Tuesday, October 14, 2008

The New Colony Six - Sides

Chicago's New Colony Six originally emerged as a tough, British Invasion-styled outfit prominently featuring Farfisa organ and a novel (at the time) Lesley guitar. Scoring a huge local hit with I Confess, their early recordings — exemplified by their 1966 debut album, Breakthrough — featured first-class original material that gave the sound of Them and the Yardbirds a more commercial, American garage-based, vocal harmony approach. The rest of the '60s saw the band gradually abandoning their roots for middle-of-the-road pop with horns and strings. Continuing to rack up major local hits and minor national ones, they finally cracked the U.S. Top 30 with Love You So Much (1968) and Things I'd Like to Say (1969).
01. New Colony Six - Sunshine (1966 Sentar single) 02. New Colony Six - The Power Of Love (1967 Sentar single) 03. New Colony Six - Rap-A-Tap (1967 unreleased alternate version) 04. New Colony Six - The Power Of Love (unreleased alternate version) 05. New Colony Six - Accept My Ring (1967 alternate version) 06. New Colony Six - Rap-A-Tap (alternate demo version with long ending) 07. New Colony Six - Accept My Ring (instrumental backing track) 08. New Colony Six - Come And Give Your Love To Me (45 demo) 09. New Colony Six - The Time Is Right (unreleased 1965 live recording) 10. New Colony Six - Muddy Feet (On The Mississippi) (unreleased 1970 demo) 11. Raymond John Michael / Let There Be Love (1970 demo 45) 12. Raymond John Michael / Feel Free (b-side of above) 13. Raymond John Michael / Rich Kid Blues (1971 demo 45) 14. Raymond John Michael / Hitch-Hiker (b-side of above) 15. Raymond John Michael / Rich Kid Blues (unreleased 1971 stereo short version) 16. Raymond John Michael / Bobby & Georgia (unreleased 1970 demo) 17. Raymond John Michael / Hitch-Hiker (unreleased stereo 45 version) 18. Raymond John Michael / I Can't Believe That We're Alone (unreleased demo) 19. Raymond John Michael / Rich Kid Blues (unrelesaed 1971 stereo long version) 20. Raymond John Michael / Gwendolyn (unreleased 1970 demo) 21. Raymond John Michael / I Confess (unreleased 1970 demo) 22. Junior / I Will Always Think About You (unreleased 1974 demo) 23. New Colony Six - Can't You See Me Cry (2005 acoustic version) 24. Graffia Brothers / Sides (new 2007 version)
Review by Mark Deming The New Colony Six started out as one of the better garage bands to come out of the Midwest in the mid-'60s, playing tough British Invasion-style rock & roll (their "At the River's Edge" made it onto the Nuggets box set), and they later evolved into a surprisingly sophisticated and skillful pop group that scored nationwide hits with the singles "Love You So Much" and "Things I'd Like to Say." However, this collection of odds and ends doesn't quite play to either side of the band's personality; in fact, most of the 24 songs aren't actually by the New Colony Six, with 11 tunes by the Raymond John Michael Band (which featured three NC6 alumni, singer Ray Graffia, drummer Chick James, and keyboard man Craig Kemp) and one each by Junior and Graffia, both latter-day Ray Graffia projects. The compilers also present a number of tracks in multiple versions, which gets a bit tiring; "The Power of Love," "Accept My Ring," and "Rap-A-Tap" by the New Colony Six all appear twice, while there are two different takes of "Hitch-Hiker" by the Raymond John Michael Band, and their cover of Terry Reid's "Rich Kid Blues" shows up no less than three times. Given the plentiful supply of alternate takes and recordings by post-New Colony Six acts, Sides is clearly for hardcore NC6 fans only, but that's not to say they won't enjoy this collection; there's a charging live recording of the New Colony Six rarity "The Time Is Right," "Come and Give Your Love to Me" is a fine high-attitude rocker, most of the Raymond John Michael Band material sounds like a solid if slightly over-polished variation on the latter-day NC6, "Bobby and Georgia" and "Gwendolyn" are witty novelty numbers, and Graffia's "Sides" is an admirably ballsy hard rock number. In short, if you're looking for the New Colony Six's greatest hits, steer clear of Sides, but if you're a committed fan looking for some choice rarities, you'll find them on this collection

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