The Others/Sands/Sun Dragon – Listen To The Sky

The Collected Recordings 1964-1973

Just in time to make POPISM’s year list of the best re-issues in 2006! Basically, this might as well be called “The modsikerhythm’n’beat adventures of Rob Freeman and Ian McLintock”, with the two of them being involved with all of the above mentioned bands, as well as the post-SUN DRAGON projects HIGH NOON and McLINTOCK.

Displaying an evolution from basic mid’60s r’n’b, through the more adventurous mod-ish freakbeat and slightlydelic pop sounds, to the upbeat power sounds from the turn of the decade, this also makes a perfect general musical overview of the swinging sixties in Britain, with an occasional appearance of characters such as Brian Epstein, Robert Stigwood, or future Procol Harum, Jeff Beck Group and Deep Purple members.

Even though releasing only one single, THE OTHERS’ name remains stuck in the back of any self-esteemed moptopped mind, thanks to their Yardbirds-like arrangement of Oh Yeah, turned into a garage punk classic by The Shadows of Knights, while the single’s b-side I’m Taking Her Home is a pretty decent attempt at classic beat balladery, found somewhere halfway between the ‘Stones and Them.

Of their unreleased tracks, especially worth the mention is the powered up, Easybeat-en take on The Drifters’ If You Don’t Come Back. The one that makes the whole thing worth the admission on it’s own right, is the genre defining freakbeat classic of the SANDS’ title tune, complete with it’s pop-art-ish noisy middle eight, with it’s a-side, the Gibb brothers written Mrs Gillespie’s Refrigerator, sticking to the Les Fleur De Lys-like mod-ish attitude, just like the previously unreleased cover of The Exciters’ Weddings Make Me Cry, which doesn’t sound too unlike a bit more ballsy Ivy League.

By the time Freeman & McLintock were left on their own, behind the new guise of SUN DRAGON, the sound turned into a bit more commercialized one, ranging from genuine Bee Gees-like popsike (Five White Horses, Far Away Mountain, Look At The Sun), to some lightweight Move-ments (Peacock Dress, I Need All The Friends I Can Get), which eventually did get heavy enough with HIGH NOON singles’ b-sides, Drivin’ Drivin’ Drivin’ and Bring Back That Love Again, so that both of them come close enough to some of The Move’s own earlier efforts.

Neither the songs’ obvious commercial appeal, nor the backing of future Deep Purple members (Blackmore, Lord, Paice) as well as a couple of (unnecessary) covers, did help SUN DRAGON’s 1968 album get the response it deserved, leaving the duo with just a couple of post-SUN DRAGON singles before their final split.

Deservedly so, as already mentioned, at least one of the tracks here is being considered for a classic of it’s kind, and here’s a proof, good enough as any, that there should’ve been at least a couple more.

[Released by Rev-Ola 2006]

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