It’s a fact. Old mods never die. They grow old gracefully and thankfully plenty of record labels serve them with new mod music and, more importantly maybe, with plenty of reissues of classic material from their hey days! Universal/Motown has done sterling work; so too has UK label Ace via their Kent imprint and there are plenty of indie labels serving up classic mod and soul in that new fangled 7″ vinyl format. Right now, though, mod brand leader seems to be ACID JAZZ records. Founded in 1987 by Eddie Piller and Gilles Peterson (both second generation mods, though Piller’s mum did run the Small Faces fan club in the 60s!), the label, of course, has issued plenty of cutting edge new music of its own…D’ Influence, Jamiroquai and The Brand New Heavies anybody? However, of late Piller and his people (Peterson is lon gone) have focused plenty of time and attention on reissuing classic mod music. You may well know Piller’s collaborative soul compilations with actor Martin Freeman (a self-confessed soulie and mod) but maybe you don’t know that the Acid Jazz catalogue has a whole section devoted to mod music…. here are some highlights to get you started!
The Small Faces were often touted as the classic mod band, but before the Faces, singer STEVE MARRIOTT fronted a band called The Moments and Acid Jazz offer a 4 track 7″ EP of Moments music on which you can hear Marriott seeking a signature sound via things like a cover of the Kinks’ ‘You Really Got Me’ and an odd version of Stephen Sondheim’s’ ‘You’ll Never Get Away From Me’ (from the musical ‘Gypsy). To hear another icon searching for “his sound” try the RIOT SQUAD’S Acid Jazz EP. For just 12 weeks a certain DAVID BOWIE (then David Jones) was a band member. They cut four songs, amongst them a cover of Lou Reed’s ‘I’m Waiting For My Man’ and an S&M “oddity”, ‘Toy Soldier’. All four are on the EP.
60s soul/mod collectors will know the FLEUR DE LYS chiefly as Sharon Tandy’s backing band. Hear them in their own right on ‘The Two Sides of the Fleur De Lys’ … four previously unreleased tracks. Maybe offering more interest for the soul crowd is ‘Hitsville London’. An EP with four tracks produced by Graham Dee. They include the backing track of DONNIE ELBERT’S version of ‘This Old Heart Of Mine’ and a lovely ‘Silent’ from ex US serviceman JAMES PATTERSON who cut the track whilst serving in the UK in 1967. There’s also ‘We Got Good Lovin” from THE FANTASTICS who soul veterans will know came to the UK in the 60s to masquerade in clubs as the “Fabulous” Temptations!
On CD now, Acid Jazz also offers a string of ‘Rare Mod’ compilations all offering a cross section of 60s music…. blues bands, soul groups and assorted wannabees with their own originals and idiosyncratic covers of soul standards. There were 6 of these compilations at the last count…. find out more @ www.acidjazz.co.uk