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The Wheel-A-Ways



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The Wheel-A-Ways were actually a pseudonym of The Wheels, a good but minor Irish band that laid down some very Them-like tracks in the mid-1960s. When the Wheels’ original number “Bad Little Woman” was released in the United States on the Aurora label in 1966, Aurora put it out under the name of the Wheel-A-Ways, to avoid confusion with Mitch Ryder & the Detroit Wheels. The irony is that this decision has been the cause of much confusion among devoted British Invasion collectors since that time, causing uncertainty as to whether the Wheel-A-Ways were the same band as the Wheels. It would have been a simple matter to determine if the version of “Bad Little Woman” on the Wheel-A-Ways’ single was the same as the one the Wheels had released on Columbia in the UK in 1966. But no! It wasn’t; it was a superior, less restrained alternate take of the same song. The liner notes to the compilation Belfast Beat Maritime Blues, however, confirm that the Wheels and the Wheel-A-Ways were in fact the same band.

What is more important, however, is that the Wheel-A-Ways’ version of “Bad Little Woman” is a killer song. One of the best obscure British mid-1960s R&B tracks, it is an inverted, ominous take on the “Gloria” riff and rhythm, accelerated into a wild bashing rave-up with screaming vocals, then cooling off with lone, creepy slides down a guitar, answered by a lonesome harmonica.

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