You will probably have received numerous letters regarding singles not included in Kingsley Abbot’s interesting article Lost Gems Of The 60s (RC 350). However, one single deserving of inclusion is Scarborough Fair by the late Roy Castle. Yes, the same chap remembered as a wacky all-round variety entertainer. Although Roy never established a sustained recording career, he did make some very fine records during the late 50s into the 60s. Scarborough Fair was issued in March 1967 on Columbia (DB 8155) and is a superb slice of baroque pop, arranged by Victor Graham: harpsichord (played by international jazzer, Gordon Beck), ethereal backing vocals and bursts of French horn, propelled by Eric Ford (he of Sunshine Superman) on driving bass. It was recorded in October 1966, following the recent completion of Roy’s excellent LP, Songs For A Rainy Day, which was also arranged by Victor Graham (and produced by Ken Barnes). This LP alone deserves an article, being a lost jazz-pop classic. Unfortunately, neither LP nor single sold many copies.
Although Roy was a very gifted jazz-influenced singer (far superior to a lot of his contemporaries who claimed singing as their sole occupation), this side of his talents were sadly overlooked. However, the three LPs he did make (and dozen singles) are well worth seeking out. I’ve only ever come across two green label demo copies of the Scarborough Fair 45 rpm (pictured, previous page), never an actual black label release - obviously it sold diddly squat! It doesn’t get a mention in RC’s Rare Record Price Guide, so despite its rarity it’s not a sought-after release. Catalogue number anoraks will know that Columbia’s next single, DB 8156, is rather more celebrated, being the debut release by Pink Floyd (although it was actually released the week before Roy’s single).
by Mark Tovey
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