I Like It Like That

I’ve always liked The Dave Clark 5, though not enough to do anything about it. Well, I take that back. My dad and I once made a Dave Clark 5 record into a clock for my room. But that’s more about the aesthetics of having a record clock than about any particular love for the Dave Clark 5. In fact, I suspect we chose that record because it was one from his collection that we both thought we could do without.

But I have always liked them just fine. With one exception–“I Like It Like That.” That song makes me cock my head like a perplexed dog, like I’m hearing something peculiar, something not quite in place.

And I’d like to make a bold, indefensible claim, both because I want it to be true and, if it’s not, I’d like to hear your votes for who should get the credit instead. But you must provide links to video or audio so that we can judge.

Here is my bold, indefensible claim. This song–

–done by the Dave Clark 5 is heavy metal in its early infancy, at least, the early infancy of what heavy metal vocals would be like. Here’s the British kids in love with American R&B but not just doing a straight cover, but adding that growl. Chris Kenner was going to stand on stage and make sure you felt him right in your core way in the back of the room. But take a listen to how Mike Smith is growling where Kenner shouts. That’s a sound that asks–wouldn’t you like to feel me purr like this right up here? as it slides its hand past your knee. That’s a sound that hasn’t forgotten the power of Muddy Waters and Howlin’ Wolf, even if it can’t quite emulate it. That’s a sound that suggests “Whole Lotta Love” and “Iron Man” on down the road. Yes, it’s a sound that has to ripen up through Janis Joplin and get attached to Hendrix’s guitar before it’s fully recognizable.

But man, I feel like I hear it in there, the noise that suggests the racket to come.