This is an album I discovered this week, The Silkie Sing The Songs Of Bob Dylan from 1965. They are a mid-sixties folk band that had one hit but didn’t manage to consolidate their success like their contemporaries from America, Peter, Paul And Mary and Australia, The Seekers. The album I have posted here isn’t exactly the album I found, although it has the same cover picture albeit re-arranged and a lot of Dylan tracks. I suppose it’s a reissue with You’ve Got To Hide Your Love Away added as a selling point. You get the idea about the Dylan album from these tracks and better still you get to hear The Beatles song that made it into the Top 30 in 1965. Oddly the single was released about the same time as Help, the album that included this song but as Brian Epstein had signed them I presume that was his decision. Epstein assigned his personal assistant Alistair Taylor to look after the band and interestingly, the single was produced by John Lennon and featured Paul McCartney on guitar and George Harrison on tambourine. The song was recorded at IBC studios in London and this is where Lennon first saw a Mellotron. The pre-recorded sounds on the Mellotron tapes had been recorded there the year before. Lennon immediately ordered one that was delivered to him in August 1965 – the rest is history.
What I like about The Silkie is that they are an English version of their more famous contemporaries and less earnest than Peter, Paul and Mary and less poppy than The Seekers, in fact a more authentic, yet modern sixties folk group.They had formed at Hull University and featured Sylvie Tatler on vocals, Mike Ramsden on guitar and vocals, Ivor Aylesbury guitar and vocals and Kevin Cunningham on double bass. Although the band had split up by 1966, Sylvie Tatler and Mike Ramsden married and carried on playing together as a duo version of The Silkie for the next 35 years. (Ramsden died of kidney disease in 2004). Tatler’s memorable and unusual voice is preserved on this collection.
Finally, what on earth does the band name mean? Well, a Silkie comes from a legend in the Orkney Islands of a mythical creature that is a seal when in the water but becomes human when coming onto dry land – this explains their album cover and one of their publicity shots and the links below give you an insight into the song and the beast that inspired their name.