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The Ingoes

Before We Were Blossom Toes

(Sunbeam; US: 8 Jun 2010; UK: 7 Jun 2010)

This 15-tracker provides a comprehensive account, through unreleased originals and obscure studio cuts, of British pop-psych band Blossom Toes when they were still a jobbing young R&B combo searching for a voice amidst the flowering beat boom of the mid-‘60s. Formed in London and managed by Giorgio Gomelsky (The Yardbirds), the Ingoes got to play the hip Crawdaddy clubs and the Marquee. But it wasn’t until the group landed a residency at Le Bus Palladium in Paris that they really got their groove on, as exemplified by the closing number, a raucous live version of Rufus Thomas’s “Jump Back” that has the Parisian scenesters going wild. Along the way the quartet recorded two workman-like versions of “Help!”, one in French, the other in Italian, and kick-started a dance craze called Le Monkiss; it’s the four tracks which made up the original EP Viens Danser Le Monkiss in ‘65, including a sensational version of Wilson Pickett’s “In the Midnight Hour”, that provide the album highlights. Although highly enjoyable and with insightful liner notes by band guitarist Brian Godding, there’s nothing here to suggest that just twelve months later, they’d be singing a song about “Mrs Murphy’s Budgerigar”.

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