May 7, 2009
UNIT 4+2 - FIRST ALBUM (DECCA 1965) Jap mastering cardboard sleeve + 11 bonus
The group originated with guitarist Brian Parker and an instrumental band called the Hunters, who recorded for the Fontana label in 1961. Parker left the Hunters in early 1962 and joined Adam Faith's backing band the Roulettes. He didn't stay long with the latter band, preferring to put together a group of his own with the emphasis on vocals. Parker recruited guitarists Tommy Moeller and David Meikle, and singer Brian Moules, and the quartet played gigs at youth clubs and other local venues, and turned professional soon after. Parker, who suffered from chronic ill-health, left the band around this time and was replaced by Howard Lubin.
The quartet took the name Unit Four in 1963, and continued to find popularity in clubs. By this time, the British beat boom heralded by the Beatles was sweeping the charts, and the group recognized that they would need a punchier sound to have a chance at breaking out of the club venues and getting a recording contract. They added two more players, Rod Garwood (bass) and Hugh Halliday (drums), and, in the process, became Unit 4+2.
The sextet was signed to English Decca in 1964 and their debut single, "Green Fields," followed early in the year, making a minor splash on the UK charts with its folk-gospel sound. A second single, "Sorrow and Pain," was well received but made little lasting impression.
Their third single, "Concrete and Clay," issued early in 1965, was the charm. Perhaps not coincidentally, it was also the first single by the group on which they played with two guest musicians, guitarist Russ Ballard and drummer Bob Henrit (two of Parker's former bandmates from the Roulettes). With a memorable chorus, a bossa-nova beat, and pleasant, hook-laden acoustic guitars, "Concrete and Clay" rose to number one on the British charts and charted all over the world. The song was one of the finest pop records of 1965. Not only was it a UK number one, it was a worldwide hit, and the group was suddenly getting played on radio across the globe.
It may have been too much, too soon. Like too many other groups of the period, the band had nothing remotely as good to serve as a follow-up release, as soon became apparent. Decca released an album to capitalize on their sudden success, but it wasn't as interesting or attractive as the single. Their next single, "You've Never Been in Love Like This Before," a more soul-influenced number, failed to match the chart performance of "Concrete and Clay," but made the English Top 20...
Unit 4+2 was a one-hit wonder that probably deserved better. As one of the better acoustic-electric bands of the mid-'60s, the group stormed the charts with one memorable hit, "Concrete and Clay," scoring on both sides of the Atlantic, but they were never able to come up with a follow-up that was as catchy.