Wednesday, February 25, 2009

V.A.- The In Crowd: UK Mod R&B Beat 1964-1967

There's a decent amount of good stuff on this anthology, but it does represent the second to third rung of artists and tracks in this immensely exciting genre. It's something to investigate only after you've digested the Who, the Small Faces, Creation, and the Pretty Things, especially as there are no tracks by any of those groups on this 26-track anthology. And the songs by the biggest names are rather peripheral to their core discographies: The Yardbirds' "Stroll On" is the reworking of "The Train Kept A-Rollin'" that they did for the Blow-Up film, while the Spencer Davis Group's "Keep on Running" is a live radio version, not the original hit single. Getting past these considerations, almost everything here is fair to excellent British R&B-mod, including cuts by some of the better second-division acts on the scene (Brian Auger, Julie Driscoll, the Artwoods, John's Children, the Untamed, the Eyes, Graham Bond) and early recordings by some future superstars like Rod Stewart, Steve Howe (as part of the In Crowd), and David Bowie (as part of the Manish Boys). The Action's blue-eyed soul masterpiece "I'll Keep Holding On," Gary Farr & the T-Bones' R&B cover of Mongo Santamaria's "Get the Money," and Les Fleur Des Lys' "Mud in Your Eye," in fact, are great cuts, and John's Children's "The Love I Thought I'd Found" (also known as "Smashed Blocked") is mod on the verge of dissolving into psychedelia. "It's Alright," by the Rocking Vickers, is an oddity in that it's basically Pete Townshend's "The Kids Are Alright" with different lyrics and song structure (though Townshend still gets the songwriting credit). This is really more of a first purchase for listeners just beginning to investigate obscure mod music than one for the specialists, though, since many people interested in these sounds in the first place will already have many or most of the songs on other reissues. There's an extraordinary bonus, however: An enhanced CD track has a three-minute video clip from a 1964 documentary focusing on the Four + 1 (with future members of the psychedelic band Tomorrow), including a snippet of a live performance of Bo Diddley's "Nursery Rhyme." ~ Richie Unterberger, All Music Guide
1. Blow Up - In Crowd2. Stroll On - Yardbirds3. Shake - Stewart, Rod4. That's How Strong My Love Is - In Crowd5. Hey Hey Hey Hey - Farlowe, Chris & The Thunderbirds6. Keep On Running (live session) - Davis, Spencer Group7. Finger Poppin' - In Crowd8. Don't Lie To Me - Four Plus One9. I Take What I Want - Artwoods10. Get The Money - Farr, Gary & The T-Bones11. I'll Keep On Holding On - Action12. My Baby Is Gone - Untamed13. Take My Tip - Manish Boys14. Man With Money - Wild Uncertainty15. It's Alright - Rockin' Vickers16. I'm Rowed Out - Eyes17. Mud In Your Eye - Les Fleur De Lys18. Love I Thought I'd Found - John's Children19. You're On Your Own - In Crowd20. Can I Get A Witness - Steampacket21. Time Is On My Side - Four Plus One22. It's For You - Rupert & The Red Devils23. Tiger - Auger, Brian & The Trinity24. Don't Do It No More - Driscoll, Julie25. Big Boss Man (live) - Bond, Graham Organisation26. Slow Down (live session) - Episode Six
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