Classic Singles #42: The David – People Saying, People Seeing / 40 Miles (1967)

David_label‘People Saying, People Seeing / 40 Miles’ was the second single by The David from Los Angeles, California. It was released on the 20th Century Fox label in April 1967. Flipside ’40 Miles’ had already appeared as the a-side of their 1966 debut on the same label, but re-combined with ‘People Saying, People Seeing’ it created a classic garage psych double-sider.

The a-side is a tough punker elevated to another level by the inclusion of a sitar, both as a backing instrument and leading the charge on a wicked wigged-out raga rock-style break. Another very short song though – the label has an optimistic timing of 1 minute 47 seconds but I clock it at 1 minute 34!

‘People Saying, People Seeing’

David_band

’40 Miles’ alternates between a pulsing bass riff with trippy instrumentation and a frenzied rave-up with vocals channeling Sky Saxon from The Seeds. And there is a swirling Farfisa organ solo added for good measure.

In mid 1967, the band’s manager Steven Vail formed his own VMC (Vance Music Company) label and signed The David as its first act. They set to work on their album Another Day, Another Lifetime, masterminded by keyboard player, vocalist, and main songwriter Warren Hansen. By this point, the punk sound of their 20th Century Fox singles had been replaced by swinging pop psychedelia with ultra-catchy melodies and great vocals and harmonies (though still with a rock sensibility on most tracks).

’40 Miles’

david_albumThe LP features a good deal of orchestration, but have no fear as these are some of the best string and brass arrangements I have heard on a record of this type (courtesy of one Gene Page), reaching their highpoint in my opinion on ‘Now to You’ and ‘So Much More’. The fuzz-driven ‘I’m Not Alone’ was also released as a single in a neat picture sleeve backed by another album cut ‘Sweet December’.

Warren Hansen was not only a very talented tunesmith, but he even invented an instrument called the Plasmatar which can be heard on the track ‘Mirrors of Wood’.

If you like 60s psychedelia and you haven’t heard this album, I strongly recommend tracking it down – it is fantastic! (I believe the CD on Jamie is a different mix, so if authenticity is your thing you may want to opt for one of the other reissues. Or you could always bag an original. They have crept up in price but still turn up fairly regularly and in my book are worth every cent!)

Reissues: the a-side is on Seeds Turn To Flowers Turn To Dust; the flip on Pebbles Volume 9 (CD), Boulders Volume 6 or Gone Volume 1.

Discography:

Singles

  • 40 Miles / Bus Token (20th Century Fox, 1966)
  • People Saying, People Seeing / 40 Miles (20th Century Fox, 1967)
  • I’m Not Alone / Sweet December (VMC, 1967)

Album

  • Another Day, Another Lifetime (VMC, 1967)
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