Saturday Nite at the Duck Pond
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60 years ago, in 1963, Bristol band The Cougars released their classic 'Saturday Nite at the Duck-Pond', based on Swan Lake by Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky.
In those days, my early teens, I bought every British beat group instrumental I could get my hands on.. The Tornados, Peter Jay and the Jaywalkers..The Spotnicks..(OK they were Swedish). So I was a bit puzzled as to why I never bought a copy of 'Duck Pond'.
But it was probably because I wasn't fully aware of it. It was actually banned by the BBC for being disrespectful to classical music. LOL as the kids say. Still it scraped in at No. 33 on the Hit Parade. I must have surely heard it on Radio Luxembourg.. our new 'transistor radio' clamped to my ear in the back of the car, desperately trying to hold on to the signal..
The Cougars made one album on the Parlophone label and broke up. Shame. If you like, or even half like my version of the song you should definitely check out The Cougars'. Fine playing by lead guitarist Keith Owen, and virtuoso drumming in a style you don't hear nowadays.
I see that some commentators refer to The Cougars' 'Duck Pond' as Surf.. yes I can see that, but I don't think the British bands at the time were deliberately putting themselves in that category. Not a lot of surf rolling up the Thames Estuary.. although come to think of it there is the famous 'Bristol Bore'. Maybe there's a connection.
Anyway, once I got the idea in my head to record this it had to be done. And I recorded it as fast as possible.. there are some glinky notes on the guitar but I really didn't want to mess around making everything perfect. And the production is a homage to the great Joe Meek with some tinkling piano and general 'drums in the kitchen' type ambience. Tchaikovsky himself makes an appearance in there somewhere shouting encouragement..or someone..
And mastered in glorious MONO! I have a stereo version but I think the mono sounds better.. why don't I do all my stuff like that?
It was recorded early December, mastering on the 9th. I had my release schedule all set, but managed to shoe horn this into a release date two days before New Year Eve.. best enjoyed after a couple of pints. A glass of wine, maybe a cocktail or two.. a bottle of sherry..
Have a great New Year's Eve.. don't drink and drive.. try to behave (not). And here's to a Rockin' 2024. Cheers.
'Saturday Nite at the Duck Pond' by Keith Owen. Licensed through Easy Music Licensing.