CHRISTMAS is just around the corner, and if you are stuck for a gift to buy – and the intended recipient enjoys rare pop gems from the golden era of British music – then the latest release from Top Sounds is highly recommended.
Following on from three previous “excavations” of 1960s and early ’70s BBC radio session performances with the Shapes And Sounds anthologies, specialist label Top Sounds has released its most ambitious collection of previously lost or hard-to-find tracks yet with Radio Tymes.
Nigel Lees has once again searched high and low to source missing gems from private collections and BBC transcription discs, delivering a treasure trove of very rare and desirable recordings from the likes of Deep Purple, The Move, The Yardbirds and none other than The Jimi Hendrix Experience.
The compilation gets off to an impressive start with a highly charged rendition of “The Painter” by Deep Purple, taped for Chris Grant’s Tasty Pop Sundae in July 1969 and then lost in the ether for more than 40 years. It is notable for a great performance by lead singer Rod Evans and is well worth a listen. The other Purple track on the album, first single “Hush”, is even more impressive, and historic, coming from the only known recording of the rock band’s very first British radio appearance – aired on John Peel’s Top Gear on June 30, 1968.
While Radio Tymes captures Deep Purple right at the beginning of their career, it presents pioneering guitar band The Yardbirds at the close of theirs with three shining recordings from the legendary group’s final BBC session (on Top Gear) in 1968, including arguably the best take of stable cover “Dazed and Confused”. Though an off-air recording of the wiped Top Gear session was previously known to exist, it was lo-fi to say the least. Thankfully, Top Sounds has now managed to uncover a second recording of much better quality.
Other big names to enjoy on the release are The Move – with two tracks featuring Birmingham’s finest, “Cherry Blossom Clinic” and “So You Want to Be a Rock ‘n’ Roll Star”, from the very first Top Gear, in October 1967 – and, in what could possibly be Top Sounds’ biggest scoop to date, The Jimi Hendrix Experience on Dee Time, performing “Burning of the Midnight Lamp”.
Unheard anywhere since its broadcast in 1967, the live version of Experience’s fourth single Midnight Lamp marked the band’s second and final appearance on Dee Time. As Nigel writes in the comprehensive accompanying booklet to Radio Tymes, hardly any material from the popular sixties BBC chat show – presented by DJ Simon Dee – remains, so this recently unearthed recording is of double importance.
Rounding out the compilation are Top Gear session tracks from important psychedelic band Tomorrow with Keith West, playing their underground anthem “My White Bicycle”, Welsh blues-rock band Love Sculpture with a live version of “Sabre Dance” and two colourful covers, and Barclay James Harvest belting out upbeat rocker “Night”.
As with previous Top Sounds releases, all the music has been professionally restored and the album is accompanied by an attractive booklet packed with photos, illustrations and detailed information.
Radio Tymes is a legitimate collection licensed from the BBC and the relevant record companies, and has been a costly labour of love for Nigel. The only way Top Sounds is going to be able to continue delivering such treats is if music lovers show their support through their wallets so I highly recommend the album, available both on CD (£12.99) and vinyl (£14.99), to you all.
- To buy a copy or for more information visit the Top Sounds website.