Another Lou Reed related post today. Unlike The Roughnecks, The All Night Workers were a real band from Syracuse, New York rather than a studio-only outfit. Their guitarist Steve McCord had been Reed’s roommate at college and they had remained friends.
This 45 came out on Round Sound, a subsidiary of Pickwick Records, in 1965. It is the b-side that is of most interest to us as ‘Why Don’t You Smile’ is credited not only to Lou and his Pickwick label colleagues Terry Phillips and Jerry Vance but also to one John Cale. This is the first known collaboration between Reed and Cale, written together “one drunken evening” according to an interview Cale gave to Uncut magazine in April 2010. He added that, “It was my introduction to collaborative songwriting. It had a simple beauty that gave absolutely no indication of the problems we would have later”.
The song combines soulful vocals with a droning guitar backing and some simple but effective lead guitar work. It is not thought that either Reed or Cale actually played on the recording.
‘Why Don’t You Smile’
The a-side is a catchy toe tapper that was later popular on the Northern Soul circuit. This one was written by the band’s bassist Billy Elmiger.
‘Don’t Put All Your Eggs in One Basket’
‘Why Don’t You Smile’ was later covered by UK band The Downliners Sect on their 1966 album The Rock Sect’s In.
Reissues: you can find ‘Why Don’t You Smile’ on Mayhem and Psychosis Volume 1.
- Don’t Put All Your Eggs in One Basket / Why Don’t You Smile (Round Sound, 1965)
- Honey and Wine / God Bless the Children (Cameo Parkway, 1966)
- The Collector / Misery (Mercury, 1968)