Since 1992, garage-oriented groups like Billy Childish and Holly Golightly have been laying their spirited sounds down at Britain's Toe-Rag Studios. The Sympathetic Sounds of London is Sympathy for the Record Industry's wide-ranging look at the many artists who've benefited from the studio's vintage equipment and recording manager Liam Watson's expertise (including his own band, the Bristols). Fans of the Delmonas, the Milkshakes, Thee Headcoatees, and even the late, great Scientists should find much to dig here. The Delmonas are represented by Ludella Black's loose-limbed version of the Beatles' "I've Just Seen a Face," while her former Headcoatee bandmate Golightly slows down the pace for Irma Thomas' R&B classic "Ruler of My Heart." Childish's Buff Medways bash out the rollicking original "Nurse Julie," while his erstwhile partners in musical crime Mickey Hampshire and Bruce Brand, as the Masonics, shake it on down with another New Orleans number, Jessie Hill's "Ooh Poo Pah Doo." While most of the acts are British or Scottish, the ghost of Australia's Scientists is conjured up by the Scoundrelles, guitarist Tony Thewlis' latest combo, with "Why Doesn't Somebody Take This Goddam Girl Away From Me?" The Sympathetic Sounds of London follows hot on the high-heeled sneakers of 2001's Jack White-compiled Sympathetic Sounds of Detroit. Bonus points for the retro packaging and liner notes by Watson, including band e-mail addresses and websites.
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AllMusic Review by Kathleen C. Fennessy