Various Artists

Ripples, Vol. 6: Jingle Jangle Mornings

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This CD is a little misleading, though not without its virtues. Continuing the U.K. sunshine pop anthology series, Ripples, Vol. 6: Jingle Jangle Mornings purports to plunge into folk-rock U.K. style -- all drawn from the Pye Records vaults -- which, as one could infer from its title, was heavily influenced by Bob Dylan, either directly or in spirit, or, in several instances, by way of composers Steve Barri and P.F. Sloan. Dylan's presence hovers in those guises over the first nine tracks here, and crops up at various points beyond. To be sure, the best-known track on the disc is the opener, the Searchers' rendition of Sloan's Dylan-esque "Take Me for What I'm Worth." More interesting though less accomplished is the Cops and Robbers' rendition of "It's All Over Now, Baby Blue," complete with an organ solo. Dylan's influence can also be heard in the Barnsley quintet the First Gear's recording of "Gotta Make Their Future Bright," authored by producer Shel Talmy. The Overlanders gamely try to do something with "Go Where You Wanna Go" that the Mamas & the Papas didn't, but apart from some more prominent rhythm instruments, there's little that's terribly special about the recording. Gary Benson offers a surprisingly engaging original that's not too far from the Greenwich Village-style earnestness that Dylan popularized, but Michael Leslie, a former bassist in Joe Brown's backing band, gives listeners a break from the serious side of folk-rock with the upbeat, cheerfully near-psychedelic "Penny Arcade," from the pens of Sloan and Barri, while Kenny Bernard turns in a folky rendition of "Hey Joe."

Listeners get to a real jewel on the Factotums' slow yet muscular rendition of "Absolutely Sweet Marie," which is harder than their Brian Wilson and Paul Simon covers, and also coming off well is Donovan's "Hey Gyp (Dig the Slowness)" which, heard in this context, doesn't sound all that Dylan-like (doubly weird considering how closely identified the Scottish singer was with Dylan during this period) -- one does hear fully what drew Eric Burdon & the Animals to the song. And then the collection get downright odd, with Nicholas Hammond's "Don't Switch Off the Moon Mr. Spaceman," which is more like silly pseudo-psychedelic country-pop than folk-rock, and "Somewhere in a Rainbow," a piece of pop-psychedelia, complete with upbeat string accompaniment recorded by ex-Overlander Paul Arnold, who might be too much of a pop crooner for some listeners' tastes. The disc gets back on track a little later, though it's never as focused as it started out -- the Ivy Leagues' version of "Don't Think Twice, It's Alright" is almost (but not quite) too pretty for its own good, while the Kytes lack the wattage or the voices to make their rendition of Paul Simon's "Blessed" that interesting; Michelle Fisher's 1974-vintage "When You Walk in the Room" is too far of a reach and too lightweight to register much, but the Ludlows, a folk trio from Dublin, add a delicacy to "You Were on My Mind" that makes the We Five's hit version seem almost like hard rock. The overall thrust of the collection isn't bad, though about a quarter of the material really falls outside of the purported boundaries of the disc. The sound is generally very good, though some of the tracks suffer from some measure of the anemic presence that characterized many early Pye CD releases.

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