Various - Vertigo Mixed Andy Votel

Although a search for Vertigo's output now will return mainly dull fare (from Dire Straits to Razorlight), back in the 1970s the label had a reputation for releasing all sorts of psychedelic weirdness. Vertigo Mixed, compiled by Andy Votel - whose impressive c.v. includes starting the Twisted Nerve label, home to Badly Drawn Boy -, distills around 50 of these tracks on to one CD, doing for this particular microcosm what David Holmes' Come Get It I Got It did for lesser known blues and soul.

With no bite longer than a couple of minutes (some of the originals allegedly break the ten minute mark), this is more a collection of cool clips: heavy riffing; solos of the noodly guitar, drum, organ and woodwind instrument varieties; jazz breakdowns; folk hoedowns; thunderstorms; lyrics about pimps and witchcraft; and even really bad opera. No excess is left unindulged. Yes, it is indeed pretty ridiculous, but that's half the fun.

Barring the likes of Black Sabbath and Thin Lizzy*, the majority of these bands have disappeared into the realms of obscurity, but, for the open-minded, this should certainly make for a fascinating historical artefact, nicely arranged for today's short attention span. The PR screams "YOU WILL HEAR NOTHING LIKE VERTIGO MIXED THIS YEAR!" - and one suspects it's not far wrong.

*possibly not on the final release



out of 10

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