The Alan Bown – Magic Hankerchief

This Britpop gem comes from the first full length record of The Alan Bown Set (or simply The Alan Bown). Alan Bown himself was an accomplished trumpet player by the time he started the group, having joined the successful instrumental group The John Barry Seven around 1963. He would oversee the group as they toured and co-wrote songs with John Barry including “Seven Faces.” John Barry is perhaps best known for composing the “James Bond Theme” which debuted in 1962’s Dr. No. Although John Barry and Marty Norman both claimed to have written the song, it was released by John Barry as a single to tremendous commercial success.

The group could never replicate the success of the Bond theme and eventually disbanded, leaving Bown to start his own group with a few John Barry alums. The group originally continued in the blues/R&B-influenced style of John Barry before moving towards more psychedelic material in the late 60s. This track encapsulates this transition and the group would continue in this vein into the 1970s. In 1969, the group brought in Robert Palmer to record vocals for their album The Alan Bown!, though his tenure with the group was short. The group released a few more albums and disbanded in the early 70s.

Though they were not successful in their time, many musicians who got their start in the Alan Bown Set would achieve great success as solo artists or as part of groups. Robert Palmer scored a nauseatingly successful hit with “Addicted to Love” and “Simply Irresistible” among many other better (imo) songs. Saxaphonist Mel Collins would record with prog giants King Crimson and the Alan Parsons Project and Dougie Thompson would later join Supertramp.

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