Instant Karma, a short-lived (matter of months really) subsidiary of Immediate Records, is an excellent, over-looked bag of gems - and finally is brought out of the shadows of its mother label with this proper compilation.
By far the most well known artist here (at least by me) is Twinkle - so comparing that to the roster that was Immediate you can tell right away that we have got some obscure 60s British pop up for sale here. We get some exciting sides by Outer Limits, The Excelsior Spring, The Eddie Thorton Outfit, Copperfield and the underestimated Twinkle.
Those of us needing a bit of a more obscure fix than the basic Immediate Records group of stars will be quite excited to check this collection out. This is the stuff we would have heard in the small clubs in the outskirts of London - in the late 60s - in those fast waning months of '68-'69.
Tracks 1 and 2 are both excellent Outer Limits tunes. The Excelsior Springs might be a little too happy for their own good on tracks 3 and 4 - sounding somewhat like the Lovin' Spoonful - being saved only by a surprise background female vox which should've been happening the whole time rather than popping up at the fade out (track 3). Track 5 at least is a little more off-key with a Spinal Tap does Beatles feel to it (but being the real thing, that is.). It works.
Eddie Thorton comes on and just makes me feel so good: dooby dooby styled lounge vox leave us with a great treat in deed. This could've been -so- covered by one of those late 70s ska bands - if only.
Sonny Burke Outfit give us upbeat soulfulness with organ combo backing - i'm still humming this one as I write about it. Copperfield don't really do it for me - second - rate soul pop trying to be another Immediate act but not hacking it. A little too overblown and string-laden. Their second track works better - with a harmonica driven Beatles- vocal Brit-accented style. Still, I would just skip it because our babe Twinkle is up next with an upbeat soul stomper - Mickey. For some reason, this tune reminds me of Abba - it's just such a perfect pop tune (and be sure and check out the Unissued Long version that is track 24!!!). Darby & Joan is a 'raise your glasses up...' type of song, about a loving couple who Twinkle actually despises because she wants the man or some such thing, the poor lass Twinkle is in a bind. Brilliant stuff!! Yes!! Not only has Twinkle the sweetest voice, but she was quite a sexy one too - oh, and she wrote her own songs.
The next few tracks are ska-influenced. Jimmy Scott supplies us with some driving organ/sax/bongo drenched instrumental - some real soulful blowing which reminds me of the Dave Clark Five's I'm A Man (a great bongo drum solo in the middle of this 6.5 minute gem!!!!). Just skip the badness that is Twice As Much - God I can't stand them.
Vashti - on the other hand - wow - I want more Vashti - her track Winter is Blue is excellent folk rock - angelic voicings.
Bob Kerr brings us one of the strangest Small Faces covers which might be fun to play on a radio show as a lark. Actually I bet people will play this more than Vashti - which is a shame. Hmm, next up is something interesting from a stage version of Gulliver's Travel by Manfred Mann's Michael D'Abo - need I say more? Any upstanding Mann fan needs to check out these lost gems. There are even members of Small Faces on In The Beginning - so check it out - orchestral pop at its finest.
Samson bring us two tracks of crappy prog rock - so I'd stay skip 'em. Finally we get two more Twinkle tunes and the demo version of the Outer Limits Great Train Robbery.
All in all a find dig into the vaults - giving us a little more to chew on than your average Immediate Records compilation.