A Classic 60s Philly Band (Gear Fab Records 2020)
Although The Oxfords never netted national recognition, they experienced a great deal of success in and around the Philadelphia area during the sixties. A constantly booked schedule, including holding the prestigious title of house band at a local Hullabalo Club and appearances on regional television programs were among the group’s shining achievements.
The Oxfords also released four singles between 1964 and 1967, along with several tracks that remained in the vaults until now. A Classic Philly 60s Band marks the first time all the band’s efforts have been brought together on one collection.
Fixated on the British pop sounds of the day, The Oxfords executed their influences with raw talent and enthusiasm. The band’s phrasing and inflection, combined with a sharp sense of harmony and exuberant energy echoed the likes of The Searchers, The Hollies and The Swinging Blue Jeans. An earthy garage rock production provided the group’s material with an additional stroke of charm.
Extra points go to The Oxfords for writing a good chunk their own songs, which revealed a fine grasp of melody and motion. Accented by shuffling riffs and rhythms, It Serves You Right sails in as a tasty bite of Mersey-flavored ear candy, and the foot-tapping Help Me (Understand) further celebrates the band’s flair for coupling synchronized vocals with catchy instrumentation.
Stay in school, get a high school diploma and the world will be yours for the taking is the message conveyed on the plucky Don’t Be A Dropout, while Even True Love Can Die jangles with rockabilly flourishes. Illuminated by soft and shimmery textures, Without You registers as a sophisticated slice of sunshine pop splashed with a touch of soul.
Filed in the cover category, an adaptation of Ben E. King’s Don’t Play That Song drips with drama and heartache, where John Lennon and Paul McCartney’s You Won’t See Me is padded with brass arrangements, supplying the cut with a bit of a slick Motown styled finish.
Composed of fourteen hooky ditties, A Classic Philly 60s Band will not only yield happy memories for those who were there when The Oxfords were storming the scene, but fans of “Nuggets” and “Pebbles” type combos will appreciate the group’s nifty teen beat tunes as well.