With 60 songs over a 2-CD set, this is a monster of a release! `How Mods Got The Blues' basically collects together the original R&B sound track of the Mod scene and, coincidentally (or perhaps not) the songs that also influenced the British rhythm and blues `live' scene. Although many of the intended audience for this CD release will know most, if not all, of the recordings included, they will probably not have them collected together in one place such as here.
So whilst you get plenty of Ray Charles, James Brown, Mose Allison etc. along with Muddy Waters, Little Walter and Slim Harpo, the unique angle here is that all of these songs have later been covered by British Mod/Rhythm and Blues acts from The Yardbirds, The Kinks, The Who, The Action and The Small Faces to Georgie Fame (Eso Beso), Zoot Money (One Mint Julep), Chris Farlowe (Lipstick Traces), Alexis Korner (Kansas City) and John Mayall (Mess Around). So if you like The Who's recording of `I Don't Mind' on the My Generation album, you can listen to the earlier James Brown recording here. And that's not all - the `jewel in the crown' to this release is the wonderful 24-page glossy colour booklet that accompanies the CDs. First of all there is a comprehensive listing of the dates of the recordings, the artists, the UK release date and catalogue number plus a selected list of British artists who covered each song.
Secondly we have the pleasure of 3,000 words from current premier Mod author, Paul `Smiler' Anderson (who has his eagerly anticipated book, `Mods: The New Religion', scheduled for release in April 2014) who focuses on the 1962 to 1964 period of Mod where R&B usurped Modern Jazz as the music of choice on the scene before being itself overtaken by the more danceable and commercial sound of US soul. Smiler's 3,000 word piece is beautifully illustrated with Mod posters, tickets, adverts, record labels and photos, whilst the words themselves tell the story of how Rhythm and Blues became popular in London and was adopted by the Mod scene (the clubs, the bands, the DJs), and how this new scene diffused to other areas of the country i.e. the Twisted Wheel in Manchester. It is also interesting to hear the stories of several American blues artists coming over to tour the UK and, because they couldn't afford to bring their own bands over, being backed by UK groups such as The Soul Agents, The Muleskinners and The Artwoods.
`Rockhouse: How Mods Got The Blues' is an essential collection and part of a series of releases by this excellent label.
4 people found this helpful.
Was this review helpful to you?
There are lots of Mod compilations around and this 'How Britain Got The Blues Vol 4 (How Mods Got The Blues)' seems slightly out of step with most of them by concentrating mainly on blues, R&B (particularly New Orleans R&B) and rock and roll. There is some early 'soul' music - James Brown, Marvin Gaye, The Contours etc - and also some 'soul' jazz - Sarah Vaughan, Mongo Santamaria, Mose Allison etc - but other tracks seem a bit uncool in comparison with today's perception of the 'hip' mod scene. However, in the early 60s records were not as readily available as they are today and there wasn't the background information that there is now, so consequently you often had to listen to whatever was around, plus I think that people were more accepting than they are today, music wasn't as segmented and many people were just fans of black music in general - be it jazz, blues, R&B, ska, zydeco, folk, pop whatever.
However, having said that I can't imagine any mods that I knew listening to Paul Anka singing "Eso beso"! There are some true classics here though, including Arthur Alexander's "You Better Move On", "Looking Back" by Johnny Guitar Watson and Otis Blackwell's "Daddy Rollin' Stone".
5 people found this helpful.
Was this review helpful to you?