Saturday, June 19, 2010

The Paramounts - Abbey Road Decade 1963-1970

For about 15 years, the excellent Edsel Records compilation Whiter Shades of R&B was seemingly the definitive Paramounts anthology, collecting as it did all 12 sides from their six singles, a French EP track, and three previously unissued cuts. It was supplanted, however, by this 28-track anthology in 1998, which includes all 16 songs from the Edsel album and more.

The most noteworthy additions are six more unissued mid-'60s tracks, five of which are more of the kind of R&B/rock/soul covers that occupied most of their repertoire, while the other is a stringless version of one of their singles, "Blue Ribbons." Those five other outtakes are about as good as their previously officially issued tracks, but point up the chief drawback that kept the Paramounts from making a commercial or artistic impact: an absence of original songs, though they were an above average group at interpreting American material. That difficulty would be solved with striking speed and creativity when the Paramounts evolved into Procol Harum, but you don't hear much of what's to come here, other than in Gary Brooker's soulful vocals and their adventurous stab at Charles Mingus' "Freedom." Closing the CD are six more previously unreleased tracks that, alas, aren't actually the Paramounts; instead they're from a 1970 Procol Harum session of oldies covers the group did for kicks, with a lineup similar to the Paramounts days (although Chris Copping and not Diz Derrick is on bass). Like many such sessions, they fall into the category of something that was probably fun for the bandmembers to get out of their system, but not all that exciting to listen to, though it's done with workmanlike enthusiasm. In any case, all six of the tracks, and seven others from the same session, were soon issued on the CD Ain't Nothin' to Get Excited About, where they were credited to the group pseudonym Liquorice John Death.

1. The Paramounts - Poison Ivy (2:08)

2. The Paramounts - I Feel Good All Over (2:11)

3. The Paramounts - Bad Blood (2:04)

4. The Paramounts - Chills And Fever (2:22)

5. The Paramounts - Little Bitty Pretty One (2:15)

6. The Paramounts - A Certain Girl (2:12)

7. The Paramounts - Stupidity (2:02)

8. The Paramounts - It Won't Be Long (2:03)

9. The Paramounts - Pride And Joy (2:15)

10. The Paramounts - Do I (2:04)

11. The Paramounts - I'm The One Who Loves You (2:09)

12. The Paramounts - Hey Little Girl (2:10)

13. The Paramounts - You've Got What I Want (1:57)

14. The Paramounts - Turn On Your Lovelight (2:22)

15. The Paramounts - Blue Ribbons (early mix - no strings) (2:23)

16. The Paramounts - Blue Ribbons (2:25)

17. The Paramounts - Cuttin' In (2:44)

18. The Paramounts - Baby I'm Yours (2:23)

19. The Paramounts - Don't Ya Like My Love (2:16)

20. The Paramounts - Draw Me Closer (1:57)

21. The Paramounts - You Never Had It So Good (2:53)

22. The Paramounts - Freedom (3:26)

23. The Paramounts - Kansas City (1970 session) (3:44)

24. The Paramounts - Breathless (1970 session) (3:04)

25. The Paramounts - Brand New Cadillac (1970 session) (1:40)

26. The Paramounts - Matchbox (1970 session) (2:33)

27. 27-Shopping For Clothes (1970 session)

28. 28-The Girl Can't Help It (1970 session)
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