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Jimmy Page to Release Chris Farlowe Demos He Produced in 1961

Ian Gavan, Getty Images
Ian Gavan, Getty Images

Jimmy Page‘s pre-Led Zeppelin career as a studio guitarist has been well-documented. Now, he’s about to show what he did in the control room in those days. A set of demos by Chris Farlowe and the Thunderbirds that Page produced in 1961 — his first production credit — will be released April 30.

Page met Farlowe at a Thunderbirds gig and convinced him to record a demo album, and they booked RG Jones Sound Studio in Morden, London. The 12 songs on Chris Farlowe and the Thunderbirds: The Beginning… are mostly R&B chestnuts, like “What’d I Say,” “Let the Good Times Roll” and “Kansas City.” His take on Barrett Strong’s “Money,” cut two years before the Beatles‘ version, is streaming below.

A year after cutting these demos, Farlowe and the Thunderbirds were signed to Decca, and then Columbia. He moved to Andrew Loog Oldham’s Immediate label in 1965 and spent the next few years releasing songs originally recorded by the Rolling Stones and the Small Faces, including “Out of Time,” “Yesterday’s Papers” and “My Way of Giving.” He also charted with the original version of “Handbags and Gladrags” in 1967, two years before Rod Stewart recorded it.

The Beginning… is being sold at Page’s website, featuring liner notes from Page and Farlowe in a one-LP/one-CD Standard Edition, with a limited-run Deluxe Edition that features the signatures of both men.

“I’m really pleased to be able to make this musical document available for the first time to give an idea of the musical cauldron that was going on in London in 1961, a few years before the Chicago blues renaissance and the Beatles,” Page said.

‘Chris Farlowe and The Thunderbirds: The Beginning…’ Track Listing

1. “Entry of the Slaves”
2. “Spring is Near”
3. “What’d I Say”
4. “Let the Good Times Roll”
5. “Sticks and Stones”
6. “Kansas City”
7. “I’m Moving On”
8. “Just a Dream”
9. “Matchbox”
10. “Money”
11. “Hurtin’ Inside”
12. “Watch Your Step”

Listen to “Money” by Chris Farlowe and the Thunderbirds

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