Them, the vehicle which saw a young Van Morrison break onto the exciting rhythm and blues scene of the mid 60’s captured many fans with their exciting brand of rawkus Irish prominent hits including Gloria, Baby Pleas Don’t Go and Here Comes The Night. Come late 1965 Billy Harrison and Pat McAuley formed a rival band also called Them, however after court shenanigans Pat and his brother Jackie went onto form ‘Other Them’, who eventually became Belfast Gypsies, unofficially known as Them Belfast Gypsies.
Released via Sweden and Netherlands in 1967 their self titled album Them Belfast Gypsies has become somewhat of a classic amongst garage punk R&B collectors and fans. Recorded in four sessions in May/June 1966 in London and Copenhagen the results are break taking. With the recent discovery of the master taps form the London recordings, means this latest release via Cherry Red’s Grape Fruit label is the most comprehensive and luxurious sounding release to date. Featuring the full album plus bonus tracks which constitute singles mixes, demos and French EP mixes plus with a catalogue of rare pictures and memorabilia plus new quotes from Jackie, this exciting release delves into this much loved band like never before.
From the get go the album reeks of outstanding musicianship. Gloria’s Dream squeals and shakes to an exciting freakbeat sound, The Crazy World Inside Me sounds like Edgar Summertyme collaborating with The Sonics, Midnight Train has that irresistible harmonica sound whilst the band join in with mid 60’s Pretty Things sounding upbeat beat. It’s All Over Now Baby Blue has a crackly outstanding blues vocal with plucky guitar strikes luscious patterns all over the speakers. The rest of the set is an absolute joy to behold, a dream come true for any fan of John’s Children, The Creation and The Shadows Of Knight.
Them Belfast Gypsies can be purchased via the following link