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The Masters Apprentices - Jam It Up! A Collection of Rarities 1965-1973 CD (album) cover


The Masters Apprentices



2.00 | 1 ratings

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2 stars This album gathers four non-album b-sides, and six tricks that had not been released up to that point, along with some minor tracks from the debut album and Masterpiece. It was aimed specifically at collectors, those who already had all the original albums, as well as those existing compilations which collected their single a-sides.

The previously unreleased material consists of three tracks recorded for TV in 1965 (covers of "Bye Bye Johnny" and "Black Girl (In The Pines)", as well as the Mick Bowers original "Poor Boy"), two unreleased (indeed unmixed) tracks which I assume date from around the time of Masterpiece ("Tears of Sorrow" and a cover of "Willie & The Hand Jive"), and the final track "Freedom Seekers", the only known recording of the final 1973 lineup of the band (with Denny Burgess replacing both Keays and Wheatley). Two of the b-sides date from the 1960s ("Four years of Five", "Tired Of Just Wandering"); "Jam It Up" was the b-side of "Turn Up Your Radio", and "New Day' was the b-side of "Future of Our Nation' (and also appears on some pressings of Choice Cuts).

Like any full-career retrospective of the Masters Apprentices, it covers their many stylistic wanderings, from garage R&B, to gimmicky psychedelic pop, to prog-tinged hard rock. The first side of the album is almost entirely in garage R&B vein, while the majority of side two represents their gimmicky pop phase. Their late phase - the phase generally of most interest to people on this site - is represented by the last three tracks. Of those:

- "New Day" is an acoustic ballad, with vocals somewhat imitative of Van Morrison.

- "Jam It Up" is the real find here. It's more well-known flipside was a somewhat awkward transitional piece, one foot in their gimmicky pop past, one foot in their hard rock future. "Jam It Up", by contrast, is one of the heaviest things they ever recorded, a 6-minute heavy blues very much in the vein of Led Zeppelin (a little too much actually - it sounds very similar to "Whole Lotta Love" in several places), with some great guitar from Ford, and Keays doing his best Plant Impersonation (and apparently just as famously intoxicated as he was while recording the a-side).

- "Freedom Seekers" is an acoustic-based track similar in style to "Because I Love You". I think I would have liked this a lot, if my overpriced secondhand copy of this album wasn't so badly scratched that it jumped literally every two seconds...suffice to say that it doesn't continue the prog experiments of the previous year's Panama Red album.

This is the classic collectors'fans-only record. The casual fan will buy Fully Qualified, or a similar compilation focusing on their hits. The prog-leaning casual fan will seek out Choice Cuts and A Toast To Panama Red (and maybe Nickelodeon), and probably best avoid any other record. But the committed fan, one who already owns all the original albums, will need this album to complete their collection

sl75 | 2/5 |


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