In February 1965, Decca issued the fabulously mesmerising ‘That’s The Way It’s Got To Be’ / ‘I’ll Cry With The Moon’ (F12074) as the group’s second single. It’s a completely thrilling record, more upbeat than their debut, and the best single the group would produce. With its rumbling six-string bass intro that would echo the future worldwide hit by the Spencer Davis Group, ‘Keep On Runnin’. A tremendous rhythm and Hume’s mercurial 12-string runs give the track forward momentum until a superb cliff-hanger stop arrives, but it’s only for a nano-second, before we are back in that locked groove. Then a furiously shakin’ end coda happens, led by maracas and George Gallacher’s amazing vocal ad-lib, The Poets totally excelled on this stomping mid-tempo killer slab of hard-edged beat, or what is now forever (almost) globally termed, freak beat!
In the movies
‘That’s The Way It’s Got To Be’ was used for the soundtrack to the obligatory party scene in ‘Frankenstein Meets the Space Monster‘ (1965 Dir, Robert Gaffney) and in the soundtrack in ‘Factory Girl’ (2006 Dir. George Hickenlooper)
That it didn’t cement the group’s fortunes and position of a great and truly exciting new group to keep an eye on says less about the quality of the work in question and more about the tastes of the majority of the Great British record buying public at the time; perhaps ‘I’ll Cry With The Moon’ the thoroughly engaging, augustly mournful B side ballad would’ve worked better as a chart-hopping plug side? George Gallacher has said in interviews over the years that Decca, having flung all their promotional might behind ‘Now We’re Thru’ gave virtually nothing to any of the subsequent singles. Well, shame on them for such lack.
By the middle of 1965 internal problems within the group came to a head with drummer Alan Weir being replaced by Jim Breakey. Then Tony Myles – closer to Alan than the rest of the group, and part of the Poets songwriting triumvirate didn’t turn up for a gig one night in Stirling, with the pre-Marmalade group Dean Ford and the Gaylords, therefore he had to be replaced. He supposedly ran off to get married, but anyway the group didn’t hear from him again.
His replacement was Fraser Watson, a mod-looking teen who joined from Glasgow group The Arrows after a six-hour auditioning session.
The initiation actually began before Fraser had even played a note, and went something like this: “George jumped down from the stage, took a look at me with my long hair, and said ‘if you’re any fucking good you’re in’ “. FraserFortunately for us then, as Fraser easily beat out the 50 or so guys that were the competition, he became the newest Poet, joining the group not long after Decca had released their third, and final single for the label, ‘I Am So Blue’ / ‘I Love Her Still’ (F12195).
This, like ‘That’s The Way It’s Got To Be’ before it, didn’t see any chart action, nonetheless it remains a top quality coupling. ‘I Am So Blue’ is a hauntingly subdued but effortlessly magical choice for the A side, while a quite riveting mid-tempo creation, ‘I Love Her Still’, featured on the B side. To these ears the seemingly complex chord patterns and unusual rhythm that made up that sensational flipside sound somewhat redolent of the moves being made by such mid-60s beat combos from Holland like, for instance Amsterdam’s the Outsiders; they also favoured unusual descending chord patterns; melodic 12-string twang, and forlorn vocal delivery. I feel that this too would’ve made a particularly great A side, but by now it was felt that Decca didn’t really care anymore, and the group followed their manager/producer Andrew Loog Oldham as he switched his allegiance from Decca to begin a new life at his, and Tony Calder’s independently-run Immediate label.