Let's Live for Today: The Complete Recordings

The Living Daylights

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Let's Live for Today: The Complete Recordings Review

by Tim Sendra

Freakbeat obscurities the Living Daylights seemed relegated to lost-band status, with the occasional great song turning up on a collection and historians noting that they were the first group to issue an English-language version of the post-beat classic "Let's Live for Today." Sadly, the record they cut in 1967 was never released until 2022, when Grapefruit Records issued it for the first time as Let's Live for Today: The Complete Recordings with both mono and stereo versions of the album plus single tracks. The record was restored with stunning clarity and power, and the liner notes clear up the formerly murky details of the band's existence, getting the membership right and detailing the raw deal they got from their publisher and label. It's hard to fathom that seemingly everyone involved with the group on the business side was so cloth-eared that they couldn't hear just how good the album was. The songs that leaked out to comps over the years -- "Today," of course, but also "I'm Real," "Jane," and "Always with Him" -- gave a tantalizing glimpse of a band that was a combo of great players, singers, and writers. "I'm Real" is a stomping post-mod rocker with an insistent hook and some great falsetto vocal work, "Jane" struts like a confident Kinks, and "Always with Him" is a brilliant blend of harmony pop and freakbeat excitement. All three songs could have been hits and have been bright spots on the collections they ended up on. The rest of the album has some similarly shiny gems; their producer Caleb Quaye penned the moody ballad "Cos I'm Lonely" and the band deliver it with an oddly menacing brand of melancholy. The romping "Up So High" is another song by the band's Garth Watt-Roy that could have been a contender. Its scorching guitar solo, pop art sound effects, and pummeling beat propel it to the level of the Creation's best work, which is the highest praise. The record is let down a little by the two Beatles covers -- which were forced on the group by the higher-ups -- but the band put them across well enough. Their version of Doris Troy's "What'cha Gonna Do About It" is a pleasant trifle that shows off the strength of the vocals, both lead and harmony, but it feels like a mistake, especially when the band were writing such good songs themselves. Subtract the covers, add a few more Watt-Roy written songs, actually release it, and this would be firmly in classic territory. As it is, the collection is pretty close to revelatory and should be studied and enjoyed by all who consider themselves freakbeat aficionados.

Track Listing

Sample Title/Composer Performer Time Stream
1 The Living Daylights 02:54 Amazon
2 The Living Daylights 02:30 Amazon
3 The Living Daylights 03:01 Amazon
4 The Living Daylights 02:17 Amazon
5 The Living Daylights 03:00 Amazon
6 The Living Daylights 02:08 Amazon
7 The Living Daylights 02:38 Amazon
8 The Living Daylights 02:23 Amazon
9 The Living Daylights 02:56 Amazon
10 The Living Daylights 02:31 Amazon
11 The Living Daylights 02:43 Amazon
12 The Living Daylights 02:45 Amazon
13 The Living Daylights 02:47 Amazon
14 The Living Daylights 03:01 Amazon
15 The Living Daylights 02:18 Amazon
16 The Living Daylights 03:00 Amazon
17 The Living Daylights 02:09 Amazon
18 The Living Daylights 02:38 Amazon
19 The Living Daylights 02:24 Amazon
20 The Living Daylights 02:56 Amazon
21 The Living Daylights 02:31 Amazon
22 The Living Daylights 02:43 Amazon
23 The Living Daylights 02:55 Amazon
blue highlight denotes track pick