By Noreen Sobczyk
This eighty-track British compilation (save for a scant few Australian tracks), includes many songs making their first appearance on CD. Also included are a handful of previously unissued tunes (that were lingering about on reel to reel), from groups such as A Wild Uncertainty, Tony Rivers & The Castaways, The Thoughts, The Trekkas, and The Knave. The Looking Back compilation also boasts appearances by future rock stars such as Yes’s Steve Howe when he was in The In Crowd; AC/DC’s Bon Scott as member of The Valentines; and even Motorhead’s Lemmy (Kilmister) in his early combo The Rockin’ Vickers.
The discs serve as a good option for lovers of sixties British music unwilling to pay collector 7″ vinyl prices. Sure, there are Mod purists who will only spin these songs in clubs on vinyl, but for those of us content just to have the music, or to put on a CD at a party and let it roll without the fuss of compiling the tracks—this is a gem. There are only a few few songs that might prompt one to skip forward to the next offering, but none go so far as to risk clearing the dance floor.
If you’re a casual listener looking for an introduction to Mod music, this may not be your bag, but in researching a larger and earlier box set from Universal Music Archives titled The In Crowd, I found it selling at over $100 for used copies. That said, the tracks included herein may not boast names recognizable to the casual listener, but it doesn’t take an archivist to recognize this little set is worth the price of admission.
Looking Back: 80 Mod, Freakbeat & Swinging London Nuggets was released by Cherry Red on November 21, 2011 and is available to order from their website.