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Wednesday, August 22, 2012

The Poets - Wooden Spoon / The Singles Anthology (1964-67 uk, fabulous mod freakbeat, 2011 release)

A five piece, R&B band from Glasgow, they adopted their clothes image of high-necked jackets and ruffled fronted shirts (see pic above. Can't recall who sent us this shot but thanks and we'll namecheck you if we find it in the e-mail attachment archieve eventually) from a portrait of the eighteenth century Scots poet Rabbie Burns. Hence, also, the name. 

Mean, moody and utterly magnificent, in 1964 the Poets were the best thing to come out of Scotland since Denis Law. Managed and produced by Rolling Stones svengali Andrew Loog Oldham, the group released a quintet of classic singles - including the minor hit 'Now We're Thru"- that encompassed Zombies-esque minor chord melancholia and aggressive mod R&B/pop with equal aplomb.

The group fragmented in early 1966 after the departure of lead singer and chief songwriter George Gallacher, but a revised lineup bounced back in fine style the following year with 'Wooden Spoon' b/w 'In Your Tower', now widely acknowledged as a seminal British freakbeat/psychedelic record. This first-ever official Poets anthology features the group's entire released output during their 1964-67 glory days.

1. Now We're Thru'(Gallacher, Paton, Myles) - 2:20
2. There Are Some (Gallacher, Paton, Myles) - 2:14
3. That's The Way It's Got To Be (Gallacher, Paton, Myles) - 2:35
4. I'll Cry With The Moon (Gallacher, Paton, Myles) - 2:53
5. I Am So Blue (Gallacher, Paton, Myles) - 2:42
6. I Love Her Still (Gallacher, Paton, Myles) - 1:45
7. Call Again (Paton, Gallacher) - 2:24
8. Some Things I Can't Forget (Paton, Gallacher) - 1:51
9. Baby Don't You Do It (Holland, Dozier) - 2:28
10.I'll Come Home (Gallacher, Paton) - 2:07
11.Wooden Spoon (Moeller, Woolfson) - 2:29
12.In Your Tower (Mulvey, Watson) - 2:30

The Poets
*George Gallacher - Vocals
*Hume Paton - Lead Guitar
*Tony Myles - Rhythm Guitar
*John Dawson - Bass Guitar
*Alan Weir - Drums
*Hughie Nicholson - Guitar, Keyboards, Vocals
*Fraser Watson - Guitar
*Jim Breakey - Drums

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Various Artists - The Mod Scene (1962-68 uk, superb mod freakbeat)

This 25-song CD is much more than just an excursion into the farther reaches of English Decca Records' vaults -- it's also a de facto tour of the playlists of some of England's hottest mod clubs of the mid-/late '60s; hardly a sound on this collection ever made it anywhere near a chart listing, anywhere in the U.K. (much less the U.S.A.), but a lot of what is here did get picked up locally in London among the mods that made up the audiences of most of these bands. 

Considering how badly England's Decca Records fared in the middle-late 1960's (apart from the Rolling Stones, the Small Faces, and the Moody Blues) in signing really solid acts, this is an astonishingly good collection of soul-influenced, mod-oriented singles from the company's vaults. A few of the acts included, such as the Small Faces, Tom Jones, St. Louis Union, Chris Farlowe, and the Amen Corner, made some kind of splash on the charts, but most of the musicians here got their chance on these single sides, failed to find success, and disappeared into the mist of musical history. 

The CD jumps headfirst into the kind of hard-rocking, intense soul numbers that were played to death in London' mod clubs, even if they never scraped even the lower reaches of the charts. The sound on these singles tells you right away why most of these groups were never going to make it as world-class recording acts, being too raw and direct -- without the distinctive hooks to get more than a listen from any radio deejays. By themselves, the Ronnie Jones track, coupled with those by Tom Jones, Steve Aldo, Graham Gouldman, Poets, the Eyes of Blue, and the Quik, justify the cost of this $20 import. 

The sound is excellent throughout, and it's also reassuring on some level to learn from the notes that Decca is digging so deeply into its vaults that these acts are nearly as obscure to the people producing this compilation as they are to us. 
by Bruce Eder

Artists - Tracks
1. The Quik - Bert's Apple Crumble - 2:14
2. Hipster Image - Make Her Mine - 2:19
3. The Poets - That's The Way It's Gotta Be - 2:36
4. The Wards Of Court - How Could You Say One Thing - 1:56
5. Graham Gouldman - Stop! Stop! Stop! - 2:59
6. Pete Kelly's Soulution - If You Love Don't Swing - 2:26
7. Timebox - Girl Don't Let Me Wait - 2:34
8. The Mockingbirds - Lovingly Yours - 2:15
9. Amen Corner - Expressway To Your Heart - 2:42
10.The Attack - We Don't Know - 2:41
11.Chris Farlowe - Air Travel - 2:12
12.The Graham Bond Organisation - Little Girl - 2:40
13.The Outer Limits - Just One More Chance - 3:03
14.Ronnie Jones With The Nightimers - I Need Your Loving - 2:46
15.Small Faces - Grow Your Own - 2:19
16.Zoot Money - Walking The Dog - 2:27
17.Steve Aldo - Baby What You Want Me To Do - 3:46
18.Tom Jones - Dr. Love - 1:53
19.Jimmy Winston And His Reflections - It's Not What You Do - 3:01
20.The Habits - Elbow Baby - 2:35
21.The Score - Beg Me - 2:46
22.The Loose Ends - That's It - 2:11
23.St. Louis Union - East Side Story - 2:25
24.Paul And Barry Ryan - There You Go - 2:14
25.Eyes Of Blue - Supermarket Full Of Cans - 2:41

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