Songs Of The Day 2/1/2016: The Manish Boys – “I Pity the Fool” + “Take My Tip”

Before They Were Famous II – Let me start off by saying that was the most unpleasant January that's happened in forever. (In terms of musicians' deaths, that is. On a personal note it was fine. Encouraging in many ways. I'd gladly go through that month again, actually, just without the whole lifelong-heroes-dying bit. Thanks.) I know many of us have spent the last few weeks in unexpected and painful reverie. To top it all off I saw a preview of HBO's new music-industry series Vinyl the other night, and the outrageously expensive set decorations put me right back in the middle of 1973. All this living in the past is really blunting my edge. So to start off a new month, let's -- well, just keep on doing it. But at least we'll go back into a past we never knew existed rather than one we half-remembered. Something in that last sentence makes sense, but please don't go looking too hard for it.

The last Before They Were Famous week was back in January 2014, and it was only moderately well-received. I think we have more compelling subjects this go-round, starting off with our recently departed space tailor. Maidstone, Kent R&B group The Manish Boys were the second band David Bowie joined, still using his given last name Jones. He was sort of dropped in the lineup by his manager at the time. Named, like the Rolling Stones, after a Muddy Waters song, the Manish Boys cranked out exactly one single in March 1965, both sides of which appear today. "I Pity the Fool" was a Bobby Bland cover; the more swinging "Take My Tip" is the first original David Bowie composition ever officially released. If you listen closely you can hear the mystic twang of Bowie in its nascent stages; if you listen even closer you can hear the guitar work of Jimmy Page, who wasn't a Manish Boy, but a session musician who played on these tracks.

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