Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Jason Crest -- Here We Go Round the Lemon Tree

It's tough to pick the best 1967 version of "Here We Go Round the Lemon Tree". The original Roy Wood/Move version (released as a B-side), the Idle Race top-side, or the Jason Crest version.

I went with the Jason Crest version. Here's nine comments about it.

1. The Jason Crest version was the third single I know of to be recorded of the Roy Wood song, and if I had to pick a reason I favor it it would be that Jason Crest pulls together the three parts of the song (verse, chorus, bridge) in a way that is coherent. Roy Wood writes deliciously schizophrenic songs, with bridges and choruses that seem divorced often from the verses. That's good, but I like the Jason Crest attempt to hide some of the seams here -- the strength here is the appearance of simplicity, and that's what the band focuses on.

2. Song story as I see it -- Boy sees crazy girl. Boy desires crazy girl. Crazy girl tells boy to bugger off in form of crazy song. Boy considers numerous approaches to her heart, but finally settles for joining in her delirium, wearing crazy underpants and singing crazy bugger-off song along with her. It works.

3. The song sounds bubblegum, but it's not. It's more William Blake. There's a deep repression in each of these lines, and Wood knows it.

4. Great near-rhymes: see me/bikini/fruit tree, tiger/cider/beside her.

5. Best line "Could I calm her down by throwing stones at her / If only I could make the right approach to her". That seems insane, but you've never taught 16 year old boys. They are clueless.

6. Typical nursery-rhyme psych-pop use of refrain -- it's something that someone is singing, but with each verse it takes on a slightly different meaning in the story, until at the end it's song as a sort of triumph. See also "Ob-li-di, Ob-la-da", etc.

7. Yes, I know Ob-la-di is one of the worst songs the Beatles ever recorded. So not a great example, but you get the point.

8. Oh, right, the single w/ bottom-side, for the record: (Here We Go Round) The Lemon Tree / Patricia's Dream (Philips BF 1687).

9. Green underpants? This is the big plan? And what is the ethics of getting "beside" a girl who is "round the bend"? It's this sort of uneasiness in Wood's stuff that makes me love him.

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