The Wheels

The Wheels

The mid-'60s Irish rock scene produced no bands that achieved international acclaim, with the major exception of Them. In fact, very few Irish bands from the time are internationally known whatsoever, even to avid collectors, in part because few got to record more than one or two singles. Aside from Them spinoff band the Belfast Gypsies, the biggest exception to this would be the Wheels.

The Wheels were part of the same Belfast scene that gave birth to Them, and in fact, Van Morrison sometimes sat in with the Wheels on sax. In 1964, they began making trips to the north of England to build up a following there, and in 1965, they were signed to Columbia in the U.K. The Wheels had a raw R&B-rock attack quite similar to that heard on Them's first records, down to the jagged guitar and sinister organ. Brian Rossi's vocals were also akin to Van Morrison's most aggressive ones, though Rossi was not as subtle or strong. It could not have helped dodge Them comparisons, however, to make their first single a cover of Them's "Gloria," backed by "Don't You Know," a Tommy Scott composition that Them also recorded.

The Wheels' second single, "Bad Little Woman"/"Road Block" (released in February 1966), featured original material from the quintet, though even then it was only a little less Them-like than their debut. "Bad Little Woman" was a minor-key takeoff on the "Gloria" rhythm, while "Road Block" was similar in mood and construction to Them's "Mystic Eyes." For what they were, though, they were good, raving tracks. Oddly, an alternate -- and better -- version of "Bad Little Woman" was issued in the U.S. on Aurora Records, with the band's name changed to the Wheel-A-Ways to avoid confusion with Mitch Ryder & the Detroit Wheels. This American version, with its creepy descending guitar slides and frenzied rave-up, in which the tempo nearly speeds off the highway as Rossi's vocals turn into screams, is one of the peak obscure treasures of mid-'60s British R&B. "Bad Little Woman" was covered for a small hit in the U.S. by the Shadows of Knight (who, of course, had also had a big hit with "Gloria," although they probably learned it from the Them version).

Title Album Genre Tools
Bad Little Woman Bad Little Woman Rock
Client:
Artist:
The Wheels
Era:
1960s
Genres:
Rock
Instruments:
Bass, Drums, Electric Guitar, Guitar, Harmonica, and Organ
Key:
E
Keywords:
Aggressive, Bright, Climactic, Dark, Dramatic, Driving, Feel-Good, Funky/Groove, Percussive/Drums, and Sentimental
Scene Descriptions:
Film Trailer, Goodbye, Heartbreak, Rainy Day, Road Trip, and Strip Tease
Subgenres:
Blues-Rock, British Invasion, and Garage Rock
Tempo:
Moderate
Vocal Types:
male
CD/Track #:
Bad Little Woman
Release Year:
1966
Track ID:
39835
main mix 1:00 160k MP3
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