After cutting their teeth playing London’s hipper clubs, Bethnal Green’s The Mickey Finn stepped into the wider world in 1964 with a ska version of Bo Diddley’s Pills, with harmonica from a young Jimmy Page (who stayed long enough for the follow-up, a rousing take on Chuck Berry’s Reelin’ And A’Rockin’).
Although the band boasted a world-class soul singer in Alan Mark and blistering lead guitarist with Mickey Waller, they were stunted by bad breaks. But their few singles also included 1967’s stellar freakbeat classic Garden Of My Mind, one of the highlights of this attitude-hoisted haul bolstered by nuggets such as the Shel Talmy-produced single The Sporting Life, and unreleased gems including a steamy version of Ain’t Necessarily So.
The band’s fascinating story, recounted in the booklet, includes being instructed by infamous London gangster Ronnie Kray to turn the volume down, and other escapades. On the evidence of the music here, The Mickey Finn could have been real contenders.