Friday, April 19, 2013

The Rocking Vickers - Lifelines The Complete Rocking Vickers Collection

A very competent group with mod, Merseybeat, and R&B leanings, the Rockin' Vickers never came close to carving a sound of their own. Combined with their lack of original material, that condemned them to trivia-question status in the very competitive days of the British Invasion. Complete: Its Alright! has both sides of all four of their 1964-1966 singles, plus six previously unreleased tracks; the crazed primitive guitar solo on "I Go Ape" is the undoubted highlight.

1. The Rocking Vickers - Go Ape (2:04)
2. The Rocking Vickers - Someone Like You (2:09)
3. The Rocking Vickers - Zing! Went The Strings Of My Heart (2:10)
4. The Rocking Vickers - Stella (2:18)
5. The Rocking Vickers - It's Alright (2:14)
6. The Rocking Vickers - Stay By Me (2:30)
7. The Rocking Vickers - Dandy (2:08)
8. The Rocking Vickers - I Don't Need Your Kind (2:33)
9. The Rocking Vickers - Baby Never Say Goodbye (2:14)
10. The Rocking Vickers - I Just Stand There (2:24)
11. The Rocking Vickers - Say Mama (2:06)
12. The Rocking Vickers - Shake, Rattle And Roll (2:02)
13. The Rocking Vickers - What's The Matter Jane (2:37)
14. The Rocking Vickers - Little Rosy (2:53)

A competently energetic but relatively faceless British mid-'60s band, the Rockin' Vickers are mostly remembered today because the guitarist for the bulk of their recording career was Ian Willis, who would eventually gain international fame as Lemmy with Hawkwind and Motörhead. The Blackpool band were still Lemmy-less when they made their debut in 1964 with a supremely raunchy version of Neil Sedaka's "I Go Ape," which was anthologized in the '70s on Hard-Up Heroes, the British equivalent of Nuggets. They'd only record three other singles, all of which had Lemmy aboard on guitar. Although capable of generating respectably raunchy, modish heat, they had nothing in the way of original material. Their third single, interestingly, was a version of a Pete Townshend song called "It's Alright," which sounds like a prototype for the much superior "The Kids Are Alright" (although, puzzlingly, the Who had already released "The Kids Are Alright" by the time the Rockin' Vickers' "It's Alright" appeared in March 1966). Who producer Shel Talmy liked the band and produced their final 45, a cover of the Kinks' "Dandy," which actually made number 93 in the States (where it was far outpaced by Herman's Hermits' version) before the Vickers split in 1967.

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