Ace/Kent’s latest compilation is called ‘Modernism’; and the clue to the 24 track content is in that title. All the tunes represent the kind of black American music that would have been popular in the mod clubs of the UK but the complex and confusing sleeve notes don’t state clearly whether we’re talking about the original mod clubs or the those that sprang up to serve the frequent (and luke warm) revivals of modernism.
If we’re talking about the mid 60s then the “would” in our introduction is crucial. Back then, believe me, imports were few and far between and the contribution of UK-based US service men and Liverpool-based sea men (“The Cunard Yanks”) is often exaggerated. Musically, the original mods had to get by with whatever soul the UK labels licensed so in this collection there’s only one cut (I think) that would have been commercially available in the UK in the 60s and that’s Chuck Jackson’s ‘Beg Me’. The Wand recording was issued here by Pye International and indeed was a mod fave (Doris Troy on BVs, by the way). The remaining cuts here, all 60s recordings, remained in the States – sadly the first wave of mods never got to enjoy ’em.
Well, proper mods never lost their passion for proper soul so now they can enjoy stuff like The Shirelles’ ‘Crossroads In Your Heartt’, Lou Johnson’s ‘Magic Potion'(I remember Liverpool beat group, the Searchers featuring this in their live shows), Bob and Earl’s ‘Dancing Everywhere’ and much more and in doing so invoke happy, happy, mohair-suited, button-downed memories.