As someone who loves collecting obscure 60s compilations, especially mod, freakbeat and psych, I decided to give this a try. I knew a few of the tracks, already had the Laurel Aitken ones, but the vast majority I'd never heard before. I particularly like the way the songs are grouped into types, eg CD1 starts off with mainly 1964-ish RnB groups (a particular favourite being Four + One's "Don't Lie to Me", one of the reason's I bought this in the first place), but becomes more poppy towards the end, where another highlight is Pinion Pole's" Make your Mark Little Man" - a brilliant comment on the worthlessness of politicians. CD2 is more soulful, and includes a clutch of brilliant female vocalists, but also includes a few tracks which sound more like US garage, Tuesday's Children's "Summer Leaves me with a Sigh" starts off with a very 60s-garage-style riff, but instead of snarling vocals you get Everly's-style harmonies. Towards the end of CD3 we are getting into the realms of psychedelia, it's all really good. There one or two instrumentals, again all great, especially "A touch of Velvet....", the only track I didn't like was the Eartha Kitt one, but I've always found her annoying. I find the argument as to whether this stuff is "mod" or not very boring, this is absolutely full of gems, mod or not
I was chasing just 1 track - A Touch of Velvet - which had been alluding me for years - it was a frequent session closer at the Wheel way back - but the set exceeded my expectations by a long chalk - heaps of interesting obscure tracks in there and not a lot of filler.
This is a follow-up to Looking Back from 2011, another triple-disc affair which ran the gamut of British club music from out-and-out beat and mid-60s R&B through to soul, girl group/femme pop, freakbeat, psychedelia and late 60s mod rock. Overall, Looking Back was an amazing mix of the familiar and the obscure (it had unissued tracks from Shel Talmy's Planet Records, no less) but could RPM replicate that same high bar of quality 18 months latter?
Well, the answer is "yes"! Although many of the same acts make an appearance - the Spencer Davis Group, Laurel Aitken (his soul sides but ska), Arthur Brown pre-Crazy World, John's Children, The Valentines from Australia (with Bon Scott), etc. - many of the tracks on this new triumverate have never been on CD before. Where Looking Back sdrew on the Ember vaults, Keep Lookin' delves into the archives of Spark to give us gems from Gene Latter, Icarus and Jimmy Thomas. Once again, the President catalogue is plundered - this time, with discoveries such as The Rogers' 'Blue Feeling' (think a British '96 Tears'), collectables from the Gemini label and oddities from Canada which got released on Jay Boy.
Again, the playing sequence tells a potted history of 60s music. Disc 1 is dominated by moody, snarling beat and R&B. Disc 2 makes away for blue-eyed (and brown-eyed) soul, a smattering of female singers ad some heavier tunes towards the end, not least The Heavyweights' break-heavy instrumental "Utterly Funky". Disc 3 then opens with the superb Hammond organ stormer "Arcipelago" by the Underground Set (from Italy) before some funky soul, moddy psych and groovy rock, including some Apple-related discoveries by Joker and the brilliantly-named Coconut Mushroom. The package ends with the quirky pop-art of 'Bat Poem' by the Liverpool Scene' and the steamy soundtrack funk of 'La Virra' by Arrival.
As ever, the package and annotation are exemplary. If you like music of a 60s/Moddy persuasion, this is for you!
I've submitted this second review. Because after listening to all 3 discs ( and not concluding the third will be a bit dated and naff)! This is as good as the first compilation looking back. It is more balanced than the first whereas you now have a more defined r & b first disc and soul 2 and later psych-ish last. I know they tried doing that on the first compilation. But I I found the first disc more varied. Anyway it's very good. A must buy if you like this genre.