Song Of The Day 5/9/2015: Tammy St. John – “Dark Shadows and Empty Hallways”

Brit Girls of the '60s: We close out this week of songs by well-tempered girls from the other side of the Atlantic with am unqualified, powerful masterpiece which I’d like to think was the Rosetta Stone for the goth subculture, but it resolves itself as too pretty. For a minute there I thought I was sifting through the Jesus and Mary Chain’s cluttered, mesonoxian attic. Alas, they had to throw in crumb of hope at the end there.

Tammy St. John was from Essex, had a frangible constitution but a full-bodied voice, and took on some material that was a little off in comparison to all the caramels that pop stars were putting out in those days. “Concerning Love” had a pulsating quirk to it, “Boys” had a certain Farfisa mania to it, “I Mustn’t Cry” (the B-side to today’s song) could have wound up on Season 4 of Mad Men had anybody heard it. She was good.

But “Dark Shadows and Empty Hallways” is some crazy dazzle. It bends with tragedy in a way that must have been risky in 1965. It’s just over three minutes and thirty seconds long, which was practically Ben-Hur length for the radio at the time. It also doesn’t have a verse-chorus-verse setup, so you don’t really know what’s coming next, which is mortifying. Always like to wrap theme weeks in feathers and bubblegum-scented candles.

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