Album cover for Ducks Deluxe's debut LP.
Ducks Deluxe was formed in February 1972; the original lineup consisted of Martin Belmont (guitar), Sean Tyla (guitar), Ken Whaley (ex-Help Yourself, bass) and Michael Cousins (a.k.a. Magic Michael, drums). Cousins was soon replaced by Tim Roper and Nick Garvey also joined. Ducks Deluxe soon had a twice-weekly booking at the Tally Ho in Kentish Town, and a manager, Dai Davies. Whaley left and rejoined Help Yourself. Ducks Deluxe performed at Man’s Christmas party in December 1972, and one of the two tracks they recorded, “Boogaloo Babe”, was included on the two-record 10-inch budget LP “Christmas at the Patti”, which was their first appearance on a record. The band signed with RCA Records in 1973 and released their first single, “Coast to Coast” b/w “Bring Back That Packard Car”. A second single, “Fireball” b/w “Saratoga Suzie”, was released in 1974, along with a full-length album. The album did not generate much sales, even though the band secured a spot on tour opening for Lou Reed. Nick Garvey left the band and was replaced by Micky Groome (ex-Nashville Teens). The band’s next single, “Love’s Melody” b/w “Two Time Twister”, was released later that year. This is today’s featured single.
The A-side of the single, “Love’s Melody”, sounds more like power pop than much of the band’s other output. The song definitely has a catchy hook that screams of hit single potential, and appropriately sentimental lyrics (“For everyone who needs somebody/Love is gonna find a way”). There is a very brief instrumental break about 2 minutes and 9 seconds into the song, but the focus is really not on any one instrumentalist; rather, the overall sound is what impresses this listener, although the keyboards do seem to enhance the musical ambience (apparently played by Andy McMasters, who had just joined the band as keyboardist). In “Love’s Melody”, one gets a glimpse of why Ducks Deluxe became a favorite of John Peel and many critics, although they did not achieve the commercial success they deserved.
The B-side of the single, “Two Time Twister”, is a non-album track that lacks the sentimentality of “Love’s Melody”; rather, it is a great put-down song in which Tyla sings with undisguised contempt for his former significant other. Even so, he does not completely dismiss the possibility of reconciliation, or so it seems: “Well if you want me, you’ll have to come and get me/You’ll have to come crawling on your knees”. One is reminded of a similarly-themed song, “Don’t Shift a Gear”, which Tyla recorded with his next band, Tyla Gang, a few years later. One again the keyboards come through, although this time it’s a rollicking piano that adds to the musical texture. “Two Time Twister” is a great song, and while not one of Ducks Deluxe’s better-known songs, was a worthy addition to their catalog. Although this album did not appear on their next full length album, “Taxi to the Terminal Zone” (1975), but it was on the compilation album “Side Tracks and Smokers” (2010).
This single (catalog #: RCA 2477) was issued on RCA Records in 1974. As far as I know, no picture sleeve was issued. The band’s next studio album, “Taxi to the Terminal Zone”, was also a commercial flop, and in spite of the fact that Ducks Deluxe recorded a John Peel session in March 1975 (their second), RCA dropped them from the roster. Consequently, they were reduced to issuing an EP, “Jumpin'” (1975), on Skydog Records, a French label. Tim Roper subsequently left the band, so Brinsley Schwarz and Billy Rankin (both ex-Brinsley Schwarz) joined the band for their farewell tour, which ended with a concert at the 100 Club on July 1, 1975. The band was inactive for over thirty years until they reunited in 2007 for their thirty-fifth anniversary. The lineup for the first reunion was Martin Belmont, Sean Tyla, Micky Groome, and Billy Rankin. The permanent lineup (2008-present) is Belmont, Tyla, Kevin Foster (bass) and Jim Russell (drums). A six-song EP, “Box of Shorts”, was released in July 2009; a compilation album, “Side Tracks and Smokers” was released a year later.