George Starostin's Reviews



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David Lyons <> (07.01.2001)

Okay, look. You went to all the trouble of granting them 'Own Page' status, so I guessed they deserve a reader comment, even if it does turn out to be somewhat derogatory and not solely confined to them and their music.

You see, their success was due, in part, to the British media and, more precisely, their south-eastern bias. It irked them incredibly that The Beatles, the all pervading chart (with chart equalling cash and status) phemonenon of the moment, were from Liverpool - to them, a 'provincial' smelly, northwestern industrial outpost. Surely, the toffs all thought, all the best things come from London (they always - and still do- think that. Which makes it all the more satisfying that most of our best music rarely has anything to do with the capital until the serious monetary rewards kick in. Honorary exception to The Who, there).

So, in retaliation to Merseybeat, the powers that be desperately pushed the DC5 - replete with their 'Tottenham Sound' (Tottenham being a part of London), completely missing the point entirely and, thankfully, completely missing their underlying aim (that is, reassertion of capital supremacy over the upstart northerners).

Yes, I'm well aware that this is an embittered rant (me being a northerner too), but trust me, it doesn't detract any from it's validity. Besides, at least Mister Clark has a comment on his page now.

[Special author note: in other words, the DC5 are a manufactured band? Well, I'd still say they are really not as much manufactured as 'way too heavily' promoted. A routine, but not entirely untalented, British Invasion outfit caught in the 'conflict of regional interests'. Whatever be, I wasn't at all trying to draw attention to their success - I just wanted to draw attention to the fact that SOME of their music is actually quite good. That's all.]

David Lyons <> (08.01.2001)

Apologies, George, for any misunderstanding. I agree pretty much wholeheartedly with your rating and review - a 1 in the general scheme of things but far from untalented and with a couple of belting songs in their armoury (I simply have to hit things in time at the appropriate moment of 'Glad All Over' - you know the bit). I just can't resist an opportunity to get on my high horse about regional bias, hehe (and provide a minor historical insight). No, I don't consider them a 'manufactured' band, more, as you correctly point out 'way too heavily' promoted, and for the wrong reasons. If I'm honest, it isn't even the band's fault (I mean, they didn't ask for special favours, and they *certainly* didn't invent the term 'The Tottenham Sound'). I guess I should make it clearer in the first place, but the comments are aimed outwards, at subsequent readers, rather than being targeted at the review.

Federico Marcon <> (20.02.2001)

I only listen to the first album of these guys only a couple of times.I really don' t understand why you give them a so low rating in originality.I want to remind to you that if a band, in the early ' 60, chose to play rock and roll, instead of common rithm' n blues of the ' 50,it had a bit of originality, plus they use sax and organ, what do you want more?I think they are much better of the very first Stones  ( the Stones, and the Beatles too, are  "guitar-groups",that means ,according to me, commercial groups - I' m talking ONLY about the VERY early ' 60, so don' t kill me!-).

They can give you some moments of pleasure if you like the style of this period.But , please, give them a 2 in originality, George!

[Special author note: ???? Yes, using sax was slightly innovative, I guess, but essentially the DC5 did not play "rock and roll instead of rhythm & blues". The Stones played far more rock'n'roll than the DC5 ever did. And am I to understand it right that the Beatles and Stones with their guitars had a commercial sound and the DC5 with their organs had an uncommercial sound or do my eyes deceive me? This is one of the weirdest "anti-commercial biases" I've ever seen.]

Federico Marcon <> (11.03.2001)

Sorry George but I did two mistakes.The first is that I tought( I don' t really know why! ) that American Tour was recorded in 1962.The second is "rock and roll, instead of rhythm and blues".I didn' t intend to mean this, no one band of the ' 60 can say to have completely discarded rhythm and blues! I only wanted to say that DC5 is a rock band, that' s all.And a rock band in the early ' 60 was a bit more original than a band who chose to play, for instance, only blues, don' t you think so?But I never said DC5' s sound is uncommercial,only that for me they are a bit more original than other bands ; I put more attention on the use of sax and organ.

I want to clarify what "commercial" mean for me : when a band creates an album without putting in it anything of unheard, following the fashion of the period in which the album is released. In the period of 1960-1964 ( expecially at the very beginning of it ) rock bands like High Numbers, Rolling Stones, Kinks, Animals and Beatles were based, expecially in live-show, on the guitars sound.I don' t mean they are not original ( I' ll become a bit angry if someone say Richard is not original ; he was so, also in the beginning ) ; and DC5 was a guitar band ,too,sure.But they completed the sound with organ ; so apparently they sound to me a little different.This is what I wanted to say.

And now I start a discussion about these pioneering bands.For example I' m still wondering why Beatles managed to emerge ; peraphs it' s only my stupidity,but when a friend asked me what the Beatles added to the music with their first two albums,I was in a little embarassment.I answered they emerged for their catchy songs,heavy sound contraponed to vocal harmonies ; Stones in the beginning became famous for their heavy riffs and their savage behaviour, Who embodied youth rebellion and rage.......but there are a lot of other bands similar to these ( except for the Stones, according to me they are the first band of which member are all virtuosos, at least for the epoch ), like Jerry and the Peacemakers ,for instance.All that early stuff sounds to my untrained ears very similar : sure there are a lot of differences but they are all in an embrionic condition, only with time they would grow and make the Beatles very different from the Stones, and Kinks different from the Who.....I think that those bands were original most for the fact of playing beat, the other features in the early ' 60 were not so substantial.To show you a concrete example : the second Beatles album what does it add to the music, after they put out Please, Please Me ?For me not so much, I may say it was a bit commercial, do you think so ?I' d very glad to know your opinion about this and I hope to have deleted all the previous misunderstandings.Hi !

George Starostin (11.03.2001)

Let's just get rid of the foul term 'commercial' at first - you obviously use it as an antonym to 'innovative', which is incorrect. Replacing it with 'conservative' would be a far better solution. Now to answer your questions:

1) DC5 is not a "rock" band; in the modern understanding of the term, at least, the DC5 are a pure "pop" band. The Beatles rocked harder and with more conviction on songs like 'I Saw Her Standing There' or 'Can't Buy Me Love' than the DC5 ever could.

2) The fact that the DC5 relied a lot on organ does make them a little different (although the Animals relied heavily on the organ, too, for instance), but doesn't make them particularly innovative as far as creating music goes.

3) What the Beatles did with their first two albums? They wrote their own material. This is the primary difference. Look at the Stones' or the Animals' or just about any other band's debuts. All covers of pop/R'n'B/rockabilly standards, with one or two half-hearted originals thrown in for good measure. And even the originals were mostly just re-writings of other people's songs. The Beatles had some covers, for sure, but the majority of the material was self-penned and can never be directly traced to some other song. The Beatles essentially proved that young rock bands could make it on their own, without relying too heavily on corporate songwriters or their rock'n'roll predecessors. As for the progression from PPM to WTB, it is mainly in the songwriting and arranging department - for instance, the harmonies on songs like 'It Won't Be Long' beat out everything on PPM.

Chuck McConvey <> (27.03.2001)

Hi George:

I hjust read your comments on the DC5 and reviews of theior albums. Interesting - but I have a different take on them. I saw them twice and disagree with the comments that they couldn't rock - they were actually a tight, excellent group live. They covered some classic R&R songs and their covers almost always surpassed the originals - witness 'I like It Like That', 'Do You Love Me' and others. Like most groups of their time, they copied others(as a Beatles fan you cannot deny the Buddy Holly, Everly Brothers influences). But their original material stands up well today especially when compared to others. You are incorrect is saying that Dave Clark had a major hand in writing their songs - if anything his role was minor more often than not. He was a far more astute businessman than a drummer. The DC5 was his business and he ran it well. Any musician with any control over his destiny these days owes Dave Clark a huge debt of gratitude. In fact some of his contemporaries have never forgiven Dave for making more money than they did - Dave Davies comes immediately to mind.

It is interesting to someone my age to see how someone so much younger views "my" music. Try to consider the music in the era from which it emerged. For the first year of the so called British Invasion, the DC5 went toe to toe with the Beatles and the rest. Eventually, the Beatles left everyone in the dust. Their place in music history is secure - but my favorite band always was the DC5 - the sax/organ/guitar/bass combination was fresh and different. Daves's drumming more often than not resembled a garbage can rolling down a flight of stairs, but it was enough to get Max Weinberg interested in drumming and Mike Smith has one of the best R&R voices in histiory, They have been largely ignored because of the reclusive nature of Dave Clark himself.

I look forward to more of your reviews! This is a great site.

John Briggs <> (28.03.2001)

When saying that the DC5 weren't innovative don't compare with the likes of the Hollies (good joke?)you are missing a few things.

1 The DC5 were very innovative they lead and others followed and copied.Berry Gordy Jr states that the Motown snare drum beat was based on the DC5 sound! The clicking bass sound invented by the DC5 was copied by Bruce Johnson of the "Beach Boys" and John Entwistle of "The Who", to name just two of many who liked this sound.The DC5 made the first ever music video (as seen on the Ed Sullivan show. The DC5 also produced the first ever maxi-single.I really can't see the Hollies competing against these facts.

[Special author note: actually, I don't think I stated that the Hollies were more innovative than the DC5 - just that, in general, their output is more consistent. While in a few minor details the band probably did display some flashes of innovation, the Hollies eventually managed to keep with the times a bit better than the DC5 and their sound evolved - the Hollies of 1964, 1966, and 1967 sound quite different from each other.]

Dennis Robertson <> (28.03.2001)

Personally I thought the Dave Clark Five were innovative and exciting. Sure they were a pop/rock group, but they didn't pretend to be anything else. If you didn't like pop/rock, then, I guess, the DC5 just wasn't your group. I don't think it would be fair to criticize the group for something it didn't even pretend to be (i.e., rhythm and blues, cajun rock, whatever...). If you were looking for lyrics a la Bob Dylan, or guitar riffs a la Eddie Van Halen, or the musical experimentation of George Martin/The Beatles, then the DC5 were not what you were looking for. However, if you were looking for a big sound, catchy tunes, interesting jazzy instrumentals, a sense of joy and fun, a classy stage presentation (they were great live), then the boys from Tottenham were just what you ordered. And, in my opinion, "Anyway You Want It" was the precusor of the Heavy Metal sound (a DC5 innovation). [Sorry, no dice about that last one, I think. Even if it was heavy metal (which seems a bit weird to me, unless we take as an argument that KISS covered it), the Kinks still beat 'em to it with 'You Really Got Me' by a few months - G.S.]

John Briggs <> (15.04.2001)

The Hollies sounded different 1964 ,1966 and 1967 because they had different line-ups!However it was always easy to spot a Hollies record! How you can say the DC5 sound was the same from 1964-1970 is beyond me and shows you have a total lack of knowledge of the groups output.As for your statement "While in a few minor details the band probably did display some flashes of innovation," It is just uinbelievable..the list of people who state the DC5 as a major influence is very long and over 100 of their self-penned songs have been covered by other artists.I think you need to do a bit more homework.

[Special author note: Look, I didn't want to be offensive, did I? As far as the 'homework' subject goes, the only serious change in lineup among the Hollies from 1964 to 1967 was the loss of Haydock on bass, and the band was never all that notorious for their bass playing. And the difference between, say, In The Hollies' Style and Butterfly is far more crucial than the difference between DC5 albums. Did the DC5 ever do a 'psycho pop' album? Hardly. Also, I have over 2,500 records in my collection, most of them by well-known, well-established artists, and the only DC5 cover on them is 'Any Way You Want It' by Kiss and the Ramones. I'm pretty sure people covered the DC5, but everybody more or less notorious gets covered once in a while.]

Aaron Goldberg <> (22.04.2001)

The Dave Clark Five were quite a bit better than you rated them. In 1964, The Dave Clark Five were second only to the Beatles in record sales AND innovation, really. "Glad All Over", "Can't You See That She's Mine" and "Anyway You Want It" were as creative and "advanced as any Beatles singles up to that time. The Dave Clark Five also have the distinction at WORST of being the SECOND rock group to release an ENTIRELY self-penned album with American Tour in 1964. Where did you get this idea that the DC5 could NOT rock? They were the 2nd GREATEST ROCKING band of all time, behind only the mighty Beatles, who were definitely an influence, but not as big as people have reported. Also, the single "I Still Love You" was totally unprecedented when it was released as a single in 1964. Davidson appears to have come out of nowhere. Also the single "Try Too Hard" stands out as the group's crowning achievement. Once again totally unprecedented. Just about the finest R&B record out there. Also there were extremely original LP cuts such as "Anytime You Want Love", "When", "Remember It's Me","Inside&Out" and "Time". You are forgetting that this band had THREE main songwriters: Smith, Davidson, and Clark, the "weakest" of the three was still able to come up with the stunning ballad "Because" and "Anyway You Want It". Also the DC5 were excellent at ballads as well as rockers. "Because", "Whenever You're Around", "Crying Over You", "I Am On My Own", and perhaps the greatest DC5 LP cut of all time "At The Place", a song you foolishly omit from your review, because you decide that "none of the DC5's music is worth anything after 1966." A very narrow minded opinion of the band that sells them quite short. It is certainly true that there were very few substantial SINGLES after 1966, but there were several GREAT LP cuts. BTW, that is DEFINITELY Mike Smith's excellent vocals on "I Like It Like That." Mike Smith, is of course, ONE OF THE GREATEST singers of all time, on a par with John Lennon, Paul McCartney, Paul Jones, Eric Burdon, Ray Davies, Colin Blunstone, etc. and MUCH better than say Mick Jagger, Keith Relf, or Herman Noone.

Warren <> (03.08.2002)

Never saw them live, as I was about ten years old when they hit the states, but I remembered they had the same excitement and freshness as the beatles at the time.

Im a big Beatles fan and always will be. I was one of the first on my block to get a beatle haircut.... but the DC5 songs were just as good, at least up till about 66. I personally preferred the stones to either by that time. Don't trash the DC5 because of some ancient regional politics. They had quite a bit of talent, to deny that is rediculous.

Say, how you guys feel about rap? heh

Eric Kleinbrink <> (29.09.2002)

George.. I can't believe you're getting beaten up over your reviews of the Dave Clark 5!!

I did not grow up in the sixties (I'm 30 yrs old). Not being really familiar with the DC5, I decided to download some of their songs to see what I thought... VERDICT: oh man, I'd say out of the 15 songs I downloaded, MAYBE 3 of them are worth keeping. Oh man, there are some real horrors out there!! 'Because' is a good song... then they have their 'Bits and Pieces' and 'glad all overs' and others that , to me, sound the same. Personally, I think your DC5 reviews are right on target. Some people might get offended by this but.... The Monkees were WAY better than the DC5! At least I wouldn't be embarrassed listening to 'Circle Sky' in my car. I can't think of a DC5 song that would make me want to 'crank it up'! Keep up the good work George!

Steve Potocin <> (05.12.2002)

First I must respond to John Briggs[See review above] He says The Hollies style changed from 64-67 because the lineup changed. Not true . The only real difference was bassist Haydock leaving in 66, being replaced by Calvert. No style difference there, neither sang or wrote songs. George is right about The Hollies they evolved instead of changing! Now I must say I really like The DC5, and think they should rate a 2, they did invent the jackhammer sound!

John Briggs, take it easy, I think George rates The Hollies a bit low, but I'm probably in the minority on that one to. A couple of quick points; Motown had the big drum sound for years prior to theDC5 [Miracles, Marvellettes, Marvin Gaye] And, if the DC5 had 100 songs covered, well lets put it this way, THEY DIDNT! Now, do not forget I like these guys and think they are underrated.

Robert S. Jurczyk <> (24.10.2003)

George, I couldn’t disagree with you more regarding the DC 5. The use of the sax and the organ may seem passé when compared to Al Kooper, Blood Sweat and Tears, or Chicago, but ya gotta remember, this is 1964 were talking about when most bands consisted of a drummer, lead guitar, rhythm guitar and a bassist, none of which had to have any musical talent – (i.e. the Kingsmen). (True, Dave Clark was not a stellar drummer, but neither was Ringo Starr.) For their time, the use of he sax and organ was innovative. Until the Chicago era, brass just wasn’t used. You also criticize the shortness of the songs, but until the Doors broke the 3 minute barrier, if a song was too long (3 minutes +) it got NO AIR TIME. The DC 5 were innovative given their place in history. As to musicianship, these guys had it “all over” the Beatles. (I couldn’t resist.)


John Briggs <> (22.04.2001)

I have to take you up on two flaws in your review."No Time To Lose" was not written by Mike Smith and Dave was written by Dave and Ron Ryan.It was not a copy of the Beatles "Twist and Shout" as it was written in 1959!!! It was regularly performed by the group at the Tottenham Royal long before the Beatles recorded "Twist and Shout". Secondly and just a minor point, although "Chaquita" has a publication date of 1962 the version on this album was recorded in 1963 and is different from the groups original 1962 version.


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John Briggs <> (22.04.2001)

"Sometimes" was not written by Mick Ryan it was written by his brother Ron Ryan....more homework needed again!!!


John Briggs <> (22.04.2001)

Just one fault here..well maybe two but I'll let you off with them as not many people would have spotted them. Although credited to the Dave Clark 5..."Southern Man" is actually Dave Clark and Friends. "Always Me" should really come into that category too as although it was recorded in 1968 only Dave and Mike play on the song.

<> (14.05.2003)

this was probably the best dc5 lp.with "anyway you want it" as the lead off track this lp gets off to a great start and doesn't let you also contains some of the bands best ballads.


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James L Wallace <> (26.03.2003)

After reading your review of the DC5 album, I Like It Like That, the one thing that stands out is how you can be unsure as to whether Mike Smith or Lenny Davidson is singing the lead on the title track! It's unmistakably Mike Smith, with Lenny (and others) singing the backup/repeat part. It makes me wonder how closely you could've listened to the song to not have noticed. By the way, I just recently saw Mike Smith perform as he is on tour in America for the first time in 35 years and he played the song like it was just yesterday. Still sounds great and his vocals have the same enthusiasm as in the DC5's heyday!


John Briggs <> (22.04.2001)

This album is one of their best. I'm afraid as with all your reviews you lack one major thing in your's something I find in a lot of 30 something people who pontificate on 60's music and claim themselves as experts as they have bought a few records in their short it yet??? it's easy..ask anyone over 45....YOU WEREN'T THERE MATE!!! you missed it all and you can't review something nearly 40 years old with the same nous as someone who was there and knows how the records fitted in at the time...

<> (14.03.2003)

Well, John, I WAS around then, so please allow me to pontificate! By the time of Try Too Hard, the DC5 were in the waning hours of their existence...and it showed!

Perhaps if they had been blessed with an actual drummer, who knows what could have happened.

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