Forgotten series: The Fleur de Lys, the Nocturnes, others – Rare Mod, Volume 2 (2009)

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With the subtitle that reads “A Second Volume of ’60s Underground Rhythm n’ Blues, Psych & Soul,” this compilation of rare and hard-to-find mod tunes offers surprises from the familiar to the obscure.

Prior to this CD, the only band I was familiar with was The Fleur de Lys. They’re represented here with “Nothing to Say,” a foray into baroque pop, and the mid-tempo organ driven mod of “I Walk the Sands.” The Donnie Elbert Band’s lively, Motown-ish instrumental, “A Love I Believe In’ sounds like a lost TV theme song. The Richard Kent Style gives an upbeat horn-driven performance with its Stax Records/Otis Redding-influenced “Just a Little Misunderstanding.”

Imagine Billy Joe Royal recording Mmephis R&B and you’ve got Mac Kissoon’s “1000 ways of Loving You.’ A UK band called the Amboy Dukes (no, not Ted Nugent’s old ’60s group) comes across as a Creation-lite — with a dash of Blood Sweat and Tears thrown in — across a pair of organ-driven mid-tempo rockers, “More and More” and “You Better find Yourself to Love.” Not bad.

The Nocturnes’ “Hay, That’s What Horses Eat” is a semi-rave-up that comes across as what an English version of Booker T. and the MGs would sound like. Their other tune here is the rather muscular and enjoyably R&Bish “Night Owl.” Chuck Berry’s “I’m Talkin’ ‘Bout You’ is reimagined as a slow fuzzy blues by Chances Are, who managed one of the more interesting versions of this classic song, which was often covered by mid-1960s British bands. The Summer Set reminded me a lot of John Pantry’s ’60s group Peter and the Wolves with the sunny psych-pop of “Oh Miss Stone.”

The Booker T’s ably cover Solomon Burke’s pleasant R&B tune “Stupidity,” with bassist Dave Ambrose — who was both a member of Peter B’s Looners and Shotgun Express when he formed this one shot band in-between those two groups. The Inner Sect reminded me somewhat of Them on the “Gloria”-like “You’re Not the Kind to Know.”

The Spartans’ rather tame, low-key cover of “Lies” is perhaps the only cover of this early Who song ever. It didn’t do that much for me. Another Chuck Berry cover of “Don’t Lie to Me’ by the Westsiders is pretty damn good R&B fun, with its obvious Rolling Stones influence. Dave Anthony’s Moods get all psychedelic with the snake-like organ in “See My Soul.”

Acid Jazz did a fine job in their excellent liner notes, detailing each band’s brief history and, when available, their photos. The mastering is very good as well. The result is a compilation that did for British mod what the “Pebbles and Nuggets” series did for U.S. garage rock in the 1970s and 1980s, by bringing attention to obscure and unknown bands who didn’t really get their moment in the sun back in the 1960s.

Click here to purchase …

Rare Mod, Vol. 2

Steve Elliott

Steve Elliott

Steve Elliott has written for Shindig, Twist and Shake, Garage & Beat and Ugly Things. A big fan of all things rock and roll - especially the British Invasion, garage rock, psychedelic, new wave, folk rock, surf and power pop - he was a consultant on Sundazed Music's reissue of 'The Best of Butch Engle & The Styx: No Matter What You Say' in 2000, and has also provided liner notes for Italy's Misty Lane Records. Contact Something Else! at reviews@somethingelsereviews.com.
Steve Elliott
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