Various Artists : Cherrystones : Hidden Charms

Various Artists : Cherrystones : Hidden Charms


Sixteen superb tracks from the late-'60s and early-'70s that have the joy and rarity of a lottery win...

Not everyone has what it takes to be a DJ. It may look easy to just play a bunch of records of an evening, but to amass a collection of forgotten gems on this scale takes a lifetime’s dedicated trawl through record fairs and charity shops. It’s a recipe for a permanent stoop and a lingering whiff of musty village halls. But suffering all this is [a]David Holmes[/a]’ cohort Gareth Goddard – aka Cherrystones – who has collected 16 superb tracks from the late-’60s and early-’70s that have the joy and rarity of a lottery win.

Goddard blinds you with the unusual: the French space pop of Dynastie Crisis’ ‘Faust ’72’, or the strutting, castrato R&B of Little Joe Cook & The Thrillers’ ‘Peanuts ’68’. Then he dumbs you with the unfamiliar: Ennio Morricone doing a psychedelic Hammond workout on ‘Svolta Definitiva’, The Shadows doing stoner rock and Cher being good. He even has time to fit in Mick Jagger’s former squeeze Marsha Hunt on quite blistering form.

But it’s not the diversity of the collection that astounds, nor is it the obscurity of the tracks contained, it’s the way it holds together like the unreleased album by the best band that never was. Make no mistake, this is not a mix album, it’s 16 tracks with gaps in between. Goddard’s skill here isn’t manual dexterity on the pitch shifter, it’s the art of the curator. It’s the way that one song feels so right after the next song.

Morricone’s psychedelia leads inevitably into the garage rock-funk of Shadow Mann’s ‘Shadow Mann’. Does it matter that Mann is possibly the pseudonym of Bernard Purdie, the world’s greatest drummer? Nah, it would still be a gem if it had been recorded by Bernard Twatt of Garstang’s premier noiseniks, The Pectins. This isn’t a members-only club. If the Bay City Rollers had recorded a forgotten nugget of glam-shuffle it would be here.

In places it sounds like a hitherto unsuspected genre; one which mixes the taut funk of ‘Look Ka Py Py’-era Meters and the garage scuzz of the 13th Floor Elevators. ‘Hidden Charms’ leaves you hoping that there are many, many gems left undiscovered. And the whole thing has the worn grooves and static hiss of a compilation you made at home, so you can pass it off to friends as your own work of genius.

James Snodgrass