The Mystery Dance 45: Adam & Dee and a "Question of Childhood"

testpressingWe do judge proverbially by covers and sleeves, be it books, records, or even people. Second chances at first impressions aren't given, to burden a cliché. However, if that luxury is lost or, in this case, most likely never was, then one must use consideration over initial instinct. The characterless forward sloping scrawl on both sides of this rather battered test pressing betrays little, merely "Question of Childhood" with an "A," "Run to Her" adorned with a "B" plus the names "Adam and Dee."

With the press-out center it has all the appearances of being English, but when the needle hits the crackling plastic, the song is pure West Coast American Psychedelia and bears little indication of being a British pastiche. After a baroque acoustic guitar riff intro, Dee sings, "Tell the world this is Jackie's day off/She is gone without a sound." Her voice is pure Grace Slick, rich and full of emotional intensity. The song builds with eerie '60s electric organ and marching band drums. A vocal break a la The Mamas and the Papas ensues; the whole affair builds to a dizzying and bombastic climax before resolving itself with the original guitar riff and organ-accompanied demise. A cheap production this ain't. The song has elements of an excerpt from A Teenage Opera, but with greater conviction and better acid. It is quite an exhausting but inspired piece, and sounds like it dates from 1967.

Turn the record over and the more restrained, swirling piece of electric folk "Run to Her" is a melodic treat, less of a frenetic, white-knuckle ride. Dee, as the spurned lover, tells her errant beau, "If you really love/I won't stand in your way/If you decide to go" over a churning bed of "White Rabbit"-sounding instrumentation. Both sides are amazingly accomplished and would rest well on any Nuggets compilation.

Initially I surmised that it might have been released under a different moniker, as searches on www.Gemm.com via artist revealed nothing. Adam and Dee do not crop up. Other variations resulted in the same, as did numerous web attempts. The matrix number DP 002 rang no bells either, but I imagine somewhere, someone knows why Jackie left, and who Adam and Dee were.

Finding the disc was pure luck and serendipity. A friend managed a charity shop and was very particular about condition, being sick of people returning buggered records. I wandered in one day and noticed he was about to bin a lone single he'd extracted from a bag of clothes. Recognizing it as a test pressing, I asked to look. He said if I wanted it to take it away; it was too scratched to bother with. Even I didn't think it was promising discovery, guessing an ageing cabaret duo, bow-tied, sequined, and singing poor country songs. Something they'd paid for themselves in order to sell at their lackluster gigs.

Being proved wrong can have unusual rewards. Anticipate pure cheese and get psychedelia; a more than perfect outcome for the curious cannot be imagined. Ten years later I remain bemused and would like to share the condition, in order to facilitate a cure. - Robert Cochrane

cochrane.jpg

Mr. Cochrane is a poet and writer living in Manchester, England. His work has appeared in Mojo, Attitude, and Dazed & Confused. He has published three collections of poems, and is presently completing Gone Tomorrow, a biography of the rock singer Jobriath, which will appear via SAF in 2007.

Adam & Dee Mystery

'Tis a grand mystery to be sure. We'll have to wait to hear from Rob who is away on an extended holiday. In the interim, if you click on the links above you can hear the mp3 on each track. If any readers have any additional info, please post your comments. Thanks. Dusty

Second Glance Through the Looking Glass.

mandazulu I also bought this great limited edition Wax. Pity it tells me nothing. Any opinions or ideas as to the identity of Adam and Dee??? I think Alan Hawkshaw is the only Man who can solve the QUESTION OF CHILDHOOD for Me and for Everybody.

Question of Childhood.

mandazulu
Hello Dusty.

I just came across your website the other night Through Marmalade Skies.

Now to Adam and Dee and Question of Childhood. This song released in 1969 was to be heard on Kenny Everett's Radio show. I understand he is singing on the wonderful chorus to this piece. About a year later I managed to score a white Label Pressing of Question of Childhood. That same year bought a copy of the same song on the Tangerine Label. A friend of mine has a tape of one of Kenny's Broadcasts from 1969 and features "Question". Kenny seemed to have an interest in promoting this great piece of Pop-psych. In the coming few weeks I will attempt to find out exactly who Adam and Dee were. I have always known that Alan Hawkshaw was the man who was behind "Question." I am going to take a risk here and contend that Adam may in fact be Kenny Everett himself.

Adam & Dee

Just a little bit of info on this great 45: The A-side has been compiled on Dig The Fuzz Records 'Incredible Sound Show Stories #16'. The liner notes reveal Adam & Dee to be English and was released on the independent Tangerine label in 1969. Also of note is that the single was produced by Mohawks / Library Organ hero Alan Hawkshaw, which explains the huge freak-out organ that dominates the track.

The single definitely had a release in Germany also as I have a copy on the Metronome label in sleeve. Unfortunately the sleeve is an 'art sleeve' so we are no closer to knowing who Adam & Dee were.

Although horrendously obscure I wouldn't imagine the record commands big bucks yet but Hawkshaw's involvement alone will make this single desirable. It's probably most easily obtained on the aforementioned compilation LP.

Question of Adam and Dee

Hello and Greetings.

Check out my comments re: "Question of Childhood," Adam and Dee and Kenny Everett who most certainly sings in the chorus and is possibly lead singer. This song featured on his Radio Show. It would be Kenny's type of song.

Paul Braun.

Thanks for Update

What a grand cover and perfectly in sync with today's psych-folk movement, too. Great piece of dectective work. peace. Dusty

Post new comment

The content of this field is kept private and will not be shown publicly.
CAPTCHA
This question is for testing whether you are a human visitor and to prevent automated spam submissions.