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VARIOUS 'Scorched Earth' EMI (2005)

Scorched Earth

This 16-tracker is a brave compilation from EMI and features an oft-neglected genre that prevailed at the turn of the 1960's: funky rock.

The essential ingredients were, invariably, trite and repetitive lyrics, pumping bass, riffy wah-wah guitar, a Fender Rhodes, or, if you were lucky, a shot of Hammond organ.

This set is brave because the compiler has gone for the less obvious tracks and in the process resurrected some rather obscure and very fine examples.

It is unlikely that even the most diehard collector will possess some of this vintage. So we have the brassy CCS, otherwise known for their one-time Top Of The Pops signature tune, with 'Primitive Love', and Terry Reid's 'Superlungs My Super Girl'.

Some of the bands are perhaps only known via collections of obscure album sleeves rather than for their music, although Quicksilver Messenger Service influenced our own Man and lesser-known Gypsy. However, Birtha and Sadistic Mika Band were somewhat of their time.

One of the highlights is 'Green Eyed Lady' from West Coast band Sugarloaf. This is a super slice of riffy rock funk with a splendid instrumental break a-la-Doors that will have you reaching for the Lava Lamp and shot glass.

Nearer to home, and perhaps a little incongruous, we have Hank Marvin (one of his heavier cuts!) and Sounds Nice, the latter best known for their sixties instrumental cover of a naughty Jane Birkin song. Wasn't it the ubiquitous Tim Mycroft on organ and Chris Spedding on guitars? Anyway, 'Why Do I Do It' will prompt an unbridled wig-out with fingers spiralling upwards to its hypnotic riff-driven figures.

In summary, this compilation nicely achieves its goal and may even prompt further investigation of its polished treasures. The early seventies was a time of experimentation, where blues met rock and soul and 'Scorched Earth' is a great introduction to this wonderful free form spirit.


Review by David Randall

BIRTHA/Can't Stop The Madness

© 2005 EMI Music. All rights reserved.

***** Out of this world | **** Pretty damn fine |
*** OK, approach with caution unless you are a fan |
** Instant bargain bin fodder | * Ugly. Just ugly

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