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Monday, June 27, 2022

Cream of The Crate: Album Review # 143 – Various Artists: The British Pop Collection

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cream of the crate: album review # 143 – various artists: the british pop collection

 

  This review was originally posted on the first Toorak Times web site where publications ceased on that site in March 2017. The old site will be permanently closed in 2020 and these reviews are being re-published in order to preserve them on the current Toorak Times/Tagg site.

 

 

"An eclectic collection of British hits covering from 1959 through to 1969, and, they are all the original tracks.” - [This review]

This is album retro-review number 143 in the series of retro-reviews of both vinyl and Cd albums in my collection.

The series is called
“Cream of The Crate” and each review represents an album that I believe is of significant musical value, either because of it’s rarity, because it represents the best of a style or styles of music or because there is something unique about the group or the music.

The first fifty reviews were vinyl only, and the second fifty reviews were CD’s only. Links to these reviews can be found at the bottom of this page. From review 101 onward I have mixed vinyl and CD albums and, try and present an Australian album every fifth review!

With this retro-review I pull out what might be considered as a rather “chintzy” set of LP’s, featuring sixty artists from Britain – but it isn’t!

The boxed set consists of three albums by sixty British artists.

The set is titled:The British Pop Collection [60 Original Artists 60 original Hits].

The album set is vinyl and this particular release is on the EMI label and it has the identifying code of Rock 4 and was released in 1983.

cream of the crate: album review # 143 – various artists: the british pop collection
LP Label – [CLICK to enlarge]
It consists of 60 tracks by British groups or solo artists or as with a couple of exceptions, groups/artists that had the track as a hit in the UK.

It features a track by each that was in fact considered as a “hit” and the set represents those artists as they recorded between 1959 and 1969, although the majority are from the mid-1960’s onward.

They are spread across 3 LP’s.

In fact at the time I purchased the set my music partner and I had a 4 hour Saturday Night radio program, called Moonrock Cabaret.

I purchased this set to supplement the ever degrading vinyl British albums that I had owned and carried around with me since the 1960’s.

It was a good buy as the set did in fact represent a great sample of British artists and with a few exceptions the tracks chosen were very good representations of the material the artists had recorded.

Now it has a pride of place in my collection because it is vinyl, the set is in very good condition and it is a unique set in its choice of material.

Not only that but they are all the original tracks, no re-releases with less than the original members that many British CD compilations now provide.

The vinyl pressing was for once, quite good, and like many collectors of vinyl I usually tried for US pressings (as they were generally the best – being of denser material) or the next in quality, which were the British pressings.

Third in line were those pressed in Australia – many of which were very lightweight in material density.

Anyway I deviate. This was a joint project by EMI (Australia) and PolyGram and was definitely one of the better vinyl boxed set releases.

The set also comes with a double A4 folded sheet, that provides four sides of information in terms of basic bio material on the artists. It’s nothing spectacular and dotted throughout are some pretty basic pictures of the artists.

All in all the quality of the insert is pretty poor and the best thing I can say about it is, that it is better than nothing.

cream of the crate: album review # 143 – various artists: the british pop collection
Front page of the Insert – [CLICK to enlarge]

 

Tracks:

LP 1.

1.1 Herman’s Hermits – My Sentimental Friend 3:14
1.2 Cilla Black – You’re My World 2:56
1.3 Brian Poole & The Tremeloes – Do You Love Me? 2:20
1.4 Joe Cocker – With a Little Help From My Friends 5:03
1.5 The Hollies – Bus Stop 2:48
1.6 Peter and Gordon – A World Without Love 2:34
1.7 The Ugly’s – Wake Up My Mind 2:42
1.8 The Shadows – The Boys 2:33
1.9 Cliff Richard – Do You Want to Dance? 2:11
1.10 Tom Jones – Green Green Grass of Home 2:58

2.1 Jimi Hendrix – All Along the Watchtower 3:57
2.2 Paul Jones – Sons and Lovers 2:57
2.3 Petula Clark – Downtown 3:05
2.4 Sounds Incorporated – William Tell Overture 2:00
2.5 Billy J. Kramer & The Dakotas – Trains and Boats and Planes 2:27
2.6 The Foundations – Build Me Up Buttercup 2:52
2.7 Wayne Fontana – Pamela Pamela 2:09
2.8 Adam Faith – What Do You Want 1:29
2.9 The Honeycombs – Have I the Right? 2:56
2.10 Peter Sarstedt – Where Do You Go to My Lovely 4:38

LP 2.

3.1 The Rolling Stones – Under the Boardwalk 2:43
3.2 The Casuals – Jesamine 3:39
3.3 Tommy Steele – What a Mouth 2:41
3.4 Sandie Shaw – Always Something There to Remind Me 2:35
3.5 Manfred Mann – Do Wah Diddy Diddy 2:20
3.6 The Walker Brothers – The Sun Ain’t Gonna Shine Anymore 2:58
3.7 Jet Harris & Tony Meehan – Apple Jack 2:05
3.8 The Ivy League – Tossin’ and Turnin’ 2:19
3.9 Heinz – Just Like Eddie 2:36
3.10 Mister Acker Bilk – Stranger on the Shore 3:18

4.1 The Kinks – You Really Got Me 2:10
4.2 Procol Harum – A Whiter Shade of Pale 3:55
4.3 Gerry and The Pacemakers – How Do You Do It 1:48
4.4 Lulu – To Sir With Love 2:42
4.5 Hedgehoppers Anonymous – It’s Good News Week 2:02
4.6 Wayne Fontana & The Mindbenders – A Groovy Kind of Love 1:57
4.7 The Dakotas – The Cruel Sea 2:10
4.8 Cat Stevens – Matthew and Son 2:20
4.9 Dave Berry – Memphis Tennessee 2:23
4.10 The Seekers – The Carnival Is Over 3:05

LP 3.

5.1 The Easybeats – Friday on My Mind 2:40
5.2 Chris Andrews – Yesterday Man 2:29
5.3 Hank Marvin – Sacha 3:12
5.4 Herman’s Hermits – Mrs Brown, You’ve Got a Lovely Daughter 2:43
5.5 Frank Ifield – I Remember You 1:56
5.6 Brendan Bowyer – Hucklebuck 2:23
5.7 Dusty Springfield – You Don’t Have to Say You Love Me 2:45
5.8 Scaffold – Lily the Pink 4:16
5.9 Helen Shapiro – Not Responsible 2:36
5.10 The Zombies – She’s Not There 2:20

6.1 The Animals – The House of the Rising Sun 4:23
6.2 Freddie and the Dreamers – A Windmill in Old Amsterdam 2:06
6.3 Them – Here Comes the Night 2:47
6.4 The Searchers – Needles and Pins 2:08
6.5 The Tornados – Telstar 3:10
6.6 Engelbert Humperdinck – Release Me 3:14
6.7 The Swinging Blue Jeans – The Hippy Hippy Shake 1:40
6.8 Kathy Kirby – Dance On 2:28
6.9 Karl Denver – Wimoweh 2:32
6.10 Donovan – Catch the Wind 2:13

cream of the crate: album review # 143 – various artists: the british pop collection
Box Set Rear Cover: Track Listing – [CLICK to enlarge]

 

Reviewing, or even retro-reviewing, a boxed set like this isn’t easy as most people have a good idea of these artists as they have been around for so long.

So in many ways my comments regarding the very good selection of groups, and generally the material plus the use of the original recordings seem to sum it all up, so let’s just dive head first into LP number 1.

The earliest track on side 1 is track number 9 and is from the eternal Cliff Richard with, Do You want To Dance (1962)

It was quite a popular track when released but was in fact written by an American, Bobby Freeman, who actually had it as a hit in the USA and in Britain earlier, where it reached number 2.

The Cliff Richard version crept into the number 10 position.

The most recent track on this side is track number 4 featuring Joe Cocker with the Lennon McCartney composition, With A Little Help From My Friends (1968).

It was massive for Cocker and kept him in good stead for many years, peaking at number 1 in Britain in its year of release.

But I’m by-passing Cocker for another Lennon McCartney track that was released in 1963 by the Beatles and it really did set the music world on fire.

Released as a single in 1963, it set new records and surpassed several records in the United Kingdom charts, and set a record in the United States as one of the five Beatles songs that held the top five positions in the American charts simultaneously.

She Loves You achieved this on April 4th, 1964. It is their best-selling single and the best selling single of the 1960s in the United Kingdom.

cream of the crate: album review # 143 – various artists: the british pop collection
Beatles – 1963 – [CLICK to enlarge]

 

In November 2004, Rolling Stone ranked “She Loves You” number 64 on their list of the 500 Greatest Songs of All Time.

In August 2009, at the end of its “Beatles Weekend”, BBC Radio 2 announced that “She Loves You” was indeed the Beatles’ all-time best-selling single in the UK based on information compiled by The Official Charts Company.

It wasn’t a brilliant composition by any means, in fact it is very basic in its lyric construction.

However when sung with the fervour that the Beatles sang with, and along with the freshness of their sound, it was a mighty popular track and at the time it simply grabbed an ever growing audience.

What was different about it was, that while it was a love song it didn’t follow the usual formula, that is to say most love songs are written in the first person. This was a narrative composition, where the story is told in such a way that a “third person” is giving help to one of the parties involved.

She loves you, yeah, yeah, yeah
She loves you, yeah, yeah, yeah
She loves you, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah

You think you lost your love
When I saw her yesterday
It’s you she’s thinking of
And she told me what to say
She says she loves you
And you know that can’t be bad
Yes, she loves you
And you know you should be glad

She said you hurt her so
She almost lost her mind
And now she says she knows
You’re not the hurting kind
She says she loves you
And you know that can’t be bad
Yes, she loves you
And you know you should be glad, ooh

She loves you, yeah, yeah, yeah
She loves you, yeah, yeah, yeah
And with a love like that
You know you should be glad

You know it’s up to you
I think it’s only fair
Pride can hurt you too
Apologize to her
Because she loves you
And you know that can’t be bad
Yes, she loves you
And you know you should be glad, ooh

She loves you, yeah, yeah, yeah
She loves you, yeah, yeah, yeah
With a love like that
You know you should be glad
With a love like that
You know you should be glad
With a love like that
You know you should be glad
Yeah, yeah, yeah
Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah

She Loves You

 

There is one more track on this side which does warrant mention. Track 5 by The Hollies with Bus Stop.

In 1966 after the Beatles, the Hollies were the most consistent successful chart band with an amazing 21 consecutive top 10 hits.

At this time the Hollies consisted of Graham Nash on guitar, Allan Clarke on guitar and providing harp (harmonica), Tony Hicks on guitar, Bobby Elliot on drums and a recent addition on bass – Bernie Calvert.

The
song is about a couple who meet one rainy day at a bus stop and, love blooms when they share an umbrella.

In a Manchester newspaper at the time, songwriter Graham Gouldman said that he wrote this whilst riding on the No. 95 bus in Manchester.

Graham Nash looked back at the recording of this song in Rolling Stone magazine. He recalled: “I think ‘Bus Stop‘ has got to be my favorite because we recorded it in an hour and 15 minutes and it was a huge hit.

According to Gouldman, this song’s middle eight was one of the few instances in his songwriting career when he had a sudden inspiration rather than having to resort to hard toil. he went on to say, “I was actually on a bus thinking about how the middle eight should go.

And this whole, ‘Every morning I would see her waiting at the stop / Sometimes she’d shop…’ that all came to me in one gush, and I couldn’t wait to get home to try it. When that sort of thing happens, it’s really amazing. But that’s rare. Mostly, you have to do the slog.”

cream of the crate: album review # 143 – various artists: the british pop collection
The Holies – 1964

 

It reached number 3 in the USA and Britain and number 2 in Australia.

Bus Stop



The second side is a fairly innocuous side with some “nice” tracks such as Downtown by Petula Clark (1964), and even some ‘soul” music courtesy of the Foundations with Build Me Up Buttercup (1968)

It also has some “yawn” music such as by Paul Jones with Sons and Lovers (1967) and Adam Faith with What Do You Want (1969) and a piece of raucous semi-pop music courtesy of Sounds Incorporated with the William Tell Overture (1964).

In the main tracks that really don’t warrant a great deal of attention.

However, it had one massively powerful piece, track number 1, featuring the legendary Jimi Hendrix and All Along The Watchtower.

In 1968 Hendrix released this Dylan track in an arrangement and style that not only blew minds, but blew everyone else off the stage.

There is a great story associated with this track and it goes like this.

Brian Jones (of the Stones) had staggered into London’s Olympic Studios, where Jimi Hendrix was trying to record a new Bob Dylan song, “All Along the Watchtower.”

Though Jones could barely stand upright, he demanded to play on the track.

There had already been many takes and the arrangement was just starting to come together, but Hendrix, ever accommodating to his friends, sat Jones down at a piano.

Jones jumped right in, not letting inebriation limit his enthusiasm, and began producing off-beat clunks and clangs that caused Hendrix to stop the take in frustration after only 23 seconds.

cream of the crate: album review # 143 – various artists: the british pop collection
Jimi Hendrix: 1968 – [CLICK to enlarge]


What would become known as the greatest cover song ever recorded was quickly falling apart.

Eventually Jones was encouraged to leave.

The song was so new that many people in the room had never even heard Dylan’s version. There was no rehearsal either; Hendrix just shouted out the chord changes as they went.

When he was doing his own arrangement, he did it very quietly, without being plugged into an amplifier, so nobody knew what he was doing because only he could hear it.

Following Hendrix’s lead were Dave Mason on 12-string guitar, Jimi Hendrix Experience drummer Mitch Mitchell, and Experience bassist Noel Redding – briefly.

After a row with Hendrix early on, Redding stormed off to the Red Lion pub across the street. “We were having a few problems with the band already, and I said I didn’t like the tune,” Redding said in a BBC documentary years later.

I prefer Dylan’s version.” Or as he put it another time: “I told Hendrix to fuck off.”

Mason eventually took over bass duties for the London session, though Hendrix swapped in his own bass line later.

Jimi not only loved the lyrics but also the chord sequences of ‘All Along The Watchtower,’ and he just lay them down so beautifully over which, he put a most beautiful solo.

It remains even today as one of my many favorite Hendrix tracks.

This version is the most often heard recorded version, but the best version is on the 12″ single that was released without fanfare!

All Along The Watchtower

 

LP number 2 side 1, has an eclectic selection of material. It goes from the rather “silly” 1960 track, What A Mouth with Tommy Steele, a one hit wonder and the other wonder about this is, why he was even put on this album!

Oh, and track number 9Heinz and Just Like Eddie, a rather silly track trying to cash in on Eddie Cochran and, topping this silliness off was a “nothing” track by The Casuals – 1968 with Jasamine.

However the other seven tracks do have some good elements and some are damn fine tracks.

From a progressive jazz track – track number 10 featuring Acker Bilk and Stranger On The Shore, through to Sandy Shaw with Always Something There To Remind Me.

These tracks were immensely popular at the time even though some do not stand that test of time.

However two in particular stand out.

Track number 1The Rolling Stones and Under The Boardwalk which was released in 1964. “Really everything that can be said about the Rolling Stones has been said!”

That was actually written in 1964, so some fifty six years later it is most certainly true.

But there is a story – there’s always a story!

Late 1964, just before they were due to tour Australia in 1965, the band had planned to release Little Red Rooster as their touring single.

However on releasing the album Rolling Stones Number 2, mostly R&B covers, the powers to be at EMI realised the potential of the track Under The Boardwalk and for that time, took the unprecedented action of releasing two singles by the Stones simultaneously.

Boardwalk raced to the number 1 position early in 1965 in Australia, with Rooster hovering in the number 23 position.

cream of the crate: album review # 143 – various artists: the british pop collection
The Rolling Stones: 1964 – [CLICK to enlarge]

 

Interestingly Under The Boardwalk was never released as a single in either Britain or the USA.

Under The Boardwalk

 

The second track that stands out for me is a group that deserves to be featured in its own Cream of the Crate review, and I will get to them in the future.

Track number 5 is by Manfred Mann and the track is Do Wah Diddy Diddy.

Now most readers will know that the group took its name from its leader – Manfred Mann. They were at the time a very popular blues based group. The group had many hits over the years and, many line-up changes including a decent turnover of lead singers.

The lineup in 1964 when this track came out is actually the first lineup of the group, that formed from the Mann Hugg Blues band.

With Paul Jones on vocals and “harp”, Mike Vickers on guitar and flute, Tom McGuiness on bass, Mike Hugg on drums and, Manfred on keyboards, they released this track in 1964 immediately after their first major hit – 5,4,3,2,1.

The track Do Wah Diddy Diddy really caught the imagination of the music buying population and shot to the number one position on both the UK and the USA and made number 2 in Australia.

cream of the crate: album review # 143 – various artists: the british pop collection
Manfred Mann (Ready Steady Go) : 1964 – [CLICK to enlarge]


With its very good vocal hook of “Do Wah Diddy Diddy” it was one of those songs that just begged to be sung along with. Musically it was a very good track and it stood out at the time for utilising a tympani.

It is simple but well played organ piece by Manfred, and with a clean and tasteful lead guitar and a good arrangement, it does stand the test of time.

Do Wah Diddy Diddy

 

Side two has its weaker tracks, but it is also actually loaded with some ripper pieces of music.

From Dave Berry’s fantastic rendition of the Chuck Berry classic Memphis Tennessee, through to The Seekers with The Carnival Is Over and to a lesser extent Lulu with To Sir With Love and Gerry and The Pacemakers with How Do You Do It and Hedgehoppers Anonymous’ and their one big hit – It’s Good News Week, it is a strong side.

But the very best two tracks are tracks 1 and 2.

Track 1 features The Kinks.

They are without doubt one of the greatest British groups to have recorded in the 1960’s and that’s saying a lot as there were some mighty good groups.

The energy, power and strong songwriting of the group propelled them to the top and they stayed at the top for many years.

Led by brothers, Ray and Dave Davies, both on guitar, with Ray providing most of the vocal leads, although Dave did his share, along with the brilliant songwriting of Ray, they knocked us all dead.

The brothers were ably assisted by Peter Quaife on bass and Mick Avory on drums.

The year was 1964 and it took an appearance on the top British pop show, Ready Steady Go, and the track You Really Got Me to shoot them into the public eye and the journey began.

 

cream of the crate: album review # 143 – various artists: the british pop collection
The Kinks: 1964 – [CLICK to enlarge]

 

The track did not feature brilliantly written lyrics and the ability of Davies to write those would come later.

Yet it did feature a ‘distorted” guitar sound that had never been heard before, and along with one of the most recogniseable chord riffs of all time, and the energy of the delivery – it was massive and shot to the number one position.

Try as they may, other guitarists of the time tried to emulate the sound of the distorted guitar of Dave Davies, but it was impossible to do until Davies revealed that it was created by slicing the speaker cone in his amplifier with a razor blade.

The list of amazing tracks is brilliant and if you are interested you can click my past review of the Kinks and learn more.

You Really Got Me

 

Now it is track number two on this Lp that is also worthy of comment.

Procol Harum and Whiter Shade of Pale, which released in 1967, really did take the world by storm. The story most often written about this piece suggests it was written even before the band formed.

Writing the lyrics along with his friend Keith Reid, Gary Booker then set about to put Procol Harum” together. He advertised for musicians and Mathew Fisher joined on organ, Ray Royer on guitar, Dave Knights on bass and Bobby Harrison on drums.

Booker was the group’s singer and played piano, and Reid actually became the group’s manager.

The track shot to number 1 in the UK, number 1 in France, number 3 in the USA and number 1 in Australia, all in 1967 and within a month of its release.

Now, that’s the story as released at the time, however since then the story became a bit more murkier.

cream of the crate: album review # 143 – various artists: the british pop collection
Procol Harum: 1967 – [CLICK to enlarge]

 

In 2009 Robert Webb writing for the British paper The Independent, wrote the following story.

Rarely has a song proven so troublesome. “A Whiter Shade of Pale”, surprisingly declared by the BBC to be the most played song in public places in the past 75 years, has also famously been the subject of a bitter feud between founding members of Procol Harum.

The problems began in 1973 and a mention of the song in Melody Maker. The paper referred to “Gary Brooker’s Bach licks”.

Brooker was credited as a co-writer, along with the lyricist Keith Reid.

Matthew Fisher, then a recently departed keyboardist from the band, took issue with the comment, launching into a correspondence with the paper during which he claimed it was he, and not Brooker, who was responsible for the baroque hook: “The organ part, including the solo and the infamous ‘Bach licks’, was entirely my doing,” he wrote.

It took Fisher 37 years to do something about it. In 2000, songwriting royalties were frozen amid claims from Fisher for a backlog of payments due.

The case came to a head in 2006 when Fisher appeared at the Royal Courts of Justice, sat at an organ, playing his solo bar by bar to explain the “process of his composition”.

His performance won him 40 per cent of the copyright to the song, although his claim for up to £1m of back royalties was rejected.

Two years later, on the basis that there was an “excessive delay” in the claim being made, the ruling was overturned and though Fisher was not granted back royalties it was accepted that he was a 40% co-writer of the recorded song.

But, rather than who wrote it, what most have wanted to know is, what’s it all about?

An early explanation from Reid was that he was at a “gathering” where “some guy looked at a chick and said to her, ‘you’ve gone a whiter shade of pale’. That phrase stuck in my mind.”

Reid sent his surreal song, drawing on various classical and literary sources, to Brooker.

“I remember the day it arrived: four very long stanzas,” said Brooker. Within a couple of hours, the melody was written. Originally longer than the final recording – the “lost” lyrics only ever featured in live renditions – the song intrigued listeners from the off.

“I suppose everyone will have forgotten about it in two weeks,” posited one interviewer, interrogating Brooker on the meaning, as the record hit No 1 in 1967. “Sure, man,” replied Brooker. And did it worry him? “No.”

Does any of this alter the fact that it is a much played song, even covered by artists today?

No! It remains somewhat of an enigma, but it also remains a perennial favourite.

Whiter Shade Of Pale

 

So to the final LP in this set.

The #1 side kicks off with what must be one of the greatest “working class” songs ever !

Friday On My Mind by the Easybeats.

In Australia we knew the Easybeats were great, in fact fantastic. In Australia the group won awards for being “Best Group”, “Most Original Group”, “Most Outstanding Group”, and I have reviewed them in the past, and that review can be found by clicking here.

cream of the crate: album review # 143 – various artists: the british pop collection
The Easybeats: 1966 – [CLICK to enlarge]

 

When this track was released in 1966 it shot to number 1 in Australia, number 6 in the UK.

In fact was the only top 10 hit the group had in the UK, and somewhat strangely, only made number 16 in the USA.

I say strangely because It was brilliant, it was powerful and it really meant something to all of us working away Monday to Friday. From the opening lines it tapped into something deep inside us – work was necessary to survive, but it was the end of the week and “freedom” that meant the most to the average working person.

Monday morning feels so bad
Everybody seems to nag me
Comin’ Tuesday I’ll feel better
Even my old man looks good
Wednesday just won’t go
Thursday goes too slow
I’ve got Friday on my mind

Friday On My Mind

 

There is one other Australian track in this set, and it’s on this side of this LP. Frank Ifield and I Remember You, and while it might dismay some people I’d rather forget it than remember it!

The remaining eight tracks vary between one hit wonders such as Brendan Bowyer and Hucklebuck a good party dance track, and Chris Andrews whose track Yesterday Man was his only top ten hit ever.

The side also has lightweights such as Herman’s Hermits and Mrs Brown and Helen Shapiro with Not Responsible – both good charting hits that like many tracks on and not on this set, don’t quite cut it today.

There are some very good tracks, such as the much respected Hank B. Marvin of Shadows fame, who released Sascha in 1969, which made number 1 in Australia but failed to break into the top 10 in the UK.

However it is the final track, track 10 that I remember fondly.

The Zombies were formed in 1961 by Rod Argent, and by the time this track – She’s Not Here was released in 1964, Argent had replaced their original bass player – Paul Arnold, with Chris White, who could also provide vocals.

The members were Colin Blunstone – vocals, Rod Argent, organ and vocals, Paul Atkinson, guitar and vocals, White on bass and Hugh Grundy on drums.

The group actually released three albums up to 1968, and split in 1969. They reformed with original members Blunstone and Argent in 2001, but during their hiatus another four albums were released and more followed after they reformed.

However the track She’s Not There was their biggest selling single albeit more popular in overseas countries than in the UK.

It reached number 12 in the UK, 11 in Australia and number 2 in Canada and the US, although cashbox reports it as a number 1.

Rolling Stone magazine ranked “She’s Not There” number 297 on its list of the 500 Greatest Songs of All Time.

cream of the crate: album review # 143 – various artists: the british pop collection
The Zombies – 1964

 

While credit for the song goes to Chris Andrews it is based upon an old blues track a John Lee Hooker song, whose title – “No One Told Me” – became the opening phrase of “She’s Not There“.

Apart from the tight four-part harmonies, one of the song’s most distinctive features is Argent’s electric piano sound.

She’s Not There

 

The final side of this boxed set kicks off with a track that not only bought the group The Animals to the attention of the world, it heralded one of the greatest white “blues” voices of all time.

The track House Of The Rising Sun was a brilliant adaptation that went for a remarkable four and a half minutes, which when it was released in 1964 was an unheard of length for a single.

It will always be a favourite of many people, but we move on!

There are the usual “daggy” tracks, that notwithstanding that they were popular. I am happy to breeze over, such as Freddie and The Dreamers really chintzy A Windmill In Old Amsterdam and Engelbert Humperdink and Please Release me (yer, our mums and dads caused these to be a hit!).

But there are some good tracks and some gems.

The good tracks are Needles and Pins by The Searchers, who while fairly light weight when put up against the like of the Stones, Beatles and Animals, did possess good harmonies and filled a void, and, made some decent music (and some decent money) – nothing wrong with that!

The Tornados with Telstar cashed in on our fascination with the new technology of satellites and The Swinging Blue Jeans and their cover of the Chan Romero track, Hippy Hippy Shakes was a great cover of the track (although Romero’s remains the better version).

It charted well and was a popular track. Even Cathy Kirby with Dance On, her first hit, made it to the number one position in Australia in 1963.

Karl Denver, a merchant seaman in Scotland, had a medium size hit with Wimoweh, aka The Lion Sleeps Tonight, and proving with the right song and right production, it is possible to have a hit, even if it’s your only one.

Released in 1962 it reached number 2 in Australia – but really, the better versions are by the Weavers and the Kingston Trio.

 

That leaves two tracks in a league of their own. Track number 10 is from Donovan Leitch, better known simply as Donovan.

cream of the crate: album review # 143 – various artists: the british pop collection
Donavon: 1965 – [CLICK to enlarge]

 

Unfairly compared to Bob Dylan, Donavon was undisputedly the top “folky”
singer to came out of Britain in the 1960’s.

However to simply label him as a folk singer is to do him an injustice, as he released so much great material that did cross over into the rock genre.

He had 9 singles in the top 10 in either the UK or the USA between starting his career in 1965 and bringing it to a close in 1968.

This track, Catch The Wind, was his first single to make the top 10 in the UK, reaching number 4 in 1965. It also reached number 4 in Australia in the same year.

It deserves to be recognised as Donovan stood out at a time when groups dominated the charts and yet his style and songs remain timeless today.

Catch The Wind


The final remarks on a track in this collection are directed toward one of the most underrated groups of the period.

This was a group that gelled beautifully together. They came from Ireland and had as their lead singer one of the most enduring vocalists of all time in the pop/rock world.

Track number 3 features the group Them and the track Here Comes The Night.

With Van Morrison as lead singer, Jim Armstrong on guitar, Alan Henderson on Bass, Ray Elliott on organ, and David Harvey on drums, this being the lineup when Here Comes The Night was released in 1965.

It was their first major hit in the UK, in fact a hit worldwide reaching number 2 in the UK and charting at number 33 in the top 100 of the year 1965.

Not a bad effort when we cast our minds back the the many great bands and music being pumped out at that time.

cream of the crate: album review # 143 – various artists: the british pop collection
Them: 1965 – [CLICK to enlarge]

 

We loved the sneering vocals of Van Morrison and we loved the sound the group got, but we also loved Them because our parents at that time really hated them!

Here Comes The Night


So we find ourselves with a boxed set of three LP’s and 60 tracks. As it has become clear, a number of tracks and artists would struggle to make the “cut” today.

Some had hit’s because our parents at the time bought the music, so it is debatable as to whether those tracks fairly represent the “pop” music of the time.

But on the other hand there are many great tracks that while today struggle to receive the same appreciation as they did back in the 1960’s, as it is for a lot of music throughout all genre’s.

I guess it’s it is often a case of it being “music of the day”, but we can still appreciated it in context with those ‘heady” days of the 60’s.

But, there are some utter gems hidden away in the set and that does make it worthwhile.

It probably isn’t a boxed set that you would play often. Maybe at a nostalgia party or when you just want to recall those great days when the music was vibrant because it was fresh to our ears, it was so different to that music which our parents listened to.

Should you go out and buy it? maybe, maybe not.

As I said earlier there is not lack of compilations of music from this period, but it has two things going for it.

It does feature the original artists as the music is the original tracks, not remixed, remastered or regurgitated, and, it is on vinyl – although the set is also now released on CD.

It’s probably a case of “your voice, your choice”. I’m glad its in my collection.

Discogs had a copy for sale in Australia that it says is in near mint condition for the utterly absurd price of $22.50 + postage. If I didn’t have two sets already, I’d buy it!


VIDEOS:

Being from pretty much the halcyon days of the British pop music scene, there are many live video clips to choose from even if some are not all that clear – mostly due to tape degradation (no digital broadcasting then), so I have selected a few, but there are many more.

 

Peter & Gordon – World Without Love (1964)

 

Petula Clark – Downtown (1964)

 

The Honeycombs – Have I the Right (1964)

 

The Walker Brothers – The Sun Ain’t Gonna Shine (1965)

 

Gerry & The Pacemakers – How Do You Do It (1963)

 

Chris Andrews – Yesterday Man (1965)


Previous Cream of The Crate Albums:

 

To view/listen the first 50 vinyl album reviews just click the image below –

cream of the crate cd review #2 : robert johnson – the complete recordings

 

To view/listen the first 50 Cd album reviews just click the image below –

 

Click to open the following Vinyl reviews from 101 onward:

101:  Bo Diddley – Bo Diddley’s Beach Party (Live)

#102:  Les Paul and Mary Ford – The World Is waiting For The Sunrise

#103:  Captain Beefheart – Trout Mask Replica

#104:  Los Fronterizos – Misa Creole

#105:  Bobby Bright – Child Of Rock And Roll

#106:  The  Nylons – One Size Fits All

#107:  Jimmy Cliff – The Harder They Come [Soundtrack from the film]

#108:  Paul Simon – Graceland

#109.  The Ventures – The Very Best Of

#110.  The Pardoners – Indulgences

#111.  Atlantic R&B: Volumes 1 – 3 [1947 to 1957] 

#112.  Atlantic R&B Volumes 4 & 5 [1957 – 1965]

#113.  Roots of Rock: Vol.12 – Union Avenue Breakdown

#114.  David Fanshawe – African Sanctus

#115.  A Reefer Derci – Various Artists

#116.  Dr. John – Ske-Dat-De-Dat: The Spirit of Satch

#117.  The Walker Brothers – The Walker Brothers

#118.  Peter Gabriel – Peter Gabriel

#119.  Curved Air – Airconditioning

#120.  The Delltones – The Best of The Delltones

#121.  Hound Dog Taylor – Hound Dog Taylor and The Houserockers

#122.  Bessie Smith – Queen of The Blues

#123.  The Shadows – The Shadows Greatest Hits

#124.  Gil Scott Heron – Reflections

#125.  The Dingoes – Five Times The Sun

#126.  Bert Jansch and John Renbourn – Bert and John

#127.  Nat King Cole – The Complete After Midnight Sessions

#128.  Various Artists – The Rock and Roll Collection [A Box Set]

#129.  Sam Cooke – 16 Most Requested Songs

#130.  Various Artists – Australian Rock Heritage Vol.1

#131:  Wilson Pickett – The Exciting Wilson Pickett

#132.  Martha and The Vandellas – Greatest Hits

#133.  Van Morrison – The Best Of

#134.  The Marvelettes – Greatest Hits

#135.  Various Artists – So You Wanna Be A Rock & Roll Star Volume 1

#136.  Various Artists – Zydeco [ The Essential Collection]

#137.  King Crimson – In the Court of the Crimson King

#138. Slim Harpo – The Best of Slim Harpo

#139. Mary Wells – The Best Of

#140. Various Artists –  So You Wanna Be A Rock & Roll Star Volume 2

# 141. Lou Reed – Walk On The Wild Side [Best of Lou Reed]

# 142. Leadbelly – The Library of Congress Recordings

Rob Greaves
I have been with the Toorak Times since April 2012. I work as Senior Editor of the Toorak Times, but I also think of myself as senior contributor. I've been in the Australian music scene as a musician since 1964, and have worked in radio and TV and newspapers (when they were paper ), serious experience in audio editing, and a lot of video editing experience. Currently I'm working as a radio program producer for a national interview program as well as my work with the Toorak Times
    This review was originally posted on the first Toorak Times web site where publications ceased on that site in March 2017. The old site will be permanently closed in 2020 and these reviews are being re-published in order to preserve them on the...Cream of The Crate: Album Review # 143 - Various Artists: The British Pop Collection