Tuesday, May 5, 2009

The Jackpots - Jack In The Box (1966-68) Sweden

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Review Andy Morten :
The Jackpots' 'Jack In The Box' has been a firm favourite of this reviewer since its appearance on Rubble 15: 10,000 Seconds Over Toyland. Barely two minutes of crystalline 1968 pop-psych featuring an irresistibly hair-raising tune, multi-layered harmonies drenched in backwards reverb and so much damned charm it threatens to dwarf the rest of the compilation. Imagine The Idle Race after a particularly euphoric dose of orange sunshine trying out every gizmo in Abbey Road with a hyperactive George Martin at the controls and you'd be halfway there.Then, some ten years later, a cut entitled 'King Of The World' shows up on the wonderful Fading Yellow comp credited to The Jackpots. It doesn't necessarily sound that much like 'Jack In The Box' and one could easily be forgiven for assuming it was by an unrelated namesake band. However, it's the same act and it soon becomes my favourite cut on a collection overflowing with exceptional tunes. 'King Of The World' is a warmer, maturer piece, which is elevated to classic status by bucket loads of heart-stopping hooks, dreamy fairytale lyrics and a spine-tingling horn solo.I then discover The Jackpots were Swedish and cut two albums in 1967 and '68. A few well-aimed enquiries result in a CDR of their 1968 album Jack In The Box landing on my doorstep the very same day that a friend delivers this CD, also titled Jack In The Box, purchased in Sweden the day before. It's like buses - you wait ages for one and then 24 arrive at once.So naturally it was with high hopes that I approached this collection, the first official Jackpots collection and part of a series of '60s retrospectives from Swedish Universal. I figured I'd be incredibly lucky to be presented with 18 selections bearing all the hallmarks of those two tunes and I was right.The Jackpots were undoubtedly fine singers and musicians (and even managed to look fairly comfortable in assorted paisley Nehru tunics and sculpted blond bouffants) but essentially they dealt in pedestrian harmony pop and predominantly cover versions. Most of this stuff would stand head and shoulders above the rest on a Scandinavian Ripples CD. They turn in respectable versions of The Four Seasons ('Walk Like A Man'), Beach Boys ('The Little Girl I Once Knew') and Ivy League ('Funny How Love Can Be') but these hardly vindicate any listener seeking silky pop-psych revelations.That said, there are of course some moments of interest and a couple of fleeting signs of greatness. These include 'Back To The City' and 'Miss Judith Lee' which should both appeal to fans of bendy late '60s pop and a bouncy 'Shadows And Reflections' plainly cribbed direct from The Action's version. Sadly missing is the edgy, folk-psych hybrid 'Herbane's Sacrifice' from the original Jack In The Box album.Overall, an essential purchase if you don't own 'Jack In The Box' and 'King Of The World' and worthy of investigation for fans of late 60's Euro-pop. - Andy Morten shindig-magazine (thepiratebay.org )
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1. Walk Like A Man 2. Younger Girl 3. Back To The City 4. Funny How Love Can Be 5. Tossing And Turning 6. Jack In The Box 7. Tiny Goddess 8. When I Whisper Your Name 9. I Hear Trumpets Blow 10. Lincoln City 11. Power Of Love 12. See You In September 13. You'll Never Get The Chance Again 14. Miss Judith Lee 15. Will You Love Me Tomorrow 16. Little Girl I Once Knew 17. King Of The World 18. Shadows And Reflections
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