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Monday, September 17, 2012

Doc Thomas Group And The Silence - The Italian Job / Shotgun Eyes (1966/90 uk, mod beat, pub boogie rock with Mike Ralphs and pre-Mott The Hoople members)

Selling point for this CD is that these two groups were ancestors of Mott The Hoople and (thanks to one member) Bad Company... 

If the prospect of an unknown mid-60s beat group's Italian-recorded demo ("live" in the studio, no overdubs) leaves you feeling distinctly underwhelmed, this CD would (I think) pleasantly surprise you. The quality of the Doc Thomas set is better than you would expect: a creditable chunk of moody R & B, very 1966, with echoes of the Spencer Davis Group... 

They seem like the kind of band Ocean Colour Scene wish they could have been, right down to the stripey shirts...The recording quality is excellent, with a good live ambience...and the performances are relaxed and confident the touches of crudity are charming and typical of the period, the unspoilt rock Eden B.P. (before Pepper). "Fresh" is the word... 

The (new) Silence's half of this CD presents another surprise. Where you might expect some tired old hippies (sorry, Mods!) going;through the motions, shored up by contemporary techno gadgets, this lot come on as if the last 33 years never existed. They deliver an energetic and authentic recreation of the '64/5 beat group sound, the style immediately preceding Doc Thomas's (as, in fact, this line-up did originally). The surprise is that this comes across not as pathetic, but as great fun  they really have managed;to revive the spirit, not just the formula. 

There's even a token cheesy instrumental, Gunshot, and a maudlin Merseybeat ballad, I Think Of You. Otherwise, it's that bouncy, wizzed-up British interpretation of 50s R&B familiar from the early Stones and Pretty Things, amongst others. Even on the blues covers (Jimmy Reed, Sonny Boy Williamson), they keep the grins on their faces, resisting the dour, ersatz seriousness that most blues revivalists these days regard as obligatory. The production too (by "the three trousers", it says here) hits a perfect balance between 60s simplicity and 90s clarity. 

It sounds as if, with Shotgun Eyes, Watts, Griffin, Brooke, Jeffery and Fisher have made the album they didn't quite manage to in 1965. All credit to them for proving, against the odds, that this kind of stuff is still the most fun you can have with electric guitars, a drum kit and a harmonica... 
Nostalgia, they say, is not what it was. With this CD, though, it very nearly is. 
Mr.Nasty CD Reviews, Feedback 

Doc Thomas Group
1. I'll Be Doggone (Robinson, Tarplin, Moore)
2. She Was Really Saying Something (Whitfield, Stevenson, Holland) - 2:35
3. Steal Your Heart Away (Parker) - 3:53
4. My Babe (Hatrield, Medley) - 2:33
5. Please Do Something (Don Covay) - 2:18
6. Shake (Sam Cooke) - 2:32
7. I Got You (James Brown) - 2:50
8. Harlem Shuffle (Relf, Nelson) - 3:25
9. Talking About My Baby (Curtis Mayfield) - 2:42
10.Just Can't Go To Sleep (Ray Davies) - 2:32
11.Barefootin (Robert Parker) - 2:32
12.Rescue Me (C Smith, R Miner) - 2:32

The Silence
The A40 Anthems
13. Leaving Here (Holland, Dozier, Holland) - 3:04
14. Shame, Shame, Shame (Jimmy Reed) - 2:36
15. See You Tomorrow (Paul Jeffery) - 3:50
16. You Can't Judge A Book By Looking At The Cover (Willie Dixon) - 3:44
17. Gunshot (instrumental) (Tomsco) - 2:00
18. Doctor Feelgood (Smith) - 2:40
19.1 Think Of You (Peter Lee Stirling) - 2:35
20. Let It Rock (Chuck Berry) - 2:30

The B4233 Blues
21. I'm Not Talkin’ (H. Young) - 2:35
23. The Fortune Teller (N Neville) - 2:40
24. Don't Start Me To Talking (Sonny Boy Williamson) - 2:09
25. Farmer John (Don Harris, Dewey Terry) - 2:23
26. Route 66 (Bobby Troup) - 2:30
27. We'll Silence You (Robert Fisher) - 5:15

Doc Thomas Group
*Stan Tippins - Vocals
*Mick Ralphs - Guitar
*Pete Watts - Bass
*Terry Allen - Organ
*Dale Griffin - Drums

The Silence
*Overend Watts - Loudest Guitar, Vocals
*Patrick Brooke - Lead Vocals, Harp
*Paul Jeffery - Rhythm Guitar, Vocals
*Robert Fisher - Bass Guitar, Vocals
*Dale Griffin - Drums, Backing Vocals

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Marios said...