Cherry Red label Grapefruit is starting to develop a strong
reputation for interesting 1960s compilations. Alongside the
well-known artists and tracks it is illuminating to explore the
lesser-known and even obscure artists. Life changed in 1965-1966
and this compilation highlights this change beautifully. British
music was entering a boom phase. There was less reliance on US
artists or US songs and, led by the Beatles, bands were forming
and writing their own material. Also, songwriters like Graham Gouldman were emerging. The golden age of British music was
Amongst the better-known artists are the Pretty Things with the superb
Midnight to Six Man and the lesser-known track Get a Buzz. The Pretty Things
were a superb R&B group who evolved as the decade progressed, producing the
concept LP SF Sorrow a few years later. The Small Faces' debut single
Gonna Do About It is represented by an alternative version, possibly a demo
version of the track, with great guitar feedback. Lulu & the Luvvers provide a
bouncy number, much in the style of Shout, with Surprise Surprise. The
are still with Eric Clapton with a live version of the early single I Wish You
Would as well as a later track, Graham Gouldman's Evil Hearted You
featuring Jeff Beck on lead guitar. The Hollies
contribute a couple of tracks while Newcastle's Animals are present with the
superb It's My Life.
There are also artists that will make their mark later on. The Birds include
future Creation, Jeff Beck Group, Quiet Melon, Faces and
Rolling Stones guitarist Ronnie
Wood. While the group is possibly better-known for an ill-advised publicity
stunt trying to sue the American Byrds on their arrival in the UK, they were a
great group and are worth checking out. Rod Stewart's track was a b-side and
shows how good he was in those days. He was also a member of Steampacket with
Brian Auger who appears later. The Trinity would hit the big time with their
cover of Bob Dylan's Wheels on Fire with vocals by Julie Driscoll. Elton John,
or Reg Dwight as he was still known, makes his debut with Bluesology.
Dwight wrote this track.
Vashti Bunyan has an amazing voice and would later record the
wonderful track Just Another Diamond Day. She tends more towards the
"folk" side and would become a contemporary of the Incredible String Band. The
Mark Four released four singles before they evolved into the Creation.
The Action remain very popular today and their debut single Land of
1,000 Dances shows just how good they were. Unfortunately their powerful
live act never translated into hit singles.
An interesting track is Jimmy Page's solo single She Just Satisfies.
At the time he was an in-demand session musician and would join the Yardbirds
the following year. He plays all the instruments except drums on this track, I
believe. The Fleurs de Lys' Wait For Me also has a Jimmy Page
connection. This track was destined to be the band's first single with Jimmy
Page producing. However, they were told to record Buddy Holly's Moondreams.
Wait for Me did appear on the b-side but this was an instrumental
credited to Page as writer and not the track included here. The band were none
too happy about this but at least the Fleurs De Lys Wait For Me is
The Downliners Sect were a R&B band quite like any other. Leader of
the Sect parodies the Shangri-Las while other tracks such as I
Want My Baby Back explore the "sicker" side of Leader of the Pack. In
fact they even released a record called The Sect Sing Sick Songs!
This compilation is highly recommended as it shows a clear transition from
the sounds of the early 1960s to the innovation of the later part of the decade.
Alongside the well-known tracks there are some great rarities here with groups
and tracks that deserve a wider audience.
Original release: 12 November 2021
- Rod Stewart - Why Does It Go On
- Dave Berry - This Strange Effect
- The Action - Land of 1,000 Dances