Celebrating the quiet man of sixties British pop

Odyssey: The Sound Of Ivor Raymonde Vol II - Various Artists (Bella Union)

Ivor Raymonde.

Ivor Raymonde.

WHILE THE name Ivor Raymonde may not be familiar, the songs he wrote, produced, or provided orchestral arrangements for, are among the finest of British sixties pop.

This follow-up to last year's wonderful Paradise: The Sound Of Ivor Raymonde, is again compiled by his son, Cocteau Twins bassist and Bella Union founder, Simon Raymond (along with music journalist/historian Kieron Tyler ), and features established stars, well known songs, oddities, cult tracks, forgotten numbers, and intriguing works by still evolving artists.

Things kick off in fine style with Dusty Springfield's swinging, soulful, yet dark ("I'm losing all my pride, it's really getting bad/Hurting deep inside" ) pop gem 'Little By Little' which Raymonde produced, and the delightful, Randy Newman penned, 'Simon Smith and his Amazing Dancing Bear', a song with a possibly strong gay subtext.

Cat Stevens' 'Blackness Of The Night' and The Walker Brothers' 'Where's The Girl' are impressive early works which hint at the potential of both Stevens and Scott Walker, and the deeper works yet to come. Fascinating is the charming proto-twee indie of 1967's 'Thursday Morning' by Giles, Giles, and Fripp - an extraordinary contrast to the math-rock thunder of '21st Century Schizoid Man' that Robert Fripp would unleash with King Crimson only two years later.

There are some pedestrian tracks and 'colour by numbers' sixties Brit-pop, but overall this is a highly enjoyable collection where the oddities stand up well alongside the better known. And try not to the think of The Doors 1968 smash 'Touch Me' when listening to Paul Slade's Bee Gees' penned single, 'Odyssey', from 1969.


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