Revolution began as a dove, with a CND sign on its breast.
It became a peacock, fanning out a psychedelic rainbow of bells, beads and Beatles..."
~ 'It' #129, 4th May 1972
SWEET FLORAL ALBION
THE JOURNAL OF UK PSYCHEDELIA
no.: 15 * date: February-March 2003 (It's a BIG un!)* price: 50 radulae
Online at: Marmalade Skies "The home of British Psychedelia" :
This issue is dedicated to the memories of MAURICE GIBB (22 December 1949 - 12 January 2003) and Mickey Finn (3 June 1947 - 12 January 2003) Two nice guys, both irreplaceable.
O - NEWS DESK
O - LIBROS PSICEDELICOS - Book reviews
O - OUT IN THE COLD - Velvet Opera, Steve & Stevie
O - BOLANOIA
O - CLASSIC REPRINT
O - 'CONFESSIONS OF A LONDON OPIUM EATER', by Michael Moorcock
O - ESSENTIAL HEAVY PSYCH
O - ANITA HARRIS GOES PSYCH
O - LITTLE JANE
O - PSYCH DISCOGRAPHY
O - WE HATE THE BEATLES!!!
O - P/REVIEWS
O - EURO PSYCH - The Dream / The Rattles
O - OZ SYKE - S.Y.W.B.A.R.&R.* VOL. 2
O - LETTERS
+ - QUOTES, LYRICS, et cetera
WHAT IS THE EXACT NATURE OF THE CATASTROPHE?
This month, as we at SFA fleetingly acknowledge the magickal cross-pollination between New Wave / speculative fiction and psychedelic music, it seems fitting to preface this issue with some words from Michael Moorcock, taken out of context, but still applicable -
All a magazine "like this one can successfully do is to select some of the best examples from what was...a revolutionary period and to remind the reader that it is anger, impatience, optimism and idealism, not nostalgia of any sort, which creates the most worthwhile and lasting change." ~ Dave.
From Mark Frumento: Just published the brand new Pop Works Web Site.
It has the final track listing, the cover art work and THREE FREE SONG DOWNLOADS! Check it out:
"IT'S A PSYCH, PSYCK, SYCK, SICK WORLD":
Like Nero fiddling as Rome burns, the rich guys are buying vinyl...$1,225:00 paid on eBay for original PUSSY 'Plays' LP. That's craaaazzzy man!
Talk about gain the world and lose your soul.
PSYCHEDELIC POSTER EXHIBITION:
the US westcoast 1966-1968 from the Hieber/Theising collection,
The exhibition which runs from 23rd February to 23rd March 2003, presents about 60 posters, 1st to 2nd printings along with music of the time.
Opening: 23rd Feb. 11:00
Open: Tue.- Fri. 12-18:00, Sat. + Sun. 11-18:00
FROM TENTH PLANET & WOODEN HILL:
"The Angel Pavement comp is due in February", writes David Wells, "and after that I have Volume Four of the 'Electric Lemonade Acid Test' (i.e. the second and last part of the Spark round-up) coming out on Tenth Planet; then there'll probably be a Wooden Hill CD comp of some of the early 'Syde Tryps', though I'll be leaving stuff that's now elsewhere on CD (Jason Crest, the first volume of 'Syde Tryps') and one or two things that'll be too difficult/expensive to re-licence for CD."
Details/release dates to be announced.
SOUP FM ~ Internet Radio station February Top Ten:
1 Uncle Joe the Ice Cream Man - The Mindbenders (Pop In vol 1)
2 Little Bird - Nick Garrie (The Nightmare of J B Stanislas)
3 What a State I am in - Tremeloes (Psych Pop Sessions)
4 Sounds of the Seventies - Tony Hatch (Dig the Slowness)
5 Odyssey - Smoke (Smoke)
6 Room with a view - Young Idea (With a little help from my friends)
7 Your way to tell me go - Plastic Penny (Pop In Vol 1)
8 Everything's Alright - AeroVons (AeroVons)
9 Chevrons - Mine Forever More (Bring Flowers to US)
10 I Close my Eyes - Bee Gees (MG RIP)
Chocolate Soup is now available in two flavours.
For dial-up internet connections -
A broadband version with superior sound quality is available at -
For a mellow listen try the syke-lite/harmony pop Spinning Wheel -
***LIBROS PSICEDELICOS - Book Reviews, by Paul Cross***
'Barefoot In The Head' London: Faber & Faber, 1969.
Brain Aldiss was one of the most respected British writers of recent times, within the speculative fiction community, and without.
'Barefoot In The Head' remains the masterpiece of his 1960s writings, it is an urgent criticism of western life, Vietnam and a dense and powerful vision. It tells the story of Colin Charteris an unwilling and unlikely messiah of the Acid Head War.
The PCA bombs containing powerfl hallucinogenic compounds have been dropped on Europe. The continent is in uproar, the minds of the populace have been blown, only a vestige of the old pre-psychedelic world remains - in ruins.
Charteris travels the continent on his doomed crusade, hooking up with a band, The Escalation (who bear a remarkable similarity to The Deviants!).
This novel is one of the finest achievements of speculative fiction. A literary movement which, instigated by Michael Moorcock upon gaining the editorship of 'NewWorlds', was a succesfful attempt to raise the standards of SF writing, to invest in post-modernist techniques and ideas and a focus on 'inner' rather than 'outer' space. In a very real way 'New Worlds' represented the literary arm of the psychedelic revolution although simplistic, some truth in this assertion.
What Lennon, Barrett, et al were trying to achive with music & lyrics, 'Oz' was trying with rhetoric and polemic, whilst NW was trying with imaginative prosody, most of it the boldest and most imaginative of comtemporary (60s) writing. And Aldiss most certainly achieved with his quicksilver prose/poetry in 'Barefoot In The Head'- "Now Europe's bracken up from a basic oil-need-greed and beggars can ride so even Gelina and Marta and me can't get along in a harness and all clapped out of the big ambushes of Westciv, eh?" and:
" '...hung by the necrophage until strange phagocyte of the crowd.'
'So you deighnt insurfect anyone in the puncture?'
'Lonely Angina and the flowerhip-syrup girls.' "
" 'Everyone's touched! Don't be taken in by appearances here. Believe me, the old world has gone, but its shell remains in place. One day soon, there will come a breath of wind, a new messiah, the shell will crumple, and the kids will run streaming, barefoot in the head, through lush new imaginary meadows. What a time to be young! Come on, I'll put the kettle on! Wipe your shoes!'
'It's as bad as that?' "
and MOST especially:
"We are the strangers over the hilltop
Peace on our brows but our dreams are armoured
Fearsome in our feathers brutally flowered
Pushing the trip-time up faster and faster
Pre-psychedelic men know that extinction
Sits on their hilltops all drearily towered
As we cavalry in with the master
Cavalry in with the master
With 'Oz' and 'It', 'New Worlds' editors wrote for other underground publications, most notably 'Frendz'; whilst remaining fiercely independent, the mag also shared not only typesetters with 'Oz', 'It' and other underground mags, but an artist (the sadly departed
Mal Dean, who was also a proficient musician, he'd performed at the Marquee 'Spontaneous Underfground' sessions), similar typography, "subversive" politics, and moreover a Rimbaudian desire to derail the senses. Such mind blowing writings are an important facet of the Underground and essential for anybody trying to get a handle on the era. But nowadays, with the focus on pop music (probably the most watered-down, least-challenging area of psychedelic culture) other aspects of the psychedelic phenomenon are ignored. The literature of the period, of which 'Barefoot In The Head/ is one of the finest examples, needs to be reassimilated, in the way that TV programmes like 'The Prisoner' (a novel of which was written by one of leading New Worlds' leading writers Thomas M Disch) are (rather naively in truth) labeled as possessing an air of the "psychedelic", to provide a fuller picture of British Psychedelia.
SEAN EGAN 'Not Necessarily Stoned, But Beautiful: The Making Of 'Are You Experienced'. Unanimous Ltd.: London, 2002. ISBN 1-903318-54-8
The breezily written book crackles with an excitement and love for Hendrix which is contagious and enjoyable to witness. Its narrow scope- the period preceding to and the making of the debut album by the Jimi Hendrix Experience. The specificity of aim allows the author to maintain a high degree of focus; and yet he never gets bogged down in train-spotter minutiae, so the text retains its fluidity.
Much of what is contained within these pages is not new, although Egan has tidied up a few points made by previous writers. But it is the personal perspective, something too often lacking in objectivity-based history/criticism, which brings it all to life.
It is also pertinent to note the acknowledgement of the influence of science fiction on Hendrix's work - specifically, Philip José Farmer on 'Purple Haze', and George R stewart on '3rd Stone From The Sun' (described by Charles Shaar Murray as "complete science fiction wonderland, a Trekkie on acid"!) ; as well as the influence of Noel Redding's mum's fireplace on 'Fire'. And also let's not forget that this album, so remarkable and culturally of such devastating importance, was made on an almost non-existent budget, in short time, with very basic studio technology. Hendrix's solution to a recording problem? Add another Marshall amp!
I wager that no-one can read this book without being desirous of hearing the music.
All we now need is to find Jimi's lost De Lane Lea recording, 'Teddy Bears Live Forever'.
***From 'The Bumper Book Of Psych Quotations', by Roger St. John***
Entry No. 67a
- IAN McLAGAN (taken from his autobiography 'All The Rage'):
"George Chkiantz, the tape operator, was sitting in his usual position, leaning back in his chair, his feet up on the control-room window-ledge.
While punching the controls of the tape machine with one hand, he was engrossed in the book he was holding the other. Glyn arranged the microphones, engineered, edited and mixed all of our sessions, and the tape operator's lot was to load the spools of tape, and stop, start and rewind the Ampex eight-track machine. It was pretty unrewarding work, and as an educated fellow, he was under-employed and unashamedly bored. Glyn was searching for a different sound or effect but was at a loss temporarily until George surfaced from his book and suggested an effect called 'phasing', utilising another type machine running at a slightly different speed to the first. Apparently he'd seen it used at a Beatles' session only a few weeks before. It took a few minutes to set up, but Glyn eventually used the effect on Kenney's drum track, and although I believe the song would have been a hit without it, the sound caught everybody's attention and we had another big hit under our belts. We're often wrongly credited with using phasing first, but in fact, the credit should go to Toni Fisher, who used it on her 1959 hit 'The Big Hurt', even before The Beatles. 'Itchycoo Park' was the follow up to 'Here Come The Nice' and it shot up to number three in the UK charts."
***OUT IN THE COLD***
by Jason Scott
VELVET OPERA - 'Ride A Hustler's Dream' (CBS 63692) 1970.
For the overwhelming majority of psych fanatics it is probably true to say that Velvet Opera sans Elmer Gantry are pants. And it doesn't help that N. Lees didn't even include them in his series, although this is most probably due more to lack of knowledge than any deliberate exclusion.
The close adherence of the earlier band to the tenets of psychedelia dissolved somewhat once Elmer was no longer on the scene, and their clear focus and sense of direction, together with a superb and distinctive sound, was sadly lost. New boy Paul Brett attempted to pull the band in a different (unsuitable)direction. The results of which were not wholly convincing.
However, there are enough treats on this LP to warrant both investigation by Psych-Heads, and its admission into the psych canon.
Firstly though, let's jettison the crap - 'Ride A Hustler's Dream', 'Statesboro Blues', 'Black Jack Davy', 'Anna Square Dance', and 'Depression'. These veer between country, blues and folk. They are totally unnecessary and now serve only to show how bad things had got. They paint a picture of a band totally lost, not knowing what to play, or how to progress...
But now for the good stuff...
'Money By' - A beefy rock-pop hybrid with tons of classy, flanged guitar, double tracked vocals, a weird morris dancing middle-eight, and a climax awash with handclaps and phasing!
'Raise The Light' - Brilliant post-psych stuff. Sub Procol Harum or Small Faces, with amazing Hammond, phased drums, acoustic guitar interludes, one of Paul Brett's best vocal performances and loads of effects... Yes, once upon a time, most British music was THIS good.
'Raga' - No prizes for guessing this is a traditional, sitar-lead Indian instrumental. Reminiscent of 'Air' off the EGVO LP, joined to 'Glimpses' By The Yardbirds. Some backwards tapes, especially towards the end, liven things up.
'Don't You Realize' - Starts where 'Mother Writes' stops. Riff-some.
'Warm Day In July' - A hippie masterpiece of sorts. A little girl's peculiar, stilted monologue (think: 'Hole In My Shoe') leads us into a beatific garden paradise. Alternately folky and trippy it conjurs a mood from acoustic guitar, flute and finger cymbals...
'Eleanor Rigby' - A solid prog instrumental version. Its multiple sections include heavier (rock) and soft, acoustic passages. With some very decent fuzz licks and a feel that's kinda 'Classical Gas' meets the sound of the '69 underground. It's recommended. Nice 'n' silly "studio trickery" ending too.
When this album is bad, oh dear...it's very bad. BUT when it's good it's great. It features some really nice transitional material, still with a marked psychedelic flavour.
STEVIE, by Paul Cross
Among a plethora of long lost and never reissued recordings is an eponymous album by Steve & Stevie (Toast TLP2) 1968. Much in demand of late, (although copies are decidedly thin on the ground) like a large number of psych-related UK rarities its Record Collector Price Guide "value" is disproportionately low in comparison to its rarity. Toast was a small label, mainly of interest to soul fans, whose pressing runs wouldn't, to say the least, have been overly large,and sales would have been simply minuscule.
The Steve & Stevie story is too well known to recount here in full, but briefly Steve Kipner and Stevie Groves were both formerly in Aussie bands of some renown and Kipner's dad, Nat, was The Bee Gees producer (and producer of this LP),when they were still based downunder. Steve & Stevie were also both involved in The Fut, together with Bee Gees members. Then they formed Tin Tin, cutting some nice 45s, and a couple of great pop syke LPs, Steve K. later went on to great success as a songwriter. The front of the sleeve is somewhat reminiscent of that collage of Grapefruit studio shots.
This LP, on which all tracks are self-penned, opens with 'Merry Go Round' - melodic orchestrated popskye which sets the mood for this LP. Nice 'Eleanor Rigby'-style strings and a waltz/carousel time structure in parts. Same groove is maintained on 'Remains To Be Seen', which is a Bee Gees-styled track with a slight trace of oompah oompah that's also reminiscent of material on the Hollies 'Evolution' LP - another great piece of pop syke.
'Sunshine On Snow' harp dominated orchestral ballad, it's the very essence of Xmas, very twee. 'Liza' is very groovy indeed - funky rhythm, rolling piano and a story of an irresistible girl with no morals (Yes Please!) Could have been a hit, irresistibly catchy, late 60s pop. Next two are very Bee Gees-sounding - 'As I See My Life' another effortlessly professional ballad.
'Shine' is of course stunning. Simply one of the best tracks of '68 swirling summery pop psychedelia. A Cecil B de Mille production (and how lovely to hear it of late on Chocolate Soup FM!).
Side Two opens with 'To Whom It May Concern', a suicide note turned into another gem of a pop syke ditty (oh, how tasteless!) with a Graham Gouldman-feel and full orchestral backing "Go On Get It Over With!" the backing vocals taunt. Nice eh? 'Melissa Green' is part of a huge gaggle of late-60s songs entitled with girls' names, nice but now't exceptional and
Hermans-styled (again the GG influence); 'She's Getting Married' is commercial, above average 60s pop, still with a hint of a mellow pop syke vibe and more waltz rhythms.
'The Birds' is a tale of a boy trying to get his bird into bed -"its up to you to make a happy man out of me" cheeky devil! overlaid (pardon the pun) on a bed of more superb strings.
Some mid/up-tempo grooviness up next, with 'I Can See It In The Moon': classy orchestrated pop with the LP's invariably present touch of a syke.
'Fairy Tale Princess' is getting into Donovan territory, gentle and sentimental it's perhaps too syrupy for the majority of 21st century palettes.
A really nice album totally pop (pop-syke as opposed to psych-pop), with absolutely nothing "rock" about it, wherein a spirited, fun vibe predominates.
***BOLANOIA by Michael Walters & Dave Thubron***
Rex should be stamped out, along with their gaseous aider and
abetter, John Peel" - Reader's letter to Melody Maker, 1968.
As we should all be aware, it's just over 25 years since the tousle-haired bopping elf smashed into a tree and sent his soul flying off to Mordor.
Since his death a veritable mountain of tripe has arisen, it threatens to obliterate his true legacy. Here, we add the SFA view to that huge pile....
Bolan had a genius for self presentation. He was a changeling who slid easily between identities - ace face mod, Jewish boy folk popper, Dylan copyist, John's Children anarchist, bongos in the dirt hippie, glam rocker, cosmic punk and bloated drunk - jumping on every bandwagon just long enough to carry him onto the next fad.
'The Wizard' /'Beyond The Rising Sun' 45 contained the lyrical characteristic of the Tyrannosaurus Rex sound, which Bolan would reprise throughout '67-'70: a supernatural subject matter, but mercifully delivered not in his ear bashing nanny goat warble but in a Dylanesque whine. Recorded on September 14, 1965, and despite the backing tracks being attractive but relatively ordinary orchestrated beaty pop, these two songs are most probably the earliest prototype examples of British psychedelia, at least lyrically speaking.
When the single was released a couple of months later (on November 19, 1965) it fell on deaf ears. It is lyrically the earliest most fully-formed recording that would within a year be recognised as psychedelia. But as Mark Paytress puts it - "Perhaps it was a bit too ehteral, a hippie fable on 45 before there were any hippies around to appreciate it."
'The Wizard'/Beyond The Rising Sun' 45 is an important recording whatever way you look at it. Other notable early "psych" compositions include 'The Perfumed Garden Of Gulliver Smith' and 'Eastern spell'.
Let's be frank. Most of John's Children's recordings are from that nefarious zone where "it's so bad it's good" is the rule.
They were SNB pop puppets whom, if rather lacking in musical talent, did have bucket loads of attitude, and an overwhelming desire for outrage and shock. But John's Children were NEVER hippies. They flirted with fashionable Flower Power (and most noticeably, in a 'live' setting, with the "freak out" sound, but obstensibly to conceal their embarrassing musical deficiencies), in much the same say that other mod bands did. As bandwagon jumpers with only their immense appetite for fame and "avin a larf", they could not and did not interest (the equally shallow) Bolan for long. His short tenure with the band (c.Feb - July '67) at least produced their most worthwile recordings -'Desdemona', 'Midsummer Night's Scene', 'Sara Crazy Child'. As soon as Bolan's patience was exhausted, he quit. Bolan was always (and certainly thought himself) bigger than the band and resolutely refused to be subsumed.
If we're honest about his early Tyrannosaurus Rex work we can state that the hippie dippy lyrics are great, highly evocative and with the right pseudo-poetic touch. I mean, try these (picked at random)...
"Gazelle girl striding through your palace
Precious jewels nestle in your hair
Rameses born with platinum future
Take my heart and care."
(from 'Afghan Woman')
"Harlequin stands magnificent
Slaughtered tulip in the psalm of his lillywhite.
Harlequin stands theatrical
Mincing smirk dancing on the hip of his lip."
(from 'Oh Harley (The Saltimbanques)')
"Shadow cloak swift as a swallow,
Pantaloon down in the hollow,
Dancing, his voice like a cloud
In the death of my night."
(from 'The Travelling Tragition')
"Warm and wise as a mute
In the thunderbolt suit
Princely and torn, grasping the horn
Of the meanads of May."
"Vineyards spangled with love
For the white dove above
Green and lean from the waste
Of the pastures of chaste
Preciously he is whole."
(from 'Like A White Star,Tangled And Far, Tulip, That's What You Are')
But the home-spun, "make do and mend" philosophy, Visconti's inept, low-budget production; and worst of all, the "extreme voice" (read: tuneless warbling & impenetrably obscure diction) so beloved by John Peel, not only ruin the picture painted by the lyrics, but is to most ears inordinately irritating, repetitive to the point of brain numbing exhaustion. Personally,
I (MW)have been unable to listen in their entirety to any of the first 3 LPs for at least 20 years. The first two LPs are not really very good, except maybe 'Strange Orchestras' and 'Child Star'. As Charles Shaar Murray wrote: " due to Bolan's enunciation (or lack of it) and the absence of a lyric sheet, it's hard to tell what he's going on about, and the drabness of the production makes it tiresome to listen to just as sound".
MARK BOLAN: HIPPIE:
Some see Bolan as a transient, plastic hippie. With no deep loyalty but simply a follower of fashion:
"Marc wasn't a hippie. Most hippies practised free love and took a lot of drugs like acid. He abhorred drugs in those days, and he certainly wasn't into free love. He was a mod dressed up as a hippie"- Tony Visconti.
"Marc seemed loke someone who had decided that being a hippie was the "in" thing, and had switched froim taking Black Bombers to smoking good Afghan hash. I felt there was no conviction in his acousticness. It was just a musical change that went along with the change of drug and the change of dress" - Joe Boyd.
And yet Bolan's lyrical adherence to the tenets of psychedelia outlasted most of his more celebrated fellow travellers - the Beatles, Floyd et al, who had all jumped ship at the first signs of a sea change, and as late as 1970 he was still delivering his hippie dippy nonsense.
"And he was into the spiritual path. We all were" - Jeff Dexter.
'BEARD OF STARS':
It is with the 'Beard of Stars' LP and the advent of electricity one hears how those LPs should have sounded. More fully formed less frenetic accompaniment. In fact Beard Of Stars- most fully-realised Tyrannosaurus Rex LP sound-wise. It is only here that the voice begins to lean towards clearer enunciation and a backing which does the lyric some justice. Marc's new £12 Woolworth's chord organ and rudimentary guitar playing, beefed up by fuzz overload push the Tyrannosaurus sound more into the rock field than they'd hitherto ventured. Up to this point they were never really folk, or really rock.
PRELUDE TO THE SEVENTIES:
On 'Unicorn' there is early evidence of Bolan's 70s sounds in the form of the Ronettes/Dion/Wall of Sound quotations. Also interestingly, the overdubbed teenage audience screams on 'By The Light Of A Magical Moon' presage the hysterical screams of real teenage girls, long wished for and now only months away...
Bolan also had a genius for pop which reached its zenith in T.Rex produced a synthesis, comprised from separate elements none of which were new, he produced something wholly original.
Bolan always saw himself as an artist, taking his poetasting seriously enough to issue a volume of poetry ... in 1969.
"Bolan was a complete arsehole, the way he turned over Peel and everything else. Quite clearly he was just a very ambitious little kid who wanted to become a pop star...He'd sussed that the way through for him was by being a little hippie. He used me and he used John Peel." - Peter Jenner.
'Ride A White Swan' was not the parting of ways it is now assumed to be.
Recording for the track started on )1st July 1970, it was finally released on 19th October, 1970 and was supported by John Peel. Who said BUY IT, or his "retribution will be swift and terrible - indeed it will" (Disc, 1970)
The album 'T Rex' contiande a similar balance of acoustic to electric material as had the previous 'Beard of Stars' LP. Of the contents, 'The re-worked 'The Wizard' was still defiantly hippie, and 'Summer Deep', 'Suneye', 'Root of Star'and 'Is it Love' were all still in a recognisably Tyrannosaurus Rex-stylee, particularly the last mention track with its fuzz drone.
FROM HIPPIE TO TEENYBOP & GLAM:
The 5th LP (the first as T.Rex) was in itself a transitional album. It is sometimes incorrectly viewed as fundamentally different from all that went before. But it has elements to both the new/pop-glam sound and the recently-jettisoned hippie incarnation.
Bolan abandoned his epic concept 'Children of Rarn' to concentrate on pop market. It was only at the Weeley festival that T.Rex severed all ties with the underground.
THE BREAK WITH HIPPIE:
"Once he was fair and had stars up his nose. Now he just wiggles his bottom"
The change from Hippie to teenybopper was a gradual one for Bolan. The first T Rex album (1970) is a transitional work a mix of the new style and Tyrannosaurus Rex type material. If there is one definitive moment which signifies the break with the underground it is T Rex's appearance at the Weeley Festival of Progressive Music 29th August 1971. Booed and insulted by the rowdy audience Bolan reacted angrily. To the outside world the gentle band playing to a subdued appreciative gathering on hippies was gone. Bolan himself publically retained for a time some of his old ideals. For a while at least. But in private his vegetarianism gradually ebbed away. By mid-1973 he had exchanged macrobiotics and fruit juices for greasy chicken, junk food and booze.
GLAM: BASTARD BRAT OF HIPPIE:
Hippie conceived Glam. But the offspring was not in its likeness.
Progressive rock was an extension and refinement of psychedelic creativity into virtuosity, and expansiveness. But Glam was the ungrateful child. A truculent reactionary/counter revolutionary who rejected Hippie's liberal worldwide and ethical of self-improvement and self discovery for a return to Hollywood glamour, the star system and materialism and a simplified soundtrack derived not from the 60's, but heretically from vintage 50's rock & roll. It was the wholehearted yearning for fun (something lacking in music in 1970) which incited fan hysteria in those earnest post hippie times. As surely as the Nihilist-Trotskyite Baader-Meinhof gang were children of Nazi parents. It was also a rejection of the very concept of the Liberal notion of progression itself and a luddite return to good time music. Once all the philosophy had been jettisoned there remained only the visuals - an over-elaborated and extended reduction ad absurdam, as important as sound.
The silk, satin Day-Glo colours versus mud-spattered denims, a continuation of hippie's unisex idealism .
"Glitter replaced the rhetoric, sequins, beads, and decadence replaced politics. [But] while styles changed, the search for sensations continued" - John Street.
Around the same period shops like 'Paradise Garage', 'Mr Freedom' and by end of '71 Malcolm McLaren's 'Let It Rock', and even former hippie couturiers extraordinnaires such as 'Granny Takes A Trip' and 'Alkasura' were selling fifties-inspired fun threads to pop aristocrats.
"Camp and infantilism triggered by the hippies' celebration of childhood as the ideal state - John Savage & "As the sheer drive of pop modernism faltered, the era of decade style-revivals began. Style replaced content; clothing became costume."
Whilst the prima facie element of which Glam Rock is comprised - throwback 50's riffs & posturings (which themselves rode on the back of the Rock & Roll revival which had began around '68)are decidedly unoriginal in an early-70s context, the result of the amalgam with new recording techniques and a post-modern/trash aesthetic was wholly original, and lead very much to a return to pop's glory days.
MICHAEL MOORCOCK - SCIENCE FANTASY:
Moorcocks Elric chronicles are the point where Bolan's themes meet those of Hawkwind: Dungeons and dragons for the acid generation. Interestingly Hawkwind's music is labelled 'cosmic rock', the same title Bolan used to describe his own work
THE HIPPIE HANGOVER:
Traces of Hippie in Bolan's later work -
1. "The Children of Rarn" was to have been Bolan's hippie concept opus magnus: "our Tommy, our Sgt. Pepper, our big rock opera", said Tony Visconti. An absurd, conceited tale, part Tolkienesque pastiche, part science fantasy epic. Set in prehistory, it concerns the struggle of two tribes, the Dworns and the Peacelings; symphonic in scale and fragmentarily debuted on the LP 'T Rex' - it is also interesting to note that 'The Children of Rarn' was one of the provisional titles of the 'T Rex' album giving the lie to the belief that by this date everything was simplified. It developed out of Bolan's 1968 scribblings, 15 minutes were recorded in 1971.
But Bolan was cute enough to realise that his pubescent female audience wanted formulaic boogie pop 45s not double albums of mystical clap trap. And yet as late as May '74 he was still toying with the idea although by this stage it had changed beyond recognition.
2. Titular Verbosity - it is too easily assumed that it was an economy of words which marked T.Rex as different from Tyrannosaurus Rex. But short titles literary concise were there from the start ('Star Child', 'The Wizard', 'Deborah' 'Unicorn'...), and such lyrical conciseness of 1968 - can be contrasted with the word salad of the 1970s ('Zinc Alloy...Painless Persuasion v. The Meathawk Immaculate', 'The Leopards featuring Gardenia And the Mighty Slug'...
3. The Reissues of 1972 - it seems that a lot of T Rex's young audience could not or did not wish to discern any distinction between the early and later work. For the re-release of 'Debora (did far better than first time round) and the repackaging of the first 4 LPs as 2 doubles sold not insignificantly to his new screaming audience.
4. Hippie-ish recordings - As late as 'Electric Warrior' Bolan and moreover Visconti were still utilising techniques most usually associated with psych-pop - phasing, reverb, backwards guitar, Mellotron, overloaded pre-amps, tape loops ... - achieve their vision albeit refined and overdubbed into a veneer rather than one of the 2 smooth tracks on the flip of 'Hot Love' (itself a little more than a sophisticated re-run of 'Hot rod Mama') a rolling aural melee.
Or perhaps even these 1974 lyrics which bear a faint hippie palimpsest-
"Bent spent, psychedelic mailman's head,
Gorging up my spokes like the ghostly dead.
Ally pally angel chewing up my blues"
(from 'Venus Loon')
Another more readily "psych" influence is discernable in the 'King Of The Mountain Cometh' a self-referential (and self-reverential!) nod to 'The King of the Rumbling Spires'. Described as "an obvious sop to the old loyalists", it is more to the point proof that although Bolan was unlearning but he wasn't doing it overnight.
The early Marc Bolan saw himself very much as a poet who made music, a Romantic figure. His lyrics were conceived in what he liked to think of as an inspired state, delivered by guardian Angel. His poetic pretensions lead to the publication of 'The Warlock of Love' (Lupus, 1969). An essential read for anyone wanting to become acquainted with Bolan's late-60s mind set or hippie poetry (well, what passed for such). But by 1972 he was saying "You can quote words of lyrics but they're not poems, they're songs."
MARC BOLAN: SUPERSTAR?:
Eighteen months of high profile fame, chart success and teen adoration in the UK and to a lesser extent in some Western countries. OK, he has to date sold a lot of records (the exact figure of which is unknown and much disputed), but he enjoyed no breakthrough success in the US. Does this substantiate the "superstar" tag? No, it's a misappropriation. A superstar is someone of whom you ask anyone aged from 8 to 80 if they've heard, such as The Beatles, Stones, Queen, Elton John, they'll doubtless mostly answer YES. Then ask the same group of people if they've heard of Marc bolan...
The superstar tag was one of those daft tabloid label which has stuck. It may even have seemed true at the time to journo drunks in need of a story, confronting hordes of screaming girls.
And given that it's pure supposition, based on the way things were going, it is highly unlikely that had he lived Bolan would ever have regained his 1971 fame.
Acknowledgments: Charles Shaar Murray, Mark Paytress
(Next issue: Steve Took)
CHILDREN - 'The Perfumed Garden Of Gulliver Smith'
(Words and Music by Marc Bolan)
I'm walking in the perfumed garden of Gulliver Smith
He said that I count candles waving faintly
We're always laughing at him
Because he was so un-attractive
And so sadly hating things
He saw there was no more
Pleasant touch, and he sees
I'm sadly smiling to his friends
Whose enemies would always lend
A kind of mark a kiss to spark
A key to enter in the dark
A hidin' place a place to make a paradise to forsake
All your cares no no stairway people
And I dare you to scream, while in a dream
I'm talking in the perfumed garden of Gulliver Smith
He said that I was right and he was wrong
To play upon a Chinese gong
And as I look to my dismay
The night-time faded into day
Proclaim, sacrifice, killing all that was na-na-na-na-na-nice
Turning round with insane cries
'The Wizard' by MARC BOLAN.
Walking in the woods one day
I met a man who said that he was magic
Wonderful things he said
Pointed hat upon his head
Knew why people laughed and cried
Why the lived and why the died
Shadows followed him around
He walked the woods without a single sound
Golden eagles at his door
Cats and bats played on the floor
Silver sunlight in his eyes
The wizard turned and melted in the sky.
From the NME,
August 10, 1968:
TYRANNOSAURUS REX, POP MONSTER IN THE MAKING By Nick Logan.
One of the more pleasing trends in recent months and a healthy one for pop in general has been the appearance in the NME Album Chart of more and more groups and artists who still enjoy singles success.
Those who solely consult the singles placings as a guide to popularity should cast their minds to the album charts at the foot of the page seven where recent visitors have included the Incredible String Band, Chicken Shack, Pink Floyd, Moody Blues, John Mayall and Fleetwood Mac.
Apart from the Floyd and Moodies, none of the others have won singles buyers and even for these two groups the measure and length of time since their hits makes an LP entry quite a feat.
And LP success is sometimes regarded as being more rewarding than a singles placing as it shows that fans are buying a product not solely for what may be a 3-minute commercial sound but because they believe that in a 40-odd minutes playing time they will find a quality and a lasting talent. That brings us to Tyrannosaurus Rex, the newest of the newcomers to the Chart with their LP "My People Were Fair And Had Sky In Their Hair... But Now They Are Content To Wear Stars On Their Brows"... and to Marc Bolan, one half of Tyrannosaurus Rex whom I met in a bar above Charing Cross Road recently.
Marc, who is small with wild black hair licking out snakelike around his white pinched features, turned up wearing a tiny yellow waistcoat with a red and black stripped blazer draped over one shoulder and looked incongruous, to say the least, among the surrounding personae- managers and agents browsing through the week's pop press and exchanging pop small talk.
He declined a drink and a cigarette, mentioned in passing that he had hundreds of little jotters bought from Woolworth's which he filled up with writings, and went on to tell how he and Steve Peregrine Took formed Tyrannosaurus Rex just over a year ago.
Marc, who is still only 20 and looks younger than that, had previously been a month with John's Children when they made "Desdemona" and had spent a couple of years before that attempting to fulfill an ambition to be a pop star.
He met Steve at a friend's flat, teamed up with him and as Tyrannosaurus Rex-"I just couldn't believe a creature that big actually walked on the earth"-they began giving free concerts in Hyde Park.
Four or five Middle Earth dates followed, all done for free, before Steve and Marc earned their first "bread", a fiver, for a date there.
Then along came John Peel. "In 1965 I had a record out called 'The Wizard'", said Marc, "and one called 'Hippy Gumbo', a copy of which John Peel got hold of and started playing on his Perfumed Garden show. We also sent him some acetates which he played. This was about a week before Radio London closed down."
When Peel returned to land he took an active interest in Tyrannosaurus Rex, booking them into his Radio 1 "Top Gear" for three appearances and plugging the group as much as he could.
Then came their single, "Deborah", which sold well, despite a dirge of radio plays, and "really surprised" Steve and Marc.
Marc is the vocalist and songwriter of the group, also playing guitar, while Steve supplies vocals, bongos, Chinese gong, pixiephone and assorted percussion.
Their attraction lies in the simplicity of their music, Marc's lyrics and the pair's unique vocalising. "I didn't realise it was unique; I've always sang like that really," says Marc. "I suppose we're trying to imitate the instruments".
"It's just a development of my mind. I never used to like singing but now it is a great fulfilment, like flying. I think it mirrors what I feel inside."
He has a fascination for woods and open air and is a prolific writer, can turn out a new song in twenty minutes, writing music first and words after, and says that every week there are three or four new numbers in the act. "My Guardian Angel does all the writing; I'm sure it's not me,"- he says. At about 17, his influence was Bob Dylan; later ones have included Picasso, Dali, all experiences, C.S. Lewis and a Lebanese prophet whose name didn't rise above the sound of Simon and Garfunkel's "Mrs. Robinson" from the jukebox. Marc, incidentally, adjudged that it was a gas. The group has completed its second LP, which is different. How? "It's six months older," answered Marc, "we use a lot of different instruments, there's nicer technique and sound wise it's better."
It also represents Tyrannosaurus Rex as of now - the first LP contained material Marc had on the shelf since a year and a half ago. "All the new album is from the last three months".
In addition, Marc hopes to have a book of poems and stories out soon, and on August 23, they will be releasing their second single, "One Inch Rock", which is about a seductress who tempts a young man back to her flat, gives him a drink which reduces him to one inch in height and puts him in a bottle with a girl.
Before our rendezvous, I looked through the Marc Bolan file and found an article from 1965 in which he stated, among other things, that he wanted to be a pop star and make millions. It wasn't a very complimentary piece. I won't embarrass Marc by quoting any further - but I asked him how the Marc Bolan of now compared with the one of '65. "I'm just three years older and that is all," said Marc who remembered the article. "Money doesn't interest me now, I write solely because I enjoy it." Marc has no thoughts on how the group will develop. He answers in the hippy vogue for vagueness: "It is like a tree. It can grow and grow or it might get struck by lightning. It will do what it will do".
And it could grow into a pop-monster as big as its namesake!
From the NME,
15th April 1972:
TOOK Talks to James Johnson about T. Rex.
Marc said I played ego games . but what sells his 8" x 10" photo for 25 pence?
If that's not ego, what is?
Since he left T. Rex Steve Took says he's spoken to Marc Bolan just twice.
The last time was about three months ago at Boston Gliderdrome, on a night when Rexmania reached a new peak.
After feeling a little out of place all evening Took went backstage to talk to his former colleague. After a while a journalist came in to ask Bolan a few questions, ending up with how he accounted for the phenomenal success of T. Rex.
Before Bolan could speak Took stepped out of the shadows and simply said: "I left." Since then the two men who formed the original band back in '67 have not met, and Took isn't particularly perturbed. Although he doesn't state it categorically, you feel they no longer have much in common.
On the musical side Took has moved into a new scene, maybe not as lucrative as Bolan's, but one he feels is perhaps a little more genuine, playing his own songs, solo, with just an acoustic guitar.
Between gigs he sits around his small flat, a comfortable, but hardly opulent place in London's Ladbroke Grove; like many others in the area, with a water-bed in the corner, a battered stereo, a few sci-fi books and friends coming by regularly. It's the area where you'd expect him to live. Some would say it's London's most liberated zone - certainly the nearest the capital ever got to Haight Ashbury. Even now freaks, mystics and hustlers try to live out hippy ideals among the dilapidated houses, general squalor; wrecked cars in the gutters and wrecked people on the streets.
Now Took wants to reflect the whole life-style in his songs simply because he is still as deeply involved in it as he was in the days when T. Rex was Tyrannosaurus Rex and the group was, as he puts it, a "flower child, acid group". Explaining his point about his departure helping the success of T. Rex, he says:
"Marc and I were together for three years, during which we recorded three albums and had varying degrees of hits. Yet we only appeared on television twice, once on a John Peel show - surprise, surprise - and once on a six o'clock religious programme. At the time we kind of wondered why we weren't on more often, but now it's quite easy to see. Simply they didn't particularly like hippies. "Nowadays people consistently ignore the hippy thing about the group of the early days. Tyrannosaurus Rex was just a completely different concept to what T. Rex is now. "I guess for a while Marc was a good hippy.
Like, we used to sit around and rap about what needed changing. I know he doesn't do that now.
"The trouble is that after you've had two or three hits you find yourself socialising with a different type of person - other people with hits, or managers of groups with hits. While I was still lying around smoking dope Marc would be out checking these people out. Or instead of him lying around rapping about the history of rock and roll or something, he'd be saying what a drag it was there was nowhere to go.
"Of course it's quite easy to lose contact but I think we were always different types of people. That's why, for a while it worked so well. It was always a very violent pop thing."
But Took doesn't necessarily feel that a clash of personalities was his reason for leaving the group. Rather there were disagreements over musical policy and Took's dislike of the way the group was being managed.
"When we started off Marc would look after the melody part of a song and I'd be responsible for the percussion and the arrangement. And it worked very well. Then I started writing things of my own and instead of being on the fantasy part of the trip they were about what happens to the kids on the street around here. But the record company started objecting to words like 'breast' or 'drugs' and it frustrated me greatly.
"Also I was getting really shat on by the management.
A typical thing was when I used to go out and jam occasionally with the Deviants and the Pretty Things. The management would come and say, 'Boy, don't go and jam with this group, it's bad for the image' and I'd go, 'What? What image? I'm Steve Took well-known drug addict.' Then they'd say, 'Yes, but we don't want to mix with these revolutionaries. We want to get you on television.' But, you see, I didn't particularly want to do six o'clock religious programmes. I mean, what a joke.
"Anyway, meanwhile Marc was sitting at home writing his stuff and I wasn't able to do mine. It's understandable in a way, but he wasn't too keen on it.
"But in fact I saw in the NME that Marc said I played ego games at that time. Well, what's that all about? We're all on some kind of ego trip, but what's selling his 8 in x 10 in photo for 25 pence? If that's not ego what is?"
Took doesn't see as surprising any change in Bolan's character since the early days. After all, he says, he's been through a few changes himself.
Success can do that to you and Took saw quite a bit before he eventually split. "Like, being mobbed at the Festival Hall. The little girls like you if you're skinny and pretty. That's half the trip, you know. Bob Dylan wouldn't have made it if he was fat. No way."
Nowadays Took's used to being thought of as the guy who used to play with Marc Bolan. He says people seem to like to compare him with dead people; Brian Jones, guys like that. At a recent college gig he was asked if he felt anything akin to Peter Best, once of the Beatles. But he's not particularly concerned. He didn't know that two weeks ago "Deborah" was in the charts again - almost five years after it first came out.
Of the new Bolan sound, he says: "I think Marc really makes really nice singles and he writes nice three-minute tunes. But when I saw them live there was a lot missing from the singles. It didn't happen for me. They didn't move it. I mean there's boogeying and boogeying. I can boogey on the guitar as well."
As it is, though, Took is more into acoustic things at present. He's playing about four or five gigs a week and trying to get by without a management contract or a record company, in spite of several offers. So what's he writing about now? "Sex, drugs and violence, I suppose. No, I don't know.
Things that people get into around this part of the world, things that happen to kids on the streets.
"Basically, all I want do is sit under an orange tree, play my guitar in the sun, get stoned and dig the smells and colours. Unfortunately there aren't many orange groves around here and you can't go picking oranges off lamp-posts. "I don't particularly envy Bolan. It's all down to what you think is success. He's a very ambitious person, and perhaps the only thing that's changed is his values. Possessions can get hold of you once you're earning a certain amount of money. I hope he's happy with what he's got.
Personally I just think he could do a lot more. "I mean, he's got the media now. He's on television every other day.
Maybe he could tell people a few things about pollution. Maybe he could tell them that in 50 years there ain't going to be much left. Maybe he could play a few benefits for people. "But I can't see him doing it. I had a rap with him about it and 'I don't need hippies' is his attitude. "And let's face it, his audience aren't hippies now anyway. I tried to score in Boston and I just couldn't. Then when I went back to the dressing room there were three policemen being given whisky."
***CONFESSIONS OF A LONDON OPIUM EATER by Michael Moorcock***
published in 'Time Out', July 1995.
THE TURNING WORLD OF DRUGS
From the moment I took my first delicious pull on a reefer in The Partisan, Soho, 1956, I was hooked on drugs. I was sixteen, already deliriously hooked on fiction, politics, sex, and rock and roll. When the sixties came I was waiting for them and relished every golden moment. The dope had been a revelation. I hardly knew it, but I had found the means I needed to describe and order my specific experience, just as recently I found what I needed more innocently via the Internet and Chaos Theory. The connection can be found in those early fractal videos which used to come with rolling papers, incense, and background music that sounded as if it was played by decomposing hippies.
Most of us nowadays know casual, non-dependant users of drugs who are pillars of the community. Public sector professionals, journalists, lawyers, captains of industry The backbone of the country, like the successful judges and executives of major corporations who go home in the evening and relax with a spliff, a Perrier and CNN. In other words, drugs have become about as middle-class and threatening to society as Mickey Mouse.
Drugs have played a significant part in bohemian and radical life for at least a couple of centuries, though Thomas de Quincey didn't have to fear the law when he wrote the first psychedelic treatise, Confessions of an English Opium Eater (1821) --
The druggist -- unconscious minister of celestial pleasures! -- as if in sympathy with the rainy Sunday, looked dull and stupid, just as any mortal druggist might be expected to look on a Sunday; and when I asked for the tincture of opium, he gave it to me as any other man might do: and furthermore, out of my shilling, returned me what seemed to be real copper halfpence, taken out of a real wooden drawer. Nevertheless, in spite of such indications of humanity, he has ever since existed in my mind as the beatific vision of an immortal druggist, sent down to earth on a special mission to myself. When I next came up to London, I sought him near the stately Pantheon, and found him not: and thus to me. he seemed rather to have vanished from Oxford-street than to have removed in any bodily fashion.I believe him to have evanesced, or evaporated. So unwillingly would I connect any mortal remembrances with that hour, and place, and creature, that first brought me acquainted with the celestial drug.
De Quincey popped his first lid in 1804. By the end of his life he was a miserable addict, the world's first high profile junk victim. But he was also one of the first to make conscious use of a drug to explore his own psyche, to incorporate it into his creative process and give us the gorgeous imagery and acute insights of his enduring work.
Laudanum is opium dissolved in brandy and swallowed. Not very efficient, and it makes you feel sick, but it's better than toothache. The story of the English Romantics is soaked in laudanum. Some argue that Mary Shelley's Frankenstein was the product of opium. The romantic visionary frequently found drugs a great boon, though sleep deprivation often worked just as well...
Though laudanum, gin and tobacco were the drugs of choice through most of the 19th century, hashish was also commonly used, especially in the Romance countries, and Sigmund Freud swore by cocaine all his life. He called it a wonder drug. It gave him some of his greatest insights. But it was the cigars that killed him. Sherlock Holmes also enjoyed the odd gram or two.
And nothing could kill him.
Colette tells the story from the 1920s of a relative's remains kept in a small urn on the mantelpiece. The ashes slowly disappeared until one guest could contain themselves no longer and at last complained about the terrible quality of their hostess's coke. A bookdealer friend recently opened a novel he'd bought from the personal collection of a deceased Pulitzer prize-winner and found several ancient packets of yellowed smack hidden there, forgotten by the author.
But none of that's really news. A healthy democracy will eventually adjust to the use of mind- and mood-altering drugs and develop conventions for taking them, just as it has for alcohol and tobacco. That could be what's going on now. What I'm more curious about is the difference between the 'drug culture' in which I was a mythologised participant and today's club culture, which is perhaps its nearest equivalent.
Not long after I'd discovered the pleasures of 'tea', I remember catching a buzz about acid (much as we'd caught it about Borges's then untranslated stories, as an enthusiastic rumour). We had excited discussions in Sam Widges Coffee Bar, Berwick Street, about going to John Bell and Croyden, the Wigmore Street chemists, and scoring some LSD. It was still legal in those days but controlled and, it turned out, too expensive for us. Within a few years, cheap manufacturing methods produced the flood and variety which made the sixties such a unique and wonderful time to live and take risks in. Half my friends and acquaintances of those years are dead from drugs or drug-related accidents.
Hendrix and Bolan are amongst the most colourful examples. Tripping, Smilin' Mike lost his keys and decided to climb to his room, three storeys up. He almost made it. When he fell he impaled himself on the basement railings. Someone else jumped from a window to evade an angry wife.
Vans swerved off the road because drivers suddenly confronted Nazi roadblocks. Cars ran into trees. Drowning on your own vomit became almost a credential. And if we had all the money that went up all the arms and all the noses of all the dead wankers in Ladbroke Grove we could probably pay Russia's national debt and still have enough left over for a pint, a bag of chips and our bus fare home. I have to admit the hallucinogens were a lot better in those days. My first mescalin trip was done under almost clinical conditions not as a recreational activity but because I was curious. I felt like an explorer. I wanted to test my own impressions against those of Aldous Huxley, whose Doors of Perception and Heaven and Hell were most people's introduction to psychedelic drugs.
Maybe because of my experience, I'm of a very prosaic and doubting disposition. I don't have much in the way of mystical beliefs, but I do celebrate the mythologising creativity of the human mind. And this was primarily an exploration of my own psyche. As ecstatic dimension upon dimension unfolded, scattered, blended and bent, making every object a thing of intense beauty, sometimes of terror; as extraordinary encrusted patterns revealed themselves in the most familiar things, I was consumed with profound emotion at the harmony I sensed in the whole unseen multiverse. Yet I understood what was happening to meas a psychological phenomenon. It's harder to lose touch with reality if you're on mescalin which can make you feel like crap even as you develop an extraordinary multi-dimensional vision, a blast of infinity. It makes you vomit, but there's a lot to be said for vomit that looks like a stream of jewels pouring from your mouth, particularly if you've got a bucket handy.
In turn you develop useful images, metaphors and even fundamental method of structuring and design. Similarly marijuana is wonderful for working out character relationships, while cocaine can be used for minute, specific, meaningful detail, complex symbolism, and E can help you step back from the subject and take a psychic breather. Whizz probably does nothing much for you except help you make that final deadline. It helped my friend Bill Butler produce his last manuscript, The Myth of the Hero. He died the night after he delivered it. I've worked sporadically with Hawkwind, a band generally considered the ultimate 'acid head' band. Which it might have been. But it was also a well-rehearsed working band, with coherent principles and questioning, edgy urban lyrics, willing to drop a national TV appearance to play a free gig in a good cause, never gave the paying customers a short set (unless the police broke it up), often doing two hours or more nightly. You need a fair amount of self-control and natural stamina for that. Sometimes we lost it. Mostly we didn't. The local drug squad and their poor dogs used to arrive at gigs before us. Radiating the dangerous air of insomniac crack addicts in urgent need, they'd address us without looking at us, terrified that our direct gaze would turn them to freak-burned geeks or us into human beings. They would hang about murmuring, waiting to pounce when we took our drugs. They didn't ever understand, as we prepared efficiently for a gig, that we had already taken the drugs. You need a sense of self-preservation and a strong constitution, the kind of discipline you only find in the ghetto, these days. And we had positive social effect. If you don't believe it, think of all those sixties druggies, including members of Hawkwind, who are funding orchestras, underwriting international self-help projects, spreading their profits into the public sector as fast as Rupert Murdoch takes his out. Setting up foundations like The Grateful Dead's Rex Foundation, which between 1992 and 1996 gave over four million dollars in grants to modern classical composers, as well as to many other legitimate scientific, artistic and social projects. Not bad for a band that's hardly ever sniffed the hit parade, though it's probably sniffed everything else.
Like Hawkwind and others in England, the Dead continue to stand for those counter-culture values, so despised and mocked by conservatives. They're pledged to 'put tools into the hands of people who need them most'. They have a far better record of civic responsibility than most modern governments. As I grew up, drug-taking was associated with political reform and a war on bigotry. With serious agendas. So what changed, apart from the hairstyles? The notion of public altruism, perhaps. Were we naive as a culture in trying to end war, poverty, cruelty and ruthless profiteering ? Did things improve after we were marginilised by Thatcher's flocking gannets ? The notion of 'leisure drugs', used to unwind and keep dancing came in with old Mrs. T and her drooling admirer R.R. With their reliance on sententious self-indulgence which they called 'individualism' and nervous greed, which they called 'enterprise', they helped create a culture so aggressive and divided that we had to come up with a drug to counter it. So nowadays former firebrands go on latenight tv to share a smile and a warm glow with their old enemies, surrounded by an aura of Ecstacy, the people's Prozac.
Associated with political radicalism in the sixties and seventies, drugs had become by the nineties entirely identified with pleasure and leisure, as subject to fashion as the latest vodka or designer boot. I'm told that for a while football supporters of both teams would enjoy group hugs in the stands. Then the E 'stopped working', another drug took its place and everyone went back to normal.
This doesn't have much to do with stepping through the doors of perception, or staring into the faces of heaven and hell, but quite a lot to do with the quest for the free ride, that holy grail of the Tory years. Why work for something when a pill will get it for you just as well? Both hippy and punk, driven by courageous curiosity and righteous anger, failed to achieve the world they'd worked for. What followed was, for me, a profound change of social mind-set, a pretty miserable dance of death led by greed, self-indulgence and sentimentality, away from the world's disturbing realities, reaching some kind of grotesque sugar-sculpture epiphany with the pop funeral of Princess Di. I'm not suggesting that altruism is dead or that every clublander talks exclusively in DesignerLabel. There's plenty of evidence to suggest that today's generous souls have learned strategies for dealing with power,rather than confronting it face on as we tried to do. And perhaps they get more of what they want than we did. And if, when the strain of all this gets too much, they relax with a spliff or a tab of the latest mellowing designer drug, can you begrudge them ?
So is there really a fundamental difference between such contemporary drug users and, say, the Grateful Dead? It seems to me there is. Maybe the difference between a successful beggar and a frustrated visionary.
We were anti-acquisitive not because we were rich but because we were rich in comparison with the rest of the world. We thought in terms of the common good and the quality of life. We felt obliged to be activists in that cause.
Counter-culture politics had a lot more to do with a rational, dignified lifestyle than with waving a daisy under a copper's nose. There were unsentimental moral imperatives connected with our drug explorations as well as a considerable amount of pleasure. But we tried to treat our drugs, as well as the world, with proper respect. Disrespect might indeed be the watchword of the Thatcher years. The debased political language of the eighties and nineties, accusatory and self-congratulatory, was used to marginalise the voice of liberal humanism and help the already wealthy strip our remaining public assets. We were told some real whoppers about drugs, too, and the need to make war, not love, but it didn't faze the clubland consumers, who went from whizz to coke to E to P and round again as the fancy took them. For them drugs had become no more than a way of complementing a good time, of feeling even better, of dancing the night away. Acid, which had powered the idealism of a generation, became a pleasant substitute for ecstacy.
Most drug users of recent years learned that it was not only acceptable to be greedy, but felt morally impelled to be as greedy as possible. Under Thatcherism righteous anger was replaced by prudish sententiousness, whining self-reference. The drugs we used to help us confront the world became a means of avoiding it. Ecstacy and Prozac joined valium as drugs to keep the issues from ever really coming up. Stasis. Good old fashioned decadence.
Is there any place left at all for those sixties drug culture values ? I think there is. They're in full flower on the World Wide Web, which, come to think of it, is another of those old hippy ideas that seems to have worked out reasonably well.
Maybe I'll meet you there ?
(Reprinted with the kind permission of the author.)
***MY FAVOURITE THINGS: ESSENTIAL HEAVY PSYCH SOUNDS, by Andy Shehan***
mid 60s, psychedelic philosophy and drugs made an indelible
impression on music, whether it was as decoration on pop records
to afford them some fashionable cachet, or by the 'real'
underground as a vehicle for their fantasies. The underground
sound, primarily guitar-lead Acid Rock was often blues-derived
and unconcerned with the pop obsession with commerciality and
thus remains the truest, most unfettered of psychedelic
recordings, albeit psych blurring into prog, drug inspired and
still vital, freaky and exciting. The following tracks are the
sound of psychedelia exploding into rock untainted by the worst
excesses of lumpen prog or the sludge of heavy metal.
A Personal A to Z (sort of) / Top Thirty(-one):
AARDVARK - 'The Outing - Yes'
ANDROMEDA - Anything?
BLOSSOM TOES - 'Peace Loving Man'
BRASS ALLEY - 'Pink Pills'
CREAM - Take your pick...
CREEPY JOHN THOMAS - 'Moon and Eyes Song'
THE DEVIANTS - 'Somewhere To Go
THE EDGAR BROUGHTON BAND - 'Evil'
'Elemental Child' - Tyrannosaurus Rex
FIVE DAY RAIN - 'Rough Cut Marmalade'
GRAIL - 'Day After Day'
HAWKWIND - 'You Shouldn't Do That'
HEAD MACHINE - 'The First Time'
HENDRIX - Whatever...
'I'm On My Way' - ARCADIUM
JESSIE HARPER - 'Midnight Sun'
KULT - 'No Home Today'
LEVIATHAN - 'The War Machine'
LIVERPOOL SCENE - 'Come Into The Perfumed Garden Maude'
'Metempsychosis' - ARZACHEL
NEKTAR - First 3 albums
THE OPEN MIND - 'Magic Potion'
PINK FAIRIES - First 2 albums
'Red Sky At Night' - THE ACCENT
SECONDHAND - 'sic Transit Gloria Mundi'
SPICE - 'Born In A Trunk'
TEN YEARS AFTER - 'The Sounds'
TWINK - '10,000 words In A Cardboard Box'
UFO - 'Treacle People'
'Wings' - TRAPEZE
WOODY KERN - 'Vile Lynn'
YARDBIRDS - 'Dazed And Confused'
***From 'The Bumper Book Of Psych Quotations', by Roger St. John***
Entry No. 185
- PAUL WELLER:
"Compared to the so-called British underground groups, the Americans were crap. It was just blues speeded up, extended with tedious guitar soloing with a few, "Far outs!" in between. Howlin' Wolf with headbands!"
***ANITA HARRIS GOES PSYCH, by Johnny Hortus***
Yes, her. She
of the delectable little mole and big doe eyes. The epitome of
wholesomeness. But for a time she was a hippie chick into hippie
chic. Her recordings have garnered little interest thus far from
"collectors", barring that 'The Playground' once
attracted some attention back in the day when DJs on the Northern
Soul scene weren't afraid to play white pop stompers at
allnighters. This LP - 'Just Loving You' (CBS 63182) is therefore
"worth" about 10 bob. An LP which was hilariously
presented as if it was the biggest thing since the last biggest
thing - just dig this hype: "Two of the world's finest
Two of the world's greatest arrangers. One of the world's finest sound engineers. One of the world's truly Great Voices." The irony of which was most certainly lost on those in the CBS publicity department.
'The Beatles Rhapsody' is a masterpiece of cod syke. A perfect example of the mainstream/MOR going Day-glo. This is how the London Palladium Set responded to the onset of Psych. It welds together 'Penny Lane','Strawberry Fields Forever' and 'All You Need Is Love'. And OK, this is assuredly psych-pop of a distinctly cheesy persuasion, but the final product is great fun (though most assuredly not recommended for the po-faced "serious" rock fan!) David Whittaker's orchestral arrangement, across which Anita's jazz-operetta vocalisings dance, is decorated with occasional strange echoes and groovy psychedelic effects. And Anita's flirtation with Flower Power didn't end here, check out her PA at some of the top events of the '67 psych calendar. And some people must have thought she was cool (well, maybe...), cos she appeared as "Hippie of the Month", bedecked in a fine array of charity shop beads, on the cover (issue no. 1, October 1967) of mega rare, top UK Psych mag 'Flower Scene'!
***LITTLE JANE : A BRIEF CASE STUDY,- by Dr. Amanda Cohen***
psychoanalytical investigation into TIMON - 'The Bitter Thoughts
Of LittleJane'[1. footnote, see below] (1968)
This is perhaps one of the most anguished tales of childhood trauma and resultant psychological impact (inhibition by-pass with primary and secondary symptoms of algolagnic aetiology - i.e. sadism[2.]) ever told through the medium of the 60's pop record.
It is not my intention here to analyse the musicological aspects of this record, except, briefly in passing. This record is too easily, incorrectly, dismissed as twee and juvenile. The deceptively sickly, cloying 'toy town' arrangement (intentionally lisping enunciation; musical box tune; sugary strings) disguises another of those "nightmares from the nursery" as collated by Drs. Artmann, Köln and Miller[3.]. This is a classic case where the medium is most assuredly not the message. The 'wrappings' serve to deaden the painful impact of the 'raw' tale. For another example of this "obscurantia anaesthetico", think "Ring a Ring a Rosie" - melody: twee and simplistic (a nursery rhyme); subject: serious (the Black Death)[4.].
Little Jane's reaction to childhood neglect ("been let down"; "she's got no toys") and to a greater degree her physical abuse ("been [...] kicked around") lead, via emotional repression ("never cries or even tries"), to her development from depression/self destruction ("she wants to die") to nascent sadistic psychopathia ("she'll find a head to pound on"). Her 'little'-ness serves to heighten (a) the contrast between 'good' (the child) and 'evil' (the brutal parent/violence itself) and (b) her incalculable loss of 'innocence'.
Whilst her siblings (whether actual or figurative), Peter, Sally and Andrew, maintain 'conditioned' (socially cohesive) childhood activities (playing with "trains", "dolls", "cowboys") and display well-balanced, socially-integrated personality traits (i.e. happiness, play, kissing, etc)[5.], the 'naughty child', Jane, with her asocial ("been too long on her own"), stigmatised ("been sent away") and de-personalised/schizoid ("she's growing cold") state has developed a classic (axiomatic) obsessive-compulsive behavioral pattern schizoid "clang" association) in the form of repeated oral-sadistic (impulsive) desires ("she'll find a head to pound on"): the violence begets violence scenario[6.].
The over-zealous parental punishments [7.]for her recidivistic behaviour only strengthens her 'automatic' (non-directional) acts, via cognitive deprivation, to re-enforce the emotional/social withdrawal - asocial fragmentation/compartmentalization ("locked away"): locking Little Jane ever more tightly ("she'll find her place") into her pavlovial destruction - punishment - destruction - punishment cycle.
The final, and perhaps most tragic irony, is that Little Jane's cries go unheard, not just by her uncaring and brutal parents, or her happy and oblivious siblings, but by us - the listeners (who represent society as a whole)[8.], who fail to distinguish the kernel of agonising pathos from amongst the lashings of syrup.
1. The lyrics are printed below, as an appendix. I should like to express my gratitude to Timon (the songwriter and performer). It is also worth bearing in mind that 1968 was the year of the Mary Bell case.
2. The "transferal option": masochism ("she wants to die") to sadism is well documented. Vide Kauffmann (1907), Panizzi (1938), Kinsey (1953), et al.
3. Drs. Hans Artmann, Maurice Köln and Stephen Miller, 'Nightmares from the Nursery". (OUP, 1978).
4. There are numerous well known examples of this in history (jokes, songs, stories, myths). For psychological investigations vide Klein, 'Die Mythüs' (1931); Van Dkye; Laughing to Ease the Pain' (1975); Cadivec & Arnaud, 'L'encyclopedie des farces...' (1964).
5. It is possible that the siblings are aware of Little Jane's suffering. It is not unusual for children in this situation to appear 'normal' and 'unknowing' so as not to endanger themselves, either bodily (physically abuse) or physically (psychic trauma), vide Panizzi (1964), Fainlight (1961).
6. It is worth noting that the critical/pivotal line "she'll find a head to pound on", has several connotations, of which I shall elucidate two: (i.) the "head" is literally the parent (-intelligence, superior height, control); (ii.) "head" is mentioned three times (three choruses), there are three other siblings - all potential targets of Little Jane's rage.
7. The classic study of the dysfunctional child - parent relation is Dr Alfred Matheson, 'Born Evil? - the case of the killer child' (1981)
8. The listener represents 'deaf' society. He is quite literally outside the lyrics (ie not mentioned), outside the family, outside the record itself (vinyl). He is therefore a listener who refuses to listen. Although it is important to acknowledge that the arranger has overplayed his hand, disguised the truth rather too well.
The bitter thoughts of Little Jane are locked away and will remain unspoken/Been let down/And kicked around/been sent away without her token/([chorus:] But she'll find her place/she'll find a head to pound on/)Never cries/or even tries/so no-one really knows she wants to die/been too long on her own, she's growing old/she's growing cold/([chorus:])
Peter's playing with his trains/And Sally kisses her dolls again/Andrew plays at wild cowboys/But Little Jane she's got no toys/ ([chorus:])
~Article reprinted, with kind permission, from 'The Journal of Clinical Psychopathology', vol. LXVI, no. iv (June 2001). PP. 180-184(copyright)
***PSYCH DISCOGRAPHY Pt. K.9***
CORPS - 'You've Taken All That I Can Give You' ([NL:]Papillon
Not quite as overtly "psych" as 'If' or 'Do You Remember'. But this seldom heard, mid-70s never-released-in-the-UK gem is still a real nice piece, and certainly cuts the SFA mustard (Dijon a la mescalin please, in case you were wondrin'). A hippie mantra/chant, with an Indian/Sgt. Pepper-style string arrangement, echoed drums and mellow, laid-back vocals. This rare single came in a pretty pink pic sleeve, which shows the corpulent and hirsute band (a five piece, with NO SIGN of Mike Read!) in flat caps, neckerchiefs, grandad shirts and braces. Ee by gum!
TIM MYCROFT - 'Shadra' (Parlophone R 5919) Rel. 10/09/71.
Gadzooks! Another from the seventies...Tim Mycroft (ex- The Knack, ex-The Gun) delivers a Persian-inspired (think Chiita Neogy) ballad against a back drop of breezy, Clapton-style guitar licks, bells, piano, and falsetto harmonies.
Produced by Tony Ashton. Not really psych, but it will appeal to those in the Tribe of the Sacred Mushroom who dig lovely summer sounds full of eastern promise.
"Shadra, she shall mother Shadra Who will be the master?"
THE NEW INSPIRATION - 'All My Life' / 'Happy Charly Madman' (Belgium: Disc AZ SG 77)[c. 1968]
Ambitious UK styled pop syke from Belgium. Both sides are great.
Particularly the B-side, which is again attracting some well-deserved interest. Both sides written by Berry (any relation?) and directed by Charles Blackwell (THE Charles Blackwell???). Both produced "en Belgique" by Jack Verdonck. Came in a real tasty pic sleeve, showing a hip and extremely well-dressed band, featuring a green & red floral tie, fur coat, cavalry red double-breasted Regency jacket, brown velvet suit, paisley cravat. Also, one of the guys is a dead-ringer for a John's Children-era Marc Bolan! Also, if you get a chance, check out 'M.T.' ([Belgium:]Decca), c.1968, it's also a goodie.
THE MAGICIANS - 'Painting On Wood'/'Slow Down' (MCA MU 1046) 1968.
A very rare single, now in demand, which has of late been commanding prices of £100 plus. Comped on 'ISSS' volume 6 and again, more recently on 'We Can't Fly' (sic) vol. 3, so it will not be new to most of you, but it's worth mentioning it in SFA cos it's yet another of those items which was missed out by Record Collector in their rushed "Psych Trip"; and also, moreover, because it's such a fabulous record, one of the most interesting, unusual and classy 45s of 1968. A cut above the average, it is based on Ingmar Bergman's 1957 meisterwerk, 'Det Sjunde inseglet' ('The Seventh Seal')- playing chess with Mr. Death, an' all that, it is a creepy slice of psych-pop brilliance (almost 6 minutes long!), which included mediaeval flute and shivery bells, caustic freaked-out guitar, wind effects, irresistible rolling piano, weird laughter, distorted vocals, and snappy drumming.
The B-side is the original, self-penned (as are both sides of this 45), best version of 'Slow Down', an under-rated song covered by The Sweet on their debut single (Fontana TF958).
Beside The Mine' by HAYDON WOOD.
The yellow chimneys on a roof as black as coal
Windows coloured blue reflect the sky
Different shades of brown make up a solid wall
On the house that stands beside the mine
Years ago the rooms were filled with laughter
The family crest was solid gold
Lisa, June and little Adam played on Persian carpets down the hall
Once truthful, set on wealth and standing pride
S'a skeleton on this barren land
Lifeless ground still clutches with her dusty hand
Empty house beside the mine
Lisa married two months after
She had promised to return
[Penny Tales?] I hear no answer
Why the family left so suddenly...
Not included in RC's "Trip", "Tapestry", or other more amateurish discographical efforts ('117', etc)...I wonder why? Cos it's a glorious, solid gold treasure. With ethereal vocals, obscure lyrics, subtly phased drums and understated, weaving fuzz guitar, it really creeps up on you, getting better & better year after year with each subsequent spin.
Thankfully Phil Smee had the sense and good taste to include it on Rubble vol. 11 (CD) and Rubble vol.19 'Eiderdown Mindfog' (vinyl).
Beware: on volume 6 ('Tales Of The 60's', BAMVP1013CD) in the stripey covered, 'Best Of The Rubble Collection' budget series CDs, this track is listed as 'The House Beside Mine', a mistake which may lead to a misinterpretation of the meaning of the lyrics, and it's also mistakenly attributed to "Hayden Wood".
It's also cool to find the track on the splendid 'Fly Me To The Earth' CDR, reviewed last month, albeit sadly dubbed from a crackly US 45.
HAYDON WOOD - 'The Lady Wants More'/'The House Beside The Mine'
UK issue: (NEMS 56-4499) 1969.
US Issue: (Epic 5-10577)1969.
***WE HATE THE BEATLES!!! by Vinegar Tom***
were loved by millions, a dislike of The Beatles was also nothing
unusual in the 60s. Witness for example, James Bond's (Sean
Connery) distinctly old fogey comment in 'Goldfinger' that you
need to be wearing earplugs to fully appreciate the Beatles. The
range of negative emotion unleashed ranged from the above unhip
curt dismissal to the maniacal fury of those Bible Belt Beatle
burners, and to the sarcastic ramblings of some aged comedians.
Morris & Mitch are known (if barely at all) for two crappy skiffle 45s from '57 - 'Cumberland Gap'/'I'm Not A Juvenille Delinquent' (Decca F10900), and 'What Is A Skiffler?'/'The Tommy Rot Story' (Decca F10929). In early '68 these two old farts turned their bilious attentions on the Fab Four, producing 'The Magical Musherishi Tourists' (Saga Trend STR1010) an extremely un-PC, oriental-flavoured sketch on the Maharishi Mahesh Yogi and his four most famous disciples. Introed by swirling, distorted vocals: "The magical musherishi tour is comin' to carry you away to mystical India...", set to sitar, snake charmer's pipe, and gong, it soon gives way to some very poor impersonations of The Beatles (played as gormless scouse morons), Maharishi and David Frost, who punningly refers to the "magical misery tour". Ha bloody ha. Other such lines include - 'Ere Mush, this 'ere bed's got strings on it' 'Yes, it is a bed-sitar.'
Such wordplay as "head crook and bottlewasher" (the Maharishi), and others even too awful to mention are a standard fixture of this recording. There's a trippy middle section - with some nice De Wolfe-style, self-consciously "freaky" backing - when the giggling "Musherishi" puts the Fabs into a transcendental state: "I want you to make your heads empty. This should not be too difficult in your case." Soon John discovers he's God, of course. The Fabs go off to the garden, as the real paranoid, not to say racist crux of this skit is revealed- The guru is actually "no. 187", a mere operative for "the Gusherishi", an evil-minded, money-mad Jewish string-puller, with plans to brainwash the world's population and to extract their "lolly". The Gusherishi, learning that some "igloo faces" (!!!) in Lapland (nationality & geography notwithstanding) are the only remaining people yet to be indoctrinated, dispatches his subordinate immediately for this final mission, or "last schmaltz" as he calls it, to convert the "Eshkishmoos".
"We're gonna clean up together" he cackles in his best Jiddischer accent, as they dance off together. Aspiring to be side-splitingly funny, this recording can really at the very best be said to be mildly amusing, and then for only one or two spins. At worst it is offensive and repellent.
Its interest to us here lies not in its very limited comedic value, but in the light it shines into the blackened heart of those who so thoroughly feared and loathed The Beatles that they bothered to churn out such poisonous propaganda.
Grab a copy if you ever find one and take a unique and deeply troubling trip down one of the psych era's most curious biways.
By the way... the single's B-side, 'Mister DJ Man', sounds like an attempt at a hit, but, with its hideous backing, awful pseudo-Emperor Roskoe accents and cringeworthy name dropping of British DJs, it is too poor to even justify being called abyssmal.
DEMONS: Songs Inspired By J.R.R.Tolkien' (Castle CMRCD 635) CD
'LORD OF THE RINGS'
Prelude/The Storm (edit) MAN
Tell You A Story FIRE
The Hobbit SKIP BIFFERTY
Three Rings For Elven Kings TRADER HORNE
The Wizard URIAH HEEP
Magic Forest FAT MATTRESS
The Singing Tree MIKE COOPER
Same QUIET WORLD
Songs Of The Quendi SALLY OLDFIELD
The Traveller QUIET WORLD
The Mutant TRADER HORNE
The Tower PAUL BRETT'S SAGE
The Dark Lord SAM GOPAL
Journey's End DECAMERON
When songs are compiled they are ordinarily collated under same artist, genre, or label; so this compilation which is categorised thematically, is certainly out of the ordinary. 'Wizards And Demons' collects together tracks inspired directly by J.R.R. Tolkien, or else possess something of the aura of his most hippie-friendly opera.
The results are stunning, like a multi-artist concept album. It follows the picaresque narrative, if not strictly and literally, most assuredly in spirit.
Treats abound, but the jewel in the crown is Skip Bifferty's 'The Hobbit', formerly known only to these ears in very dodgy sound quality (taped off the radio in 1968!), it is hereby presented in all its pristine mystical-magickal beauty. (And a tantalising foretaste it is too of the forth coming 2-CD comp!) 'The Wizard', an uncharacteristically un-bombastic performance by Uriah Heep is something of a hitherto neglected gem. Most of the baroque-folk tracks herein, particularly Quiet World and Trader Horne, really should have featured on the recent films' soundtracks, so perfectly do they fit.
This comp is a reminder, if any were ever needed, that there was a lot more to British hippie music than backwards fuzz guitar breaks and dollops of phasing.
(Beautiful artwork too, the front cover is vaguely reminiscent of Lady Frieda Harris's Thoth Tarot (another counter-culture icon).
It's also worth noting (a.) the literary bent of UK hippie-type musicians of the period; and conversely (b.) the almost total absence of a literary dimension to US psychedelia).
MARMALADE - 'Kaleidoscope' ~ The Psych Pop Sessions (Castle CMRCD 636) CD Comp.
[For tracklist - see 'Previews' in last month's SFA]
THE TREMELOES - 'What A State I'm In' ~ The Psych Pop Sessions (Castle CMRCD 637)CD Comp.
What A State I'm In
Let Your Hair Hang Down
Call me Number One
Gentlemen Of Pleasure
Shake Hands (And Come Out Crying)
Norman Stanley Jones St.Clair
Girl From Nowhere
Come On Home
As You Are
Too Many Fish In The Sea
Now's The Time
Good Day Sunshine
(Both comps to be released 31/01/03)
It seems from recent webchat, particularly on 'Regal Zonophone' (the über psychsters' homepage), that there has emerged two distinct ne'er-the-twain-shall-meet schools of thought on these comps. The first is the "Anti's", who say that Sanctuary, as is their wont, are really milking it, what with constant re-jigging and re-packaging material, so that you end up buying the same track four times over on different comps. anything to get at your wonga. These folks just won't bother buying it.
Then there's the "Pro's", those punters who approach these 2 comps as collections of tracks with an integral identity, and not just as attempts by The Man to bleed you white. From their perspective, both comps are highly enjoyable.
The Marmalade collection, an expanded (to 20 trax) version of the Tenth Planet vinyl-only release, is particularly noteworthy in that it contains the first decent quality appearance on CD of 'I See The Rain' (45 version with thunder). It has a expansiveness which to my ears even the original 45 lacks. Whilst the additional tracks add little in the way of depth to the vinyl edition, they do add something in the way of colour and context.
The Trems' comp is, musically speaking, bloody great! an education to anyone who has hitherto dismissed the band on the basis of their hits. Although one must question the legitimacy of taking 45s and album tracks from disparate sources, taking them out of context and manipulating and welding them into a new contrived whole.
Still, although there's little here that's strictly speaking "Psych-Pop" (as it enticingly states on the front)- it's mostly "Sike" or "Prog"- listening to the collection as a whole is a highly enjoyable experience. Perhaps the more relevant 'Beer Duel' and 'What Can I Do' ought to have replaced 'Shake Hands...' and 'Jenny's Alright', but apart from that and the fact that each and every track is alreadt available on other Sanctuary release, it is a pretty damn near perfect compilation.
And for those of you who would prefer to something other than dance or do the ironing whilst listening to this, you'll enjoy Mojo's sleeve notes - a roight rivertin' read.
Praise is due also to Paul Belvoir for the stylish monochromatic artwork.
- 'Little Games' (EMI 7243 5 40813 2 3) CD.
Fabulous! This 25-tracker straightens out the wrinkles in the earlier (1985 & 1991) editions. Every track of the original LP is presented in glorious stereo, together with contemporary non-LP recordings, which include 45s and US mixes; and BBC tracks, which improve aurally on earlier versions, together with the inclusion of 2 of-air recordings -0 the Jimmy Page showpiece, 'White Summer', and 'Dazed And Confused', two tracks which were foundations of Led Zep. Among the plethora of treasures, the piece de la resistance is surely the magnificent USA 45 version of 'Goodnight Sweet Josephine', penned of course by SFA hero Tony Hazzard. The Yardbirds originally laid down this track in November/December '67 for a proposed UK single, but due to the song's risqué subject matter (viz, a prostitute, bent coppers), it fell foul of EMI's censorious bosses and the rejection of lightweight radio DJs, and was shelved. And anyway the band weren't happy with their performance, so in March 1968 they returned to Olympic and produced the "US version", with a better vocal performance, stronger guitar figure and delicious bucket loads of phasing, it truly is the definitive psychedelic version of a psych-pop masterpiece!
Greg Russo's sleevenotes contain the optimum blend of musicology, history and love to satisfy the taste of any fan. This collection surely deserves a prime position in the Brit Psych Hall of Fame.
'WE CAN FLY' Volume 3 (Past & Present PAPRCD 2046) CD Comp.
Frankly, this third volume is a bit of a disappointment, especially as over half of the tracks herein are available elsewhere on mostly recent releases. And of those that are new to the world of psych CD comps, some will not be well thought of- O'Hara's Playboys is an OK track, but as it's soulish beat with a garage organ and silly noises it shouldn't be on a comp of this kind:
St. John & The Crew is paint-by-numbers garage punk of the most formulaic kind (ditto, should have been cut); I Corvi is an unnecessary Italian-language cloning of 'I Had Too Much To Dream Last Night' (Really??? Who cares!!!); Mecki Marky Wotsits is bloated, profundo-vocalled, contrived sloppiness; and Callan & John is appalling, US Styled, harp-lead cuntry (sic) rock, embellished with some vaguely freakish guitar. With so many inharmonious parts the comp forms a rather unattractive whole, and listening to it in totality is unpleasant.
HOWEVER, the comp is well worth buying for it is inexpensive, well presented and does contain some good sounds, in particular by Los Brincos, who turn in a nice 'Revolver'-styled beater; 'Digger', the forgotten B-side to 'Sadie's...' by "Hovis-Hippies" A New Generation. 'Digger' is a wee gem.
Seemingly pretty straight pop, although subtly off-kilter in a Giles, Giles & Fripp kinda way, it is punctuated with psych weirdness. There's The Magicians (see Psych Discography this issue), first time out on CD for this cult collector's piece, now going for big bucks, and crystal clear it sounds too. And then there's Brut's 'My Kind Of Feeling'! Wow! What a version! Coral electric sitar, proto-glam vibe, wigginess, punchy pop of the finest quality...as produced by sessioneers (allegedly).
Two other new P & P comps should also be mentioned this month-
'INSTRO HIPSTERS A GO-GO Volume 3'(PAPRCD 2045), notable for Sounds Nice's great version of The Beatles' 'Flying' (off the MMT EP); 'Crème Tea' by the Nite People; Shocking Blue's 'Acka Raga'; Spooky Tooth's'Lugers Grove'; Keith Meehan's terrifyingly intense 'Hooker Street'; and the grrooovvy 'Quickenut', from Harsh Reality's 'Heaven And Hell' album (see next issue of SFA, for a run-thru of this rarity).
And 'THAT DRIVING BEAT Volume 3'(PAPRCD 2047), which includes goodies from prot-Gun outfit The Knack ('Time, time, Time'); Mike Dallon ('Gonna Find A Cave'); proto-Creation act The Mark Four ('Work All Day...'); The Trekkas ('Please Go'); the superb 'I Don't Need Your Kind' by The Rockin' Vickers; and a curious (not to say valliant, but futile) attempt at 'My Generation' by German band The Roadhogs.
Check out the Past & Present website- http://www.megaworld.co.uk
***EURO PSYCH - PART ONE: "ALL I HAVE TO DO IS..." by Jason Scott***
THE DREAM -
'Get Dreamy' (Norway: Polydor SLPHM 184 009) 1967.
Norway. Not exactly a nation one readily associates with Psychedelia. Or perhaps with music of any kind. But despite their consistently abyssmal Eurovision performance this relatively small nation has produced an impressive body of work. 'Get Dreamy' recorded in Stockholm, by The Dream - Terje Rypdal (gtr., vocs.)/Christian Reim(piano, organ, vocs.)/Hans Marius Stormoen (bs.)/Tom Karlson (drms.,vocs.) - is one of Norway's psych treasures.
Featuring the genius of prolific axe god Terje Rypdal, it is an edgy album containing some real psych delights. And although the album has touches of both the US garage and UK psych-pop styles, it remains a wholly unique listening experience and cannot simply be dismissed as derivative. If there is one noticeably dominant element it is the immense figure of Jimi Hendrix who towers over the better cuts.
The album as a whole is somewhat disjointed, as if it's the work of two separate outfits, comprised as it is of two differing types of material - (1.) the pre-Hendrix soul-beat, '66 stuff; and (2.) the heavy rock-psych of '67. Of the former group of soulful beat songs (which are okay in themselves but nothing exceptional and of lesser interest than the psych material), 'Emptiness Gone', 'Driftin'', 'I'm Counting On You', and 'You' are redeemed by Tom Karlsen's vocals: whilst 'You're Right About Me' is somewhat like The Smith in parts, but if they garage punks from Arizona. It's just okay, unless you dig stufflike 'Pebbles'.
Now onto the good stuff...'Green Things (From Outer Space)' is brilliant.
The title gives the game away. This is freaked-out surf punk with a B-movie horror trash feel and a piquant Mexicana flavour, and a tremendous larynx-ripping lead vocal from Tom Karlsen. A classic. Like 'Love', but if Arthur & co. were well 'ard.
During its eight-and-a-half minutes duration, 'Ain't No Use' has some astounding Yardbirds/Garage-style guitar psychotechnics, especially in the break. And some stoned hippie monologues, backwards cymbal splashes and some exceptionally cool Vincent Crane style organ motifs. What starts as a structured song melts into a fluid freak out, only the jazz-style drumming and the weaving organ keep things from degenerating into total chaos.
'Night Of The Lonely Organist And His Mysterious Pals' is bookended by some weird spacey oscillations, jazz percussion, then keyboards lead into a mad jazz raver instrumental, with some great fuzz lead.
'Hey Jimi'. Now, I wonder who this is addressed to??? 'Hey Joe' re-worked and turned inside out. With its gutsy lead, echoed harmony vocals and blistering guitar, Rypdal and Karlsen manage to out-Hendrix Hendrix! The new hard psych sound of 1967 and a bad trip opus of the highest magnitude -
"Hey Jimi, something wicked this way comes,
Softly while you're sleepin',
Somethin' creepin' and crawlin' in the night, longing for you,
Longing to drink your blood and suck your bones white,
In the meantime, sleep well..."
'Do You Dream' (not the Circus track) reminds me of The Churchills (not a bad thing). More weird oscillations, looseness of structure, stoned vocals.
More superb psych -
"11,000 years of beauty,
Dance your way from world to world
Love and life's your only duty
Do you dream?
Do you dream?
Do you dream?"
If you don't dream, and you're looking for a new thrill, you should "Get Dreamy"!
***EURO PSYCH - PART TWO: THE RATTLES - TOP CLASS TEUTONIC PSYCH POP, by Jan Maxence***
answer to The Beatles. Or so the PR man said. On the other hand,
there's some (eg. Asbjornsen, in his Kraut Rock book) who would
say that nothing interesting came out of Deutschland prior to the
'69-'70 explosion of Kraut Rock. Both statements are daft. As any
fool will tell you, the only real Beatles were...The Beatles, who
outsold every other band in Germany and elsewhere. And there's
plenty of groovy Germanic sounds from the beat-psych era - The
Ones, Petards, et al - that would appeal to Anglo-centric psych
The Rattles, formed in 1961, are (sadly, cos they're way past their sell-by date) still with us today. Their output is variable (to say the least!).
Some of it is quite brilliant, but most is frankly too bad for words.
Here, I've collated an imaginary compilation of their best moments [their only good moments? - Dave]: Paisley Pop, thru Psych to groovy Prog.
THE RATTLES 'Tea, Cauliflower And The Witch'(Sauerkraut Recs RAT 01).
1. 'Introduction' (from the LP 'Produktion)
2. 'What's That Sound' (ditto) - Hilariously attributed to "Mills" instead of "Stills". An error taken verbatim from Art's cover version.
3. 'After Tea' - A good solid version of the After Tea Dutch hit, also covered by SDG.
4. 'If You Don't Come Back' (from LP) - Superb version, close to Gary Walker & Rain's version. Brilliant guitar lead and megaphone vocals.
5. 'Rattles Produktion' (from LP) - A refrain of track 1.
6. 'Sha La La La Lee' - Surprisingly, more like The Stones than The Faces. Nice, raw version.
7. 'Cauliflower' - Nicely odd and oddly nice, weird piece of indescribable psych pop.
8. 'Mister Keep Your Hands Off My Sister' - For me this is their opus magnus. Camp as hell pop perfection. Every cliche of 1968 pop is chucked into the mixer, together with the central riff from '(I Can't Get No) Satisfaction' to produce the MOST incredible sound. Fab!
9. 'Lady Love' - Progressive & catchy too(Yes! it can be done!)
10. 'Ice On Fire' - Not psych, but still a great track; like Spirit's more soulful cuts.
11 & 12. 'The Witch' - Two versions, both are amazing. What a great track.
D'you remember seeing this on TOTP at the time? I do and it freaked me out BIG time.
13. 'Geraldine' - A very tasty chick...
14. 'You Can't Have Sunshine Everyday' - Why not???
15. 'Devil's On The Loose' - A calculated re-run of 'The Witch'. Totally cool & gear, cos we love the inspiration so much.
16. 'Sense Of Life' - Great guitar figure, beautiful strings, funky and with a strong Shocking Blue vibe.
17. '(You Better) Keep On Running' - Pretty nice, Tull-ish flutey Prog, (again) with a Shocking Blue feel, a psych edge and some Moodies'-style harmonies. A mixed bag, but a tasty one.
18. 'Dream' - A weird ballad. Like Barry Ryan on Quaaludes.
***OZ PSYKE - 'SO YOU WANNA BE A ROCK AND ROLL STAR' Vols. 2 & 3, by Jon Kerr***
1. SAMAEL LILITH - Nights In White Satin
2. THE CLEVES - Sticks And Stones
3. THE AFFAIR - Shoeshine Boy
4. VELVET UNDERGROUND - Somebody To Love
5. CLAPHAM JUNCTION - Emily On Sunday
6. THE CLIK - Mary, Mary
7. MELISSA - Mississippi Mama
8. ELM TREE - Lonely Nights
9. SHERBET - Crimson Ship
10. THE RAM JAM BIG BAND - Sunshine And I Feel Fine
11. THE LOVE MACHINE - The Lion Sleeps Tonight
12. IGUANA - California, My Way
13. THE NEW DREAM - Groupie
14. WHITE WINE - The Train Song
15. LLOYD'S WORLD - Brass Bird
16. JAMES TAYLOR MOVE -Magic Eyes
17. CAM-PACT - Drawing Room
18. THE QUESTIONS - Something Beautiful
19. RAY BROWN & MOONSTONE - Start Of A New Day
20. THE 69ers - On The Road Again
21. THE TOL PUDDLE MARTYRS - Love Your Life
22. LINDA CABLE & LEVI SMITH'S CLEF - Take A Little Piece Of My Heart
23. BARRIE McASKELL'S LEVI SMITH'S CLEFS - Gonna Get A Seizure
24. GALADRIEL - The Lady Was A Thief
25. TOBY JUGG - (If Paradise Is )Half As Nice
26. FLAKE - This Wheel's On Fire
27. A word from Glenn A. Baker
A classic comp? Man, you better believe it! 26 tracks (expanded from vinyl) plus an earnest but bum-clenchingly embarrassing monologue set piece by Oz "music guru" Glenn A. Baker.
Divided into 3 arbitrary sections. "Some suburban sounds" (tracks 1-9) "some pop songs and curios" (10-18) "Bonus tracks" 19-27. Rather than go through the comp track by track I shall instead say that the majority of tracks here are of a psychedelic bent with the following being rather exceptional Samael Lilith's frankly better-than-the-original swamped in phasing version of The Moodies' classic the real stand out, The Cleves (cover of Warm Sounds), The Affair (of Lemon Drops), Velvet Underground (a brilliant version of Great Society), The Clik (of Kelly, far better than the original), Elm Tree, Sherbet (superb version of Badfinger), Lloyds World (a phased classic), Cam-Pact (SFA fave), Ray Brown (Eastern flavoured). The Ram Jam Big Band is psych-soul and very nice too. New Dream, an Oz hit, is a nice piece of bubblegum; and there are solid versions of Etta James, via the interfave of Janis, Amen Corner, and Zimmo, via the interface of Auger/Driscoll, by Linda Cable, Toby Jugg and Flake respectively.
1. PASTORAL SYMPHONY - Love Machine
2. DAVE MILLER SET -Mr. Guy Fawkes
3. HEART'N'SOUL - Lazy Life
4. ERIC DALBY & PYRAMID - Can't Wait For September
5. PHIL JONES & THE UNKNOWN BLUES - If I Had A Ticket
6. KING FOX - Unforgotten dreams
7. THE VALENTINES - Peculiar Hole In The Sky
8. PROCESSION - Listen
9. RUNNING JUMPIMG STANDING STILL - Diddy wah diddy
10. BILLY THORPE & THE AZTECS - Good Morning Little Schoolgirl
11. WILD CHERRIES - Krome Plated Yabby
12. BAY CITY UNION - Mo'reen
13. CHAIN - Mr. Time
14. MECCA - Black sally
15. JEFF ST. JOHN & YAMA - Nothing Comes Easy
16. DOUG PARKINSON IN FOCUS - I Had A Dream
17. ROCKWELL T. JAMES - Love Power
18. DAISY CLOVER - Tell Her
19. GUS & THE HOUSE - The Bed
20. TYMEPIECE - The Bird In The Tree
21. THE BUCKET - Can't Help Thinking Of You
22. FROG HOLLOW - Over, Under, Sideways, Down
23. JEFF ST, JOHN & COPPERWINE - Cloud Nine
Despite the fact that the lion's shares of trax on Vol. 2 are psych but unacknowledged as such, the first 8 tracks of Vol. 3 are subtitled "The Psychedelic Years of Australian Rock 1967-70" (the rest is listed as "some R&B"). But confusingly there's less psych here than on Vol. 2.
Although there are classics by Pastoral Symphony, Dave Miller (a breathtaking take of Eire Apparent's masterpiece), Valentines, The Bucket, and Wild Cherries, the only other mildly interesting tracks are by Doug Parkinson, Gus and the House, Tymepiece, Frog Hollow and a superduper version of The Temps' classic by Jeff St. John & Copperwine.
Overall, the 2 volumes are produced with a weird editorial policy which is due to the strange way music is categorised in Australia, but nevertheless these 2 volumes constitute a veritable treasure trove of psych sounds and deserve to be better known outside Australia; both contain superb and informative liner notes.
PS - these two comps are part of a 3-CD set (Aussie issue, by SPIN, 1998)we've ignored Vol. 1 coz it concentrates on earlier, non-psych material.
***From 'The Bumper Book Of Psych Quotations', by Roger St. John***
Entry No. 67b
- IAN McLAGAN (taken from his autobiography 'All The Rage'):
"Before the first show [of the Australian tour] we had to sort out a technical problem. As 'Itchycoo Park' seemed likely to become a big hit, we'd wanted to play it 'live' but we hadn't yet figured out a way to reproduce the phasing effect on Kenney's drum track that was so important to the sound of the song. The problem was that phasing was a new studio effect and unlike these days when you can buy a gadget that'll fit into the palm of your hand for a few dollars, there was nothing even remotely like it in any studio then, let alone the music> shops. Steve had a brilliant idea one day while were sitting around the swimming pool on the hotel roof. We were constantly trying to talk above the noise of the jets that flew over us into Sydney Airport and he suggested we record a few minutes of them on a cassette machine so that we, or I, could push the play button in the drum break, and 'Wallop McKenzie' we'd have our phasing. It sounded terrible. Although the mono Sony cassette machine was a little gem, the jets never really sounded like anything other than jets recorded on a portable cassette machine, but it was a good laugh all the same. We'd get to the drum break and I'd have to stop playing for a second to start the machine. Of course it didn't always start when I'd want it to, but even when it did, it stared and stopped abruptly because I couldn't fade it in or out. On one occasion the tape player fell off the organ on to the stage, which gave the other three a good laugh anyway. I had to have a microphone on a stand pointing towards the speaker on the cassette machine, and the volume had to be just right for it to work or it would feed back. It was a bloody nightmare actually. It wasn't rock and roll, it was fiddling with buttons, like a precursor to the synthesizer age."
I come across a few tracks by Don Fardon that may be of interest to readers of SFA, I've got to state they're NOT psych by any means but I feel they will interest some of your readers:
The first 3 are from the album 'Lament Of The Cherokee Indian Reservation' from '68,
1.Captain man - This is a marginal case as it is a soul-infused number that's been included as it features some good fuzz guitar and strong organ all through it but it also has the obligatory brass arrangements.
2.Sally Goes Round The Moon - I've saw this described as a rewrite of The Jaynettes US hit "Sally goes round the roses" with some of Simon Dupree's "Kites" thrown in, well it is good late 60s pop with an edgy sound that contains some nice bursts of orchestration and distorted guitar constantly playing in the background,it makes you wonder if The Sorrows stayed together in the UK is this what they would've evolved into?
3.Sunshine Woman - A song dominated by great percussion with good accompaniment of swirling organ,but slightly ruined by bursts of sax(not sex, i would be so lucky!)and a weak chorus!Another soul influenced number which gives you a clue as to what influences were contained within the album this came from. [It's also on the recent 'Darkening Violets' bootleg comp - Dave]
This next number came from the 1970 album"I've paid my dues".
4.I'm Alive - Starts with some almighty fuzz guitar and again dominated by good percussion,this was originally released by Tommy James and the Shondells so it stays on that track with a gritty garagey soulful sound(what a mouthful)with fuzz guitar heard all through this with good vocals.
Well Dave that is it,if you feel those tracks are worthy of a mention in your fine mag, that would be good, all it leaves for me is to say i wish yourself and all at SFA HQ all the best for the coming festivities and hope you all have a prosperous New Year.
All the best,
Re. eBay misrepresenation:
Hey, I know you occasionally like to report on dodgy material listed as psych on eBay. This item, listed as "Hippy Folk Rock with Female Vocals LP psych"
has to be the silliest I've yet seen. Middle Of The Road, as I'm sure you know, are pure 70's bubblegum pop, & the terms "Hippy", "Folk Rock" & "Psych" do not in any way apply.
It caused me much amusement, but I hope no unsuspecting newbie folk psych fan bids on it.
Re. PENELOPE BREEDLOVE:
Re. Penelope Breedlove (SFA 13):
You probably know that Paul H has goofed...big time!
The two recordings of 'Penelope Breedlove' are NOT identical. Same song, probably even same vocalist, but NOT same recording. The tempos are slightly different and there's marked differences in the backing track (the organ for example). Tell Paul H to get his ears syringed!
yes, a thousand apologies! I listened to a CDR very late one night on earphones and played the same track twice, on 2 different discs- one mis-labeled! So, sorry, yes, the recordings are different and yet at the same time very similar, especially if you don't do a direct comparison, as I should have done.
Strange though, that no mention of the disc was made on ST 7.
~ Oh well, no-one's perfick mate, and no harm done. Paul Cross seems to be the only person who spotted the error anyway! - Dave T.
***TIL WE MEET AGAIN...***
Due to influences both multitudinous and nefarious, the next
issue of Sweet FA will not appear until the latter part of March.
So, see y'all in 2 months time.
Love DT & gang. X
SWEET FA -
the world's only periodical devoted to UK PSYCHEDELIA - is
We have only one thing to gain, our consciousness.
Nothing to lose but our minds.
EDITOR - Dave Thubron
DEPUTY EDITOR - The Rt. Hon. Paul St. James Cross
CONTRIBUTORS TO THIS ISSUE- Vinegar Tom Christian, Amanda Cohen, Paul Cross,Paul Hodges, John-Paul Hortus, Jon Kerr, Jan Maxence, Andy Shehan, Dave Thubron,Michael Walters.
All contents copyright (c).
Extracts from the NME, copyright (c) NME, 1967, 1972.
Extracts from 'The Bumper Book Of Psych Quotations', by Roger St. John, copyright (c) Tangerine Books, London. 2001.
'Confessions of a London opium eater', by Michael Moorcock, copyright (c)
Michael Moorcock, 1995.
'Little Jane' text, copyright (c) A. Cohen, 2001.
All other contents, copyright (c) SFA, January 2003.
SFA is a non-profit making & non-capital generating publication. No part of the contents may be reproduced for gain. It's for "educational purposes" only.
Mess with us and we'll come round in the middle of the night and stuff a bat right up yer nightdress.
Printed for R. Royfton, Esq., at ye signe of ye Angell in Ivie Lane.
M. DC. XLVII.