CHARTS, THE: R & B: LP

1966 was a good year for warbling soul and rock’n’roll covers. The Charts could be looked at as just another regional band from the time period. But these recordings, which include an obligatory version of “Gloria,” are extra magical in their execution. Overdriven is the theme for this half studio/half live document of New Zealand’s version of the Yardbirds. The first side includes their studio sessions, which are tight and fuzzy and exemplify good pop writing of the era. The live side provides a document in mono, complete with distorting vocals. Loaded with energy, The Charts sail through a set list that contains a good mix of soul and rock standards. Sometimes, the live side of an album can come off as filler, but, in this case, the live side is relevant. Pete Townsend once said that he was uncertain about the connection between The Who and mod culture. There is no confusion here. This is mod R&B all the way through, and an excellent party record. At least, my kind of party.

 –Billups Allen (Norton)