Saturday, June 07, 2008

500 Lost Gems of The Sixties

Kingsley Abbott has a fabulous new book out next week. Called 500 Lost Gems of The Sixties it does exactly what it says on the cover and describes precisely that number of wonderful 45s from a time when buying the latest singles was an essential purchase. Those of us who grew up with this music….well hang on there, because I question whether I have grown up when I look through this book… can open it almost anywhere in its two hundred pages and find brilliant records that will have you reminiscing about sunshine, girls/boys (delete as applicable), pop, and a time when music really did matter.

Just take page 198 where there’s three singles grouped together. The Jet Song (When The Weekend’s Over), by the Groop (it was a time when such names were de rigueur), the magnificent Will You Staying After Sunday by the Peppermint Rainbow and the resplendent Grazing In The Grass by the Friends of Distinction. I’ve never consciously heard the Groop’s record, although I love their song, Nobody At All; however, I love the other two singles. I bought Grazing in The Grass when it came out and played it to death – I still do, it’s on my itunes California 60s sunshine mix. So is the Peppermint Rainbow although I admit from the evidence of the picture on the front of their LP sleeve that’s in Lost Gems that they’re a lot better at singing than the sartorial. I’ve just been reminded that in 1969, when these three records came out, that my own ideas of sartorial elegance were pretty doubtful – yellow flares and a yellow grandad vest was my regular Saturday night out wear. My favourite spread? Yellow Balloon by Jan & Dean; Stained Glass Window by the Yellow Balloon; Back On The Streets Again, the Sunshine Company (I think they did the original, original version of Up Up & Away); and My World Fell Down by Sagittarius. Have you heard any of them?

Every page is chock full of great records, some you’ll know and will have you digging out your own copy to play and some will just have you going off in search of a these lost gems, having read what Kingsley has to say about them. Every single is illustrated, either with a record centre, a cover, an advert or some other piece of ephemera. It makes the book a visual treat as well as a great read. Lost Gems is wonderfully put together by Kingsley and his words have been enhanced by the brilliant design by Gill Lockhart at Ovolo Publishing.

From the first lost gem, Hit & Miss by the John Barry Seven Plus Four from 1960 to the last, Bluegreens On My Wings by William Truckaway with Lillian, Netta and Jo you will find it a great dipper of a read, you’ll devour the information it contains and you’ll love the way the book looks. I cannot recommend it highly enough. You can order 500 Lost Gems of The Sixties from Ovolo HERE.

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