K-BILLY’s “super sounds of the seventies” weekend just keeps on coming with this little ditty. They reached up to twenty one in May of 1970. The George Baker Selection: Little Green Bag.
How Quentin Tarantino found this song and picked it out of obscurity to be one of the coolest, era-defining songs of the 1990s is beyond me. Listening to the rest of this record – the second release by the George Baker Selection – there isn’t a great deal else to point to such a gem of a song.
If anything, the Dutch band seems to be a curiosity, lost between decades and difficult to classify. They’re half-late’60s pop rock (late-era Byrds, late-‘60s Kinks) and half-early ‘70s singer-songwriter rock, all jumbled up with a touch of pysch and a sprinkling of jazz. They make for an interesting listen, that’s for sure.
Little Green Bag was the first track of their 1970 debut (also titled Little Green Bag), and given that Wikipedia doesn’t even have pages for their albums beyond this, it looks like they peaked commercially right at the start of their career.
Even Little Green Bag is difficult to classify. After an extremely cool intro, the song devolves into a crooning cabaret song. The change in tone is startling – like a smoking Miles Davis groove taken over by a bravado Tom Jones vocal.
I love Rubber Soul. Not as much as Revolver, but as a contemporary album to rival the likes of Dylan, it’s a fine piece of work. There seems to be a lot of love for Rubber Soul in the USA, although I’m usually unsure whether it’s the standard British version or the American version of the album that attracts such attention.
I’ve never heard the American version of the album – I’ve heard all the songs obviously – but when I look at the tracklisting online, it just seems odd. There’s no Drive My Car, no Nowhere Man, no If I Needed Someone, and no What Goes On (although that last omission is probably for the better). In their place, and tacked onto the beginning of each side, are two songs from Help! – I’ve Just Seen A Face and It’s Only Love. Apparently this was to make it sound more like a folk-rock album, to appeal to the American tastes like Dylan and The Byrds.
Although the songs on Rubber Soul are light years ahead of Help!, they also sound light years away from the genius of Revolver. The Rubber Soul sessions are notable for the band starting to include straightforward riff-based rock in their songwriting. Day Tripper (recorded during the Rubber Soul sessions but released as a double-A-side single alongside We Can Work It Out) and Drive My Car may sound like pastiches of the Motown sound, but their influence on guitar-based rock music is underrated. This is a full year before Hendrix burst onto the London music scene, but Lennon, McCartney and Harrison seem to effortlessly create this blueprint while paying homage to the type of music they were listening to at the time.