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RPM Promises To “Keep Lookin'” On New Box Set Of British Mod, Soul and Freakbeat Nuggets

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Keep Lookin BoxLast fall, Cherry Red’s RPM Records label offered Looking Good, a 3-CD, 75-song box set dedicated to “femme mod-soul nuggets.”  That collection itself followed Looking Back: 80 Mod, Freakbeat and Swinging London Nuggets, and now, a third entry in the series has arrived.  Keep Lookin’ presents, as its subtitle states, 80 More Mod, Soul and Freakbeat Nuggets.  The format, style and emphasis are the same, but the collection offers a diverse array of sixties hidden gems – in its own words, “from blue-eyed soul stompers to British R&B nuggets, wigged-out freakbeat anthems and sought-after Swinging London rarities.”

This box, largely but not exclusively, explores the impact that American soul and R&B had on the British rockers of the mid- to late sixties.  Some of the names from both sides of the Atlantic are familiar – The Spencer Davis Group, John Lee Hooker, Eartha Kitt among them – but the majority of these bands’ names will be major discoveries to all but the most dedicated record collectors.  However, the personnel on Keep Lookin’ features quite a few A-listers such as Jimmy Page, Marc Bolan, Steve Howe, Bon Scott and the future “God of Hellfire” himself, Arthur Brown. Tracks have been derived from Britain, Canada, Australia and New Zealand, from labels big and small including Decca, President, Spark, Columbia, Parlophone, Planet and Rainbow.

The three discs, each housed in an individual paper sleeve within the compact and sturdy box, are arranged thematically.  The box begins with the more “pure” beat/R&B songs before moving to soul and femme pop (in the style of the tracks on Looking Good) and concluding on the third disc with the “heaviest” sounds of the Swinging London scene.  Many of the songs are covers rendered in a new style.  Before he was AC/DC’s drummer, Bon Scott played with Aussie band The Spektors; they’re heard on a rare 1966 take of Van Morrison’s Them garage-rocker “Gloria.”  Keith West’s formative incarnation of The In Crowd, Four + One, offers a Rolling Stones-esque performance of Chuck Berry’s “Don’t Lie to Me.”  London’s The HI-Fi’s tackled Smokey Robinson and the Miracles’ “Mickey’s Monkey,” and The Rockin’ Vickers – fronted by the young Lemmy in his pre-Motorhead days – is heard with Ray Davies’ “Dandy,” a hit for Herman’s Hermits.  Other cover highlights: Australian band Willpower’s overhaul of the Stax classic “Soul Finger,” Sands’ revival of Ike and Tina Turner’s Phil Spector-produced “River Deep, Mountain High” and heavy versions of The Rascals’ “Love is a Beautiful Thing” and Fontella Bass’ “Rescue Me” from The Alan Bown! and The Mike Stuart Span, respectively.  The box’s one previously unreleased track is a goodie from the vaults of Who producer Shel Talmy’s Planet label: The Tribe’s version of Jerry Riopelle’s “My Heart Won’t Believe It,” a song originally produced by Jack Nitzsche on Capitol for Los Angeles’ The Vulcanes.

We’ve got a lot more on this mod set after the jump!

Veteran Liverpudlian soul man and George Harrison pal, the late Jackie Lomax, appears with The Lomax Alliance’s 1968 “You’d Better Get Going Now,” unheard until 2010.  Pre-Tyrannosaurus Rex Marc Bolan’s 1967 song “Go Go Girl,” from John’s Children, also gets an airing.  (The band’s complete output was recently anthologized by Cherry Red’s Grapefruit label in 2013 on the 2-CD set A Strange Affair.)  American blues great John Lee Hooker released one 45 on Talmy’s Planet Records; from that 45, Keep Lookin’ extracts the B-side, “Don’t Be Messing Around with My Bread.”  The Jimi Hendrix Experience’s Noel Redding formed the band Fat Mattress in late 1968; their recording of “All Night Drinker” here opened their debut record.  Like Jimmy Page, Big Jim Sullivan was a first-call session guitarist around London.  He went solo in 1967 with the album Sitar Beat cashing in on the public taste for Eastern-inspired music, from which “Translove Airways (Fat Angel)” is derived.

The name of Broadway star and television Catwoman Eartha Kitt may be the most unexpected here; her 1970 recording of “The Way You Are” is a cult favorite from the same LP that produced her rather memorable rendition of Donovan’s eerie “Hurdy Gurdy Man.”  Also on the femme-soul front, this set offers tracks from artists like Marilyn Powell, the first ever female artist to cover a Beatles song, and Billie Davis, best remembered for her recording of Bert Berns’ Exciters hit “Tell Him.”

There’s something for everybody on this packed collection of rock, pop, soul, R&B and groovy psychedelia.  Keep Lookin’ includes a generously detailed 36-page color booklet which is loaded with memorabilia scans and track-by-track liner notes shedding light on many of these unknown artists.  John Reed has compiled the set, which has been handsomely designed by Andy Morten and remastered by Simon Murphy at Another Planet Music.  This eclectic and electric box set is available now from RPM and can be ordered at the links below!  (It arrives on July 15 stateside!)

Various Artists, Keep Lookin’: 80 More Mod, Soul and Freakbeat Nuggets (RPM BX 523, 2014) (Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K. )

CD 1

  1. The Artwoods – Keep Lookin’ (Decca LK 4830, 1966)
  2. The In Crowd – Finger Poppin’ (rec. 1966, issued RPM 140, 1994)
  3. Laurel Aitken – Voodoo Woman (Rainbow RAI 106, 1966)
  4. The Spektors – Gloria (rec. 1966, issued See for Miles SEACD6, 1992)
  5. John Lee Hooker – Don’t Be Messing Around with My Bread (Planet PLF 114, 1966)
  6. The Tribe – I’m Leaving (Planet PLF 108, 1966)
  7. The Others – Smokestack Lightning (rec. 1964, issued Rev-Ola CRREV 176, 2006)
  8. Ray Columbus and the Invaders – Yo Yo (Zodiac AZ 1010, 1964)
  9. The Rogers – Blue Feeling (President PT 102, 1966)
  10. Billie Davis and the LeRoys – What’cha Gonna Do (Columbia DB 7346, 1964)
  11. The Gnomes of Zurich – I’m Coming Down with the Blues (Planet PLF 121, 1966)
  12. Four + One – Don’t Lie to Me (Parlophone R 5221, 1965)
  13. The Hi-Fi’s – Mickey’s Monkey (Star Club 158 035 STY, 1967)
  14. Ray Hoff and the Offbeats – Lookin’ for My Pigs (Clarion MCK-1520, 1966)
  15. The Talismen – Casting My Spell (Stateside SS 408, 1965)
  16. The Arthur Brown Set – The Green Ball (Atco SD 33-205, 1967)
  17. The Gremlins – High Time Baby (rec. 1966, issued Wooden Hill WHCD 007, 1999)
  18. Gene Latter and the Detours – My Life Ain’t Easy (Spark SRL 1015, 1968)
  19. The Untamed – Gimme, Gimme Some Shade (Planet PLF 103, 1965)
  20. The Ministry of Sound – Hey Girl (No Need to Push) (rec. c. 1966, issued RPM D 297, 2005)
  21. Four Fours – Go Go (Zodiac Z45/1259, 1966)
  22. The Thoughts – Memory of Your Love (Planet PLF 118, 1966)
  23. The Jeeps – I Put On My Shoes (Strike JH 315, 1966)
  24. The Birds – Magic Words (Clarion MCK 3542, 1970)
  25. A Wild Uncertainty – A Man with Money (Planet PLF 120, 1966)
  26. National Pinion Pole – Make Your Mark Little Man (Planet PLF 111, 1966)
  27. The Rockin’ Vickers – Dandy (CBS 202241, 1966)

CD 2

  1. The Mood-Mosaic – A Touch of Velvet, A Sting of Brass (Columbia DB 7801, 1966)
  2. Jimmy Thomas – Springtime (Spark SRL 1035, 1969)
  3. The Valentines – I Can’t Dance with You (Clarion MCK 1773, 1967)
  4. The Spencer Davis Group – Taking Out Time (United Artists LP [S]ULP 1166, 1968)
  5. The Artwoods – I’m Looking for a Saxophonist Doubling French Horn Wearing Size 27 Boots (Decca F 12384, 1966)
  6. The Lomax Alliance – You’d Better Get Going Now (rec. c. 1968, issued RPM RETRO869, 2010)
  7. Soul Purpose – Boogaloo Down Broadway (Clarion MCK 2763, 1969)
  8. The Tribe – My Heart Won’t Believe It (rec. c. 1965, previously unreleased)
  9. Tuesday’s Children – Summer Leaves Me with a Sigh (Columbia DB 8018, 1966)
  10. Ray Columbus – We Want a Beat (Impact IR 1001, 1966)
  11. Lindsay Muir’s Untamed – Trust Yourself a Little Bit (Planet PLF 113, 1966)
  12. The Kompany – Tell Her No (Clarion MCK 1679, 1967)
  13. The In Crowd – You’re On Your Own (Parlophone R 5328, 1965)
  14. The Troubled Mind – I’m Good for You (Festival FNZK 23, 1969)
  15. Laurel Aitken with the Carols – Rainbow RAI 111, 1967
  16. Willpower – Soul Finger (Clarion MCK 3433, 1969)
  17. Liz Christian – Call My Name (Spark SRL 1004, 1968)
  18. Jacki Bond – Don’t You Worry (Strike JH 302, 1966)
  19. Perpetual Langley – Surrender (Planet PLF 115, 1966)
  20. Eartha Kitt – The Way You Are (Spark LP SRLP 105, 1970)
  21. Val McKenna – Sweet, Sweet Lovin’ (Spark SRL 1023, 1969)
  22. Marilyn Powell – Something to Hold On To (CBS 2331, 1968)
  23. Kris Ife – Give and Take (Music Factory CUB 3, 1968)
  24. Sheridan – Lightning Never Strikes (Gemini GMS 009, 1970)
  25. Sands – River Deep, Mountain High (rec. c. 1967, first issued Rev-Ola CD CRREV 176, 2006)
  26. John’s Children – Go Go Girl (Track 604010, 1967)
  27. The Heavyweights – Utterly Funky (Spark SRL 1033, 1969)

CD 3

  1. The Underground Set – Arcipelago [sic] (Pantonic LP PAN 6302, 1970)
  2. Gene Latter – Holding a Dream (Spark SRL 1031, 1968)
  3. John Fitch and Associates – Stoned Out of It (Beacon BEA 117, 1969)
  4. The Valentines – Sookie Sookie (rec. c. 1967, issued Clarion LP CLR 501, 1988)
  5. Alexander Stone – Man in a Suitcase (Vocal Version) (Gemini GMS 063, 1970)
  6. Icarus – You’re in Life (Spark SRL 1012, 1968)
  7. Dee and the Quotum – Someday You’ll Need Someone (Jay Boy BOY 8, 1969)
  8. Rhubarb Rhubarb – Moneylender (President PT 229, 1968)
  9. The Heavyweights – Shambala (Spark SRL 1033, 1969)
  10. Chords Five – Some People (Jay Boy BOY 6, 1969)
  11. Katch 22 – Major Catastrophe (Fontana TF 768, 1966)
  12. Coconut Mushroom – Run Run Run (rec. c. 1968, issued RPM CD RETRO920, 2013)
  13. The League – Hey Conductor (President PT 167, 1967)
  14. Andy Ellison – Cornflake Zoo (SNB 55-3508, 1968)
  15. The Sceptres – Something’s Coming Along (Spark SRL 1006, 1968)
  16. Lyons and Malone – She’s Alright (Jay Boy BOY 9, 1969)
  17. Big Jim Sullivan – Translove Airways (Fat Angel) (Mercury LP SR 61137, 1967)
  18. Joker – Rip Van Winkle (rec. c. 1968, issued RPM CD RETRO920, 2013)
  19. The Exception – Don’t Torture Your Mind (President PT 271, 1969)
  20. The Alan Bown! – Love is a Beautiful Thing (Music Factory LP CUBLM/CUBLS 1, 1968)
  21. The Sorrows – Rollin’ Over (Miura LP MIULP 10011, 1968)
  22. Mike Stuart Span – Rescue Me (rec. 1967, issued Expansions EP 117 CPAT 1171, 1993)
  23. Fat Mattress – All Night Drinker (Polydor 583 056, 1969)
  24. Canterbury Glass – We’re Going to Beat It (rec. 1968, issued Ork CD ORK 5, 2007)
  25. The Liverpool Scene – Batpoem (RCA Victor SF 7995, 1968)
  26. Arrival – La Virra (Decca LP SKL 5055, 1970)

Written by Joe Marchese

July 8, 2014 at 10:08

Posted in Box Sets, Compilations, News

2 Responses

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  1. The Jackie Lomax and Artwoods alone get me interested in this.

    theEARLofSWIRL

    July 8, 2014 at 14:23

  2. I have “Looking Back” and “Looking Good” from this series, and both are excellent all around.

    This title will be added to my wish list. Thanks for the info!!!

    mackdaddyg

    July 9, 2014 at 08:41


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