Thursday, 2 May 2013

The Days of Pearly Spencer by David McWilliams

The chorus of this song entered my head. And I eventually half remembered the lyric "the days of something and somethingcer" and managed to find the song with that!

Also this is a good one to learn with piano and guitar.

"Days of Pearly Spencer"
(David McWilliams)


         Am (strings alone first two bars; w/arpeggiated guitar next two
             bars; w/bass and drums next two bars and into verse)

Verse 1:

         A tenement, a dirty street
         Walked and worn by shoeless feet
         In silence long and so complete
                 C               G
         Watched by a shivering sun

         Old eyes in a small child's face
         Watching as the shadows race
         Through walls and cracks that leave no trace
         And daylight's brightness shun

Chorus (w/filtered vocal):

         Dm    Em                      Am
                  The days of Pearly Spencer
              Dm  Em                    Am
         Ahh..ahh    the race is almost run

Verse 2:

         Nose pressed hard on frosted glass

         Gazing as the swollen mass

         On concrete fields where grows no grass

         Stumbles blindly on

         Iron trees smother the air

         But, withering, they stand and stare

         Through eyes that neither know nor care

         Where the grass has gone

[repeat chorus] The days of Pearly Spencer, Ahh..ahh, The race is almost run

Verse 3:

         Pearly, where's your milk-white skin

         What's that stubble on your chin

         It's buried in the rotgut gin

         You've played and lost, not won

         You played a house that can't be beat

         Now look, your head's bowed in defeat

         You walked too far along the street

         Where only rats can run

[repeat chorus; fade 2nd time]

Marc Almond adds:

A tenement, a dirty street
Remember worn and shoeless feet
Remember how you stood to beat
The way your life had gone
So Pearly don't you shed more tears
For those best forgotten years
Those tenements are memories
Of where you've risen from

The days of Pearly Spencer
The race is almost won

McWilliams' first album, David McWilliams Singing Songs by David McWilliams, was produced and arranged by Mike Leander, and reached # 38 on the UK album chart. He quickly recorded a second album, David McWilliams, which reached # 23 in the album chart and featured the single "Days of Pearly Spencer".[3] This was a song about a homeless man McWilliams had encountered in Ballymena, and featured a sweeping orchestral arrangement by Leander and a chorus sung as if through a megaphone.[1] Massive exposure on Radio Caroline and through advertisements in the UK music press in the summer of 1967 helped generate interest and sales in continental Europe, and the record topped the charts in numerous countries including France and the Netherlands, selling a million copies worldwide.[2] However, although it became well known in the UK, "Days of Pearly Spencer" failed to make the charts there, perhaps because the BBC refused to play it owing to Solomon's links with pirate radio, and through mismanagement McWilliams never profited from the song's success.[3] In Italy, the song was covered in 1968 by Caterina Caselli as "Il Volto Della Vita". A spanish version called "Vuelo blanco de gaviota" was recorded in 1979 by Ana Belén. Successful later versions of the song included a disco version which reached # 1 in Belgium in the 1980s,[2] and a cover version in 1988 by the French psychedelic band The Vietnam Veterans and their album The Days of Pearly Spencer.

A recording by Marc Almond, with an additional verse written by Almond giving the song a more optimistic tone, reached # 4 in the UK charts in 1992.
80s synth duo Soft Cell, "Tainted Love" cover of a Gloria Jones' Northern Soul classic.
He discovered the songs of Jacques Brel through Bowie.
1990s Almond [] released a new solo album, Tenement Symphony. [] including renditions of the Jacques Brel classic "Jacky" (which made the UK Top 20), and "The Days of Pearly Spencer" which returned Almond to the UK Top 5 in 1992.

Sung briskly. 4 beats. "A tenement, a dirty street" = 8 beats.
Melody: G AAA A CCBA
        G GGG B B A G
        G AAA A CCBA
        G GG E DC E...
Chorus: F.. G.. BCBAGAE..
        F.. G.. BCBAGA...

No comments: