Year of Release: 1967
Romford's The Chasers grafted their way around the British gig circuit in the sixties. Consisting of Roger Pincott on vocals, Len Tuckey on guitar, Jack Chambers on bass and Lenny Butcher on drums, they were formed in 1960, beginning by performing straight-ahead beat pop before hardening their sound to an R&B approach in 1963. This gave them many more opportunities to break out of the local Romford area and perform in clubs nationally, achieving notable support slots with other R&B acts of the day such as the Downliners Sect.
While apparently being a strong live proposition, they failed to break through with any of their three releases across three different record labels during that period. "Hey Little Girl", issued by Decca in 1965, and "Inspiration", issued by Parlophone in 1966, were largely ignored by the public and poorly promoted by both institutions.
Top songwriter (and recording star in his own right) Chris Andrews was friends with the band, and produced all their work. By 1967 Pincott had jumped ship and the band replaced him with Bobby Rio, and there might have been a sense that if they couldn't strike it lucky with a third single, the goose could be cooked. It would certainly explain why Andrews chose that moment to step in and give them an original and powerful composition of his own to work with.
"The Ways Of A Man" is much poppier than the previous singles and lacks a brittle R&B edge, instead sounding very identifiably like a melancholy Andrews track. The delicate nature of the song makes for a compelling listen, but the style doesn't quite suit the band who sound noticeably hemmed in, and as a pop ballad it's crying out for Sandie Shaw's mournful tones to raise it to another level. Unsurprisingly, it followed their other far stronger singles into the dumper, and remains one of Andrews' less frequently heard and undeservedly unappreciated tunes as a result.
Rio also abandoned The Chasers after the failure of this single, and the group limped on as a trio for a few months before giving up when Tuckey joined The Riot Squad.
Excuse the pops and clicks on both sides of this single - it's not a perfect copy, I'm afraid.