Over the years, Cherry Red Records and their vast array of subsidiary labels have been responsible for releasing some great box sets centring around 60s and 70s material, but ‘What A Groovy Day: The British Sunshine Pop Sound 1967-72’ is potentially one of their most quirky. By throwing a light on an era when single releases were still considered important, it guarantees a great listen full of pop laden treats. but It also provides an easy opportunity to rediscover various oft-forgotten or unknown three minute nuggets when digging deeply into the archives. As always, by mixing the cult with lesser known tunes by familiar faces, it’s the kind of Cherry Red release that should appeal to a broad spectrum of retro pop fans.
The 1960’s spawned a generation of guitarists who paved their way to stardom through vast amount of session work. Arguably the most celebrated of these players are Ritchie Blackmore and Jimmy Page, but for these genuine megastars, there were a legion of other six string heroes who worked every bit as hard – or harder – but never reached “household name” status. Unless you’re the kind of fan who devours sleeve notes and credits with as much enthusiasm as the music itself, names like Clem Clempson, Geoff Whitehorn and Jim Sullivan, for example, might not be too familiar, and yet, if you love 60s, 70s and 80s rock, chances are you own a record or two featuring those guys.
Ray Fenwick is another musician who has maintained a presence for several decades, but has never seemed to get his full due. Beginning as a session man in the 60s, he’s played with some of the greats. ‘Playing Through The Changes’ – a three disc anthology from 2021 – shows off a chunk of his legacy more than admirably, pulling tracks from a very busy career. What it may lack in consistency it makes up for with variety, and unlike so many rock-based anthologies devoted to a singular talent, it doesn’t rely on too many really obvious recordings you’ll own elsewhere – purely because the nature of Fenwick’s work means there aren’t any obvious compilation filling hits and standards. There are a lot of oddities – which aren’t all good, naturally – but, in the main, it’s an enjoyable musical adventure.
In a perfect world, Black Sabbath’s relationship with Ronnie James Dio wouldn’t have soured quite so quickly and the band would have followed their excellent ‘Mob Rules’ album with a world-conquering classic. Then again, in that alternate universe, Dio wouldn’t have released ‘Holy Diver’ – one of the most perfect metal albums ever – so, maybe, things worked out for the best.
That was certainly the case for Dio. Black Sabbath’s immediate fortunes were less perfect. Their 1983 release, recorded with Ian Gillan, was a hit and miss affair that came housed in one of the poorest album sleeves you could ever (not) hope to see. Their Reading Festival headline slot later that year bordered on a car crash, culminating in a terrible rendition of ‘Smoke On The Water’, further cementing fan feelings that the short lived musical union between Tony Iommi and ex-Deep Purple vocalist Ian Gillan probably shouldn’t have happened.
We’ve hit December 2019 and that can mean only one thing. It’s time for The Real Gone Advent Calendar!
As is traditional, over the next twenty four days, we’ll be posting a new link. It might be a video. It might be audio only. It might be an old favourite. It might be something brand new and unfamiliar. The only way to find out is by coming back each day and opening a new window.