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The Poets - Scotland's no1 Group [2000]

The Poets - Scotland's no1 Group [2000]

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Although they only released half a dozen singles, these were enough to firmly establish the Poets' status as the best Scottish rock group of the mid-'60s. It's true that this is akin to being a big fish in a small pond -- not many Scottish bands recorded in the 1960s, and not many of them were at all notable. But that shouldn't detract from the genuinely high quality of their records, which still remain known only to a relatively small band of collectors.

The Glasgow group differed from most other Scottish combos of the time in that they concentrated almost exclusively on original material, which alternated between mournful, almost fey ballads and storming mod rockers. Critics have compared the melodic, minor feel of much of their work to the Zombies, a comparison that holds water to a certain point, although the Poets were far more guitar-based. A minor hit single right out of the gate and a management deal with Rolling Stones manager Andrew Oldham seemed to spell probable success. But the Poets fell victim both to subpar promotion and numerous personnel changes, which had gutted the core of the band by the late '60s.

Oldham came across the band by chance on a trip to Scotland in 1964, quickly signing them and arranging a recording deal with Decca. Their first single, a characteristically moody original called "Now We're Thru," made number 30 in the U.K. Yet that was to be their only taste of commercial success, despite a flurry of fine singles over the next couple of years. The two-bass throb of the hard-rocking "That's the Way It's Got to Be," the exquisite acoustic ballad "I'll Cry with the Moon," a fiery cover of Marvin Gaye's "Baby Don't You Do It" -- all are worth hearing by British Invasion fans. Although some may find their slow numbers a bit on the maudlin side, the group had a knack for fine melodies, harmonies, and dense guitar arrangements that lifted these above the ordinary.

But the Poets were never given full opportunity to develop their unquestioned skills. Oldham took the group with him to his independent Immediate label in late 1965 for a couple of singles, but ultimately the Oldham association may have worked against them, as he was naturally inclined to focus most of his energies upon the Rolling Stones. The Poets were getting lost in the shuffle and discouraged, and by 1967 not one original member remained from the lineup that had first recorded. They did marshal the energy for a superb 1967 single, the blue-eyed soul/psychedelic "Wooden Spoon," which indicated that the band was still progressing and maturing, even though their continuity with previous lineups was tenuous to say the least. The Poets straggled on until 1971, barely recording again; Poets alumni turned up in Scottish bands like Trash (who were briefly signed to Apple Records), Marmalade, and one of Alex Harvey's outfits. [AMG]

Review of the album;
For most purposes, this is a fine and definitive overview of the output of the band that was indeed Scotland's number one group in the 1960s, in quality if not commercial success. Both sides of all six of the Poets' 1964-1967 singles are here, as well as no less than 11 demos that were not released at the time. One flaw worth noting is that the singles are not mastered from the best possible tapes; however, the difference in fidelity between this and a compilation from more, shall we say, above-the-board sources is so minimal as to be almost meaningless. Fans of the Poets (and they are more numerous than one might suppose) might well already have another, quite similar compilation, In Your Tower, which includes much but not all of the contents from Scotland's No. 1 Group. So, how does one choose? Well, that's a tough one. Each disc has the essential core of the band's discography: both sides of those half-dozen singles. Each also has the quite good, if a little scratchy and muffled, 1965 demos "I'll Keep My Pride" and "It's So Different Now." In Your Tower, however, does have some items not on Scotland's No. 1 Group, and although some of those are pretty dispensable, two are noteworthy: the hypnotic George Gallacher post-Poets track "Dawn," and the mysterious unreleased late-'60s song "Never Thought She Would." Scotland's No. 1 Group, however, has no less than nine 1963-1964 demos not on the other compilation, and although their fidelity veers from substandard to downright treacherous, these include some very good originals: the folk-rockish "Love Is Fading Away," the doomy pseudo-Merseybeat of "This Woman Mine," and the chipper "With You By Me" (the last two of these songs are each presented in two different versions). Those interested enough in the Poets in the first place to want a compilation should throw in the towel and get both. It's still frustrating that the optimum Poets anthology -- which would include all the singles from the master tapes, everything from these two discs, and other unreleased tracks rumored to exist in the vaults -- has yet to be assembled. [AMG]

Would this album cost as much in 2000 as they ask for it now? Anyway enjoy this one…..

Track list;
01 the poets - with you by me. 2:27
02 the poets - why you still go on. 2:52
03 the poets - miss queen bee. 1:56
04 the poets - this woman mine. 2:39
05 the poets - love is fading away. 2:10
06 the poets - now we're thru. 2:20
07 the poets - there are some. 2:15
08 the poets - that's the way it's.... 2:35
09 the poets - i'll cry with the moon. 2:53
10 the poets - i am so blue. 2:42
11 the poets - i love her still. 1:45
12 the poets - i'll keep my pride. 2:27
13 the poets - it's so different now. 2:50
14 the poets - some things i can't forg. 1:51
15 the poets - call again. 2:24
16 the poets - i'll come home. 2:05
17 the poets - baby don't you do it. 2:28
18 the poets - wooden spoon. 2:28
19 the poets - in your tower. 2:32
20 the poets - with you by me. 2:35
21 the poets - why you still go on. 2:59
22 the poets - this woman mine. 2:50
23 the poets - why willows weep. 2:43
24 the poets - rehearsal. 1:02

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The album code is : ODI159481

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