THE ORIGINAL AFRICANS – “Mr Full Stop” / “Sting Me”
Here’s a record that’s a must for every turned-on party. Super cool West Indian magic to dance the night away to – both sides feature the great ska beat in a new disguise which rejoices under the name, “Full Stop”.

This is a new dance in the wake of the Rock-steady which just might catch on – a great happy sound with a lot happening musically and a fine sardonic vocal telling you how to do the dance.

If this is a hit – and it could well be – it’ll be a breath of fresh air for the top twenty.

Yet another of those American groups who turn out good records, get hit after hit in their own country but don’t mean a thing in merrie England. It’s a sad thing – some of the stuff on this LP is good indeed – particularly “Windy” which was a big U.S. hit.

The Association produce a clean-cut typically un-British sound. This set is made up of unforced harmony singing full of lyricism, a touch of the freak-outs, a sniff of good old rock and roll, and even a sitar creeps in one one track.

They seem to know what they’re doing and this is a nice album well worth a listen. And it has a good cover too.

TOM PAXTON – “Jennifer’s Rabbit” / “The Marvellous Toy”
Children’s records are usually the biggest drag since Danny la Rue, but this one by Tom Paxton isn’t like that at all. It’s about animals – rabbit, turtle, kangaroo and monkeys – and is full of quiet charm and softness.

And it isn’t soppy or sentimental in the least. The flipside “The Marvellous Toy” is in the same mood, this time about a toy that makes strange noises! It’s a beautifully produced record with class sticking out a mile; a children’s record that won’t be bought by just children.

People have been saying a lot of nice things about Ten Years After, a blues group currently going down beautifully in the clubs. Listening to this LP you get an idea why. It’s honest, unpretentious blues all along the line.

The lead guitar of Alvin Lee is very good indeed – dazzling intricate solos one minute and long wailing breaks the next. Mind you, there’s nothing revolutionary about this group – they’re very much part of the tradition set by John Mayall, the old Yardbirds and others.

But within that framework, they’re extremely good all round. Judge for yourself with a nine minute version of the Sonny Boy Williamson classic “Help Me.” It’s a moody, overpowering experience. The best of the lot, a shattering “I Can’t Keep From Crying Sometimes.”

BOBBIE GENTRY – “Okolona River Bottom Band”
Far and away the best of a pretty chronic set of singles this week is this follow-up to the fantastic “Ode To Billie Joe” by the extremely gorgeous Bobbie Gentry.

Totally different to the haunting mystery of “Billie Joe”, this is a full-blooded torrent of sensuality in the Deep South, with a strong brassy backing and a violent beat.

Bobbie’s breathy, tough voice just oozes with sexiness – and it looks as if she’ll be a big name for some time to come. Anyway, “Okolona River Bottom Band” should have no trouble at all in making the charts; it’s a real scorcher.

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