Old Songs New Songs - Miura 1969
The group had over 1966 lost ground in England and after Fardons and Packham farewell the group was given the opportunity to take a short tour in Italy. This tour with new member Roger Lomas was quite successful, and the group settled in Milan and began to record singles both in English and Italian. The first "Pink, Purple, Yellow and Red" was a brilliant pop-psych thing with guitarist Pip Whitcher as new lead vocalist - unfortunately no hit en Britain. The group left Pye records and began to record for the small Italian label Miura. This extended album contains the "Miura" recordings supported by a never completed 1969 album, and a live recording of a 1980 reunion concert.
The earliest recordings on this album/compilation are by far the strongest. Pip Whitcher, though not as powerful as Don Fardon, was a good lead singer, and the 3 soundtrack recordings the band did during 1966-67 "Ypotron" and "Pioggia Sui Tuo Viso # 1 and # 2" are as good as most of their early material.
Pip Whitcher also takes the lead vocals on the Italian version of "Listen to Me" ( "Per Una Donna No" ), but left for England sometime in 1967. Two new members, Kit and Rod ( apparently nobody remembers their last names ) were recruited, and the new line-up began recordings for a new album. Most of these recordings have survived on an acetate only and are included on CD 2 of this release. The guitarist Chuck Fryers, who was also a songwriter had also joined the group. Musically the band still sounded pretty tight and solid but neither Kit nor Rod were very good singer - passable at their best though. The album never was released, and Kit and Rod left the Sorrows in frustration, Kit and Rod wrote some good tunes and one of them "The Makers", survived to get its place on the 1969 album "Old Songs New Songs".
New lead singer for the band was a guy called Chris Smith, and he's the lead singer on most of "Old Songs New Songs". Whether it's bad production or the limits of Smith vocal capeability that makes many of these album hard to listen to, I cannot tell. The harmony vocals are also pretty poor at places; so it does not help much that the playing is pretty solid on most tracks. Chuck Fryers apparently was quite a good guitarist. The most successful tracks are older ones with Whitcher or Kit and Rod as singers.
A 1968 unreleased single "Which Way" / "My Way of Thinking" is listed as a Chris Smith vocal performance. I can have my doubts about this, because this single is among the higlights on the CD - especially "Which Way" is a gem.
With the CD comes 16 pages booklet with detaled information about the band's history - well written and well researched and very nice lay-out.
Though the music rarely reaches the standards of the early Sorrows recordings - they are interesting enough for fans of early British rock.