The SideKicks Sessions 1964-1967

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This archival release is a veritable treasure-trove for British beat fanatics, assembling 21 demos by the UK band Kaleidoscope, mostly cut when they were known as The Sidekicks or The Keys, between the years 1964 and 1967. The music itself isn't terribly distinguished, seldom rising above the level that one would expect from a moderately talented Brit-beat outfit who were still trying to work out a sound. Kaleidoscope was known for its psychedelic pop sound, but at the stage of their history represented here, the quartet were deciding on whether they wanted to draw more from the Beatles or the Rolling Stones, and wisely chose the latter -- they were better, or at least more interesting, doing R&B and blues covers than they were at dressing up melodic ballads with high harmonies. Not that much of their work as represented here going in either of those directions was going to get them very far on their own terms, but there are flashes of potential -- an easily forgettable version of "House Of The Rising Sun" is sandwiched between interesting (if, at times, disorganized) renditions of "I'm Looking For A Woman" and "Roadrunner," and the latter is followed by a cover of Chuck Berry's oft-overlooked blues tune "Wee Wee Hours." There are also a handful of originals represented here, written by members Eddie Pumer and Peter Daltrey -- none too good or original -- "And She's Mine" even sounds like a P.F. Sloan composition during the latter's Bob Dylan phase. The material on this CD was retrieved from a set of acetates that had long been believed lost, and there are some gaps in the sound as well as a certain crudity to the overall production, but the results are still passable as an archival issue.

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