Godfrey Daniel: Punk Doowop Revivalists

I discovered Godfrey Daniel’s one and only album at the local library bookstore that sells donated materials, including record albums and 45s.  I was struck first by the label – Atlantic – and secondarily by the following somewhat cryptic text on the back cover:

“Godfrey Daniel fans are a tough bunch to please.  They know what they want, and they won’t be disappointed with this, their first recording on Atlantic Records.

Now you can thrill at home to the group that’s been knocking them dead coast to coast with the sound of today.  Their honest, throaty vocals, their steady driving beat, makes you want to get up and dance.”

As it turns out, Godfrey Daniel is kind of a “punk” Sha Na Na who specialize in skewed doowop-era takes on what some would consider hoary hard rock “standards” of the late 60s and early 70s, such as “Purple Haze” and “Honky Tonk Woman” — or Led Zeppelin’s uncredited bombastic take on Muddy Waters’s “You Need Love” (i.e., “Whole Lotta Love”):

“Whole Lotta Love”     Godfrey Daniel     1972

Atlantic, surprisingly perhaps, would issue the group’s irreverent version of Woodstock highlight – Sly & the Family Stone’s “Dance to the Music” – as the A-side of the group’s lone single released in 1972.

Godfrey Daniel20 years later Tiny Tim would team up with Brave Combo to take a sad song – “Hey Jude” – and transform it into a marvelously daffy and danceable mambo number, but remember: Godfrey Daniel helped pioneer this type of rock parody.

Take a Sad Song was finally reissued on compact disc in 2005 — Jason Gross of the Minneapolis City Pages, in his review, declared “this lost nugget is up there with the best mashups.”

Godfrey Daniel LP

Neil Innes Sings “Godfrey Daniel”

Neil Innes (of Rutles and Bonzo Dog Doo Dah Band fame) conjures unforgettable images in this outsized Elton John spoof from Rutland Weekend Television in which the glam rocker straight-facedly sings at the chorus, “Godfrey Daniel, he ain’t done nothing wrong.  Let him go back to Ohio – or wherever he belongs.”