Australian Soul Jazz holy grail from 1968! Debut album release on Pacific Theatre Encore, the reissue label started by Melbourne's contemporary funk / soul lynchpin Lance Ferguson (The Bamboos, Menagerie, Lanu, ex Cookin' On 3 Burners). Vinyl includes download card and liner notes insert, CD in digipak and booklet.
Lead by Australia's own rival to Jimmy Smith and Jimmy Witherspoon, the '68 line up of Col Nolan & The Soul Syndicate would prove to be an Australian jazz super-group, consisting of John Sangster on drums / percussion (whose own late '60s Festival albums are highly collectable), John Allan on bass, Col Loughnan on sax and Jimmy Doyle on guitar (the latter two were also in mid Oz '70s jazz-rock giants, Ayers Rock). Early '70s Soul Syndicate recordings have become highly sought by collectors, but this album is their rarest, with collectors paying sizable amounts on the rare occasion a copy appears.
The album was recorded in Sydney while they were the house band at the legendary Kings Cross nightclub, Whiskey A Go Go, during it's swinging sixties heyday. The city's best jazz players would play there and at surrounding clubs seven nights a week into the early hours, entertaining both high society and visiting American G.I.s on R&R, a far cry from the area's current lock out law enduced coma.
Their residency would allow them to break in new material night after night, much of it recorded on this album. The album is lead by some cracking originals written by Nolan, Loughnan and Sangster including the two Mod dancefloor burners, "Shades Of McSoul", the title track and the breakbeat monster "Rivera Mountain". But their versions of popular soings of the time are more like re-inventions, such as the drum heavy, low slung take on Bobbie Gentry's "Ode To Billie Joe" and a superlative rendition of Jimmy Webb's "By The Time I Get To Phoenix", which builds to a frantic, swirling psychedelic crescendo to close the album.
"Pacific Theatre Encore will be reissuing music from across the globe, but it was important to me for the first release to shine a light on the important legacy of our own scene" says Ferguson, who meticulously restored the audio himself, which was then remastered.