1. THE ACTION-"The Place"
One of my fave Action numbers is this unreleased gem recorded in 1966. It's propelled by twin Rickenbackers, George Martin's harpsichord, Pete and Bam's groovy "oooo's" and of Reggie King's soulfully commanding voice. I'll have to say I prefer it to almost all of the equally cool soul covers from their brief recording career!
2. TOBY TWIRL-"Movin' In"
Toby Twirl's final 45 (January 1969 Decca F12867) is a pop psych opus in my estimation. Produced by Wayne Bickerton and arranged by Mike Vickers it has some amazing horns and strings not unlike a Flirtations record with soulful lead vocals and periodic bursts of fuzz guitar to keep it freaky whilst firmly encapsulating the Deram/Decca "pop psych with soul" genre.
3. DONNIE ELBERT-"This Old Heart Of Mine"
Maybe I'm bored with the Isley's version but this one blows me away at the moment. I think what cinches it for me is the incredible instrumental backing (harpsichord, handclaps, congas,et al) which according to Acid Jazz's liner notes of their "Graham Dee's Hitsville London" E.P. are none other than The Fleur De Ly's plus some session brass!! KILLER stuff!
4. ERIC MONTY MORRIS-"Blackman Ska"
"The black man works so hard but the white man gets the money..." I don't know when this slightly controversial Eric "Monty" Morris 45 comes from. The only release I can find is this slightly dubious bootleg on "Kentone/Dub Store" (Kentone was an original 60's ska label from Jamaica) which I have and it's not turning up in any discographies. Regardless it's an amazing mid 60's ska track with a backing that easily could be The Skatalites.
5. BILLY MACK-"I Can't Sleep"
My pal Johhny B generously passed this 45 onto me recently on the groovily named Miss Betty label. It's a bluesy slow burner of a soul number with some subtle organ and horns and incredible strong female backing vocals. I've got no idea when it's from, any info would be greatly appreciated!
6. THE EQUALS-"Give Love A Try"
The Equals throw some Hendrix style hoodoo on this one not at all dissimilar to "The Wind Cries Mary". The Equals President release (PT 158 October '67) credits Eddie Grant as the songwriter but Prince Buster's version the same year on Fab (FAB 25) gives credits to "C. Campbell" (Buster's real name). So who wrote it? Regardless it's cool to compare versions but I think I dig The Equals thanks to Eddie Grant's funky guitar, Derv Gordon's powerful vocals and some ethereal backing vocals.
7. JOHN LEE HOOKER-"The Motor City Is Burning"
Easily the most powerful tune ever cut by Mr. Hooker and released on the Bluesway label two years before the MC5 covered it. A powerful bluesy narrative for the civil unrest in Detroit (for further reference dig "Detroit '67" and while you're at it check out Monkeypicks review if you need any more reason to own it) with lyrics that pretty much put you there and delivered in a way that only the great J.L.H. can do.
8. BILL MARTIN & PHIL COULTER-"Mods And Rockers"
With a title like that you'd expect this tune to be from 1964 (post Whitsun of course) but it's actually from a 1967 KPM LP "The Sounds Of Pop" . It's a funky bit of jazzy organ dueling with some over the top fuzz guitar that crashes into a crazy Animals/Yardbirds style rave up in the middle!
9. THE FOUR PENNIES-"Square Peg"
Forget their awful U.K. sap/sop hit "Juliet" this 1966 B-side of "Keep The Freeway Open" (a decent song in itself) is a stormer. With it's jangly folk rock guitars, cool backing harmonies and down trodden lyrics that have the protagonist behind bars ( "One dark night seven years ago I had to shoot a man. He tried to rob me of my last dime that's how it all began...") it's worth a listen.
10. IAN WHITCOMB-"This Sporting Life"
I had always favored Mickey Finn & The Blue Men's version of this and recently in the latest issue of "Ugly Things" their Mickey Finn piece revealed that they nicked it from Ian Whitcomb's version. I duly went back and re-investigated and though I still prefer the M.F. version this one is not without it's charm with it's "cheeky chappie/Hollywood Yank" vocals and decent musical backing!