Keith West (vocals, harp), Les Jones (lead guitar), Junior Wood (rhythm guitar) Boots Alcot (bass) and Ken Lawrence (drums) started out as Four + One, stirring up the mods on the dance floor of Club Noreik in Tottenham, and recording a single for Parlophone. In early 1965, though, they acquired a new manager/producer, Roy Pitt, and a new name: The In Crowd. Their first record under that name was a classic case of the producer calling the shots for the A-side and the band taking care of business on the flip. “Some of us were not keen on the A-side,” recalls drummer Ken Lawrence, “but Roy Pitt from Parlophone wanted us to record it.” The result was an accomplished enough reading of Otis Redding’s soul ballad That’s How Strong My Love Is, which Pitt sweetened with some female background vocals. The frenetic Things She Says could not have been more different – a homicidal Dr Hyde to the A-side’s civilized Dr Jekyll. “In the studio we recorded the B-side live,” remembers Lawrence. “If I remember correctly, we made it up as we went. We had taken a few ‘purple sweets’ prior to recording and we were all in the best of humour for a change, and I think that came across in the recording.” It most certainly did. It’s a singularly thrilling performance from start to finish with West’s howling vocals and slobbering harmonica work and Jones’s string-mangling guitar leads ricocheting like pinballs across the tough, hyper-adrenalized groove laid down by the others.
Released in April 1965, That’s How Strong My Love Is cracked the UK Top 50, but that would be the extent of the band’s success. “Things were not working out with Les,” relates Ken. “He was a very difficult character. He left and Steve Howe joined. The next few singles flopped and I departed for a proper job, and Twink joined the band.” Alcot exited next, Wood switched to bass, and by late 1966 they were ready to meet the challenges of a new era as Tomorrow. As for The In Crowd: “We played some great R&B numbers live and some self-written ones, too,” reflects Ken Lawrence, “but the A- sides of our recordings were poor in comparison and did not do justice to our live sound.” Fortunately that pure, unfiltered live excitement was bottled and capped forever in the form of Things She Says.
Mike Stax / Ugly Things Magazine
A That’s How Strong My Love Is
B Things She Says