Firstly, my apologies for being a bit late with this particular review, this compilation was released last month, however my initial review copy went astray and I’ve only just received it’s replacement. OK so what do we have? Well it couldn’t be more succinctly titled. You may be forgiven for thinking what is ‘sunshine pop’ exactly? To be honest I don’t remember when i started using that description myself, for what has always been basically previously referred to as good ‘harmony pop’. According to David Wells, whose label Grapefruit Records released this new compilation. In the late 90’s an article appeared in the respected magazine Record Collector looking in depth at the American harmony pop movement of the late 60’s as evinced by the likes of The Beach Boys, Mamas & The Papas, 5th Dimension etc etc who brought the sunshine, surfing, beach culture to the rest of the USA all wrapped up in happy feelgood harmony pop tunes. Here in the UK we may not have had the benefit of all that Californian sun & lifestyle but we certainly had our own movement of harmony pop acts, even though they may have conjured up images more redolent of Margate & ice cream than bronzed beach bunnies. As British record collectors latched on to our take on harmony pop, Record Collector editor Peter Doggett coined the ‘sunshine pop’ moniker to add some weight to the genre & distinguish it from it’s American inspiration. This new collection boasts over 4 hours of all that’s best in ‘sunshine pop’ spread over 3CD’s containing a total of 87 tracks which mingles some well known names & hits, combined with rarities & previously unreleased gems. And full credit to Grapefruit Records they have mined deep on this release turning up gems like a demo by Sweetshop ‘Millions of Million’s which was the first effort by what would become major band Sweet. The whole collection gets underway with the song that gives the compilation it’s title ‘What A Groovy Day’ by Harmony Grass who previously known as Tony Rivers & the Castaways were a pivotal band of the genre. Tony along with John Carter (Ivy League, The Flower Pot Men. First Class etc) were the undisputed kings of well produced catchy harmony/sunshine pop. It’s a surprise that ‘What A Groovy Day’ which was the follow up to hit Harmony Grass track ‘Move In A Little Closer Baby’ (also included in this compilation) wasn’t also a hit, it’s lushly orchestrated catchy hook is really very good. It sets the tone perfectly for the whole compilation. If like me you are a fan of great harmony/sunshine pop you will take delight in hearing songs from bands such as Orange Bicycle, Episode Six, Jason Crest (all bands I’ve worked with). If you’re not familiar with those names you will be with the likes of The Seekers, Cliff Richard, White Plains, The Hollies, The Tremeloes, Hermans Hermits etc, all represented by less well known entries but by no means less interesting. I think it’s fairly pointless for me to go spewing out a whole lot of names contained in this compilation, which unless you’re a die hard fan of the genre, you will probably not recognise, but let me re-assure anyone with only a passing interest in British harmony/sunshine pop from the late 60’s to early 70’s this really is a goldmine of treasures. However to choose a few personal highlights. If you always thought The Congregations 70’s hit ‘Softly Whispering I Love You’ was a great record (i do) here you will find the original recording performed by David & Jonathan (Roger Cook & Roger Greenaway) who wrote it. Another gem is The Alan Bown! with their version of ‘We Can Help You’ originally written & recorded by the great Nirvana (Rainbow Chaser). The aforementioned White Plains ‘Every Little Move She Makes’ deserved to be a big hit but inexplicably wasn’t at the time. So many of these great tracks just nearly made it but for whatever reason didn’t crack the charts or the big time. Even Grapefruit represented here with ‘C’mon Marianne’ struggled to find lasting success despite the full patronage of The Beatles behind them. Long forgotten bands like Tinkerbell’s Fairydust & Sun Dragon all deserved a better fate too. I’ve chosen to end this review by appending a video of Dorian Gray with his version pf ‘I’ve Got You On My Mind’ an upbeat summery classic which peaked at No 36 & earned Dorian an appearance on TOTP, his one & only. The song was later recorded by White Plains who fared better getting to No 17 in the charts, a great version, however I’ve a soft spot for Dorian’s version. As ever i salute David Wells for his wonderfully annotated 48 page booklet that accompanies this release in it’s sturdy clamshell box. Quite simply it’s the soundtrack to what will hopefully be a great British summer and will certainly put a smile on your face. Enjoy.