March 08, 2009

Wayne Fontana & The Mindbenders: The Very Best of

The sixties started out as an innocent decade in England. Take Wayne Fontana & The Mindbenders. Their hair was a bit longer than was usual then, but they were clean. Very clean.

The Manchester beat group will be forever be associated with their big hit The Game Of Love, no wonder that it is first track of yet another greatest hits album with the odd title The Very Best of Wayne Fontana & The Mindbenders. Because it's not. It's a mixed bag of songs by that band, a handful of solo Wayne Fontana stuff (he left The Mindbenders mid-concert in 1965) and The Mindbenders themselves. The Wayne-less band scored big A Groovy Kind Of Love, but never got lucky again after that - despite trying their hands on a concept album (pre-Sgt. Pepper) called With Woman in Mind. Beat music geeks will moan about its failure, the rest of the world can make up their mind after heaning three tracks (I Want Her, She Wants Me, Ashes to Ashes and Schoolgirl) that made it to this compilation. In a last ditch effort they enlisted songwriter Graham Gouldman as a member (later to become famous with 10CC), but nobody would buy the Uncle Joe The Ice Cream Man single.

Wayne Fontana is making a living on the Solid Silver Sixties Show these days, which is good news after his all-time low - being arrested in 2005 after police were called by bailiffs who went to his home in Glossop, Derbyshire. He poured petrol on to the bonnet of a car, and set it alight with a bailiff inside.

Despite the inadequate labeling of this collection The Very Best of... is handy overview of band who hit the peak of mainstream popularity and then got caught in a steady decline. It's chock full with catchy beat numbers penned by songwriters who had a reputation at stake. But avoid The Mindbenders cover of The Letter, which is delivered without any passion whatsoever.

The Very Best of Wayne Fontana & The Mindbenders is released on UMTV. Release date: March 16.

  1. The Game Of Love
  2. Um Um Um Um Um Um
  3. Pamela Pamela
  4. A Groovy Kind Of Love
  5. Stop, Look and Listen
  6. The Letter
  7. Come On Home
  8. It Was Easier To Hurt Her
  9. Goodbye Bluebird
  10. Storybook Children
  11. Something Keeps Calling Me Back
  12. The Words Of Bartholomew
  13. She Needs Love
  14. I Want Her She Wants Me
  15. Long Time Comin’
  16. Like I Did
  17. Where Have You Been?
  18. Schoolgirl
  19. Ashes To Ashes
  20. Uncle Joe The Ice Cream Man

MP3: Wayne Fontana & The Mindbenders - Where Have You Been?


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