Often likened to Van Morrison’s, Them and originating from the same location, The Wheels were a 60’s R&B, blues-inspired garage band from Belfast, Northern Ireland. The most well-known line-up consisted of, Brian Rossi (keyboards and vocals), Rod Demick (rhythm guitar and vocals), Herbie Armstrong (lead guitar), Tito Tinsley (bass guitar), and Victor Catling (drums).
The band began in 1964 and were initially known as the Golden Eagles and it was during this time that Van Morrison did a brief stint on vocals and saxophone with the band. Eventually the Golden Eagles changed their name and became The Wheels, they then went on to write and record the original version of today’s song, Bad Little Woman. This is probably one of the songs they are best known for and definitely one of my favourites.
When the Wheels’ originally released “Bad Little Woman” 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 funny thing is, is that this decision has been the cause of much confusion (including mine) among British Invasion collectors, causing uncertainty as to whether the Wheel-A-Ways were the same band as the Wheels….but they are!!
Today’s version of Bad Little Woman was released in 1966 on the Aurora label (in the U.S.). It’s a slightly slower, but more intense, version of the song, taken from an outtake and I have to say, I prefer this version. It growls and it howls with snarling harmonica and slinky guitar riffs, alternating between calm and crazy, building into a surge of frenzied guitars and thrashing drums before it drops back down again. Listen above.