Various Artists – Rare Mod Volume 3 (Acid Jazz)

by Modculture 9 March, 2011

Various Artists - Rare Mod Volume 3

Various Artists - Rare Mod Volume 3

The latest collection of mod rarities from Acid Jazz is reviewed online.

Mod has had a rough time when it comes to compilation albums. Yes, there are plenty of soul ones out there, but outside of that, ‘mod’ is often faced with the usual selection of awful Father’s Day-friendly collections featuring ‘flogged to death’ minor classics or albums focusing on the scrag end of the mod revival (This Is Mod anyone?). Thankfully, Acid Jazz are digging a little deeper with their Rare Mod series (and associated single releases), carving out something of a re-invention for the label at the same time.

It’s not for the entry-level mod. As I said earlier, there are racks full of those collections. But if you’re a fan of British beat and want to hear a few lost gems from the era, this is the place to go. We’re now at volume 3, compiled by Damian Jones and Paul ‘Smiler’ Anderson and you know what? The lads done well.

20 tracks, most of which hit the spot for this particular reviewer, including a handful that might already be familiar to you. An alternate take of The Creation’s Life Is Just Beginning and a BBC-only version of Desdemona by John’s Children are certain to pull the punters in for a start, while Brit soul covers of Baby I Need Your Lovin’ by Andee Silver (an absolute gem) and In The Midnight Hour by Kenny Bernard and the Wranglers offer new twists to tunes you’ve heard (and probably played) to death.

None of those are necessarily the album’s high points though. Check out album opener Open The Door by the Montanas, a little known beat/psych tune that would go down a storm on the New Untouchables dancefloor, a cracking track, rarity or not. The other Montanas tune on here, Dr Nero, isn’t bad either – even if it does get a little close to the Batman theme at times.

Following a similar groove is Sean Buckley and the Breadcrumbs’ No Matter How You Slice It, while Dave and the Diamonds Think About Love wouldn’t be out of place on a Nuggets compilation with its ‘rasping’ guitar and ‘snarled’ vocal. Derry Wilkie and the Pressmen offer up some basement R&B in the form of Can You Think Of Another (you can almost see the sweat running down the walls) and despite being a little too ‘Lulu’, there’s no denying that Goldie and the Gingerbreads’ Look For Me Baby (a Ray Davies tune) is damn catchy.

Other mentions of note should go to the semi-psychy, organ-loaded Sunflower by The Nocturnes, the mod/jazz/beat (if that makes sense) of The Preachers’ Get Back To The One and the ‘unknown’ artist doing Pink, Purple and Blue, lovely slice of period guitar pop with a catchy chorus to boot. Closing the album is a real gem too, Wainwright’s Gentlemen’s Ain’t That Just Like Me – more catchy beat from a band that featured later members of both Deep Purple and The Sweet

I’ll be honest, one or two I can live without, including The Iveys’ rock ‘n’ roller Chicago Calling for one (sound quality probably doesn’t do it any favours either) and Sean Buckley and the Breadcrumbs’ Shatterproof, which doesn’t live up to the band’s first appearance on the album and again suffers from shaky sound (as well as as being a fairly average tune). Dave and the Diamonds’ Such Is Life also suffers from an annoying ‘hiss’ all the way through too. Shame, as it’s a decent tune although again, the weaker of the band’s two appearances here.

So a good ‘hit’ ratio for the third volume, although some of the sound blemishes can be annoying. Yes, I know we’re talking old acetates and recordings, but it is worth mentioning if you’re expecting crystal clear audio.

Not that it takes too much away from the collection overall. There’s some great quality here, some interesting recordings and some absolute gems, all backed up with well-research sleevenotes. Good work by the folk behind it and if you’re a fan of mod-friendly British beat, it’s an album you should pick up on either CD or old school vinyl.

Find out more about the CD at the Amazon website