The Dave Miller Set – Mr Guy Fawkes CD review

In early 1969 a record company exec dropped in on Australian musician Dave Miller clutching a copy of the just released album by British/Irish combo Eire Apparent. Back then the album had done little to worry the UK chart compilers, but the suit felt that there were at least a couple of tunes on the album that might provide Dave Miller and his band with that elusive hit single.

His hunch was proved right, within a few months My Guy Fawkes had not only given Honky Tonk Women a serious run at the top of the Aussie charts but had also won a single of the year accolade from an influential music paper.

And in something of a coals to Newcastle exercise in the 90s The Dave Miller Set’s take became much revered by collectors of psych in the UK, via its appearance on a compilation or two.

Yet The Dave Miller Set story doesn’t begin and end with that single and full marks to Cherry Red imprint RPM for collating all the recorded output and putting it on this album.

What the band seems highly adept at was taken other people’s songs and, via a lightness of touch, taking them in new directions. My Guy Fawkes’ B side, the cover of Eire Apparent Someone Is Sure To Want You, zips along, while meddling with the time changes on Paul Revere And The Raiders’ Why Why Why delivers a great slice of droney beat pop that has the edge on the original. Even The Youngbloods’ classic Get Together sounds joyous, pushed along but some subtle sitar.

The big find here though is A Bread And Butter Day, the self-composed flip side to the band’s third 45, which struts in a snotty mid 60s garage style way complete with stinging guitar and shuffling beat. But then hits overdrive on the outro with an extended Hendrixy guitar solo. It is astonishing that this has not been compiled and that the band’s reputation doesn’t rest as much on this corking tune as it does on their hit. The guitar showboating continues too on No Need to Cry, a powerful ballad that boasts a superb guitar driven climax.

After both sides of the excellent five singles the CD then moves on to the album Dave Miller made with Leith Corbett Reflections Of A Pioneer. Hailed as an Australian prog classic, it is a mixed collection of songs, many of which sound like they could have been recorded a year or so before. The poppy I’ll Be Laughing, folky In Your Mind, which takes one hell of a detour, and best of all title track with its stunning guitar work, are the standouts.

If you enjoy a bit of perky pop psych and late 60s beat you will find so much to amuse you here. Highly recommended.

Get it here.

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