30 July 2017

Hard Meat - Rain/ Burning Up Years



Label: Island
Year of Release: 1969

This is yet another one of my purchases from the vast, overflowing 45 collection of Robin Wills, and what an interesting one it is too. Hard Meat were a late sixties rock outfit consisting of two Brummie brothers, Michael and Steve Dolan, who were joined by Mick Carless on drums and other fellow travellers later on in their careers. Generally specialising in progressively leaning material, they're not a rich or fertile source for psychedelia.

Nonetheless, their debut single on Island was a cover of The Beatles "Rain" which predates the nineties trends for slow, stoner/ slacker rock by some margin. The band take the original song, tie it to their ankles and drag it across a swampy landscape. It's a lazy, hazy redraft of the track, and while at first there's a temptation to force the disc to spin at a slightly higher speed to bring it closer to the original beats per minute, eventually their sludgy vision starts to appeal. Those shimmering, clanging guitars soon win you over and cause you to flop back in your chair in blissful admiration. 

The B-side "Burning Up Years" reveals a more typical side of the group, being a six-minute melodramatic workout which takes the recorded grooves very close to the edge of the Island label. It has been compiled in other places and was covered by Kiwi psych-heads Human Instinct - take a listen on YouTube if you want to hear what the fuss might be about.

Hard Meat issued two LPs, neither of which featured "Rain". The first eponymously titled album emerged on Warner Brothers and is a cultishly popular hard rock effort which gets some denim-clad collectors hot under the collar. The second, "Through A Window", is more acoustically inclined and less frequently discussed.

Steve Dolan eventually moved on to Pete Sinfield's group Under The Sky, but very sadly passed away in May 2000. His brother Michael Dolan also eventually died on 2nd August 2014, meaning the pivotal members of the group are no longer with us. 

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