Tuesday, January 30, 2018

New Direction: A Quick Word Or Two About The New Foundations Compilation From Varese Sarabande

The Foundations remain a band usually labelled a "one-hit wonder" despite the fact that the group had a few hits besides "Build Me Up Buttercup" back in the Sixties and early Seventies. And, yes, the other obvious one was "Baby, Now That I've Found You", the track that leads off the fine new compilation from the band The Very Best Of The Foundations, out now from Varese Sarabande.

The Foundations also remain the sort of act from the past usually the subject of cheap, rip-off comps from labels you and I have never heard of. And that's all the more reason to applaud Varese Sarabande for finally putting out such a nice, single-disc collection of the music of these guys. The Very Best Of The Foundations delivers about an hour's worth of some of the best soul-pop one is likely to encounter from the era, with numbers like "New Direction" and the peppy "Back On My Feet Again" sounding immediately like songs that should have been big, big hits too.

And if a lot of the success of the songs of The Foundations is down to singer Clem Curtis, just as much credit needs to go to pop-wizard Tony Macaulay who wrote so many of the best tracks here. Better known, perhaps, for his compositions for Edison Lighthouse and other bands of that ilk, his songs here seem to fit perfectly the unique pop-soul blend of The Foundations' approach. Stuff like "In The Bad, Bad Old Days (Before You Loved Me)" and "That Same Old Feeling" swing with the sort of confidence and pop-sass that the very best, biggest singles of the era also possessed. And listening to these numbers now, it's sort of sad to think that they weren't not hits as big as "Build Me Up Buttercup", for instance. Elsewhere, "My Little Chickadee" is a touch wistful, while "I Can Take Or Leave Your Loving" has a jaunty edge that suggests era peers like The Beau Brummels, for instance.

Still, not every number here is a Macaulay gem as the odd "Solomon Grundy" shows. A near bit of bubblegum rock, the cut is, like a few others here, thankfully presented in its original mono single version. And for that reason, and many others, the folks at Varese Sarabande are to be praised for bringing out such a fine composition of this lot, one of the best British pop acts of the Swingin' Sixties.

The Very Best Of The Foundations is out now on Varese Sarabande.