The Rockin’ Vickers – The Complete: It’s Alright! CD (RPM)

Active from 1964-1967, this North English combo deserve more than its ” Lemmy Kilmeister’s first band” footnote. With their taut 40-minute sets and clerical airs, they were favorites of the Northern dance club scene, though the lack of original material limited their options. A late move to London to record for Shel Talmy didn’t change the world, though theirs’ surely turned more moddish and they found hipper writers to cover. The band’s appealing confidence shows in the title track, a startling rearrangement of the Who’s then-unreleased “The Kids Are Alright” replete with tinkling keys and falsetto call-and-response vocals, and on the irresistibly twitchy “Say Mama.” Stay tuned till the closer, “Little Rosy,” an unreleased Ray Davies tune performed with properly Kinksy abandon.

Tim Rice & Friends “That’s My Story” CD (Sunbeam)

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Before penning lyrics for Jesus Chris Superstar and Evita, Sir Tim was a London songwriter on the make. This 21 track pre-history compiles the stagey novelties, production disasters and starlet-crooned pop ditties he helped birth from 1965 through 1969. Featured cuts include The Mannfred-esque sounds of The Shell, usually elegant vocalist Murray Head delivering the snotty put-down “You Bore Me” over a Hollywood Argyles-style studio slop backing, sexy girl vocalist Ross Hannaman evoking M. Faithfull on “Down Thru’ Summer” and the hippie apocalypse on “1969” (about as far as Gainsbourg and Birkin’s erotic year as can be imagined) and Tales of Justine’s utterly daft psychedelic morsel upon a sunflower called Albert. About as mixed a bag as it sounds, but quite a fun slice of times.