Classic Singles #44: The Banshees – Project Blue / Free (1966)

Banshees_labelThe reputation of this 45 rests on its a-side, but what a stellar a-side it is! The Banshees were from Chicago, Illinois and their single was issued on Dunwich Records in June 1966. This label was home to such other Windy City Scene legends as The Shadows of Knight, The Del-Vetts, and The Knaves. Owner Bill Taut not only signed the band but suggested they change their name from The Prophets to The Banshees.

‘Project Blue’ opens with rapidly repeated notes on the lead guitar backed by strummed chords. Then we are off into a frantic R&B powerhouse of a number with lyrics yelped out in dramatic fashion. The urgent guitar figure returns (as it does several times), and forms the basis for a searing break that sends the song soaring into orbit. And there’s even time for a false ending and rave-up finish. Utterly inspired!

‘Project Blue’

‘Free’ is a ballad but actually not too bad at all – a little bit more sprightly than usual and with a pleasant guitar break.

‘Free’

The band were a popular local attraction, playing at venues such as The New Place, The Alamo, and The Cellar, as well as opening for the likes of The Yardbirds and Dave Clark Five.

Reissues: you can find the a-side in excellent quality on Sundazed’s Oh Yeah: The Best of Dunwich Records. It is also on Mindrocker Volume 2 and Pebbles Volume 9 (vinyl). ‘Free’ has yet to be compiled.

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