Musically the set is all over the map, jumping genres and decades in a single bound, but the song-by-song sleevenotes, penned by Hurst himself, helps bring some coherency to what might otherwise prove a terminally eclectic set.
For fans of guitar heroes, there’s Hurst’s own “Anytime That You Want Me,” a 1965 waxing which proudly boasts Jimmy Page’s first ever recorded guitar solo, while Jonas (Hurst’s own, particularly precocious son) takes on “Splish Splash” and “Little Queenie,” to the accompaniment of a fiery Alvin Lee.
Every song has a great story behind it, as well as Hurst’s distinctive imprimatur. Fashions changed, stars came and went, but the producer was always up for something fresh and new, shifting with the times, and lavishing attention on even the least deserving.
Jo-Ann Greene, Goldmine (February 2005)
The structure of the second volume’s post’60s segment, is quite superior, featuring Bruce Woolley & The Camera Club’s original version of “Video killed the radio star”, the glammy power-pop ’72 good times of Fumble’s “Rock’n’roll school”, or Lena Zavaroni’s pair of Mann/Weil written early’60s girly pop pieces, released in ’77 (!?).
Still, it’s the ‘60s section that makes it even more worthwhile, with Mike Hurst’s own 1965 recordings of the 12-string acoustic jangle beat of “Show me around” and the one that Mike says he hates called “Anytime that you want me”, though it’s actually a more than a decent beat pop tune, most notable because it features Jimmy Page’s first recorded solo.
Let’s hope that Mr.Hurst will “get rid of the dust on the shelves, to be able to find enough for the 3rd volume”, as he promised himself, and until then, dig out some other, more accessible works of his, like the post-Stevie SDG, Manfred Mann, early Cat Stevens, P.P.Arnold … or more recently Belle and Sebastian.
Goran Obradovic / POPISM radio show; Serbia & Montenegro