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The Syndicats

The Syndicats are mostly known as the first group that guitarist Steve Howe recorded with, although their most famous song, "Crawdaddy Simone," may well not feature him at all. One of the untold number of R&B-rock groups sprouting up around London in 1963, and one of the younger ones, they managed to release three singles on Columbia in 1964 and 1965, none of which were hits. The 45s are notable as being among the more obscure productions by Joe Meek, and also among the relatively few discs Meek worked on that fit into the hard-rocking British Invasion "beat group" mold.

The Syndicats were a typical, if decent, group of their genre, distinguished mostly by the virtuosity of Howe, who even as a teenager was an audibly talented instrumentalist. Of the tracks they cut with Meek, their cover of Howlin' Wolf's "Howlin' for My Baby," with pounding piano and a revved-up British beat treatment, is a standout. So is "Crawdaddy Simone," the B-side of their cover of Ben E. King's soul ballad "On the Horizon," with one of the most genuinely far-out screeching British Invasion solos this side of Pete Townshend. A fine R&B-beat raver on its own terms, it really took off with the madly bashing instrumental break, with furiously wah-wahing lead guitar. On the fadeout uncategorizable, fiercely electronic ascensions and descensions of near-white-noise were produced by running a comb up and down the strings. Howe, however, doesn't remember playing on it; it's unclear who the guitarist is, but it might have been his replacement, Ray Fenwick.

The Syndicats didn't release anything else after "Crawdaddy Simone," although its A-side, "On the Horizon," almost made the charts. They did some sessions for Meek after Howe's departure, but these were not released. They continued live for a while, sounding like "Crawdaddy Simone" gone ska," according to their drummer of the time, Paul Holm (as quoted in an interview with the fanzine Ugly Things). There is an unreleased acetate demo from 1966 with three songs featuring as many lead vocalists; they split up shortly afterward. Seven Syndicats tracks featuring Steve Howe -- both sides of their first two singles, "On the Horizon," and an unreleased single rejected by EMI -- appear on Howe's CD Mothballs, a compilation of various '60s tracks on which Howe played prior to Yes. "Crawdaddy Simone," alas, is missing, but it's been reissued on several compilations of British Invasion/freakbeat rarities. ~ Richie Unterberger
full bio

Selected Discography

x

Track List: Joe Meek:The Alchemist Of Pop

Disc 1

1. What Do You Want To Make Those Eyes At Me For

2. Be Mine

3. Green Jeans

5. Angela Jones

6. Sunday Date

7. Paradise Garden

8. Can't You Hear My Heart

10. Ambush

11. You Got What I Like

12. Johnny Remember Me

13. Tribute To Buddy Holly

15. Wild Wind

18. Son This Is She

19. It's Just A Matter Of Time

20. Walk With Me My Angel

21. Lonely City

22. Telstar

23. Stand Up

25. Can Can 62

26. North Wind

27. Don't You Think It's Time

Disc 2

1. Ridin' The Wind

2. Jack The Ripper

3. Robot

5. Only The Heartaches

6. Hobbies

7. Wipeout

8. Just Like Eddie

9. Sky Men

10. My Friend Bobby

11. Country Boy

12. All My Loving

13. You Were There

14. Have I The Right

15. Questions I Can't Answer

16. I Can't Stop

17. Little Baby

19. Diggin' For Gold

20. That's The Way

21. Crawdaddy Simone

22. What'cha Gonna Do Baby

23. Something I've Got To Tell You

25. You're Holding Me Down

26. I Take It That We're Through

27. Singing The Blues

28. It's Hard To Believe It

x

Track List: Maximum Freakbeat - Remastered

x

Track List: Nuggets II: Original Artyfacts From The British Empire And Beyond, 1964-1969

Disc 1

1. Making Time

3. I Can Hear The Grass Grow

4. My Friend Jack

6. I'll Keep On Holding On

8. Sorry

9. Imposters Of Life's Magazine

10. How Is The Air Up There?

11. Mud In Your Eye

13. Garden Of My Mind

14. Take A Heart

15. The Life I Live

16. Midnight To Six Man

17. I See The Rain

19. You Stole My Love

20. 1-2-5

21. My Mind's Eye

22. Going Nowhere

23. All Night Stand

24. Wars Or Hands Of Time

25. It's A Sin To Go Away

27. I Read You Like An Open Book

Disc 2

1. Children Of The Sun

2. Save My Soul

3. Desdemona

6. I Must Be Mad

7. Say Those Magic Words

8. Baby Your Phrasing Is Bad

9. Daddy Buy Me A Girl

10. Exit Stage Right

11. Gone Is The Sad Man

14. Reflections Of Charles Brown

15. Words Enough To Tell You

16. That's The Way It's Got To Be

18. Walking Through My Dreams

19. You Said

21. Shadows And Reflections

22. Friday On My Mind

25. Fire Brigade

27. Biff Bang Pow

Disc 3

2. Cathy, Come Home

3. Circles

6. Changing The Colors Of Life

8. Crawdaddy Simone

10. It's My Pride

11. Magic Potion

12. You're Driving Me Insane

13. Who Dat?

15. Listen To The Sky

17. Days Of The Broken Arrows

19. Path Through The Forest

20. Love Hate Revenge

21. Pictures Of Matchstick Men

22. The Train To Disaster

23. Sad

26. I Wish I Was Five

27. Glendora

Disc 4

1. Rosalyn

2. Come On

3. The Madman Running Through The Fields

4. How Does It Feel To Feel (US Version)

5. I'm Just A Mops

6. Why Don't You Smile Now

7. Nothin'

9. The Bitter Thoughts Of Little Jane

10. Touch

11. Vacuum Cleaner

13. Bad Little Woman

14. No Presents For Me

15. Bat Macumba

19. Kicks And Chicks

26. Here Comes The Nice

28. When The Alarm Clock Rings

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