Saturday, May 21, 2022

Simon Dupree & the Big Sound - BBC Sessions (1966-1969)

Here's something so rare that I'm kind of amazed that it exists. First off, have you ever heard of the British band Simon Dupree and the Big Sound ?I doubt it. since they're not well known. But if you have, it's probably for their 1967 single "Kites," which was a top ten hit in Britain. Or, you might know them because they changed their name, made some personnel changes, and became the 1970s prog rock group Gentle Giant.

If you like Gentle Giant, be warned that this sounds nothing like them. Simon Dupree and the Big Sound started as an R&B group, like so many British bands in the early and mid-1960s. Then, as tastes changed, they went in more of a psychedelic and/or pop direction, while still keeping some of their R&B roots. There's virtually no hints of prog rock here. However, the main people in both bands were very talented, and this is good for the type of music that it is, with lots of period flavor.

Here's the Wikipedia link, if you want to know more:

Simon Dupree and the Big Sound - Wikipedia 

Fun fact: nobody in the band was actually named "Simon Dupree!" Apparently, early on, they changed their name to that in order to please some rich guy who was bankrolling them at the time. He drifted out of the picture, but they kept the name since they were building a reputation with it. 

Nothing here has been officially released. That's putting it mildly, because I had to dig deep to find this music and make it. Because this band is so little known today, nobody seems to have had these BBC versions anywhere. I found them on transcription reels of entire BBC shows. Then I had to extract the relevant songs and clean them up. By cleaning them up, I'm referring to my usual policy of removing the BBC DJ talking over the music with the audio editing program X-Minus. I had to do that for 12 of the songs, the ones with "[Edit]" in their names.

All the songs here come from BBC studio sessions, with one exception. The first song, "Everybody Needs Somebody to Love," comes from a BBC TV show, and featured the band in concert. The sound quality on that one is a bit lower than the rest, which is otherwise uniformly very good.

If you're not familiar with this band, but you're interested in discovering some 1960s bands you'd missed, this serves as an effective "best of " collection. All of their best songs are here, plus there are some fun cover versions that they never put on record, like "Everybody Needs Somebody to Love," "So You Want to Be a Rock 'n' Roll Star," "Lie, Beg, Borrow and Steal," and "Carolina in My Mind."

This album is 45 minutes long.

01 Everybody Needs Somebody to Love (Simon Dupree & the Big Sound)
02 I See the Light [Edit] (Simon Dupree & the Big Sound)
03 Love (Simon Dupree & the Big Sound)
04 Reservations (Simon Dupree & the Big Sound)
05 Ain't That a Lot of Love [Edit] (Simon Dupree & the Big Sound)
06 Day Time, Night Time [Each and Every Day] [Edit] (Simon Dupree & the Big Sound)
07 There's a Little Picture Playhouse (Simon Dupree & the Big Sound)
08 Kites (Simon Dupree & the Big Sound)
09 Whatcha Gonna Do (Simon Dupree & the Big Sound)
10 So You Want to Be a Rock 'n' Roll Star [Edit] (Simon Dupree & the Big Sound)
11 For Whom the Bell Tolls [Edit] (Simon Dupree & the Big Sound)
12 Stained Glass Window [Edit] (Simon Dupree & the Big Sound)
13 Lie, Beg, Borrow and Steal [Edit] (Simon Dupree & the Big Sound)
14 Thinking about My Life [Edit] (Simon Dupree & the Big Sound)
15 Broken Hearted Pirates [Edit] (Simon Dupree & the Big Sound)
16 The Eagle Flies Tonight [Edit] (Simon Dupree & the Big Sound)
17 Groundhog [Edit] (Simon Dupree & the Big Sound)
18 Carolina in My Mind [Edit] (Simon Dupree & the Big Sound)

Since this band isn't well known these days, I consider myself lucky to be able to find a good color photo of them. I don't know where or when this is from. The original version I found have the color intensity way oversaturated, I guess to make their brightly colored clothes to look even brighter. I toned that down, so hopefully it should look more accurate now. Oh, and I took the lettering at the top from one of their single covers.


  1. This comment has been removed by the author.

  2. Obviously some serious archaeology going on here! Thank you!

  3. If you like what you hear then check out their unreleased second album here