1966 was a watershed year in music and the UK was at the
forefront of this. LPs were gaining in importance, rock was
starting to emerge and innovation and experimentation was
everywhere. Heading this were the Beatles and, although
not included on this compilation, their influence is clearly
evident, not least in the two covers of tracks from Revolver.
This new 3CD compilation provides a mix of well-known artists, relative
unknowns and some who would become household names in later years.
The Action and the Creation are represented by, arguably, their
strongest and best-known tracks. Making Time has been high profile in
recent years as it has been used as the theme tune for BBC's Great Pottery
Throwdown. Not only does it have a stand-out riff but it highlights Eddie
Phillips' innovative use of a violin bow on a guitar, ahead of Jimmy Page. The
Creation are also represented with Painter Man, later covered by
Boney M! This
also features the bowed guitar. The Yardbirds are represented by Shapes of
Things with its amazing Jeff Beck solo and superb Jim McCarty drums. A later track is
Stroll On which is one
of the three songs that featured both Beck and Jimmy Page on guitar. The band
were not given permission to use Train Kept a Rollin' in the film Blow Up so a
hasty lyric rewrite produced this classic.
Alongside the Yardbirds other bands evolved from the British R&B explosion of
the mid-60s. The moved with the times and with varying degrees of success. The
Pretty Things covered a Kinks song on their Emotions album. Even though the band
disowned the production forced on them by the record company, A House in the
Country does stand up well. However, the band's My Time shows just
how good Emotions could have been without the embellishments forced on
the track. The Animals' Outcast is one the the groups final
tracks before splitting although Eric Burdon would return with the New Animals
and a much more "Hippie" sound.
Artists destined to find mega success in later years were already producing
music at this stage. David Bowie had been in several bands and took a few years
to make a breakthrough. Marc Bolan had a
more folky feel with Hippy Gumbo before joining a later incarnation of John's
Children (post The Love I Though I'd Found). Tyrannosaurus Rex then released
several folky albums before mega 70s success. The John's Children track
included here was called Smashed Blocked but the name was title was
changed so as not to upset the censors with drug references. Rod Stewart (Rod the Mod) was
singing soul and R&B with The Steam Packet and Long John Baldry's Hoochie Cooche Men
and released some singles under his own name before joining the Jeff Beck Group.
The Spectres' Hurdy Gurdy Man was an original composition by bassist Alan
Lancaster and should not be confused with the Donovan song. The Spectres would,
of course, find later fame as Status Quo. The In Crowd recorded a theme tune for
the swinging London film Blow Up although it was not featured and director opted
for the Yardbirds. However, they changed their name to Tomorrow and had a brief
flirtation with 1968 psychedelia and vocalist Keith West had a massive hit with
Excerpt from a Teenage Opera. Guitarist Steve Howe would later ply his trade
with Yes. The Move's closing track is one of their best.
Disturbance was the b-side of debut single Night of Fear and
highlights great vocal interplay between Carl Wayne and Roy Wood.
Although many groups were writing original material there was still ample
space for cover versions with some interesting inclusions here. From the
Beatles' latest album there are pretty decent versions of Tomorrow Never
Knows by the Mirage and Tax Man (note the space) from Loose
Ends. The Score's attempt at a much earlier Beatles track is
also worthy of note. I'm Not Your Steppin; Stone was the Flies'
version of a Paul Revere & the Raiders track but the Monkees'
version edges it. Another Paul Revere & the Raiders track is a Mann/Weil
song Kicks brought here by The Wheels. Even the songwriters at the
Brill Building were brining in drug references by 1966. Amongst the other cover
versions one of particular note is Al Stewart's Turn Into Earth.
Although Stewart made his name more in the folk genre, he tackles a track from
the the recent Yardbirds LP generally referred to as Roger the
A theme that emerges across several tracks is that of the danger of nuclear
war. CND and anti-war protests were at their height and this was reflected in
the contemporary music. The Uglys' Quiet Explosion features Steve
Gibbons while the following track Thirteen Women takes a rather different
approach to what might happen after a nuclear explosion.
This is an excellent compilation and virtually a British answer to Nuggets.
There is an excellent mix of tracks from those that are well-known, artists that
would later become well-established and "unknowns" who surely deserve a much
CD Release: 31 January 2020
- Making Time
- Shapes of Things