With a highly impressive back catalogue of highly sought after and rare material, Top Sounds Records have again broken through the clouds of mediocrity with a dazzling collection of previously unreleased gems from the Oak Records archives. Unearthed from long lost acetates 17 From Morden doesn’t mince its words with this smattering of delightful ditties. All of the artists are firsts for me, having never heard of any of the artists before isn’t a big deal due to the heady reputation of Oak label to delivering mind blowing rhythm and blues of the highest order.
So, what have we got? The Ancient Britons are up first with their rendition of I’m A Man, famed by The Yardbirds, this rendition is a piano driven, gravel voiced, bouncing bass number, just superb! The Southern Sounds embrace that well versed harmonica popular blues sound as heard by Manfred Mann, The Roosters All Aboard sound like an English version of The Beach Boys with a rough edge. Further treat unfold before your ears in the guise of The Ramblers gruff voiced take on I Don’t Care, a Pretty Things type boogie number that would have no doubt been a highlight on the dancefloors of the hip and happening places of the 60s such as The Boat Club in Nottingham and The Birdcage in Portsmouth.
Further scrummy delights include The Spirit Feel’s cover of Baby Please Do Something, that upbeat rat a tat number by The Spencer Davis Group, the vocalist deriving this take could well be the distant cousin of Winwood. My personal favourite track featured in the set is by an unknown band, thought to be The Candydates, who deliver a track entitled Please Stay Baby, with talk back duet vocals and mad freak beat canter, the results are beyond your wildest dreams if you love material by The Clique and 13thFloors Elevators.
There’s just enough time for a lively version of One More Heartache by The Locomotion, their rendition is a slightly more punky version to the Artwoods organ driven version. A quite fascinating collection of previously unheard tracks, with Bruce Brand delivering the goods as always on the outstanding retro artwork the overall verdict gets both thumbs up. One final plug for Top Sounds is their releases entitled Radio Tymes and Look At The Sun – Precious Seconds Thought Gone From The British Underground 1967 – 1970. The former feature thought long lost sessions tracks by The Yardbirds, Tomorrow, The Move and most notably Jimi Hendrix, whilst the latter release does what it says on the tin, similar in concept to the 17 From Morden release, featuring 18 cuts of long lost psych numbers, Nigel Lees really does a clear passion for delivering classy product of this sort of thing. I would encourage anyone reading these words to follow Nigel via his Facebook for future releases he has up his cufflinked sleeve.