Thursday, 30 April 2009

“A’s, B’s & Rarities” by C.C.S. [aka CCS] (2004 EMI Gold CD Compilation Of UK 7" Singles On The RAK Records Label Plus Unreleased) - A Review by Mark Barry...

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"…Hey Brother…Stay Loose…"

CCS (short for COLLECTIVE CONSCIOUNESS SOCIETY) made 3 studio albums and 7 singles for Mickie Most's RAK Records in the early Seventies before the band finally split up in late 1973. This 2004 EMI compilation offers you the A&B sides of all seven UK singles plus 5 tracks off the albums and 2 newly found previously unreleased recordings from the period.

Their 3 albums are pictured above in release date order

The huge ensemble group was the brain-child of British Blues Boom Godfather ALEXIS KORNER who along with Danish singer PETER THORUP and British arranger JOHN CAMERON pulled together the cream of brass/flute-playing session-men of the time and went after the BLOOD, SWEAT & TEARS market for funked-up rock (the liner notes name all 26 of them).

It's a generous set, so here's a detailed breakdown (74:10 minutes):

1 and 2 is "Whole Lotta Love" b/w "Boom Boom", October 1970 on RAK 104
(A is a Led Zeppelin cover ("Top Of The Pops" theme music), B is a John Lee Hooker cover - both tracks are off the 1st album)

3 and 4 is "Walkin'" b/w "Salome", January 1971 on RAK 109
(A is a Donovan cover - B is an Alexis Korner/John Cameron original - both tracks are non-album)

5 and 6 is "Tap Turns On The Water" b/w "Save The World", August 1971 on RAK 119
(A is a John Cameron/Alexis Korner original - B is a John Cameron original - both tracks are non-album)

7 and 8 is "Brother" b/w "Mister What You Can't Have I Can Get", February 1972, RAK 126
(A is an John Cameron/Alexis Korner original - B is a John Cameron original - A is on the second LP - B is non-album)

9 and 10 is "Sixteen Tons" b/w "This Is My Life", October 1972 on RAK 141
(A is a Tennessee Ernie Ford cover - B is a Peter Thorup/Alexis Korner original - B also features a "Tap Turns On The Water" brass beginning and a lead vocal by Peter Thorup - both tracks are non-album)

11 and 12 is "The Band Played The Boogie" b/w "Hang It On Me", June 1973 on RAK 154
(A is a Don Reedman/Jeff Jarratt song - B is a John Cameron original - A is off the 3rd album - B is a non-album track)

13 and 14 is "Hurricane Coming" b/w "Dragster", April 1974 on RAK 172
(A is a Ronnie Scott cover - B is a John Cameron/Hayes original - both tracks are non-album)

15 and 16 are "Sunrise" and "Wade In The Water", both from their debut album "C.C.S.", October 1970 (UK) on Rak SRAK 6751 (Gatefold Sleeve)
(15 is an Alexis Korner original, 16 is a cover version of a Traditional Air - the album was issued in the USA in 1971 as "Whole Lotta Love")

17 and 18 are "Hundred Highways" and "Primitive Love", both from their 3rd and last studio album "The Best Band In The Land", September 1973 on Rak SRAK 504
(17 is a John Cameron original - 18 is a Nicky Chinn/Mike Chapman song)

19 is "I Want You Back", a Jackson 5 cover version is found on their 2nd album, also called "CCS" [aka CCS 2], March 1972 on Rak SRAK 503 (Single Sleeve)

20 and 21 and "Blues" and "If I Never Sing Another Song" - both are previously unreleased and exclusive to this compilation (song authors unknown) - Thorup lead vocals on 20 - Korner/Thorup both on 21, which is live and also features a reprise of "Tap Turns On The Water" towards the end

The 8-page inlay has affectionate and detailed liner notes by ADRIAN BOLTON and the remastered sound quality is SUPERB throughout - warm, clear and given the brassy nature of most tracks - loud.

Highlights include the stunning non-album B-side "Sixteen Tons" (I'm always putting on 70's Fest compilations) and the two new recordings are both eerie and shockingly good. Both "Brother" and "Tap..." sound truly brill - and what top singles they were too.

When CCS folded, both Korner and Thorup teamed up with King Crimson's BOZ BURRELL and IAN WALLACE to form SNAPE who issued some albums in Europe. But if you want to investigate further and discover why CCS are held in such affection, Repertoire (out of Europe) put out the 3 albums in 2000 in digipaks with bonus tracks and they're all worth having. In the meantime, this dirt-cheap compilation is a great place to start.

Recommended - big time.

PS: Other 70's acts in the "A's B's & Rarities" series are:


fred rothwell said...

Great illustrated list - much appreciated.
One comment - Beatle Time by Larry & Johnny isn't on the Snooky Prior Westside CD. I've been trying to hear this disc for a Johnny Guitar Watson discography I'm compiling. If you know where it can be heard please let me know.

Clint's archive said...

Interesting, I can't remember ever hearing CCS, although of course familiar with Mickie Most's RAK Records. However, mentioning CCS in the same breath as the wonderful BLOOD, SWEAT & TEARS, I now find myself rather eager to catch a listen to CCS...

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