Various Artists

London Look [Castle Music UK]

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Like numerous Sanctuary/Castle compilations, this is a pretty loosely grouped collection of odds and ends from the '60s Pye and Immediate catalogs, issued to coincide with a 2004 exhibit on London fashion at the Museum of London. Even though it has a few hits that have been recycled ad infinitum (the Kinks' "Waterloo Sunset" and "Dedicated Follower of Fashion," the Small Faces' "Itchycoo Park"), as well as yet another appearance of one of the sides David Bowie cut during his brief time at Pye ("I'm Not Losing Sleep"), it's a little more interesting than the usual such Sanctuary/Castle anthology. That's mostly because there are a good number of tracks that haven't gotten a wide airing, some by obscure artists (Anita Harris, the Knack, Orange Bicycle), others of them relatively unfamiliar cuts by stars who had some hits (Herman's Hermits' "London Look," Jackie Trent's "7.10 from Suburbia"). Plus there are some pretty good efforts from minor artists who might be old hat to seasoned collectors, but are pretty unknown to most, like expatriate American soul singer P.P. Arnold's "(If You Think You're) Groovy" (written by Steve Marriott and Ronnie Lane of the Small Faces), the Purple Gang's vaudevillian "Granny Takes a Trip," and the original version of "Handbags and Gladrags" (by Chris Farlowe). Admittedly, there aren't any great items here other than those Kinks and Small Faces hits, and sometimes the links to the ostensible concept of '60s mod fashion are tenuous. But there are some pleasing oddities on hand, like the little-known Bacharach/David composition "London Life" (sung in a shy husk by Anita Harris) and Jackie Trent's "7.10 from Suburbia," which is very much in the mold of Petula Clark and Dusty Springfield's orchestrated pop.

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