ROBBI CURTICE – ‘The Soul Of A Man’/’When Diana Paint’s The Picture’ (Sidewalk Records 942) Nov 1968
This outstanding 45 was the work of a group of English musicians who decided to make a record after drinking a few pints of beer in a London boozer (or so the story goes). I don’t know if Robbi Curtice was the name of the studio group or if Robbi was actually a solo singer backed by a groovy Cockney mod outfit. Either way, ‘The Soul Of A Man’ is powerful stuff that sadly never gets mentioned anywhere.
It starts off with a menacing bass run which is loud and proud like those early bass bombs by John Entwistle, cue some perfect scattergun drum work and groovy brass and you’re left with an instant mod classic and sure fire floorfiller for any 60s bash.
For reasons unknown to me the record never got released in England or Europe. Somehow it was picked up by Mike Curb’s Sidewalk Records label and issued in USA. Pity then that the music on offer was way to hip for Americans in late 1968 to take any notice. Not that it would have been a hit in England had it got a release here. Men folk in Rule Britannia were too busy growing mustaches and wearing loons to be cool mods anymore.
Both sides were recorded at Regent Studios in London sometime in June 1968. ‘The Soul Of A Man’ was written by Ralph Murphy and Vic Smith. The latter would become known as Vic Coppersmith-Heaven who in the late 70s produced most of The Jam records. I wonder if he ever boasted to Paul Weller that he was partly responsible for an all out but sadly unknown classic 60s swinger.