The Left Banke
Weird. This band is long gone, it’s barely possible to get hold of any of their stuff, and apart from enthusiastic music fans barely anyone has heard of them.
And yet and yet and yet… Remember The Turtles? No, me neither, but they are clearly well loved amongst the actual makers of music because people keep covering them, and it seems The Left Banke are similar. Most people reading this will know Walk Away Renee, either because The Four Tops covered it or because, after a fashion, so did Billy Bragg. Or indeed because it was a pretty big hit in its own right. What I didn’t realise – yes, I know, you probably knew this all along – was that the splendid Pretty Ballerina, which I thought was a new Eels track from the Eels With Strings album, was also a cover of a Left Banke song. And it truly is brilliant.
Anyhow, I have finally managed to acquire a copy of their first release “Walk Away Renee/Pretty Ballerina” and am really enjoying it. It’s a sort of chamber pop with heavy use of orchestration, topped off with a sort of wonderfully dreamy, quite high pitched vocal. They had a bit of classical training between them and you can really hear it in the music, and the songs below are absolutely phenomenally good. A surprise lost gem, for me anyways.
The Left Banke – Evening Gown
The Left Banke – I’ve Got Something On My Mind
And those covers:
The Left Banke – Walk Away Renee
The Four Tops – Walk Away Renee
Billy Bragg – Walk Away Renee
The Left Banke – Pretty Ballerina It’s the off-key piano that makes this, isn’t it. Genius.
Eels – Pretty Ballerina