Perhaps the least motivated of any second-tier British invasion groups, The Lazyfaires failed to click with the US at a time when merely having a Manchester relative should have been enough to unseat an American idol on the pop charts.
Much was made of the fact that The Rolling Stones’ debut UK album made no mention of the group’s name on its front cover but The Lazyfaires broke even further ground in anonymity when their debut album featured only an empty spotlight on its sleeve as none of the group had bothered to turn up for the photo session.
None of their hard-to-find US releases on Fontana, Vocalion, Congress or Lucky Pup made much of an impression either but that didn’t deter The Lazyfaires from staying together and releasing single after unacclaimed single well into the next millennium, more out of habit than anything else.
So they remain The Lazyfaires, five lads who love nothing more than staying in their sitting rooms and watching Formula I racing on the telly. “The Lights Go Down and Out,” a blistering 1968 ode to pretending you’re out for a night on the town in order to not appear like complete losers to the burglars, is in keeping with that well-established Lazyfaires tradition.
Anyone doubting The Lazyfaires’ underachieving acumen would do well to download this single’s BONUS B-SIDE of DUBIOUS DISTINCTION.
During the group’s arduous tenure at UK Vocalion Records, the label’s head of A&R department, a man who’d surprisingly gotten this far in life with the name Mike Hunt, constantly badgered the group to give them “something more tuneful, something more like The Hollies.”
Said singer Gil Stephens, “We got right fed up with those arseholes at Vocalion badgering us to be more like The Hollies so we nipped down to the local HMV Record shop, picked up a copy of their Evolution album to see if it was something we could actually do. As it turned out, the whole record had ssevere stereo separation, all the vocals on the left side speaker not being allowed to congregate with all the instruments on the right side speaker. That’s when Nige had the idea, why not put the balance to the right side, just sing over the bloody Hollies track and fookin’ be done with it.”
“We never expected those dipshits would release the damned thing,” he laughed, “proving that Vocalion didn’t listen to Hollies albums as carefully as they should’ve. Naturally we get a panicked call from the pressing plant a few days later saying we need another b-side, like, right this minute. So we slapped on some horrible instrumental we had lying around and called it “No One Was Fooled in the Least, Dearie,” just to thumb our noses at fuckin’ Mike Hunt.”
We here at the 24/7 club, however, opted to include the much rarer rendition of Stephens singing The Hollies’ “Rain on the Window.” Boastful claims aside, just listen before the French horn solo where you can hear Stephens hyperventilating trying to replicate Graham Nash.