sell the b-side contains the first band original release, Jameson’s ‘Fly Away Bird’ featuring an interesting number full of tempo changes and featuring heavy Everly Brothers style passages much in the flavor of Nazareth’s ‘Love Hurts’. A Jameson original ‘Busker Hill’ was shelved in favor of ‘Sueno’ a cut from a Young Rascals album and a track on which Nicholson spared no expense. Jimmy Page was hired again, this time as arranger as well as lead guitarist along with keyboardist Nicky Hopkins and drummer Bobby Graham. The top side sounds like a Spencer Davis Group take on The Young Rascals and it really works, the romping rocker features hard driving piano, bass and drums along with a lovely melody. The bass is most impressive with pictures of John Entwistle filling my mind’s eye and at the two minute mark the band is off to the races driving hard to the finish. Sadly, the single proved to be the final release by The Truth. The set is completed by both sides of a 1969 single Aiello released as Shere Khan and two previously unreleased tracks by Aiello and Jameson. The RPM package is completed by a 16 page color booklet including an essay by Stefan Granados, full track annotations and sound newly mastered by Simon Murphy. The Truth were hampered from the beginning by the lack of original material and like so many other bands of the time were far too often at the mercy of their record label. Manager Dave Nicholson gave it his all as recognized by both Aiello and Jameson. In summing it all up ‘Who’s Wrong?’ stands as documentation of a British duo who released several singles which unfortunately did not sell in spite of fine performances. Thanks once again to the fine folks at RPM Records who truly live by their credo: By Collectors For Collectors.
Review made by Kevin Rathert/2015
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