VARIOUS ARTISTS-Take My Tip
-Fairytales Can Come True
-British Blue Eyed Soul 1966-1969
A slew of new CD compilations of British 60's sounds
Various Artists-Take My Tip: 25 Sixties Mod Gems (Zonophone) CD
Despite containing half a dozen cuts available elsewhere this CD from the EMI vaults contains some surprising choices. They’re especially nice as many of the tracks are not only seeing their first re-issuing on CD but their first reissuing period. Specific faves in this category include ex-Hollie Eric Haydock’s act Haydock’s Rockhouse with the Flamingo club r&b styled “Mix-A-Fix”, The Shotgun Express are represented by their b-side organ instrumental gas “Curtains”, Geno Washington’s rare adaptation of Gary “US” Bonds “Twist Twist Senora” redone as “Shake Shake Senora” is thoroughly catchy and there’s the Rolling Stonesy “Harlem Library” by Kenny Lynch . Interestingly out of place but nonetheless sparkling is Tony Daly’s chilling tale of the search for stardom leading to the casting couch (“Like The Big Man Said”) . The late Mike Patto is included with his appealing 45 “Love” (recorded no doubt with help from his former band The Bo Street Runners ) as is an off the wall but damned amazing instrumental called “Scotch On The Socks” by The Shadows . Twenty six cuts in all and not a bad one among them if you don’t mind a few repeats from other comps/releases (ie “Buzz With The Fuzz” or Bowie’s “Take My Tip”)!
Various Artists-Fairytales Can Come True: UK Pop Psych from the Late 60s (Psychic Circle) CD
Pop psych is often derided by fans and critics as sometimes being sappy and lacking any ‘guts”. This latest compilation, put out I suspect by the folks behind the “New Directions” mod/60s series, comes up with a slew of treasures that have yet to see reissue. Psychedelia effectively killed off beat groups, but those left afloat produced some interesting results. The Roulettes “Help Me To Help Myself” is one such dazzling piece. It starts out with a phlanged piano straight out of “Odgen’s Nut Gone Flake” and perks up with “Penny Lane-esque” trumpets. In a similar vein is The Searchers “Umbrella Man”, a last gasp from them with a catchy, sweeping arrangement. Bands that escaped the beat scene briefly flirted with the American “west coast sound” in ’66-‘67(see The Action in ’67 mark), this is illustrated by none better than The Pyramid with their sole Deram 45 “The Summer Of Last Year” which evokes the brilliance of The Association among others. Also of interest are Barry Benson with “Cousin Jane”, a Troggs cover and Katch 22’s chirpy ode to Mini driving Dollybird’s “Pumpkin Mini”.
Various Artists-Hide and Seek: British Blue Eyed Soul 1964-1969 (Psychic Circle) CD
British 60’s soul is a double edged sword for many, myself included. It may inspire debate but I am of the mind that 95% of the tracks covered by British acts rarely bettered their American originals. Case in point, this CD’s version of Jackie Wilson’s “I’ve Lost You” by James Royal (sounding more than a little like Alan Price )! Fortunately there are a nice selection of tracks here that surpass my earlier assessment. Ex-Merseybeats members Johnny & Jon offer “Bumper To Bumper” a raw, heavy workout full of soul is nicely matched by the oft comped “Our Love Is Getting Stronger” by Jason Knight , a number that failed when first issued and later gained fame from vest and flare wearing dance floor maniacs in the early/mid 70’s. West Indian ex-pats The Exotics turn out a funky version of The Dramatics “Don’t Lead Me On” that sounds like it has The Mohawks backing them and UK soul/r&b underdogs Fearns Brass Foundry supply the cool but depressing “Now I Taste The Tears”. All in all this comp surprises me, perhaps you will feel the same.
[Published 29 October 2007]
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VARIOUS ARTISTS - Real Life Permanent Dreams:A Cornucopia Of British Psychedelia 1965-1970 CD Box Set (Castle Communications)A new 4 CD box set of UK 60's psychedelia.
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