I had better declare my interest from the outset - I had a hand in compiling this CD, I also wrote the liner notes and supplied most of the photographs... But at least that proves I'm passionate about the artist, OK?
Of course I'm bound to say that Sloan is an overlooked genius. And I do. I make the case in the CD booklet and you can either take that or leave it. But I'm not alone. No less a song writer than Jimmy Webb paid tribute to him in his 1970 single `PF Sloan'. Sloan was in many ways the prototype singer / songwriter who paved the way for many of those who would find fame a fortune in the ensuing decade.
Even when he is not being overlooked he has often been misunderstood. When Barry McGuire took Sloan's `Eve of Destruction' to number 1 in September 1965 (replacing The Beatles' `Help' and ensuring that Dylan's `Like a Rolling Stone' never made it to the top) he attracted adulation and condemnation in equal measure. Fellow teenagers understood lines like "You're old enough to kill, but not for votin'" - reflecting the disparity between the age of enlistment (18) and voting (21) which existed in most US States at the time - but to the folk / protest establishment it was, in Phil Och's words, "tenth-rate Dylan".
But Sloan was never a pretender to Dylan's crown. He wasn't a protest singer. He didn't even write folk music as such. He was a pop craftsman who, along with writing partner Steve Barri, composed some of the finest music to emerge from Los Angeles in the mid to late 60s. And here it is at last for all to hear, including the original version of `Eve', Sloan's own minor hit `Sins Of A Family' and songs that were covered by many others artists, such as The Searchers, The Turtles and The Grass Roots.
This compilation, which has been several years in the making, marks the first time that many of these songs have appeared on CD and the first time that several have been reissued at all. Essentially it includes all of Sloan's Dunhill releases bar the last two cuts from his second LP (Patterns and When the Wind Changes) which we left off simply for reasons of space (and with Phil's full agreement). Crucially it also includes the five non-LP single cuts that are among Sloan's finest work - City Women, A Melody For You Sunflower, Karma and I Can't Help But Wonder Elizabeth.
Thanks to Tony Rounce at Ace and Andrew Sandoval the sound is also top-notch. Rather than the thin, clumsily separated stereo used on the old, incomplete Anthology CD, the first LP is presented in glorious mono - and, in my view, sounds much better for it. Elsewhere the re-mastering of the stereo cuts (including new mixes of three of the singles) really brings the sound alive. Oh, and Melody is the correct single version, complete with marimba backing.
Phil is very pleased that his work is back on the shelves after so many years. The CD has already received favourable reviews in Record Collector and Uncut. So what are you waiting for?