Sunday, April 12, 2009

My Version Is Better Than Yours Part 9: Crazy Elephant vs. Doctor Father -(There Ain't No) Umbopo

Continuing with a jungle theme, here we have 10CC competing with themselves. So the question is: do you prefer them shackled to the Bubblegum Kings or working for themselves?

Crazy Elephant -There Ain't No Umbopo/Landrover -Bell C006-91465 (1970 French issue)

Written and released as part of 10CC's tie-in with the Kasenetz Katz Bubblegum Factory. This version of Umbopo was produced by Ritchie Cordell with Graham Gouldman and probably features all four Hotleg/ 10cc members. The Crazy Elephant take on the song is an admirable cavernous Spectorian tour de force a la Checkmates (Love Is All I have To Give) and should have been a huge hit at the time. There's a surprising emotional resonance as well, partly because the lyrics, but also due the lead and backing vocal performance and interplay. The bass playing is also just fantastic.

Hear your Crazy Elephant Umbopo

Doctor Father-Umbopo/Roll On -Pye 7N. 17977 (1970 UK)

Released and probably recorded after their tenure with Kasenetz/Katz, this version could pretty much be considered a Hotlegs' single. They slow the track down and elongate it into a 5 minute + opus giving it a slight raga/Psych feel with the detuned guitar (E TO D or full DADGAD?) working well. Although there are extra lyrics, it does tend to go on a bit, but the backing vocals at the end are worth hanging on for...

Hear Doctor Father's Umbopo


45 Revolutions said...

Both fantastic, thanks.

Anonymous said...

Both are great. I have a preference for the Crazy Elephant version, though.