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David and Jonathan
March 27, 2023
I’m drawn into a specific history of British music makers and their music, primarily if they are known for their songs than their recordings. My father, Wallace Berman, had a love for a recording by The Fortunes’ You’ve Got Your Troubles, and that tune has stuck in my head. It was one of the records I had to play repeatedly in his studio while he made his art. After a while, the recording becomes a minimalist work of sound, but even after 50-something years, I still love and crave this song. I never get tired of it, and I think the philosophy behind the lyrics seeps into my stance on life: And so forgive me if I seem unkind (I ain't got no pity for you)/
You've got your troubles, I've got mine (I lost, I lost, I lost my little girl
Too)/I'd help another place, another time/You've got your troubles, I've got mine. Both are Suffering, but one doesn’t offer sympathy whatsoever. For years, I have been thinking about this imbalance of sympathy and sharing grief between the two singers/voices. And it is two voices when suddenly one out of darkness sings, I ain't got no pity for you)/You've got your troubles, I've got mine (I lost, I lost, I lost my little girl Too. So, it’s a song about two men who lose their girlfriends, but it is also very much about lacking sympathy for everyday angst.
The writers of this song are Roger Cook and Roger Greenaway, who also made records under the name of David & Jonathan. In the same vein as two other songwriters, I admire around the same time, Graham Gouldman and Tony Hazzard, Cook and Greenaway wrote hit songs for others, but they have yet (and more likely not) to make a commercial success of the recordings of their songs. Still, their record producer and arranger were George Martin, who was, of course, the most desired producer of that time. Interestingly, he worked on The Beatles’ Rubber Soul while recording the David & Jonathan album.
Listening to the album now, I think The Walker Brothers’ recordings have influenced it. Compared to Scott and company’s serious and quite grown-up take on the ballad, Cook and Greenaway are almost' artless' in their approach. Even second-level Walker Brothers have something worthy than not. What they have is taste, and with the assistance of Martin, it’s quality work. In the sense that a tailor in Saville Road is a mark of excellence and craftsmanship, so is David & Jonathan. You can't go wrong here for those who crave upbeat, orchestrated pop.
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