“Now And Them” by Them - album review

features in: Album Chart of 1968Album Chart of the Decade: 1960s

TJR says

Somewhat unexpectedly, a third fine album statement arrived from Them in January ‘68. With Van Morrison having quit back in the autumn of ’66, the 4 members at that time decided to carry on against the odds, and recruited a new lead vocalist, Ken McDowell, previously a member of Belfast group The Mad Lads, who had recorded a number of singles for Decca Records, as well as a lone release “I Went Out With My Baby” as Moses K. & The Prophets. In December of ’66 they wrote to known supporter Carol Deck, the Californian editor of Flip Magazine, asking for help, and she introduced them to Texan producer Ray Ruff, who had his own indie label, Ruff Records. They still had a lot of support in the States; having played their part in the “British Invasion” their name still carried weight. Ray put the money up, sent flight tickets over, and Them were back in business. The five on the latest adventure are: Ken McDowell (23, vocals); Jim Armstrong (23, guitar); Dave Harvey (24, drums); Ray Elliott (28, sax, organ, flute) and Alan Henderson (23, bass).

First recorded fruits were out as singles, all of which are included on “Now and Them”. In August ’67 there was “Dirty Old Man (At The Age Of Sixteen)” with the immortal line: “I’ve got my bag of candy and I’m going out to trade”. You really shouldn’t laugh, but LOL! It’s alright as a pop song, but I’m not convinced it was the best choice to make as an opening statement. Better was the flip side, “Square Room”, a direct descendant of The Doors’ “The End”, which was more fully realised when it was afforded 10 minutes of extended groove time here on the LP version. This would serve well in L.A. It was a group composition, as was the album’s highlight track, “Walking In The Queens Garden”, which was released as a single in Nov ’67. More than any other song here, the performance has great Rock n Roll tension, some wild and exciting playing, a tough beat and a strong vocal. Its b-side “I Happen To Love You”, a cover of The Myddle Class single of ’66, wasn’t too shabby either; well driven with some sharp horns. On this evidence, they were clearly more than just Van’s group…

The Jukebox Rebel

A1 [02:39] 6.9.png Them - I’m Your Witch Doctor (John Mayall) Blues Rock / Soul Rock
A2 [02:45] 7.2.png Them - What’s The Matter Baby? (Clyde Otis, Joy Byers) Pop
A3 [02:09] 5.6.png Them - Truth Machine (Teri Thornton) Pop
A4 [09:59] 6.6.png Them - Square Room (Alan Henderson, Dave Harvey, Jim Armstrong, Ray Elliott, Kenny McDowell) Psychedelia
B1 [02:57] 5.8.png Them - You’re Just What I Was Looking For Today (Gerry Goffin, Carole King) Pop
B2 [01:47] 5.8.png Them - Dirty Old Man (At The Age Of Sixteen) (Tom Lane) Pop
B3 [03:35] 6.4.png Them - Nobody Loves You When You’re Down And Out (Jimmie Cox) Blues Rock / Soul Rock
B4 [03:06] 9.1.png Them - Walking In The Queens Garden (Alan Henderson, Dave Harvey, Jim Armstrong, Ray Elliott, Kenny McDowell) Blues Rock / Soul Rock
B5 [02:57] 6.0.png Them - I Happen To Love You (Gerry Goffin, Carole King) Pop
B6 [02:24] 5.3.png Them - Come To Me (Alan Henderson, Dave Harvey, Jim Armstrong, Ray Elliott, Kenny McDowell) Pop
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