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on 1 March 2014
I'm relatively new to collecting music in this genre, but one thing that is clear is that there are many, many compilations to choose from. Research and admittedly limited listening so far, would tell me that this is a relatively good choice. A generously filled, well annotated single disc. This is the same re- issue label that recently released the Love, Devotion, Poetry 3 disc set which has great reviews and no overlap of tracks with this release.

The music, to my ears, comprises the best in melodic aspects of late 60's UK popsike, with many of the tracks commanding high prices in the RRPG in their original format on the Spark label. What is also good is that many original A sides come with their companion flip side - albeit randomly sequenced on the disc. The accompanying booklet is very well compiled with informative commentaries and pictures. This, and the relative high quality of the transfers, set this disc aside from some of the initially attractive multi-disc sets available. In short, not every track is a winner, but there is enough here to attract repeated listenings.
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Back in the spring of 1968 I was one of a handful of record buyers who helped to nudge A New Generation's "Smokey Blues Away" into the very lower reaches of the UK top 40. As far as I remember it was the only single I ever owned on the Spark label. Brian Matthew played the track on a recent Sounds of the Sixties on Radio 2 and mentioned that the track is now available on this CD.

As this CD was compiled by David Wells for his Grapefruit label I knew it was worth taking a punt on even though most of the tracks and artists are at the very obscure end of obscure! However, although the names may be unfamiliar David Wells' detailed notes help identify who is behind the music featured here and many are quite well-known. We have Carter/Lewis from the Ivy League (and many other projects!) the Sutherland Brothers are well featured, Eric Woolfson (Alan Parsons Project) and many others who hung out in the basement of 8 Denmark Street in the late sixties.

Spark was a division of music publisher Southern Music and started releasing singles just after the sixties offshore radio stations went off the air - had they got any airplay many of the tracks featured here could easily have been big hits. If you have heard David Wells earlier three CD set Love, Poetry and Revolution then this collection is up to that standard and I would recommend it if you enjoyed the tracks it featured.

The Spark label soldiered on into the seventies and even managed a couple of hits - Wigan's Ovation anyone? The Southern Music name no longer exists - the company is now known as Peer Music and as far as I know 8 Denmark Street is now an English School! If you want to capture a taste of late sixties Tin Pan Alley's finest then I would recommend this excellent collection and many thanks to David Wells for trawling the vaults to find this stuff - rare treasure indeed!
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on 18 November 2014
When I buy these 'Psych Pop' comps I always fear I might end up with a bunch of weak pop tunes that failed to interest 12 year old girls 40 to 50 years ago, and which are now being marketed at adult to middle aged men in the 21st century. But thankfully, although there are a couple of weaker tracks here too, the trip factor is just high enough and the arrangements and melodies interesting enough to warrant adding this to anyone's psych collection. There were some great finds for me on this CD, and the sound quality is really fantastic. It's amazing they made such good recordings in what was a relatively basic recording studio. All in all, a CD to add to your collection while prices are low.
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on 25 March 2014
When I was a relatively new Disc Jockey in 1969 and still feeling my way in the world of Pop Music there were many labels that brought fond memories of some fine music dispatched by relatively unknown artists struggling to get a foot on the difficult ladder of Pop music. I must admit I may have purchased some of my Spark collection as time wore on thanks to Alan Freeman's chart show which gave a chance to up and coming new bands and solo artists throughout the UK and some from abroad, God bless him. Of the tracks on this album I recognise quiet a few but also notice the missing tracks that should've been included. Smokey Blues Away was a classic in it's time despite it's lowly No.38 chart positioning. They eventually transformed from A New Generation to become The Sutherland Brothers Band and brought the now well known worldwide hit 2Sailing" to us. Heartbreaker by The Babys is another classic from that era which was in my collection and played a lot but again only a bubbling under he chart was it's success rate never to be heard of again and no trace on the internet either. My big disappointed is the missing Sign on the dotted line by Gene Latter a dance floor filler if ever there was one and probably his best in my opinion. Perhaps a second issue will bring it forth to the music scene along with Maybe I'm Lost without you by Neil Harrison from 1972 here's hoping. I'm glad some of these are seeing the light once more.
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on 1 December 2014
I only really bought this for one track, but the majority of the songs are worthy of a listen or three. It was also interesting to hear other items from that particular group. I caught myself humming one of the "other tunes" on the CD so that at least had "ear worm" qualities. Not an essential purchase, but not a waste of money either. You have to tune your ears to the culture of the period, and forget about the intervening years of music.
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on 25 April 2014
Obscure golden oldies from the word go - Title track is the best overall and the other goodies too many to recant and give this collection its real merit but no-one will be disappointed buying this
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on 26 July 2014
A few gems here and some I had not heard before. Well worth purchasing to fill those gaps in your music collection.
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on 11 November 2015
Wonderful colourful tunes. Ahh, the sixties...Hippies, hair and hashish.
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on 8 June 2015
Great cd I rcommend this one
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on 7 April 2016
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