VARIOUS; 20 Original Mod Classics (Spectrum)

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There are lots and lots of compilations like this one and sadly most are put together by people who weren’t around in the 60s so they’re never absolutely spot on. The whole 60s mod phenomenon was complex and varied and manifested itself in different ways in different parts of the country, but what gave it unity was a passion for a certain kind of music – specifically American soul and jazz and the more obscure the better. Thus Motown was a mod must… in the early sixties little Motown music was ever released over here – ditto Chess and the music of Memphis, while Curtis Mayfield (both with the Impressions and others he worked with – like Major Lance and the Fascinations) was a huge hero. To its credit this 20 tracker offers some great Motown memories. Stuff like Marvin Gaye’s ‘Can I Get A Witness’ and the Marvelettes’ ‘I’ll Keep Holding On’ were mod soul club staples. Similarly the inclusion of the Impressions’ still magnificent ‘Meeting Over Yonder’, Billy Stewart’s dynamic ‘Secret Love’ and James Brown’s ‘Night Train ‘ are bob on too. But as an authentic 60s mod (I have the pix to prove it!) I can say with absolute certainty that genuine urban modernists never got off on the likes of the Small Faces, The Eyes, Rod Stewart or David Bowie (all included here). Those artists – good as they are/were – high jacked the whole mod thing for their own ends then having made it, moved on to genres new. Real mods never forsook the cause. For my money there’s too many UK 60s artists on this collection. Dusty Springfield – yes… but Alex Harvey with ‘Agent OO Soul’? Why not use the original (and much better) Edwin Starr original? The sleeve notes are poor too. To give one small example the writer Paolo Hewitt when describing ‘Fortune Teller’ by Tony Jackson talks about him   being a musician before becoming a golfer! Surely he’s not confusing him with Tony Jacklin… or am I just missing the irony? And if Paolo really knew his stuff shouldn’t he have mentioned that Jackson had been the lead singer in the Searchers? This, of course, takes me back to where I came in and the point about the “being there”. Yes I am a fully paid up member of the grumpy old men’s club and maybe I’m quibbling too much, but great music (and lots and lots here by the way) deserves decent treatment.

(BB) 3/5