Album Reviews

The Truth: Who’s Wrong: Mod Bedlam 1965-1969 (RPM/Cherry Red)

whoswrong
The Truth
Who’s Wrong: Mod Bedlam 1965-1969
RPM/Cherry Red

The London duo The Truth existed briefly and left behind a handful of singles, but those singles contained a cache of wonderful 60s-era British pop. Formed by Frank Aiello and Steve Jameson in 1965, they considered themselves a soul duo, with a live set that consisted of covers of contemporary American R&B hits. To make the story even more interesting is that Jeff Cooper, their manager and songwriter, was a cab driver who fancied himself a songwriter and who claimed to have all sorts of industry connections. They were skeptical, but the man did get them a record deal with Pye in quick time, and he was a pretty good writer, too.

Their debut single, “Baby Don’t You Know,” was a fabulous Bacharach-like pop number, complete with lush orchestration, an upbeat ballad that sounds like a lost classic. As excellent as it was, the duo didn’t particularly care for it, feeling it really wasn’t their style of music. Though not a hit, it showed promise, and they quickly recorded their second single. “Who’s Wrong” was a great R&B number, and its flip “She’s A Roller” was an equally scorching number, but, again, no hits came.
The third time was the charm, though; Cooper was able to finagle a copy of The Beatles’ song “Girl,” which had yet to see release, which they recorded, but were unable to obtain permission to release until after Rubber Soul was issued. it was an excellent version, and coupled with Bobby Darin’s  melancholy “Jailer Bring Me My Water,” the single was a hit, enough to warrant greater interest from the music industry. This would result in a change in management, a change of label, and a bit of a directional change.

Unfortunately, The Truth’s minor success was never matched. It wasn’t for a lack of quality material; covers of Reg Presley’s “Jingle Jangle,” The Left Banke’s “Walk Away Renee,” and Gerry Goffin and Carole King’s “I Can’t Make It Alone” are fine selections of baroque pop that sadly failed to garner interest. Towards the end of the band’s run, Jameson started to write and record his own material.“Fly Away Bird” and “Busker Bill” were pretty, thoughtful numbers, the former a b-side, the latter not seeing release until this compilation. One final single would appear in 1969, but credited not to The Truth, but to Shere Khan, before the duo quietly went their separate ways.

If there is a lesson to be learned from listening to Who’s Wrong, it’s that management and label support is as important as having quality material. Sadly, The Truth never quite obtained the success that they deserved, thanks in part to uninterested labels and inept management. Who’s Wrong shines a light on one of the better bands of the era that you never heard.

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