Yep, I admit it, I was a mod when I was 14-16, complete with parka and large Secret Affair keyhole patch sewn on the back - thanks, Mum! In fact, I still have a scooter twenty-five years later and regularly listen to my old mod records.
I always felt that the Merton Parkas got a raw deal in the Mod World, which was partly their fault for making the mistake of having the word Parkas in their band name. I know it was a pun on Merton Park (where they originated from), but still, I think that maybe held them back a little.
The Merton Parkas included two brothers Danny and Mick Talbot. Danny was the vocalist and main songwriter and Mick played the keyboards - yes, you're right music fans, the very same Mick Talbot who went on to rule the world with Paul Weller in the Style Council.
Anyway, onto what really matters, the music. This collection gathers together their singles from the debut and one true hit of sorts, You Need Wheels - written about a car, despite the many scooters on the record sleeve to other lesser known 45's, Plastic Smile (the name of their one and only album), Flat 19 and the excellent Put Me In The Picture, which bordered on power pop!
Shamefully, Beggars Banquet dropped the Parkas like a stone in the Summer of 1980 and they never really recovered. It's great to have this collection on CD and I will now wait patiently for someone to re-release Plastic Smile on CD.
If you want to get a girl, you need wheels!