Them: Now And Them (1968)

Jim Armstrong trades in his guitar for a sitar as the second lineup of Them reinvents itself as a psychedelic rock band.

Kronomyth 3.0: AND NOW AND THEM FOR SOMETHING COMPLETELY DIFFERENT. After Van Morrison left Them, you might have expected the band to quietly disappear. What you didn’t expect was a psychedelic album featuring a nine-minute Indian raga and trippy songs like “Truth Machine” and “Walking In The Queen’s Garden.” Now And Them is a radical shift from the band’s R&B origins; in truth, the band reinvented themselves after Van’s departure. Here, they take on psychedelic blues (John Mayall’s “I’m Your Witch Doctor”) and pop (“You’re Just What I Was Looking For Today,” “I Happen To Love You”), plus a few originals that reveal a heretofore undiscovered talent for psychedelic rock. The new vocalist, Kenny McDowell, won’t make you forget about Van Morrison, but he’s a legitimate singer, versus, say, having one of the other members take on the role. New drummer Dave Harvey is another solid addition and wastes little time making a good impression, giving his kit a sound thrashing on the opening “Witch Doctor.” Unfortunately, Van took most of the eyes and ears with him, and not a lot of folks stuck around to hear/see Them’s second act. These days, Now And Them is best appreciated as a psychedelic artifact (one that XTC seems to have dug, judging by “Your Gold Dress”). Whether the band really did have a psychedelic conversion of heart or whether it was just a fashionable costume change, I couldn’t tell you. Them were hardly the only R&B act to go psychedelic (I was originally going to kronomyth this “Thempathy for the Devil”). I won’t kid you, Van Morrison’s Blowin’ Your Mind is the better album, but Now And Them is a pleasant, mind-expanding addendum from the rest of Them.

Original LP Version
A1. Witch Doctor (John Mayall) (2:33)
A2. What’s The Matter Baby (Clyde Otis/Joy Byers) (2:45)
A3. Truth Machine (L. Thornton) (2:05)
A4. Square Room (Them) (9:31)
B1. You’re Just What I Was Looking For Today (Gerry Goffin/Carole King) (2:35)
B2. Dirty Old Man (At The Age of Sixteen) (Tom Lane) (1:45)
B3. Nobody Loves You When You’re Down And Out (Jimmie Cox) (3:33)
B4. Walking In The Queen’s Garden (Them) (3:02)
B5. I Happen To Love You (Gerry Goffin/Carole King) (2:53)
B6. Come To Me (Them) (2:20)

CD reissue bonus tracks
11. Walking In The Queen’s Garden (mono single mix)
12. I Happen To Love You (mono single mix)

The Players
Jim Armstrong (lead guitar), Ray Elliott (sax, organ, flute, etc.), Dave Harvey (drums), Alan Henderson (bass), Kenny McDowell (vocals). Produced by Ray Ruff except B5/B6 produced by Ray Ruff and Marty Cooper, A4/B4 produced by Them and Ray Ruff.

The Pictures
Cover art by Bob Zoell.

The Plastic
Released on elpee in January 1968 in the US (Tower, ST 5104).

  1. Re-issued on elpee in December 1988 in the UK (Zap!, ZAP 6).
  2. Re-released on expanded compact disc on May 26, 2003 in the UK (Rev-Ola, CR REV 29) with 2 bonus tracks.

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