Billy Eckstine was looking back more than forward by 1960, and his second record for Roulette featured two remakes of familiar hits he'd enjoyed almost 20 years earlier. He also covered two average themes from forgottable movies, the first being the title song (from a Yul Brynner vehicle), the second being "Secret Love" (from a Doris Day film). It may read like a desultory date, and indeed it would have been if not for the presence of a solid jazz band and the surprisingly sympathetic arrangements of big-brass auteur Billy May.
There have been previous attempts to marshal a lot of British psychedelia into one compilation, but Real Life Permanent Dreams is a little different from those. This four-CD, 99-song box set isn't a best-of, but more like an attempt to assemble a very wide (though still representative) cross section of material, most of it pretty obscure to the average listener. For the most part, it succeeds in delivering a high-quality anthology that manages to offer a lot to both the collector and the less intense psychedelic fan, though it's by no means the cream of British psychedelia.
There is an impressive amount of variety on this swing-based set despite the small size of the group. Clarinetist Tim Laughlin, vocalist/rhythm guitarist Rebecca Kilgore, pianist Tom Roberts, bassist Marty Eggers and drummer Hal Smith all understand prebop jazz quite well. Many of the songs are taken from the swing era (including "Piano Man," "Drum Boogie," "What a Little Moonlight Can Do," "Sing, Sing, Sing, and "Cow Cow Boogie") but in most cases the quintet brings something fresh to the well-known tunes.