Sounds Incorporated

Sounds Incorporated [Compilation]

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Picking this 20-song CD up should be almost a no-brainer for anyone remotely familiar with Sounds Incorporated's playing or reputation. This self-titled CD represents the best of Sounds Incorporated's EMI recordings, drawn from one Parlophone Records single done at the outset of their career and a handful of EMI-Columbia singles, and their two LPs for the label -- only a half-dozen tracks released by English Decca in between their Parlophone and Columbia contracts are missing (and one longs to hear what was on those). The Kentish-spawned sextet had a reputation as one of the most "American"-sounding backing groups in England, honking and surging on saxes, guitars, and keyboards, and boast an aggressive electric bass sound as well, coming off at times like a highly extrovert rival of Booker T. & the MG's or the Mar-Keys. Just in terms of the home-grown competition, Barrie Cameron's organ playing should have made him a rival of Brian Auger or Georgie Fame, and Tony Newman might well have been the Hal Blaine of England, based on what one hears here on "Rinky Dink" or "Crane." Similarly, John St. John Gillard's guitar and Cameron's keyboards, augmented by Alan Holmes' flute, combine to make "My Little Red Book" seem fresh and new. Their adaptation of Edvard Grieg's "Hall of the Mountain King" borrows a few bars from Gustav Holst's "Mars, Bringer of War" from the Planets, without doing violence to this piece of what could be considered proto-progressive rock (proto-prog rock?), which doesn't forget it's a rock & roll track; and even hardcore fans of the Clovers won't mind the rendition of "One Mint Julep" here -- the pounding, driving version of the Mar-Keys' "Last Night" is also worth the price of admission. Sounds Incorporated got its biggest U.S. exposure supporting the Beatles on their 1965 tour (soundboard tapes of one of their sets, from Houston, Texas, have surfaced, incidentally), and one sort of wonders how, after hearing these guys rip through "Mogambo" live or on record, the members of the Beatles (except maybe for George) could face their instruments again. The annotation is reasonably thorough, and the audio quality is excellent.

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