Kendra Steiner Editions (Bill Shute)

October 20, 2017

RARE MOD, VOLUME 5 (CD, Acid Jazz Records, UK)

Filed under: Uncategorized — kendrasteinereditions @ 7:29 pm

various artists, RARE MOD, VOLUME 5

A Fifth Volume of 60’s UK Underground Rhythm’n’Blues, Psych & Soul

CD, Acid Jazz Records, UK (released late 2013)


The RARE MOD series has not gotten the praise it deserves. With a wide casting of the net ranging from circa ’64 Stones/Yardbirds/Pretties style R&B to club-soul a la Zoot Money to freakbeat to Ronnie Jones-style soul vocalizing to Swinging London-style beat and psych, the series has focused on private pressings and acetates for the most part, which gives it a real authenticity. Acid Jazz seems to be able to uncover some amazing finds, and this collection (which I picked up about two years ago, which was two years after its release–it didn’t seem to get much buzz– I have and love the first four volumes) is a very strong one indeed.

Everything that’s great about the mid-60s British music scene is found in concentrated form on this album…and the demo-like quality of much of the material just makes it stronger, purer. For instance, I did not really care for The Montanas released version of Hey Diddle Diddle, but this early demo rocks much better and is not as over-produced. And while some band doing a cover of My Generation in ’65 or ’66 might not really expect to get on the charts with it, it probably went done wonderfully live, and also, we seem to forget that back in those days, it was an achievement to do a successful and hot cover of a then-present day anthem like that.

We’ve also got a promo-only unissued single from the soulful and brash Sharon Tandy (whose album I was proud to review at Ugly Things), obscure bluesy tracks by such UK soul masters as Geno Washington and Jimmy Jones and the Vagabonds, maximum R&B from Flamingo Club regular Tony Colton (who was managed by the Gunnell Brothers–imagine the stories he could tell!), a track from an acetate LP recorded in Bristol by a band called TJ Assembly, who were still sounding like a rehearsal tape of the 1965 Pretty Things but in late 1967, and lots more….20 aggressive R&B-flavored tracks that remind us why the UK was the place to be for Beat music in the 1960’s.

The very randomness of a compilation like this (although, as usual for Acid Jazz, it’s VERY well programmed, like the DJ-set of your dreams) is its strength. Just imagine you run an R&B-themed club on some London back street in 1965, and you are thumbing through the many demo tapes and acetates dropped off by bands wanting to be booked. Imagine what a dream situation that would be—-all PRIME R&B/beat, but all new to your ears, and all from the core of the movement. That’s what you get here. Every band wants to put its own spin on the music, so the variation of influences is fascinating. We should be both happy and amazed that 50 years after, there are still such gems to be uncovered.

While you are at it, why not pick up any of the BEATFREAK compilations you can find, and if you want to dig even deeper, try googling “un-lost tommyknockers” and start downloading what you find onto CDR’s. This is what rock and roll is all about; this is what scattered the seeds that grew into punk. The purity of this music still can raise the hair on the back of your neck today.

A 6th Volume in this series was released in 2015 and was claimed to be the final volume in the series. I just ordered it. If the Star-Club era Beatles were your favorite Fab Four period, if a Mono copy of the Pretty Things “Get The Picture” is your idea of the ultimate in music, if the idea of UK bands doing raw garage-y versions of obscure Tamla b-sides excites you, grab a copy of RARE MOD VOLUME 5  yesterday.

1. The Top Six – I’m A Man
2. The Montanas – Hey Diddle Diddle
3. Debrah Aire – Don’t Be Proud
4. Tommy Bishop – Sugar Man
5. Unknown Mod Band – My Generation
6. Tony Colton – Train Train
7. Geno Washington – Rock My Baby
8. TJ Assembly – Something
9. The Troop – You’ll Call My Name
10. The March Hare – With My Eyes Closed
11. Phaethon’s Brethen – I Put A Spell On You
12. The Dynamite Orchestra – Sh’Mon Part 2
13. The Disturbance – Green Tamborine
14. Jimmy James & The Vagabonds – Private Number
15. Unknown Mod Band – She Is Better
16. All Night Workers – Look At A Granny Run Run
17. The Army – Sugar
18. Easy Virtue – Bye Bye Honey
19. Four Steps Beyond – Keep Your Hands Off My Baby
20. Jeff Curtis And The Flames – Route 66

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