I wrote the bulk of this last weekend and had planned to post it then but didn’t quite get around to it, and now another week has flown by and it’s Friday again (how did that happen?!). So, better late than never (you will have to remember how good the weather was before Easter)…
Friday came and went without me managing to post this as my regular 45 double header. It’s been a busy week what with work, decorating the kitchen… and chasing butterflies…
When I was about 10 I developed an interest in butterflies (and moths). Together with a childhood friend we used to collect them. Initially that is, we soon felt guilty about that and from then on just spotted them and recorded our sightings. Over the years I have retained the interest to a greater or lesser extent and always keep an eye out for them when I’m out and about. (Mrs Darce sometimes refers to me as Christopher Robin as when we are out on a country walk I am inclined to suddenly go diving off down a path or into the undergrowth following some unidentified winged thing (not with net in hand though). Last year I (re)joined Butterfly Conservation – probably spurred on by a relatively good ‘butterfly year’ - and recently they sent through some sighting recording sheets. As a result I have resolved to formally record my sightings this year and started this week on my daily lunchtime walk that gets me out of the office. I picked a good week to start, the weather has been glorious and the butterflies have responded and seem to be about in good numbers already.
One of the species that is on the wing in early spring is the Orange Tip, so called because, although classed as a “White”, the male has a large orange splash on the tips of its fore-wings. At least the male does. As is often the case in the insect world the male is much more colourful than the female. The female lacks the orange splash and is fairly non-descript in appearance. As a result at any distance it can be easily mistaken for one of the other Whites - the very common Small White for example. I can’t believe, after all these years, this fact has only just fully registered with me: piqued, no doubt, by the desire to accurately record my sightings I had a Christopher Robin moment this week as I pursued a butterfly that I thought was a bit too small and fluttery to be a Small White. It finally came to rest and on close inspection it turned out to be a female Orange Tip.
This difference in appearance of the male and female Orange Tip made me think of the A and B sides of a record. You can’t have one without the other. It’s the A side that grabs all the attention and the B side is just lurking there, often completely overlooked.
The analogy in some ways is particularly true of a 45 that has been on my turntable quite often in the last few weeks. Unusually, it features different artists on the A and B sides, one is female, the other male. In this instance though, it is the female - Claudia Whitten – who could be said to be the attention grabber as she is featured on the A side. The B side artist – Ned Towns – is the nurturer though as he is the producer of both sides. This 45’s currency on release (date unknown but probably late 60s/early 70s) would probably only have been a few weeks, which is about as long as the average butterfly can expect to spend on the wing.
I am once again indebted to Sir Shambling for alerting me to this record. This was Claudia Whitten’s only outing on wax as far as is known, and her inclusion at Deep Soul Heaven, and a mention and inclusion on an Oxford American magazine CD compilation back in 2009, the only references I can find to her on the internet. The B side of this 45 is even more obscure inasmuch as the link to it below is probably the first time it has appeared online. Ned Towns himself is somewhat more well known. He has been in the music business for many years and as far as I know is still active (and on You Tube). He had a release on Atlantic in the mid 60s How Can You Baby Sit A Man which is now another record on my want list. The wonderfully named Skillet Records is his own label and he continues to use it for his own occasional releases. The label of this 45 shows a Little Rock address, and Ned hails from Lost Lake. Two more names to conjure with.
(The Skillet label is one of those that is very difficult to take a picture of).