Graham Reid | | 1 min read
When the British singer Crispian St Peters died in June 2010, many were shocked at his age. He was 71, and yet back when he was spinning hits like You Were on My Mind and Pied Piper in the mid Sixties he seemed so much younger than his Lennon and McCartney peers.
His career was a short one, not helped by him publically denouncing the Beatles as "past it" (if memory serves the moptop has-beens released Rubber Soul shortly thereafter) and although he later said his comment hadn't been serious, few were in a mood to forgive him.
Pity, he was quite a talented singer and his management were good pickers of material also.
He turned Canadian folkies Ian and Sylvia's You Were on My Mind into a slightly tense and very servicable version, and far overshadowed the original and the version by We Five, even though its tempo effectively mimicked We Five's rendition. And The Changin' Times' Pied Piper became a minor classic in his hands.
Putting coin into Ian and Sylvia's pocket was a good thing too: Ian and Sylvia Tyson looked to be headed for big things at the time. They were managed by Albert Grossman (soon after he became Dylan's bullish manager), Ian wrote Four Strong Wnds which became a folk standard, Sylvia penned You Were on My Mind, they eased gently and effectively into folk-rock and then country rock (as members of the band Great Speckled Bird in '69), and even though they didn't set the cosmos ablaze they were well known enough in '70 to be part of the Festival Express rail tour across Canada alongside the Grateful Dead, the Band, Buddy Guy and Janis Joplin, a tour notorious for its booze and drug-fueled revelry.
They divorced in '75 and Ian retired into farming.
So their legacy is a small but important one -- and it is interesting to compare their rather straight folkie version of You Were on My Mind with the Crispian St Peters treatment.
He did them and the song a huge favour.
For more one-offs, oddities or songs with an interesting backstory see From the Vaults.