Monday, April 9, 2012

H.P. Lovecraft: I've Been Wrong Before

Formed in Chicago in 1966, H.P. Lovecraft took their name from horror author Howard Phillips Lovecraft who is known for creating the Cthulhu Mythos. The band was originally an offshoot of folksinger George Edwards’ recordings and employed classically trained Dave Michaels on a variety of instruments and harmony vocals.

The owners of Dunwich Records, being fans of H.P. Lovecraft’s works, suggested the band’s name. Their own interest in the author had inspired the record label’s moniker after Lovecraft’s “The Dunwich Horror.” Following permission from the Lovecraft estate, the name was secured.

By 1967, a permanent band was secured through an audition process and a contract with Philips Records set in motion the band’s eponymous first album. George Edwards played guitar, guitarrón, bass, and provided lead vocals. Dave Michaels played a variety of keyboard instruments, recorder, and handled harmony vocals.

The remainder of the band included Tony Cavallari on lead guitar, Jerry McGeorge on bass, and Michael Tegza on drums. McGeorge was a late-comer to the band having replaced the original bassist Tom Skidmore. McGeorge had formally been the lead guitarist of the Shadows of Knight.

Today’s Mélange Monday selection is H.P. Lovecraft’s interpretation of Randy Newman’s “I’ve Been Wrong Before.” The song was a hit in the UK for Cilla Black, but failed to chart in the US. Shortly after Black’s release, Dusty Springfield recorded it on her LP “Ev'rything’s Coming up Dusty.” Since she was a Philips’ recording artist, the band probably heard her version of the song, which was based on Black’s original single.

H.P. Lovecraft’s rendition is much darker – but, what would you expect from a band named for the master of the macabre. The tune features organ glissandos and recorder runs and trills by Dave Michaels. His harmonies in the right channel balance George Edwards’ left channel leads and makes this a near perfect recording. What a song.

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