The Ministry of Sound
issued just one 1966 single while they were active. But they recorded
several albums' worth of material within the space of about a couple of
years, eventually bringing them to the notice of those who collect the
small British school of '60s sunshine pop. Too, their history was quite
complicated considering their small discography, as they were a studio
outfit whose personnel included noted songwriter John Carter, although Carter was not the dominant member.
The core of the Ministry of Sound was the duo of singer/songwriters Robin Shaw
and Micky Keen, who had first performed together back in the late '50s
in Mick Everly & the Prophets. By the mid-'60s they were part of the
house band of Southern Music Studios, and signed to Carter's publishing company as songwriters. They also recorded often at Southern Music Studios as Ministry of Sound, with Carter
pitching in with songwriting, guitar, and some lead vocals. Songwriter
Russ Alquist also sang lead on some tracks, as well as making some
contributions as a writer, with Robin Shaw handling some of the lead vocal duties as well. Top British session drummer Clem Cattini and keyboardist Barry Kingston also recorded with them.
At least several dozen songs were recorded by the
aggregation between 1966 and 1968, but the only two that found release
were issued on the 1966 Decca single "White Collar Worker"/"Back Seat
Driver." In common with much of the material with which the prolific John Carter was associated in the mid- to late '60s (with groups such as the Flower Pot Men and the Ivy League), it gave a British spin to the harmony sunshine pop of groups like the Beach Boys, the Turtles, the Association, and the Tokens, perhaps with a bit of the Four Seasons
and Motown thrown in.
Some of it also drew from psychedelia in the
sophisticated production, use of then-advanced instrumentation such as
the Mellotron, songs that explored British characters and situations,
and lightly trippy lyrics. It wasn't as good as their most obvious
influences, but it was very smoothly recorded and sung, with pleasant if
not indelible tunesmithery.
Although some of the songs they recorded were covered by British pop group Amen Corner and Australian singer Normie Rowe, the Ministry of Sound didn't get the chance to release any more records while they were active. They came to an end when Robin Shaw joined the touring version of the Flower Pot Men, with Keen, Carter, and Cattini
continuing to focus on studio work.
In 2005, 35 of the tracks they
recorded between 1966 and 1968 were issued on the two-CD set Midsummer Nights Dreaming/Men from the Ministry, most of them previously unreleased, though it did include both sides of their 1966 single.(allmusic.com)
Enjoy this british pop psychedelia
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