Friday, 20 November 2020

"A Place In The Sun: The Complete Jason Crest" by JASON CREST – Five UK 45’s from 1968 and 1969 on Philips Records plus Rare and Unissued Acetate Tracks and Radio Sessions from 1968 and 1969 – featuring Terry Clark, Terry Dobson, Paul Siggery, Derek Smallcombe, Ron Fowler and more (May 2020 UK Grapefruit Records 2CD Anthology – Ben Wiseman Remasters) - A Review by Mark Barry...

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"...Turquoise Tandems..."

Now here's an obscure one with splinters that went off in every which way. 

Formerly known first as The Spurleeweeves then The Good Thing Brigade between 1965 and 1966 – British Psych darlings JASON CREST were quickly renamed and signed to Philips in 1967, thereafter managing to usher out five singles between 1968 and 1969 (but no album). 

Thereafter they morphed yet again, this time into the Island Records act called High Bloom. You will remember Toploader's year 2000 poppy cover version of High Broom's ''Dancing In The Moonlight" - originally an August 1970 UK 45-single on Island WIP 6088. Once High Broom had had its day (again no album), three former members of the five-piece (Roger Siggery, Derek Smallcombe and Terry Clark) went into a band called Holy Mackerel who managed a single self-titled album on CBS Records UK in 1972 (not to be confused with the American group of the same name who had an album on Reprise Records in 1968 that featured "Classical Gas" hitmaker Mason Williams). A tangled web indeed... 

Grapefruit's typically exemplary anthology "A Place In The Sun: The Complete Jason Crest" gathers together all 10 of those non-album single sides, further outtake rarities and even finds some previously unreleased radio sessions - lumping the lot onto a 2CD set that will surely act as the definitive document for a band's whose 45s now command big bucks (if you can find them). Here are the turquoise tandems...

UK released Friday, 20 September 2020 - "A Place In The Sun: The Complete Jason Crest" by JASON CREST on Grapefruit Records CRSEG078D (Barcode 5013929187825) is a 28-Track 2CD Anthology that plays out as follows: 

CD1 (59:42 minutes):
1. Turquoise Tandem Cycle 
2. Teagarden Lane 
3. Patricia's Dream 
4. A Place In The Sun 
5. My House Is Burning
6. King Of The Castle 
7. The Collected Works Of Justin Crest 
8. Black Mass 
9. Charge Of The Light Brigade 
10. (Here We Go Around The) Lemon Tree 
11. You Really Got A Hold On Me 
12. Two By The Sea 
13. Juliano The Bull 
14. Education 
15. Waterloo Road 
16. Good Life 
17. Black Mass (Dubious Mix Version) 
Tracks 1 and 16 are the non-album A&B-sides of their January 1968 UK debut 45-single on Philips BF 1633
Tracks 13 and 12 are the non-album A&B-sides of their April 1968 UK second 45-single on Philips BF 1650
Tracks 10 and 3 are the non-album A&B-sides of their August 1968 UK third 45-single on Philips BF 1687
Tracks 15 and 14 are the non-album A&B-sides of their February 1968 UK fourth 45-single on Philips BF 1752
Tracks 4 and 8 are the non-album A&B-sides of their August 1968 UK fifth and final 45-single on Philips BF 1809
Tracks 2, 6, 7, 9 and 11 first appeared on the July 1993 UK Various Artists LP "Syde Trips Three" on Tenth Planet TP006 
Track 5 is copyright 1994 Tenth Planet 
Track 17 is Previously Unreleased, Copyright 2020

CD2 (35:23 minutes):
1. Hold On 
2. A Hazy Shade Of Winter 
3. Fresh Garbage
4. California Dreamin' 
5. Paint It Black 
6. What's It Like 
7. Come Together 
8. It's A Way To Pass The Time 
9. Good Times, Bad Lines 
10. Better By You, Better Than Me
11. Percy's On The Run 
Tracks 1 to 11 first appeared 1999 on the UK Jason Crest LP "Radio Sessions 1968-1969" on Tenth Planet TP041, a numbered limited edition of 1000 copies. Tracks 1 to 5 recorded in November 1968, tracks 6 to 11 in November 1969 - both radio sessions. 

The chunky three-way foldout card digipak is pretty in resplendent orange and red day-glow images as is the typically jam-packed 24-page booklet. The memorabilia pictured includes a flyer for a July 1965 gig in The Bromel Club (Bromley, Kent) – the embryonic Spurleeweeves set up for Thursday the 19th. 

DAVID WELLS employs help from all sources as he pieces together the band’s progress – promo photos, acetate labels, a two-page display of trade gig adverts where Jason Crest share stages with Elmer Gantry, Kipperton Lodge, The Skatalites and Desmond Dekker. There is even a photo of them as High Broom and loads of other juicy factoids (it is a great read and an informative one too). 

BEN WISEMAN does his usual job of wickedly good remastering even if some of the acetate stuff is a tad ropey around the edges. 

Disc 1 offers us the singles and a wad of outtakes that first saw light of day in 1993 on the cult label Tenth Planet – and what an eclectic rattle they all make. Faves for me include "Juliano The Bull" and "Two By The Sea" whilst the boys got a little Rock-Soulful with their unissued cover of the Smokey Robinson & The Miracles classic "You Really Got A Hold On Me". In fact out of only one other cover version on CD1 - Roy Wood's 1968 "Move" debut album track "(Here We Go Round The) Lemon Tree" - Vocalist Terry Clark alongside Lead Guitarist Terry Dobson provided all of the songs. 

Which makes the strange cackle of covers on Disc 2 seem like some other project Jason Crest were pursuing in order to get noticed or even paid. After Disc 1, it is weird to hear The Mamas & The Papas, The Rolling Stones and Simon & Garfunkel covers even if their genius shows through on the Spirit classic "Fresh Garbage". There are intriguing contributions too from Drummer Paul Siggery and other guitarist Derek Smallcombe in "It's A Way To Pass The Time" – Smallcombe getting heavy too on his "Good Times, Bad Lines". 

You would not call this kind of Psych an easy listen by any means, but this JASON CREST 2CD Anthology is yet another reason why Grapefruit are so liked by collectors – they tread where others won't go and deliver every time...

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