Zero to 180 – Three Minute Magic

Discoveries of a Pop Music Archaeologist

“Sister Marie”: Not Meant for LP

Sister Marie” – a great song that slipped between the cracks – found belated release as a bonus instrumental on the CD release of Sagittarius anthology Present Tense (1968 Columbia LP, originally):

Sister Marie” [demo]

Sagitttarius (1968)

According to the liner notes, Gary Usher recorded this backing track with Sagitarrius in mind but decided to give it to Chad And Jeremy instead.  Chad And Jeremy’s version of “Sister Marie,” meanwhile, was either released as a non-LP single that didn’t chart, or worse, was scheduled for release but ultimately pulled (as one 45Cat contributor asserts), while Nilsson’s version would end up a mere B-side.  I agree with the 45Cat contributor who declares “Sister Marie” to be “one of the great lost Nilsson recordings” (albeit one written by David Morrow):

Sister Marie

Harry Nilsson (Feb. 1968)

In a fascinating bit of coincidence, Nilsson would release his B-side in February of 1968 at the same time Columbia would issue for the German market an A-side also entitled, “Sister Marie,” by the artist, Marquis of Kensington.  Not the same tune, as you can hear:

“Sister Marie” by Marquis of Kensington

(February 1968)

[streaming audio no longer available – holding out hope]

Says Chad Stuart (who left us in 2020) on the Chad And Jeremy website:

“‘Sister Marie’ was our last single and if it does anything at all, it clearly illustrates the production expertise which comes from a lot of hours in the studio.  Curt Boettcher‘s higher-than- high voice is evident on this track, as is the technical wizardry of Keith Olsen.  Jeremy hated all that “ear candy” as it later came to be called, and in retrospect, I can understand how a Moody Blues sort of bloke like I was then would not get along too well with a J. J. Cale kinda guy like Jeremy aspired to be!”

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One Response

  1. Did Harry write “Sister Marie” or was it written by Stuart/Clyde? I don’t have the Sagittarius cd in front of me to check credits. In ALLMUSIC, it’s listed as a C&J write but I’ve found many errors in those entries. I first heard it on the Gary Usher/Curt Boettcher project; Sagittarius, but later obtained the CS&JC album, OF CABBAGES AND KINGS. Just recently heard the Nilsson version-the voice through the Leslie effect kinda put me off-thanks, John Lennon on “Tomorrow Never Knows” ! 😉


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