Song of the Day: The Pretty Things “Buzz The Jerk”
The Pretty Things were one of the great also-rans of the British Invasion. While lacking the acclaim and ubiquity of many of their better known peers, the Prettys still managed to turn out a series of brilliant, highly baroque pop albums proceeded by a number of scuzzy early garage singles. “Buzz The Jerk” is one such song, originally appearing on 1965. On the evidence of the song alone, The Pretty Things sound like they have a clearer (and rawer) conception of the whole garage rock thing than several of their more storied contemporaries. Of their peers, The Prettys were probably closest to The Kinks with whom they shared a certain highly English sensibility and sense of humor that doesn’t always translate for Americans, only they had a better bass player.
The Pretty Things were formed in 1963 in London. They took their name from Willie Dixon‘s 1955 blues song “Pretty Thing”. While spending their initial period as an R&B/garage band in their early years, they subsequently embraced psychedelia in the late 1960s and released a series of albums that rivaled even Sgt. Pepper for sheer scope. They also continued in a more new wave direction during the ’80s. The group’s early history is an interesting one that intersects significantly with that of The Rolling Stones. From the band’s Wikipedia page:
The Pretty Things were preceded by Little Boy Blue and the Blue Boys, which consisted of Dick Taylor, fellow Sidcup Art College student Keith Richards, and Mick Jagger, among others. When Brian Jones was recruiting for his own band, all three joined Brian and Ian Stewart and were dubbed “Rollin’ Stones” by Jones in June 1962. Because there were too many guitar players in the band, Taylor switched to bass. He quit the Stones five months later, when he was accepted at the Central School of Art and Design in London. Phil May, another Sidcup student, convinced him to form a new band. Taylor was once again playing guitar, with May singing and playing harmonica. They recruited John Stax on bass, Brian Pendleton on rhythm guitar, and Pete Kitley on drums. Kitley was soon replaced by Viv Andrews, also known as Viv Broughton.
“Buzz The Jerk” is a delightfully raw garage rock send-up featuring a muscular bassline, some tasty guitar, raw vocals and which overall just sounds unbelievably tight and loose at the same time. Running at less than 2 minutes, this is another case of brevity being the soul of wit, requiring you to click repeat over and over again to truly get your fill.