Ignored Obscured Restored
In 1965 Eddie Grant (yes, the Grant of 1983’s “Electric Avenue”) was a founding member of one of England’s first integrated bands, The Equals. The others in the group were John Hall, Pat Lloyd, and brothers Derv and Lincoln Gordon.
Beginning in 1968 they enjoyed some international success with a series of hit singles, including “I Get So Excited”, “Viva Bobby Joe”, “Black Skin Blue Eyed Boys”, and their biggest hit “Baby Come Back.”
The ska-influenced “Baby Come Back” was originally the B-side to “Hold Me Closer” but proved to be much more popular. It’s easy to see why. “Baby Come Back” is simple, but irresistibly catchy. It rose to #1 in the UK though it barely crashed the Top 40 in Billboard in the US. Dig the opening, fat string guitar riff, and the way they build tension by repeating the final word of each verse as they ascend into the chorus. And listen carefully for the addition of a syncopated beatbox at the end.
Bonnie Raitt, no slouch when it comes to picking cool songs to record, covered “Baby Come Back” on the underappreciated Green Light (1982), which may be her most rock and roll album.
Grant penned another song for the Equals that was brought to widespread popularity in the form of a cover version. The Clash released “Police on My Back” on Sandinista! (1980).
Enjoy… until next week.