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Updated: 6 days ago

MIGHTY BABY were of course descendants of The Action (Paul Weller and Phil Collins were fans). And there is a mighty fine version of their ‘Egyptian Tomb’ on this most welcome compilation due to hit the streets later in April, but already up for pre-order (reasonably priced as usual at £8 for a CD including P&P); the wah-wah guitar solo is particularly enjoyable. The artists also show they are more than capable of writing notable originals including ‘Sweet Orange Sunshine’ and ‘Love is Green’, the former a folkish ballad with backwards sounding guitar giving it a psychedelic edge, the latter heavily redolent of early FAIRPORT CONVENTION. I am a bit protective of RARE BIRD, having been an avid fan since first hearing their magical “Epic Forest”, and working backwards then forwards, intent on collecting every single thing by them. Covering ‘Sympathy’, their only hit seems a bit reductionist (after all haven’t the mighty MARILLION already covered this?). However, I was blown away by this reinvention and expansion to incorporate a repetition of the word ‘sympathy’ just to make the message crystal clear (Sorry about that!) and the addition of an organ led ‘orchestral’ passage before a biting guitar solo, an excellent interpretation to qualm my reservations.

‘Tick Tock’ is an unusual choice for a cover as the record was disowned by LES FLEUR DE LYS at the time (They had changed their name to Shyster and this song was a Polydor B-side in 1967). However, everything they touch is all the better for it, with a suitably intense and strident 6½ minute version of ‘White Rabbit’, the song first recorded by Grace Slick and the Great Society, then by JEFFERSON AIRPLANE; the rocket-fuelled instrumental section is memorable. The crowning glory for me is a 6:50 version of THE KINKS’ ‘Shangri-La’. I’d call it ‘the exotic extended version’, the risk in playing around with such a classic song well worth taking as the musicians give it the full psychedelic treatment, with a hard centre with some rocking organ and wild, reverberated guitar; absolutely stellar.

Don’t miss this one!

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