A strange article
from the US music magazine Circus, April 1971. The journalist
loves Yellow River, and makes
some perceptive observations.
GOOD NEW ROCK'N'ROLL
By Richard Robinson
"YELL low riv vah, Yell low riv vah"
comes pouncing out of my radio and I'm happy again. Happy
that good ol' American pop music is so much fun, so alive,
so completely ready for me to enjoy it.
Last year it was Ma Belle Ami, Little
Green Bag and Ride Captain
Ride that made me feel just fine. This year it is
They're a band from England which is a far-off
place these days, what with the Dead and Airplane and Grand
Funk and people like that being the mainstream. Of course
we do have Elton John and his song about being glad she's
in this world, Led Zep, and George Harrison's record which
is being played as much as In The
Summertime was in the summertime.
But Christie is the kind of group you don't
know were they're from initially, which makes it nice that
they're from England and not Spokane, Washington. Although
they certainly could have been from Spokane or even Duluth.
Christie are Jeff Christie, Mike Blakley and
Vic Elmes. Not that it matters, since they should quit now
and not even release another record.
Hey, you say, what does he mean? What is he
writing about Christie for, except maybe to point out that
they're really heavy.
Well, they're not. Their album is okay as far
as albums go and certainly better than the run-of-the-mill
pop album put out after a single gets into the top 10 nationwide.
But I don't care if you never listen to the album at all.
Or if you never hear of Christie again. Of course I'm sure
that Christie care but that, brother, is the story of rock
Jeff Christie has been writing songs for about,
oh, let's say 10 years. After 200 songs, nothing happened.
Then he wrote Yellow River
and he made a demo and this group called The Tremeloes heard
it and liked it and decided to record it.
So ya see, Jeff was about to be in the big
time. But then The Tremeloes decided they needed the publishing
on their next record, or something like that, so anyway
the end result was that Jeff had another song that had nothing
happening at all with it.
"Well my goodness," he said, "I
can't just sit around working on my next 100 songs. I got
to do something." So he did. He decided he was going
to record Yellow River himself!
But The Tremeloes weren't upset about Yellow
River storming up the charts. That's because Mike
Blakley is the brother of Alan Blakley, who is the leader
of The Tremeloes, and it's all in the family anyway.
Now if you happened to grow up to rock and
roll music during the past five years, you probably have
no idea whatsoever about what I'm talking about. You've
probably never heard of The Tremeloes or even Christie for
that matter. Which is why I'm writing in the first place.
Christie are a big pop group right now. They
just had a big hit record. On the radio. When I say radio,
I mean that squeaky set of sounds that come out of your
AM dial. The song was called Yellow
River and it was a gas. Even if it was between two
high powered commercials and wasn't in stereo.
For one fleeting moment, Christie were the
group. Now Christie are working on their follow-up record
and the promotion man is probably running around trying
to convince FM radio underground air personalities that
they really are a heavy group and trying to get their album
played. And no one is listening to him and he goes home
to his wife and kids and sits in front of television with
his tie off and doesn't even wonder about anything more
than his next raise.
Why? Because sadly, Christie aren't cosmic.
You shouldn't ever hear them on FM radio or see them performing
at the Fillimore.
They're just a sound that once was and will
only be again as a golden oldie spin to bring back memories.
Sort of like I Want To Hold Your Hand.
But that's what a group should be: a sound
and nothing more. Isn't it wonderful not to have to sit
through their sets and dig their drum solo. All that Christie
is is one sound. Which you either enjoyed or didn't. A sound
that didn't keep you from anything more important and may
have given you a lift when you needed it.
And that's just what Christie did for me. What
did they do for you?