Mike Hurst

Producers Archives, Vol. 3

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Artist-turned-producer Mike Hurst sweeps out his cupboard once again, and finds yet another album's worth of forgotten gems hiding in the dusty corners. This is the third in a series of compilations dedicated to the veteran producer's prolific and versatile career, covering a swath of styles from 1964-1979, and once again the jewels glisten from every direction. The earliest track comes courtesy of Hurst himself, a catchy cover of "Oh Susanna" served up in inimitable British Invasion style. The Alan Bown's Stax-styled 1968 take on "All Along the Watchtower" is equally enthralling, while Double Feature's soulfully superb original recording of "Handbags and Gladrags" is alone worth the price of admission. An unreleased Cat Stevens song, a pair of long-forgotten Cilla Black numbers, and a pre-stardom Shakin' Stevens offering will certainly warm fans' hearts. But it's the many unheralded acts and songs -- like actor Murray Head's quite perfectly psychedelic "She Was Perfection" and Bruce Woolley's impetuously pop "You Got Class" -- that make this set so special. That and Hurst's extravagant yet invariably sympathetic-to-the-artist production, of course. A booklet filled with his wry recollections of the times and recordings just adds to the fun of this must-have set.

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