Tuesday, January 05, 2021

Chris Farlowe & Thunderbirds - Dig The Buzz - First Recordings '62-'65

Dating from 1962-1965, these 18 tracks comprise virtually everything Chris Farlowe recorded before joining Immediate Records and attaining his greatest British commercial success. That includes not just several Columbia singles, but also some obscure items that only showed up on LPs and EPs, as well as the 1964 single that he and the Thunderbirds did under the name of the Beazers, and the pseudonymous 1965 single he did as Little Joe Cook. Farlowe was a fair, but not great, British soul singer, and these sides owe somewhat more to earlier R&B/soul styles than the stuff he cut for Immediate did. On the Beazers single he gets into a ska-meets-soul bag, and those cuts are actually among the highlights of the disc. Where this anthology falls short, though, is in the slight and heavily derivative nature of the material, only a little of which was original. There's nothing to match the pop hooks of the Jagger/Richards covers he did for Immediate, and tunes like "Push Push," with its combination of lifted riffs from both "Twist and Shout" and "Do You Love Me," are just too imitative to command respect. It's not bad mid-'60s British R&B with a heavy soul flair, mind you, but it's not too noteworthy either. Oddly, the B-side of his first single, "Why Did You Break My Heart?," is absent, although all of his other pre-Immediate tracks seem present and accounted for.


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