Guide to British Music of the 1960s

August 2019

CD Review: The Pretty Things - Emotions

The Pretty Things came up against the problem of the "difficult" third album. Record company Fontana was not not happy with the band's lack of commercial success and so took a more hands-on role with the recording of Emotions. The band did not welcome this and the whole affair led to the band leaving the label. The band's first two albums were no nonsense R&B and there was a major change in style with this third release. Most bands at the time were taking advantage of the new English psychedelia vibe of 1967 and the Pretty Things were no exception. The difference in the sound is clear but this was not where the trouble lay. A new producer, Steve Rowland, was brought in. He was much more of a pop producer and had been credited with Dave Dee Dozy Beaky Mick & Tich. There were a couple of personnel changes after the release of Progress in December 1966. Guitarist Brian Pendleton and bass player John Stax were replaced by Wally Waller on bass and Jon Povey on keyboards. This all helped to radically change the sound of the band.

It is always interesting to revisit albums many years after they were first released. In this case the songs, which are mostly written by the band, stand up well and fit in with the prevailing feel of 1967. However, there is certainly an attempt to give the band a more commercial feel, principally by adding strings or brass. Compare these with the additional tracks that are largely devoid of the "extras" to see what effect the production had. The original album sounds muddy with good songs mixed up with unnecessary production that confuses the song. The additional tracks are much cleaner and sound much better as a result. In places the brass resembles a Stax brass section on a totally different type of song. A string intro on The Sun loses out to Jon Povey's piano on the original version. There Will Never Be Another Day is one of the stand-out tracks and, again, sounds better and more true to the Pretty Things in its initial incarnation.

The Kinks' A House in the Country is a good cover version and had already been issued as a single. Although it may not seem like the ideal song for the Pretty Things to cover it is certainly worthy of inclusion and is preferable to many of the muddled tracks.

Although the band was unhappy with the album and did not promote it, the years have been kinder. Admittedly, the additional tracks without extra production do sound better and more in the Pretty Things' vein, the songs on the album are good and enjoyable to listen to. Any deficiencies in the album are due to the record company's "interference" rather than a poor performance by the band. It is certainly well-worth listening to again.

LP Release: 18 April 1967

Fontana

CD Release: 7 June 2019

Madfish

Essential Tracks

  • Death of a Socialite
  • There Will Never be Another Day
  • Photographer

Track Listing: 

  1. Death of a Socialite
  2. Children
  3. The Sun
  4. There Will Never Be Another Day
  5. House of Ten
  6. Out in the Night
  7. One Long Glance
  8. Growing in my Mind
  9. Photographer
  10. Bright Lights of the City
  11. Tripping
  12. My Time

Additional Track on CD Reissue

  1. A House in the Country
  2. Progress
  3. Photographer
  4. There Will Never be Another Day
  5. My Time
  6. The Sun
  7. Progress

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