A Bit Like You And Me Radio

June 27, 2013

The Idle Race - Sitting In My Tree (1968)

Dave Pritchard, Greg Masters, and Roger Spencer had been playing together in Birmingham, England since 1959. In the coming years, their band’s name and lead singer changed frequently until, in 1964, they were led by Mike Sheridan and Roy Wood, going by the name Mike Sheridan and The Nightriders. When Wood amicably left in December 1965 to join The Move, Mike Sheridan soon parted ways, as well. In May 1966, the band picked up a young Jeff Lynne and changed their name to The Idyll Race. For simplicity’s sake, they soon changed to the spelling now seen above. Roy Wood, who had gone on to become a famous musician with his new band The Move, arranged to have his old bandmates set up with Liberty Records.

Despite being well received by critics and radio DJs, a combination of bad luck and poor promotion had left the band without a hit. In February 1969, Roy Wood extended an invitation to Jeff Lynne, asking him to join The Move. Lynne declined, not wanting to give up on his current band’s star potential just yet. That same year, Lynne’s band released their second album, Idle Race (this album produced by Lynne himself), and two singles written by him, “Days of Broken Arrows” and “Come With Me.” When all of the releases failed to reach commercial success, Lynne knew the band wouldn’t go anywhere. In January 1970, Lynne parted ways with The Idle Race to join Roy Wood’s The Move, under the condition that The Move would eventually be retired in favor of their new joint venture, a band that would later be known as ELO.

With Lynne gone, Pritchard, Masters, and Spencer hired the talents of Mike Hopkins and Dave Walker to replace him. Together, they would release their third and final album, Time Is, in 1971. That album, along with their last single, failed to chart. Pritchard and Spencer parted ways and Steve Gibbons joined the still-incomplete group. When Masters and Hopkins also quit in 1972, what was left rapidly evolved around Gibbons into the Steve Gibbons Band.

This song comes from the band’s first album, The Birthday Party, released in 1968. It was written by Jeff Lynne and features the band's most recognizable lineup: Lynne, Pritchard, Masters, and Spencer. After the rise of Jeff Lynne and his success in ELO, The Birthday Party was re-released in 1976. Neither release of the album saw any action on the charts.

album art

The Idle Race - Sitting In My Tree (1968)

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Lyrics:

I often sit alone up in a tree
Waving to the ones that wave at me
I think, “Well, just how stupid can they be?”
Waving to a man up in a tree

What they don't know is I am counting them
I even count the ladies and the men
I put the numbers in my little book
And only me can ever have a look

All I ask is a peace of mind
Which I lost somewhere down amongst the mess
All I want is for people to be kind
And walk slower to be counted when they pass

I think, “Well, just how stupid can they be?”
Waving to a man up in a tree

I know that I will have to stop my fun
When I meet a girl who I cannot count on
Maybe marry her and happy we would be
Not counting, but just sitting up a tree

I put the numbers in my little book
And only me can ever have a look
I think, “Well, just how stupid can they be?”
Waving to a man up in a tree

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