Various Artists

The R&B Scene [See for Miles]

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From the archives of the U.K.-based Decca Records comes a compilation with 25 rhythm and blues-driven sides, many (if not most) of which are on CD for the first time. The R&B Scene (1998) is part of a multi-volume series heralding long-lost nuggets and difficult-to-locate singles. Northern Soul Scene (1999), Girls' Scene (2000), Rock N' Roll Scene (1999), Blues Scene (1999), Freakbeat Scene (1999), Psychedelic Scene (1998), as well as Mod Scene (1998) and Mod Scene, Vol. 2 (2000), are but a few other entries that likeminded enthusiasts are encouraged to examine. In addition to the seminal tune stack, R&B Scene (1998) is interesting from a sociological perspective marking the direct influence that the primarily American genre had on an entire generation of beat-influenced mods and rockers. In a motif running through the "Scene:-related catalog, the compilers chose to focus heavily on lesser-known artists rather than tossing together a rote "hits" package of readily available selections. That said, there are a few familiar names throughout, including the Graham Bond Organisation, who deliver an energetic reading of Don Covay's "Long Tall Shorty" with future Cream personnel Ginger Baker (drums) and Jack Bruce (bass) supporting. Even though the label may have tried to mould her as a fawn-eyed balladeer, Lulu and the Luvvers let loose on the feisty "I'll Come Running Over." The incendiary fretwork is courtesy of one Jimmy Page (guitar) a year prior to his involvement with the Yardbirds. Although credited to Rod Stewart, the 1964 take of the blues standard "Good Morning Little School Girl" was actually performed by a combo called Jimmy Powell & the Dimensions, which would eventually evolve into Steampacket. The punky "Louie Go Home" may best be remembered for Paul Revere & the Raiders' original, however. Davie Jones & the King Bees' electrifying overhaul boasts its own unique attitude, thanks to a young David Bowie (aka Davie Jones). While decidedly not as luminous, two offerings from the Birds -- the Ron Wood composition "You're on My Mind" as well as a garage-inspired "You Don't Love Me" -- bookend what is nothing short of a musical history lesson for even the most studied rock & roll scholar.