documenting the optical sounds of '60s pop, Acid Punk & Psychedelia

Paul & Barry Ryan: In Focus

Singles and fashion of the Ryans

Paul & Barry Ryan – ”Pictures Of Today” / ”Madrigal” (MGM 1385) February 1968

Continuing my trip through the sonic pop trips of Paul & Barry Ryan I arrive at their final single together, recorded at the end of 1967 but not released until the following year.

The A-Side is a charming psychedelic pop song liberally sprinkled with sitar and orchestration, written by Peter Morris who also contributed songs recorded by The Orange Seaweed and City Smoke. It was perfect pop psych concoction for 1968 but it failed to hit the Charts.

”Pictures Of Today” was produced by Steve Rowland who was also working with The Herd, DDDBM&T and P.J. Proby at the time.

I dig the flip ”Madrigal” even more, again from the pen of Peter Morris and sung perfectly by the Ryan twins. Sublime production from Jimmy Smith making this a toy-town pop sike classic and pretty much still underground. (16/07/16)

Paul & Barry Ryan – ”Heartbreaker” / ”Night Time” (MGM 1354) October 1967

This was their first release on MGM after leaving Decca and as happens so often the label chose the wrong side. ”Heartbreaker” is an up-tempo pop number with brass and may have been more radio friendly but in my opinion the languid psychedelia of ”Night Time” is where it’s at.

”Night Time” was co-written by ex Searchers drummer Chris Curtis and Sharon Sheeley who was Eddie Cochrane’s girlfriend. Indeed she was in the car when it crashed and killed Eddie.

It appears that this single bombed and can be added to the long list of flops with far more interesting and superior B-sides. (09/07/16)

Paul & Barry Ryan – ”Two Of A Kind” (Decca LK 4878) July 1967

Paul and Barry Ryan are among the most talked about people in show business. Everyone knows they are a pair of fun loving swingers. Their exploits invariably attract attention. Somewhat removed from the world of hairy groups, their determination to establish their own vogue has made them trend-setters.

The Ryan’s entered the music business with a handicap – things were good for them to start with. Theirs was a home with everything they wanted, so it’s not a rags to riches story with them. Now they are richer as a result of their ventures into pop music.  They live on their own in a luxurious apartment poised at the top of a block in South Kensington. They stand on their own four feet and pay their own way.

The success story of Paul and Barry Ryan, therefore, is a different one. They know how to enjoy the wealth they are acquiring for themselves; how to enjoy themselves to the full when they are working and when they are playing.

But the swingers are singers too. And this, their first album, showcases twin vocal talents that will surprise a lot of people. Paul and Barry did not find it difficult to cause a sensation with their stage appearances and the cynics could say that this had something to do with their instant fame. However, these handful of songs must prove to be one and all that the Ryan’s justify their high placing on pop ladder of success.

Dedicated to their music they spend hours perfecting each track and the results prove a genuine understanding of their work. They have come a long way since they made their first British stage appearance at a ballroom in Crawley. Tours, a major pantomime, concert appearances all over the world. Into a short space of time they have crammed a lot of show business experience. It shows in the way they handle this album.

As we said, the swingers are singers too. (28/06/16)

Observer – 13/03/66
Penthouse magazine – October 1967

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