The Odyssey were a somewhat mysterious Los Angeles-based garage band, signed to the White Whale label, who cut a hot little piece of put-down punk gold in 1968 before disappearing. It’s been rumored that the Odyssey were members of the Turtles working under a pseudonym, but there are others who believe them to be members of two other groups, the L.A.-based Just Too Much and the Looking Glasses, who came from L.A.’s suburbs. Their memorably defiant A-side, “Little Boy, Little Girl,” has been compiled on Bacchus Archives’ Fuzz, Flaykes, & Shakes Volume 1: 60 Miles High.
Everybody who heard the Liverpool singer and songwriter Jimmy Campbell recognised his talent. Why did he receive so little acclaim? Much of the reason lies in his own personality, but he has left behind some fine songs that he recorded as part of the Kirkbys, 23rd Turnoff and Rockin’ Horse as well as on his own. Campbell mocked his own lack of success in “Tremendous Commercial Potential” (1971) and he once told me, “A lot of my songs are cries for help and I suppose that’s why they didn’t make the grade.”
Like many young Liverpool lads, Campbell formed a beat group, the Panthers, and on 13 January 1962 they supported the Beatles at Hambleton Hall in Huyton. As in a western showdown, John Lennon stood at the front of the stage checking out the new boy in town. Campbell was to regard Lennon and McCartney as the best songwriters in the world, adding, “McCartney had that magic, that self-confidence, and I never had that.”
In March 1964, the Panthers were recording for the Radio Luxembourg programme Sunday Night at the Cavern and the compere, Bob Wooler, confused their name with the suburb where they lived, calling them the Kirkbys. As the Kirkbys, they recorded for RCA and their single “It’s a Crime” was released in 1966. After a tour with Herman’s Hermits in Finland, they acquired a cult following and two of Campbell’s best songs, “Don’t You Want Me No More” and “Bless You”, were only released there.
In line with the psychedelic times, they changed their name to 23rd Turnoff (actually the exit from the M6 to the East Lancs Road) and recorded “Michaelangelo” (1967) for Decca’s progressive label Deram. The intended follow-up, “Another Vincent Van Gogh”, was cancelled as sales were disappointing. It is now viewed as a prime example of UK psychedelia and the collection of the Kirkbys/23rd Turnoff work, The Dream of Michaelangelo (2004), had superb reviews.