"dans un état de rêverie supernaturaliste"
    ~ Gérard de Nerval.


NO. 20 ~ AUGUST 2003
Online at: Marmalade Skies "The Home of British Psychedelia"

Hi gang,
another month, another Sweet Florrie. This month, we are proud to include three exclusive interviews: - with 2 members of the legendary Mandrake Paddle Steamer, and the mighty Eric Stewart formerly of The Mindbenders, 10cc... Thanks to Mark A. Johnston for these delicious treats. SFA can boast many fine exclusives, all eluding the mainstream music press! Natch!
Also, apologies to MAJ - we seem to keep adding an "e" to the end of his name.
Sorry mate, we've got e's on (in?) the brain!
Shanti shanti shanti,

O - OUT IN THE COLD - Salamander / Spectrum / Chris Britton
O - OZ PSYKE: Procession
O - THE SFA ROLL OF HONOUR ~ The first 20 issues!


The SFA psych/pop Haiku competition was won by Sean Perrott. Here is his wonderful winning entry-

From our Magic Bus
I see two old friends on high...
'Terry and Julie'!

A suitable prize is on the way.

And staying with Japanese verse forms...
'CHERRY BLOSSOMS: a book of haiku', edited by Jörgen Johansson & Robert D. Wilson. River Man: Lidköping. ISBN 91-974319-9-0)
A volume of 87 Haiku by 14 poets, scattered around the globe. Including lovely colour images, by Robert D. Wilson. Many of these poems will doubtless appeal to the more discerning and literary-minded "SFA" reader.
Beautiful. Highly recommended.
Contact JJ - 
tracksonwax@swipnet.se for info/copies.

One of the darlings of the Kings Road set, Ossie Clark is now best known for being (along with his Mrs & pet cat) the subject of an iconic portrait by Hockney and for his grisly death. Visit the V&A and check out what he did to perfection: cut cloth and make the MOST beautiful clothes for beautiful people.
The stunning exhibition runs at the Victoria & Albert Museum until May 2nd, 2004.

***ERIC STEWART INTERVIEWED, by Mark A Johnston***

MAJ: Eric, the Mindbenders had phenomenal US & UK chart success after Wayne Fontana departed with "Groovy Kind of Love."  Was there any thought amongst you and the band that Fontana's departure would be the death knell for the band at the time?  Was there some "ha, we showed 'em"gratification in the success of the band without Fontana?
ERIC: Wayne left the band half way through a show near Wembley, London. The drummer, Rick Rothwell was ribbing him and he took offence, said "do the F....ing show yourselves then" , and disappeared from the stage. We, The Mindbenders, had been doing our own numbers in the act without Wayne on lead vocals, and we carried on after a few shell-shocked seconds, and went down a storm. The people were just knocked out that we had carried on for them. We didn't look back, the first song we recorded after Wayne split was 'Groovy Kind of Love', and it was a smash hit. I was certainly out to prove something after Wayne thought he had left us stranded.

MAJ: Do you recall any conscientious attempt to move the band in a more psychedelic direction? Were you influenced by the change in the musical scene around you in 1966/67?  A lot of the Northern bands never could make the change from beat to being accepted in the psychedelic world of 66/67.
ERIC: We did try to go Psychedelic after playing at Fillmore East and West in the States, all very druggy, but we were already so well fixed in the public's minds as a Pop outfit, it didn't work.

MAJ: Any recollections of Bob Lang's mildly pop-psych B-side"Yellow Brick Road" and Graham's "Uncle Joe The Ice Cream Man?" John Paul Jones directed the accompaniment on it? Collectors of the pop-psych genre seek after both songs, along with your "Morning After".
ERIC: 'Yellow Brick Road' was written by me actually!! and was an attempt to move the band sideways into Psycho Street.  'Uncle Joe The Ice Cream Man' was the low point of all Mindbenders recordings, and as we were recording it at Olympic Studios, Mick Jagger popped his head around the door of the booth where I was doing the lead vocal and said,"Jesus Christ Eric, what are you doing crap like this for!!"  We were a tight little Blues band actually, and had toured with the Stones a couple of times.
John Paul Jones was a gas to work with, I loved his work, and wasn't surprised when he formed Zep with the other 3 great guys.

MAJ:  As you are a Mancunian, were you aware of Graham when he was in The Whirlwinds or The Mockingbirds?  He was brought in as a producer with "The Letter," was this your choice and why?
ERIC:  We were aware of all the bands in Manchester area, it was a very small musical community after all, and I think the Mockingbirds supported the M/B's once or twice. Our manager was Graham Gouldman's manager too, and it was logical that he try to produce one of our tracks after us using some of the stuff he had written previously. Paul Hancox arrived for an audition with us after Rick decided he'd had enough of touring, and wanted to open a sports shop. Jimmy O'Neil was recommended by Paul at a later date when Bob Lang left the band. He was with Jeff Lynne's 'Idle Race' actually and I went to watch him and offered him the Gig. GG joined a while after that.

MAJ:  Graham became a de facto member of the band?  He also began contributing songs to the band with "Schoolgirl" and "Uncle Joe The Ice Cream Man" Jimmy O'Neill and ex-Chicken Shack drummer Paul Hancox also entered the band at this time - why?
ERIC:  I think GG and Hymie were drying up hit wise at the time he joined the M/B's, at least the songs were not coming up as they had earlier.
I wasn't 'Miffed' that he didn't come up with a hit for us, we were still going to Denmark street publishers for songs, but people kept sending us love ballads because of 'Groovy!!' I really did enjoy recording 'Schoolgirl', it was quite an experiment for us but sadly, it stiffed.

MAJ:  Do you recall if there are further recordings in the can from the Graham Goudlman line up?  Anything (titles) ring a bell?
ERIC: There are no other recordings I know of that are still lying around from that period.

MAJ: Graham quit soon after and yet you managed to pick back up again later on. I assume his departure was amicable at that point? Why do you think he quit?
ERIC: GG's leaving the M/B's was amicable at the time, both he and the group were really in their death throes, and it was time to jump ship.

MAJ:  Do you recall what sounds were influencing you most during those years?
ERIC:  The Beatles, Led Zep ( especially Jimmy ), Tamla, Santana, Moby Grape, Otis Rush (blues) oh boy, many many artistes.

MAJ:  You decided to knock the Mindbenders on the head in 1968?  What was your game plan or future outlook the day you made that decision?
ERIC:  I made that decision after a disastrous week in cabaret in the North of England. I got in the van, drove home and said to my wife, "That's it, I've had enough, if that's all I've got to look forward to I'm looking for another job". I had already been working a little with Pete Tattersall at Inter City Studios in Stockport, and decided at that moment to
follow my dream and try to turn it into a great studio. The Strawberry Story. The rest, as they say, is history.

Many thanks to the very busy Eric Stewart for taking some time out to talk with us about his past with The Mindbenders. Eric has a new CD, "Do Not Bend" that has been just released. Please make sure you stop by
http://www.ericstewart.uk.com/ where you can listen to MP3 samples of the new album and learn more about Eric's past and future!


SALAMANDER, by Paul Martin.
SALAMANDER - 'Ten Commandments' (Youngblood SSYB 14) 1970.
The term 'Christian Rock' may conjure up images of born again beardies and long-hairs pumping up the volume for Jesus (a good friend of mine was very into this many years ago). However, if there is no reason why the devil should have all the best tunes, there is also no reason why those designed to praise his better half should not be reappraised by the secular world either. What the deal was with a hipster like Micki Dallon (who owned Youngblood) would be interesting to know. This excellent album is long due for a reissue and is currently only available on a dubbed from vinyl CDR of dubious provenance (check
www.rock2gemm.com for examples). As RPM seem to have dibs on the Youngblood catalogue at the moment, perhaps they might want to consider this title for reissue? Sprinkled (and sometimes heavily or starkly) by Bob Leaper's marvellous orchestration, mssrs Dave Titley (lead guitar / lead vocals), A.B. Benson (organ / vocals), John Cook (drums) and Dave Chriss (bass) produced a fantastic album of prog-psych. Benson and Titley wrote everything on the album.
The Salamander album's theme is obviously self-explanatory. Ten tracks, each appertaining to a specific biblical commandment. Having said this, only the opening track 'He Is My God' really even comes close to being anything like a Jesus Army anthem. The others (and even half of the first one is sumptuously instrumental) could as easily be commentaries on modern society by any free-thinking anti-globalisation crusty. As such, I shall attempt to suggest a secular comparison to the purely biblical intent of the songs.

1. 'Prelude incorporating He Is My God'
I am the Lord thy God. Thou shalt have no other Gods before me.
Ok, admittedly, this is the most self-consciously religious track on the album and one of the longest. The first four minutes (Prelude) are taken up by a delicious and somewhat Floydian in places instrumental. When the vocals come in they could as easily be David Coverdale or Ian Gillan (yes, it's in that sort of style). There is the partial recital of the Lords Prayer and so forth, but the sound is a whole lot better than that might suggest. Prog heads and psych-rockers alike should love it! if you like, the God referred to could as easily be an ironic statement on the worshipping of money.
2. 'Images'
Thou shalt make no graven images unto me.
An excellent funky rock track (think Babe Ruth 'Wells Fargo' for instance), bendy keys (reminded me of early Bob Calvert era Hawkwind) in parts. Nothing overtly religious in tone, could as well be a comment on the superficiality of fashion. This has a great early Deep Purple feel overall (e.g. 'Emmaretta').
3. 'People'
Thou shalt not use the Lord thy God's name in vain.
A vaguely lysergic and a definitely silky rhythm smoothes this number along.
I thought it was a good comment on the way words of moment and meaning like 'fascist' fall to casually from people's mouths to describe something mildly irritating and the force and real meaning of the word is thus diluted or dissipated as a result (oh think of your own examples, you all know some!).
4. 'God's Day'
Remember the Sabbath to keep it holy.
Yeah, well this was written in the pre 24 / 7 age you understand! This sports a nice orchestral horn section and some cool keys that really work out. Brings to mind the necessity and importance of finding or making (some or any) time for the things and people you care about most in your life, in a world that just keeps speeding up.
5. 'Honour They Father And Thy Mother'
A short piano and acoustic guitar instrumental passage which is restful and contemplative. Use it to remember who matters to you.
6. 'Kill'
Thou Shalt Not kill
Great keys introduction, nicely orchestrated strings and brass section.
Violence solves nothing but leads to more violence
7. 'Thou Shalt Not Commit Adultery'
A very nice light, progressive pop number featuring tablas a great harmony vocal, strings and acoustic guitar. Soul / self searching in a world of confusion, what's wrong or right, do we define it for ourselves?
8. 'Steal'
Thou shalt not steal
Anyone lucky enough to own a copy of Stuart Robertson's excellent 'Treacle People' comp will know this track from there, and you can rest assured the whole album sounds as good as this track. A restless, cascading strings and keys led number with a great rock harmony vocal. Pushes along like a slightly faster 'Smoke On The Water' but with more zest! fetishising materialism sucks!
9. 'False Witness'
Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbour
Another funky rock number (see track / commandment(!) 2), great feel with a good guitar / keys interplay section on the middle eight. An attack on the 'anything goes if it gets me what I want' mentality.
10. 'Possessions'
Thy shalt not covert thy neighbours house, wife etc.
Similar in style and approach to 'False Witness'. In fact tracks 8,9,10 could be taken as a trilogy, thematically they are all very similar.

I found that once you start listening to this album, the fact that it is an overtly religious testimony disappears pretty quickly. The lightness of the religious tone 33 years later sounds more like any humanist belief system rather than a specifically Christian one. It can be taken as spiritual without beingreligious if you like to think of it that way. The music and the quality of the songs, performance and singing etc., especially combined with the tasteful orchestration (which gives it a definite edge as it is not the kind of music that normally gets that sort of treatment) lift it far above the norm. Kumbaya with a tambourine it ain't! If you are of a prog-psych / psych- rock disposition (and why would you be reading this if you weren't?), this will not disappoint you for a moment. Grab it with both hands if you come across it in any format!

SPECTRUM, by Paul Cross.
An underappreciated band who, apart from plays on Radio London, well and truly slipped between the cracks, Spectrum began life in the first half of the 60s, but it was not until after the kids' TV programme, 'Captain Scarlet', was first broadcast in September '67, that their name had any value and  RCA attempted to cash in on the fact that the band's name was coincidentally the same as the Captain's organization, by having the band dress in Spectrum uniforms, as shown on some of their foreign issues. Other than to record their own version of the theme tune, this publicity opportunity sadly came to nothing.
Their LP, the wonderfully entitled, 'The Light Is Dark Enough (RCA International INTS1118) 1970, is not, contrary to what has been written elsewhere, "essentially a 'best of' ". It was issued rather ignominiously on RCA's cheapo 'Camden' series, with attractive but inexpensive rainbow cover art and a graveyard scene which must hace been aimed squarely at the black magic/heavy market, but maybe featuring a crucifix also made it look a bit like a God squad album so the punters shunned it.
The Lp opens with a horrid extempore version of a horrid song, 'Ob-La-Di, O-bloody-Da' (a hit in Germany, no less), but quickly moves on to 'Mr. Jenkins Brand New Boots, a juicy slice of popsyke, which is an LP stand out track.
'Nodnol' (London backwards if you'd never noticed) is nice prog pop. 'Walrus
And The Horse' is a classical derived, Nice-style organ-lead  instrumental, "nice" if you dig that scene.
'Glory' is not at all glorious.
Side Two opens with the lovely 'Portobello Road'. In both detail and metre it is akin to The Pirates' 'Shades Of Blue': detail layered on detail layered on detail. Jingly jangly observational popsyke with barrelhouse piano and some fat jazzy organ: -
"Antiques, bric-a-brac,
Pretty Georgiana,
Faded snaps, memories,
Great Victoriana"  - is a typical, florid couplet.
'Mandy' is freaky pop, with echooooed vocals and some fine Hammond.
'Headin' For A Heatwave' is catchy pop, nothing stunning, whilst
'Jacqueline' is prog pop with a wash of psych pop, tasty.
The closer, the LP's title track, is sadly an unexceptional  piano-lead ballad.
Overall, a good LP and hard to find.
Of the non-LP sides, it is worth noting 'Samantha's Mine' is bright & breezy pop, almost hit material, with some pleasant electric harpsichord fills but otherwise rather ordinary. The flip, 'Saturday's Child' is west coast-styled
harmony pop, a Mr Gates song, fairly bland.
'London Bridge Is Coming Down' is pretty good Swinging London pop; whilst 'Tables And Chairs' and 'Come's [sic] The Dawn' are  soul/pop, the former track notable only for some fine electric piano. 'The interesting-sounding, 'Tale Of Wally Toft' is merely a jazz-blues smokey club kinda thing...yawn. 'Free' is gospel-influenced, meant to be uplifting but is actually a real downer.
'Music soothes The Savage Breasti is Spectrum's masterpiece: classical quotations, poetical bits ' n' bobs, a fabulous guitar break and superb
harmonies, it truly is a progressive pop trreasure.
I must admit to ignoring their first and last 45s, as these are of little interest, and I haven't heard 'Little Red Boat', 'Forget Me Not', or 'I'll Be Gone' for years, but I seem to remember these weren't up to much, although I could be wrong!
Go, and seek out the colors of the Spectrum.

CHRIS BRITTON, by Paul Cross.
CHRIS BRITTON - 'As I Am' (Page One POLS 022) Rel.: 12/69.
A super rarity. "Nor very memorable" are the bleak words used in the 'Tapestry of Delights' to curtly evict an album, which, doubtless, the author(s) had never even seen, let alone ever heard. Sadly (as we've said before in SFA, are we labouring the point???), such negative opinionatae become common currency when quoted often enough. You mention this album to people who've not heard it and you'll get the rejoinder "Yeah, but it's meant to be crap"... In fact, the album is pretty bloody good, but sufficiently different from most other works of the period to have aroused suspicion and disdain.
Chris Britton himself, described the LP, in the sleevenote, as "an ego trip", but mercifully it is never self obsessed, bloated, contrived or maniacal. It is fascinating, it is a fascinating colection of a dozen self-penned songs (plus one cover version), but as with most "ego trips", it was ignored by the record buying public. A public not sufficiently curious to investigate the undoubted talents of the Troggs' guitarist - despite the sleeve's hype: "Chris Britton of The Troggs". But then the public weren't interested in solo releases by Reg Presley or Ronnie Bond.
The LP opens with 'Sit Down Beside Me' a great track now finally getting some exposure (it's been recently comped on 'Victoria Phantasia'). 'Will It Last' is harpsichord popsyke, very English indeed.
Next up is 'That Was The Time', a Kinks-ish acoustic ballad. The vocal performance is very Ray Davies-like (albeit flatter and with a touch of a laconic Noel Harrison). 'No Sense In Fighting', the only really duff track on this LP, is a bluesy Dylanesque bore.
'Maybe Time Will Change Me' is again, like the late 60s Kinks: nice ballad pop.
One of the highlights of 'As I Am' is 'Fly With Me', which is somewhere in the region between Icarus and Don Fardon. Psych lyrics --

Let the music hypnotise
Explore the underlying rise
And fall with me

Fly to the moon above
Fly on the wings of love
It's free

Dance through the mountain streams
See just how wild your dreams can be...

-- which are delivered in the very best & feyest UK manner, sit atop a very classy funky pop groover, augmented with some swirly sitaresque guitar breaks. Very very nice.
'If You Really Care' is a Kaleidoscope-like (think 'A Lesson Perhaps') folky acoustic piece, with a mildly trippy vibe. 'Run And Hide' is pretty good: Tourquise style pop, let down only by a flat lead vocal. 'How Do You Say Goodbye (NOT the Black & Blue track) is sparkling strings pop a la Honeybus, and would
appeal to many I'm sure. 'Sleep My Love' is another harpsichord-lead ballad.
'Why Did I let You Go' is gentle, soulful and again acoustic.
The version of 'Evil Woman' herein, is probably one of the most extraordinary. Featuring jazzy sax, fuzz and brass, it really is a splendid track.
The pensive closer, 'Learn How To Love Life And You'll Be Living' is a hippie ballad, somewhat tainted by a country-blues influence, which features tweet tweet bird song sound effects.
'As I Am' is a lovely LP. A veritable pop feast (Be warned: If you are after Pink Fairies-style guitar freak outs then furgedaboudit!), which would appeal especially to those who dig the softer 'Spinning Wheel'-type pop sounds.
Now, if you can only find (afford???) a copy...


Mark A Johnston, our ever busy man in the Motor City chats to Martin Briley and Paul Riordan of the legendary Mandrake Paddle Steamer...

MAJ: Mandrake Paddle Steamer have only two legitimately released 45's and yet the band's following & reputation have grown to  mythological proportions, based primarily on the one single, "Strange Walking Man." What do you make of all the interest over the years in the band and the one song?
MB: To be quite honest, I haven't exactly been over-burdened by all the 'interest over the years' in the music we produced, it was only recently I became aware of the interest via the internet. I have a stash of old Mandrake tapes that I just haven't gotten around to transferring; maybe I'm dreading what I'm going to hear! I'm sure the sound quality is horrendous. Does anybody actually listen to this stuff? When you say TWO 45's do you mean 'SWM' and "Steam' the B-side?  Because I don't remember a second single.

MAJ: Does this ring any bells:  "Sunlight Glide"/"Len"?
MB: Oh yeah, that single. As far as I know, that was released long after we split up. The one thing about that band is that we were fiercely original.
We were hired to play those songs for that little indie film,  I don't think any of us regarded that as OUR music.  Interestingly, I have never seen a penny oreven a royalty statement from any of these records. I really  must call the
PRS one day.

MAJ: Do you have any recollection as how you arrived at choosing the name for the band?
MB: I think we liked the Mandrake part because of the Mandrake root and it's supposed narcotic qualities, the paddle steamer seemed to me at the time to be the most unlikely thing you'd ever stumble across in the neighborhood.
Basically, we didn't want anyone to realize we were just four boring upstarts from the suburbs of East London.

MAJ:  Can you recall the kind of music you wanted to produce when the band first came together?  What was the intention?
MB: Ray Bradbury and Viking mythology were our two main themes. Sometimes just the power of those Ray Bradbury short story titles would inspire us to create a musical backdrop, it was my first experience at letting a title dictate the song, something I do quite often these days! It was the same with the Viking myths, because the stories were so grand it gave us license to be musically adventurous, and generally quite pretentious, but in a good way I think.

MAJ: Why did you choose to attend Art School in Walthamstow and how did you come across Brian there?
MB: Aside from playing guitar, art seemed to be my only interest and Walthamstow was kind of where I lived, besides, I was quite aware that some really great bands had come out of art colleges. In my second year I joined the graphic design course and there across the room was Brian, usually annoying everyone around  him.

MAJ: Brian has been portrayed as some kind of rebel in interviews about this period - is this overstated?
MB:  Brian may have started that rumour himself! You may be  referring to the period after I knew him when I believe he became a thorn in the side of the U.K. music publishing community, but I wasn't there, so I  really don't know too much about that.

MAJ:  Do you recall what your favorite records  were that drove you to pick up a guitar?  Any memorable gig you attended that provoked you?
MB:  Cliff Richard was a big star in England when I was growing up, and his back-up band the Shadows were a huge influence on me, Hank B. Marvin was my first idol.  I later ended up working with Cliff and the Shadows on their
BBC-TV series when I was a session guitarist in London in the 70's. 
Memorable gigs were not an influence because I started playing when I was eleven, long before they let me  out!

MAJ:  Speaking of guitars, as a guitarist myself  what  (guitar & amp) were you using during   Mandrake?
MB:  A Fender Telecaster through a Vox Defiant ( MPS ) and  then Orange when we were just Mandrake.

MAJ: What type of material do your call playing  live? Any covers at the time thrown into a Mandrake set?
MB:  The times dictated that we should all write our own  music, or at least that's how I perceived it. The idea  of doing 'covers' was out of the question.
The closest  to that would be when as Mandrake we finished the show with a ten-minute 'Excerpts from Bizet's Carmen'

MAJ:    Any recollections on your gig supporting  The Floyd at the Art School?
Any Syd recollections from that gig?
MB:  We didn't open for Pink Floyd that night, it was Deep  Purple. I wish it had of been, I really liked them,  right from 'Piper at the Gates of Dawn'. I remember we  rehearsed and timed ourselves to make sure we had enough material for the 30-minute set. On the night we were pumping so much collective adrenalin we shot  right through it in about ten minutes! We all looked  at each other and decided no one would notice if we did it all over again!

MAJ: Why was the EMI Manchester Square audition considered to be so bizarre?
MB:  It was an audition inside the record company, I think  it was the first time any of us had seen the insides  of a big corporation, it seemed as if all these suits  came downstairs to see us between their 3pm and 4pm meetings. Not that bizarre in the big scheme of  things.

MAJ:  Are there any unreleased Mandrake P.S. songs still in the can? Any titles that come to your mind?
MB:  Apparently we have an album out there 'Overspill' that we never actually recorded, I have no idea what's on  that so I don't know what's released or unreleased.  'Stella Mermaid', ever hear of that one? It was I believe one of three songs we recorded at a session at Orange Studios in London, "Song for Freedom", "Stella Mermaid" and "Simple Song" (an instrumental that was anything but simple!). I don't remember much about "Stella Mermaid", I know it was about a mermaid and therefore I assume that the lyrics were embarrasingly stupid.

MAJ:  Why did Brian make the decision to leave  Mandrake PS in 1970, yet you stayed on awhile longer.
MB:  It seems stupid looking back on it now, but I recall  that with the exception of Brian, we all moved into a  house together. It was the thing to do at the time. His reluctance to join in seemed like a vote of no confidence and it causeda rift. In retrospect he  was the only one with any brains, we were all driving  each other crazy in that house. It was the beginning  of the end. Plus, I could sing so we figured we could do better without him. You know, 20 quid goes so much further when you only have to split it four ways!

MAJ: Your working relationship came back  together again for Prowler, was this an attempt for a more commercial Mandrake PS?
MB:  No, Brian and I just worked well together and we got  signed to AIR to write songs and make a record.  Prowler? Is that what we were called?

MAJ: Again we have only one highly sought after bizarre (great!) single, "Pale Green Vauxhall Driving Man (1973)," which also had a bit of controversy surrounding it as well (old habits die hard?) Can  you provide any thoughts on the single and the controversy "Vauxhall."?

MB:  Well, I believe the central character was a  child-molester, but that problem was eclipsed by the use of an automotive brand name. Go figure.
MAJ:  Did you bring any old Mandrake P.S. songs  into Prowler?

MB:  Mandrake, Corn and Seed Merchants, Prowler, Starbuck,  Liverpool Echo, True Adventure ....... it was all the  same thing to us.
MAJ:  Why did Prowler dissolve?

MB:  The record company dropped us.
MAJ:  Then you cut Liverpool Echo, again with  your old partner Brian. What were your intentions for this album on Spark?

MB:  Together with producer Andrew Pryce Jackman, we set  out to recreate a 'Merseybeat' album. Brian and I  wrote a bunch of new songs especially for the project  and we produced them using similar techniques to the early Beatles records. We even recorded them very  quickly, a lot of early takes.
MAJ: Were you two  satisfied with the production and the writing on it?
You two fell out with  the AIR production team at the time and pulled the plug on the sessions?

MB:  There are some great songs on that record, but I  haven't heard them for a long time, because I don't own a copy! I'm not sure whether these things happened at  the same time, but I assume you understand that AIR and Spark were completely separate.

MAJ: Any chance of ever seeing the  Mandrake/Liverpool Echo/Prowler recordings being re-released with a lot of the unreleased material?
MB: I have no plans.

MAJ:  After Liverpool Echo for Spark, you again morphed into Starbuck with the production team of Howard and Blaikely,  what was that experience like?
MB:  Ken Howard and Alan Blaikley were two very successful  pop songwriters at the time ( Amen Corner, the Herd,  etc.. ) who would hire Brian and I to sing, play and  arrange their records for them. If a record took off, like the Starbuck single "Do You Like Boys?", we'd go out on tour to support it.
But we never wrote any of  this stuff, so we were really just whoring.

MAJ:    So many incarnations in such a short time span; why was a major breakthrough not happening in those days do you  think?  Did you become disillusioned after this?  What do you think now with so many years behind you in the business when you look back at it all?
MB:  The incarnations you refer to represent only a fraction of my career, they are merely a handful of the hundreds of battles I have fought and lost.
Along the way I discovered that 95% of all the music produced goes down the toilet, it's the 5% that succeeds that keeps us all going. People look at my extensive discography and see only success, what they are looking at is the
5%. Imagine the size of the 95%!

MAJ: By the way,  I see you have just joined MPL  Congratulations to you as well!
MB:  Thanks.

MAJ: Do you keep in contact with Brian, Paul (who has an official Mandrake site, Martin or Barry these days?
MB:  I've e-mailed Paul a few times recently, and I spoke to Martin on the phone a little while back. I can't find Brian, any ideas?

MAJ:   Brian is often portrayed as a bit of an anarchist in the day. Any truth in these remarks?
MB:  Yes I've read this article before. It certainly sounds like Brian....... never let the truth get in the way of a good story!
MAJ: Here is the track listing from the CD bootleg, "Forgotten Jewels" that is now out on CD and trading hands. Any thoughts or corrections or correct band associations with these titles would be great:

"In My Padded Cel"l .......I think perhaps the real title was "The East Wing", a song about an insane asylum. I remember when we recorded it for a BBC radio show the staff producer ( probably drunk after a pub lunch ) was very keen on shoving a screw driver into the tape machine to create a rather pathetic echo effect. We all pretended to love it.
"Senlak Lament" ......  I can't remember if it's spelt with a K or a C.
"Pandemonium Shadow Show" (Cooger and Dark)  ......  They were the two villainous circus owners from the Ray Bradbury novel "Something Wicked This Way Comes".
"Janis Suite" ....Should be: "Janus Suite"
"The Ivory Castle of Soolikane Tusk" ....... Was it a castle or a tower? And it was Solitaire Huske I think.
"Pale Green 'Hmmmm' Driving Man" ...... That's the other title with a synth sound obliterating the offending word 'Vauxhall' ( the BBC would have refused to play the song because it used a car brand name. There were, and still are, no commercials on the BBC. Theoretically, all the other car manufacturers could have accused the BBC of favoritism!
"Steam" ...... B-side of SWM
"Jaywick Cowboy" ...... B-side of 'East of the Sun' our first single for AIR under the name Corn and Seed Merchants.
"Mirage" ..... Not us.
"Lights Camera Action"  ...... Not us.
"Don't Let Me Fall"  ...... Not us.
"Nobody Flies So High" .......... Brian and I recorded a demo of song 'I am the Sky ( nobody flies no higher than me )' based on a Damon Runyon character The Sky, a gambler in 'Guys and Dolls'. Could this be it?
"Only Seagulls Flight (Goodbye Uncle Bradie) "........ Should read: "Goodbye Uncle Freddy ( only the seagulls cry)"
"The Best Years of Our lives" ...... Not us.
"Pale Green Vauxhall Driving Man" ... As a matter of interest, on this and many of the other songs we recorded for AIR, we used the big modular Moog synthesizer the Beatles used on Abbey Road ( I guess it belonged to George Martin ), the only guy who knew how to work it was a young lad named Chris Thomas, he went on to produce Procol Harum, the Pretenders, Elton John, etc.

MAJ:  Martin, seems we have some die hard Corn  and Seed Merchant fans out here, making sure I get them a  mention and get any comments?
MB:   Well, I very much appreciate their interest, though I imagine it must be hard to be a fan of something so short-lived. But like I said before, these are all just names, Brian and I would just write and hope we could find someone to pay us!

MAJ:  When was the unreleased Corn And Seed Merchants LP recorded?
MB: I think somewhere around 1970 - 72. Check out the date on "Nilsson Schmilsson" by Harry Nilsson, we were recording at AIR at the same time.
Great singer.

MAJ:  Why was the track released also as by Prowler?
MB: We hated the name Corn & Seed Merchants, someone else made it up, and that was supposed to be our job!  We used to try out a different name every couple of weeks, we had a million of them! We had way better names than Prowler.

MAJ: Will the LP ever be issued?
MB:  I very much doubt it.

Mark Johnston is gratefully indebted to Martin Briley for his wonderful muse and his valuable time for this interview conducted June 2003.
Not to be reprinted without expressed written permission from the author.

Check out Martin Briley's official web site at

MAJ: Paul, are you surprised by the almost mythological status Mandrake Paddle Steamer has achieved over the years since the band had only two singles released?
PR: When I first did a search for "Mandrake Paddle Steamer" on the internet some years back.  I was really surprised as to how much stuff there was about us.
Some of it is made up, but where did all the material that was for sale come from? Obviously bootlegged, as we only recorded one official single. We recorded a few radio sessions (John Peel - some BBC lunchtime thing for
Stuart?? (a Scottish DJ) and several demo sessions.  Bam Caruso did an official re-release some years back, but I have no idea how many copies they sold or how many they pressed up. There may be a dark and dusty box full of singles somewhere. We must have had quite a large fan base at the time, but were in the middle of the changes that were happening at EMI, so I think we were put with the wrong label with EMI Parlophone, rather than the Harvest label.  I am surprised even today when I mention Mandrake P. S. to people of my generation; they seem to remember us, even if it was just because of the quirky name.

MAJ: You say you were "misplaced" with Parlophone and should have been on Harvest? Why do you think that?
PR: I don't think EMI knew what to do with us. Our image was a bit too clean to be a 'prog rock' band, so they wanted us to come up with a hit single. I think Harvest were more into developing act by way of albums.

MAJ: Was the band already together when you took over from Brian on bass?
How did you get involved?
PR: I don't think I actually took over from Brian, as they had not done any gigs before I joined.  I think Brian was just filling in on Bass at rehearsals whilst they were looking for a bass player. I was pulled in a few
weeks before their fist gig as I had a reputation in the Ilford area of being one of the best bass players around.  I don't know how I got that, as I wasn't that good !  The first gig was Walthamstow Art College in support to Cliff Bennett and the Rebel Rousers.

MAJ: A lot of the great bass players are bass players by default, did you originally start out on guitar?
PR: Martin B. had a good Idea of how he wanted the Bass parts to go.  I wasn't used to that, but it certainly gave me a lot more discipline as a bass player. I always think of myself as a bass player even now, although I probably play more Keyboards and lead guitar these days. I was always a bass player first.

MAJ: What type bass did you use and why did you choose it? Amp?
PR: I had a Rickenbacker for a while and then I started using a Danelectro 'Longhorn Bass. ' I used to think it sounded great until after a gig in Switzerland. Roger Glover (Deep Purple's Bass player ) came to a watch us and said that it lacked bottom end.  He said, "Ya wanna get yourself a Fender." When we got back to England I bought the telecaster bass  that I still use today.
I still have the Danelectro Longhorn as well.

MAJ:  Would you (at the time) have considered yourselves to be "psychedelic" or leaning more to what would be known as "prog" (progressive)?
PR: Progressive rock, I guess.

MAJ:  Can you recall back to those days and the kind of music you had hoped to create when you first started?
PR: I was more into  rhythm and blues stuff, traditional and modern. I also had played in a few cover bands doing mainly Beatles and current pop stuff. Martin B. introduced me to bands like Traffic, Pink Floyd, Family, etc. 
Mandrake was the first band that I had joined that was performing all original material right from the start. I thought, 'This is cool.

MAJ: Do you have recollections of any of the early material you wrote or gigged to before you had your own songs?
PR: We would perform songs, which had a real long improvisation section in the middle.  Sometimes we would make it all that stuff - he was more into the - Folksy- laments and historical stuff  the only covers being an encore number.
I loved Martin Briley's style of writing.

MAJ: Did Martin and Brian immediately show promise as the main songwriters or was this by default?  Did you write?
PR: When Brian left the band,  Martin B, Martin H. and myself all lived together in a house in Leyton and we started writing four-piece material. 
It was great. They pulled a few songs out of me that I never thought I could do.

MAJ: Did the band originate with the name "Mandrake Paddle steamer" right at
the genesis?
PR: When I joined the band I was the only member that had a driving license, so I got to use the band van.  It had a big logo painted on the side  "Mandrake Paddle Steamer" designed in a circle in orange, turquoise and purple. Martin B and Brian were at Art College and I was a Commercial Artist (that's what they called a Graphic Designer in those days), so there was a lot of visual creativity going on as well as the music.

MAJ: Did Syd and the early Floyd at all influence you?
PR: We certainly liked the Floyd.  I had seen them with Syd a few times and I saw them them when David Gilmour was on standby I think. Our second gig at Walthamstow Art college was support to them. We went down really well that night  remember.

MAJ: Do you recall Syd Barrett's behavior in those last gigs as erratic? Was he approachable kind of guy at the time?

PR: You are using your hindsight.  No one, outside of the Floyd circle, knew Syd Barrett was having problems, so no. The gig I saw him play was just another Floyd Gig.

MAJ: Any interesting first gigs?
PR: We did so many support gigs to big names, especially as a four-piece: Spirit, Vanilla Fudge, Deep Purple Black Sabbath Free The Nice. I'm bound to think of more over the next couple of days, as you've got the old grey cells working now!

MAJ:    Do you recall if there were demos for Shapiro Bernstein publishers?
Can you recall the songs?
PR: Yes, I think that was the second time in the studio. We had previously recorded a demo of October County.  The songs we recorded at Shapiro session were I think 'Coogar and Dark," and I am sorry as I can't remember the rest.

MAJ: "Strange Walking Man./Steam" is one of those ultimate collector tracks that are held in high regard? Did you think it was significant at the time?

PR: Not at all.  It was nothing like our live material. A lot of disagreements went on over that , but we got to record at the great Abbey road No 2 studio, which was an experience in itself Steam was an instrumental. We had been doing it live from the first gigs. I wrote the bridge part I was annoyed , as I never got a writing credit!

MAJ:  Was there any arguments over "Strange Walking Man" being released as "the" single (as you say it was not representative)?
PR: I don't think there were any arguments.  We just went along with what the producer Rob Finnis chose.  He convinced us that it was the right Song, but I think we only once played "Strange Walking Man" in our live set at the Bristol Town Hall I seem to remember.

MAJ:  Your second 45, Sunlight Glide/Len (Parlophone SD 6072) 1969, was only released in Sweden, do you recall it and the circumstances?
PR: I can remember recording it. These two Swedish guys were producing these 4 /6 tracks.  I think they wrote the tracks and we threw in some improvisation stuff for different bits of the film. We never got to see the film (The Shot??).
We were never informed it was going to be released as a single. I can remember the melody to 'Sunlight Glide.' I've never heard the finished track.

MAJ: Brian left in 1970 and you carried on as a four piece doing the first Isle of Wight?  All instrumentals? Why was he not replaced?
PR: Well, Brian became a bit more distant from the band and he also did not move into the band house.  I think we were also all a bit tired of all the 'folky Viking warrior' material he was writing. I was now singing so Martin B. and myself decided that we could handle most of the vocals together. I canremember on the way to Isle of Wight  singing the songs over and over in the back of the van. I hate to disappoint you, but it wasn't the Isle of Wight Festival - it was just some club gig on the island, but it went  down great.
For me, that's when Mandrake started doing the best material. We did the aforementioned gigs plus we got really tight as a band doing the Hamburg clubs (4 sets a night) and lots of European gigs. We also grew because the house was close to the west end and we would get last minute gigs at places like the Speakeasy and Blazes. One minute you would be fast asleep and then the next on stage in the west end. Quite a lot of famous musos would get up and Jam with us.
Peter Green played with us a few nights and I seem to remember Keith Moon getting behind the drum kit. It's all a bit blurry now, which reminds me that we did record some stuff at Morgan studios that Peter Green co-produced.  I don't know what happened to that.

MAJ: Then Martin jumped the ship and the band called it a day?
PR: No, we went on for about another year as a three piece. I was on bass and vocals and Martin Hooker was more extravagant with his keyboard playing.
I missed Marin B. so I left.

MAJ: Martin and Brian rejoined forces for Prowler and other projects? Were you involved?
PR: No, I did go visit them a few times when they were making the Album, but
I think I was in some other band by then.

MAJ: What were you involved with after the band folded and today?
PR: I played bass for a few of the acts that Island records were signing up and did loads of gigs supporting E and G managed bands Roxy Music, King Crimson etc. All a bit blurry these days. After a brief departure as a playingmusician, I joined Britannia Row working for Pink Floyd. I did 'The Wall' tour as guitar tech. and I still do occasional bits at David's Studio.
I mainly earn my living these days composing and recording production library music and dance remixes.
I have my own studio at home and had a UK top 40 hit in the mid nineties with a track called 'Harmonica Man."

MAJ: Martin says that he has a lot of unreleased Mandrake recordings laying about that he has not listened to in years...do you know what is left in the can?
PR: Well if he has some unmixed tapes I have access to all the necessary recording machinery to mix it and I would love to do that.

MAJ: Can you supply any brief thoughts, dates, demo of finished,  or comments on the songs that have managed to be released on the bootleg "Forgotten Jewels" and "Steam" ?
PR: "In My Padded Cell"  BBC session - the engineers thought it would be a good idea to slow the tape decks down at the end - which is why it goes a bit mad !!
"Senlak Lament"  BBC session.
"Cougar and Dark" BBC session.
"Janis Suite." I think that is the other title for Slow Blow, an instrumental written by Martin Hooker.
"The Ivory Castle of  Solikane Itusk" a real Brian Engel tune - BBC session I think .
The rest aren't Mandrake tunes perhaps they are by 'Prowler' I think, and probably recorded at Air studios.

MAJ: What is Barry and Martin H. up to? Do you keep in contact?
PR: I have tried to make contact with them, but I haven't had any luck.
About five years ago Phil Taylor, who runs David Gilmour's studio, if I knew the whereabouts of an old VS3 synth, asked me.  I put him in contact with Martin H as I knew he had such a synth.  Phil bought it, so Dave owns it now.  I saw it the other Day. Phil said that Martin is no longer playing.

Don't forget to visit the official Mandrake Paddle Steamer site at
Many thanks to Paul for his time and memories!

Some additional information on MPS demos/BBC recordings will be given in a
future SFA.
'Pale Green Vauxhall Driving Man' - PROWLER.
(Words/Music by Briley & Engel)

Hey little girl, would you like a ride in my car?
Stop what you're doing, I promise you we won't go too far.
Step inside and sit close to me, but mind my nylon leopard upholstery
I am a pale green Vauxhall drivin' man,
I am a pale green Vauxhall drivin' man..

My lucky day, a southwest London jeweller's daughter,
Going my way? forgotten all that her mother taught her.
Hitching up her skirts with the other hand, she climbed inside beside that
lurkin' smirkin' man.

I am a pale green Vauxhall drivin' man,
I am a pale green Vauxhall drivin' man.

I'm that nasty shifty kind, that greasy nineteen fifties kind of
Pale green Vauxhall drivin' man
I am a pale green Vauxhall drivin' man..

Seduction confection, grimy paper bag in my palm,
To show my affection, take one it will do you no harm.
Scramble out the door with a dreadful scream,
Maybe sticky brandy balls were not her scene.

I 'm like a pale green Vauxhall drivin' man,
I am a pale green Vauxhall drivin' man.

I'm that nasty shifty kind, that greasy nineteen fifties kind of
Pale green Vauxhall drivin' , obscene,  low conniving,
Pale green Vauxhall drivin' man..


You might have thought that during the time between the early 1980s Back From The Grave and the 2000's Fading Yellow series that every 60s musical stone would have been turned by now. Without wishing to reinvent the wheel,
I submit that there is still at least one strain of 60s music that has yet to be put under the microscope. This is the music created (and largely ignored if not overtly shunned at the time) by  pre-Beatles era pop performers who came of age in the first wave of rock 'n' roll in the 50s and who, by the later 60s, found themselves artistically and often personally adrift. In an attempt to redefine themselves they variously cut introspective records which commented on the changes in society or personal / relationship politics  (e.g. Rick Nelson - 'Another Side Or Rick' / 'Perception'; Four Seasons - 'Genuine Imitation Life Gazette'; Bobby Darin - 'Born Robert Walden Cassato' / 'Commitment', even Frank Sinatra - 'Watertown'), or sought to update their conventional light lyrical approach by singing to a hipper musical beat (e.g. Bobby Vee - 'Come Back When You Grow Up' and Del Shannon - 'The Further Adventures Of Charles Westover' - quite literally in the case of 'Runaway '67').
For many young pre-'63 artists their public persona was seemingly forever fixed in a time warp of chart single teen-girl idolatry. Understandably they wished to recast themselves in a more serious light. Subculturally of course, the 60s moved in dog years; fads and faces were in and out before much of the world had even heard of them. It was in an attempt to not be left behind in such fast moving times and be taken seriously that many artists (see for instance my review of Rick Nelson's Another Side Of Rick on
www.shindig-magazine.com, June reviews) sought out writers and material or wrote their own that connected with the growing artistic immersion in social critique and personal introspection. To be taken seriously by a more serious public and to make a personal and public musical statement which stood in stark opposition to what they had previously done became important.
50s perpetrators of such sounds can often seem surprising. Billy Fury's self-penned and significantly perhaps unreleased 'In My Room' is, albeit naively, an excellent example of  the British expression of this music:

In my room with its broken door
The posters on the wall of Hitler, John and Paul.
I see myself.

In my room there's books of Somerset Maughan,
of Irving Stone and Oscar Wilde, there's poetry of my own
I can be myself

In my room there's imitation Lautrecs',
Jane Avril is my favourite, the Moulin Rouge is next
I think I'll burn them all, for they're no good at all,
You didn't understand.

By my head there's a photograph of you
Your face seems to be sad, I wonder where you are
I suppose you'll find I wanted to share my room with you.

An observational narrative?; an adolescent reminiscence?? or just the sensitive Ronnie Witcherly in a  fragile mood?  You need to hear the words in the context of the tune as well of course to really capture the essences at work here, but as a rhetorical narrative it can almost sound disturbing, given what we expect a Billy Fury record to sound like.

On a bigger scale, Roy Orbison stepped out, with the incredible 6.30 long (and at 45 rpm as well!) 'Southbound Jericho Parkway' on the B side of the mediocre 'My Friend' in 1969. A veritable soap opera, written by 'Bond' (anyone know who s/he was?) composed and arranged by Don Grant and Tupper Saussy aka the studio duo The Neon Philharmonic. It switches between vignettes of different members of a dysfunctional American family and their sadness. Here's the lyrics to the first 'movement':

'There was a man whose memories were made up of nothing.
He'd push the elevator button and go home to nothing.
Yes his business had prospered but women get lonely sometimes, now she has the house.

His son in college had dropped out to expand his mind, and Sarah, his
daughter, had not spoken to him. Maybe he'd raised her the wrong way. He wondered.

He checked his mailbox with fingers a trembling. No mail from anyone.
I'm home he said softly as he opened the door and gazed at his empty apartment. Aching, thinking'.

Orbison's entire 60s career was based on tales of lost or unrequited love and emotional disappointment. 'Southbound...' was treading the same landscape but writ impossibly large. As a result he sounds both at home and hopelessly out of his depth at the same time.
One (or even 'the') difference between American and British psychedelia that is most often made is that the American variety was heavy and acid soaked, conditioned as it was by the experience of Viet Nam. British psych on the other hand was lighter, introspective and full of childlike longing for real or imagined childhoods or pasts generally and celebrations of small and insignificant things. However if you care to look past the generalisations you will find that  the Americans also practised a musical finesse, but in a genre(?) which if not something entirely of itself, can at least be said to be somewhere to the right of  psychedelia and left of mainstream pop per se.

The personal unshackling and self-questioning of the late 60s was expressed not just by young acid heads but also in a more sophisticated and urbane way by jobbing songwriters and arrangers. Such material as Orbison's 'Southbound...' (or indeed Bobbie Gentry's 'Ode To Billy Joe' - though not a 50s star, her hit is perhaps the most universally familiar example of this kind of song) often connoted a maturity that 50s pop graduates would by the late 60s have accrued through show-biz experience and so stood at (least) one remove from the more frenetic creations of psychedelia whilst borrowing some of its stylistic embellishments (guitar effects generated sitar sounds being one). Women too were now beginning to question their status in society, and many songs by 50s people - from Frank Sinatra's 'What's Now is Now' to Rick Nelson's 'Don't Blame It On Your Wife' seem to acknowledge this. Not from the younger 'come on baby blow your mind' standpoint, but from the more sober perspective of a long standing relationship being re-negotiated as a  partnership of equals rather than a preordained lifestyle of biased gender role-play. It was as though straight, middle America had been unknowingly fed magic mushrooms and were now realising they had been living in (to use cinematic analogies) 'The Matrix', The 'Truman Show' or 'Pleasantville' all their lives!
For others such as Bobby Vee, change lay not so much in introspection or a desire to share their self-realisation as in simply harnessing their standard approach to a hipper and sharper musical backing. Thus Vee's 1967 'Come Back When You Grow Up' album jettisons the by then stale and kitsch teen balladry for a set that sounds as if it could have been the product of a windy city pop-soul artist, all blue-eyed soul and Motown undercurrents.
Similarly, The Monks were not the first US GIs to hang around in Germany after their service was up! Bill Ramsay worked for the American Forces Network radio station AFN Frankfurt. After he finished his service, he stayed in Germany and started a career as a Schlager singer (crooner) specialising in novelty songs. He had a No.1 with a German version of 'Purple People Eater' in 1958. This was followed by a string of similar hits.  When the beat boom started his star began to wane and he returned to what he today calls his musical roots - jazz & blues. But not before he had
tried his hand at a beat album, with 1965's 'Got A New Direction' with the Jay Five, a period German show band.
Frank Sinatra heard The Four Seasons 'Genuine Imitation Life Gazette' album and wanted some of it himself. Commissioning  composers  Bob Gaudio and Jake Holmes to write for him. The resulting  'Watertown' album is unlike any other he ever recorded, downbeat and melancholy, and sung entirely differently to his other records, it reflects on the split up of a family and living a kind of groundhog day in the nowheresville of Watertown. To cement the connection, listen out for the line 'The boy she had been seeing went to Watertown' in the Four Season's 'Mrs Stately's Garden' (taken from 'Genuine Imitation Life Gazette'), a tale of socialite character assassination by 'ladies who lunch'. Sinatra's character was clearly the boy who went to Watertown!
From a British perspective, it is also the conceptual implausibility that is sometimes felt when artists such as Hank Marvin or Billy Fury are connected to this genre that arouses curiosity. These artists are forever associated with the fag end of the 50s and the early pre-Beatle 60s (and which therefore are held not to have 'swung') in a musical limbo which was swept aside by the beat group era. Wannabe rocker and reluctant smouldering big balladeer Fury, or fixed grin, horn-rimmed glasses Marvin are rarely considered after the mid 60s, it is as if they ceased to exist until the nostalgia revivals of the later 1970s. The second half of the 60s for these and other artists were years of chart anonymity perhaps, but not of inactivity. Only in the 1980s were many of Fury's late 60s recordings made public for the first time, reissued along with his sunk-without-trace Parlophone 45s from the same period and which (now available on CD) reveal some quite impressive period material ('Going Back To Germany' and 'Phone Box' being just two - he also covered the Bee Gee's 'One Minute Woman' as the flip to the David Bowie penned 'Silly Boy Blue' in 1967) and sounds as if there has been some mistake; people Like Billy Fury didn't sing like 'that' and certainly not against 'this' kind of tune, likewise Adam Faith's take on the otherwise unrecorded Bee Gees gem 'Cowman Milk Your Cow'! Marvin's lead vocal on Marvin, Welch & Farrar's 'Ronnie' is an observational masterpiece, and Welch's on 'Falling Far Away' an introspective beauty (both from their 1971 LP 'Second Opinion', the same LP as 'Tiny Robin' which appeared on Fading Yellow Vol.5 was taken). Cliff Richard's 'Throw Down A Line' from the late '60s has a delicious bendy guitar vibe all the way through it which would almost make Cliff sound incongruous if it wasn't for the fact that we know how well he adapted to or at least paid a passing nod to the changing times in the years to follow.
This kind of confessional musical approach can be found of course in any number of historical and ethnic musical styles from traditional  English folk ballads to the black gospel churches of the American south and in the blues of course.
Gospel's secular alter-ego, deep soul, had taken these blueprints and updated them. Folk fed into white country blues and was probably as near as most white people had come to this musical experience (from Jimmy Rogers, the Yodelling brakeman of the 1920s to Hank Williams darker and starker moments in the 1940s).
Therefore, I am not trying to say that the kind of sounds I am describing are without historical president, nothing ever is. Neither am I  trying to pretend that any of these records are entirely unknown or indeed that the songs mentioned are unfamiliar to those now reading this. I do however, hope that I have made some slight case at least that these records be re-examined.
Collectively, such material and by the artists here discussed for instance, deserve to be paid more attention and listened to afresh. Now especially with ears conditioned by a new appreciation of the softer sounds of the late 60s and early 70s, we should be more sensitive to the intentions and aspirations of such works than when they were originally issued.  For further reference, check out the article 'Grandad Takes A Trip' in Mojo magazine, #85, December 2000, pp.18-19.

(See also review of 'Dream Weavers' comp, below)

***PUTNEY BRIDGE, by Jason Scott***

I must confess that I know next to nothing about the line-up of Putney Bridge, save only that one of the members was a guy called Derek S. Roffey. Putney Bridge are one of those countless groups who made almost no impact in the late-'60s - early '70s, and any minor impression made has since been totally erased. The group are completely absent from the pages of Record Collector, Tapestry Of Delights, etc etc.
To my knowledge, they issued only four singles, of varying charm and style, before they folded:
'What's It All About' is pretty decent late-'60s pop, with subdued Hammond, nice plonking  guitar, a strong lead vocal counterpointed with lashings of falsetto harmonies, and a break which includes some splendid tinkling high-register barrel house piano. The flip, 'Time', is a well-produced (by Brown/Sanderson)  but wholly uninteresting drama queen slowy.
'Burning Bridges' is a song from the film 'Kelly's Heroes'. It's passable fun. A martial rhythm, trumpet and flute give it the necessary war atmosphere, but it's effect is marred by the too obvious MOR/chart ambitions. 'Your Turn to Die', a self-penned track, is a better illustration of where the group were really at.
Its fruity and magnificent lead guitar (with occasional feedback bursts) is in that delightful territory occupied by Shyster, Love Affair ('The Tree') and even Ocean Colour Scene: strident, spawned of da blooze, but indelibly and unappologetically ENGLISH!
'Take A Ride' is a formulaic bluesy/boogie disaster, enlivened only by some cool licks, whilst 'Road To Purity' (a "Townsend" (?) song) is blue-eyed soul in a Stax stylee in terms of performance, but lyrically it's hippie eco-consciousness to a fault.
'Oh Day, Oh Day' has a nice stompalong groove, but the banal lyrical hook - somewhere between Harry Belafonte and an African slave song - unfortunately totally pees all over the backing.
Which leaves only 'The Meaning Of Love' (a very unpromising title it has to be said) to redeem things, which it does effortlessly: Hammond, fuzz and a Mike d'Abo-ish lead vocal drive along this midtempo song about love and peace. Just dig this line, as an example:
"All the races of the world united in one hippie family".
Right on brother!
Poor old Putney Bridge: the world - if it ever registered their existence - has now totally forgotten them. They weren't brilliant, but their singer could sing, they wrote good songs, the musicians - in particular the organist and guitarist - were spot on...but in the early-'70s, what chance for a band who sounded so "old-fashioned"???

PUTNEY BRIDGE ~ A Discography:
All releases on Chapter One
'What's It All About' / 'Time' (CH 129)  Released: 11/9/70.
'Burning Bridges' / 'Your Turn to Die' (CH 135)  Rel.: 1970.
'Take A Ride' /  'Road To Purity' (CH 145)  Rel.: 7/5/71.
'Oh Day, Oh Day' / 'The Meaning Of Love' (CH 163) Rel.: 11/2/72.

If you know anymore than I do about Putney Bridge, please get in touch.




With the sun, a small cone made from a handful of more than a thousand
photographs of little dry donkeys is born
With the sun, near an empty and damp spot, 6 babas and a snoring sardine
With the sun, there is a little drop of milk standing on the anus of a sea
With the sun, two tiny toothless sharks are born from my underarms
With the sun there is a piece of snot standing at the edge of a street song
And another piece of snot, standing on the tip of my finger about to take
And another piece of snot, 20 cm to the right, on a rock which seems to be a
monument to parrots
And another piece of snot peacefully atop a 40 cm mite, which is a happy
And another dry piece of snot, which is a turn
And another flying piece of snot, which is a custom tailor
And another piece of snot given over to drink, which is the noises of the
European war
When it's sunny, when it's sunny, when it's sunny,
When it's sunny, when it's sunny, when it's sunny!
When it's sunny, I make lovely castles
With cork painted red
With colored feathers
With saliva
With hair from my family's ears
With the vomit of happy animals
With the beautiful frames of artistic canvases
With the feces of female singers, female dancers, goats, chrysanthemum lovers,
dried animals
I am making this castle for the express purppse that it be inhabited by a peculiar couple composed of an old grasshopper and a tiny cigar ash.
The grasshopper is formed out of more than 1000,000,000 very little swordfish; if you breathe on it,
the very little swordfish disperse in the air,
leaving only a very old and narrow, hairy quill.
As for the little ash, do I have to insinuate again that it is simply and nothing but a piece of snot?

(First published (in Spanish) in 'La Gaceta literaria', no. 54, 15th March 1929. Translation by Yvonne Shafir.)

A feather which is not a FEATHER, but a tiny little HERB, representing a
sea horse, my gums on a hill and at the same time, a pretty spring

There is a stag head on the foam
from the stag head a little pig emerges
then another little pig
then another little pig
then a little stag, green as a branch
then another little pig
then another little stag, green as parsley
then three more little pigs
and then another little stag
and the horns of this little stag are tangled
but it gets its hooves to move
the hooves tip over a cask of soft straw
but the cask of straw rolls away, because underneath it flows a river and
current drags the cask
reaching the waterfall, it falls onto some branches and is transformed into
the following morning, nesting in the cask, a multitude of little
little colored parasols
on which various famous lakes are painted
Downstream from the river a piece of snot lives in a cabin
It wants no other ornament
than single, but very clear, photograph of a squirrel
and instead of a wash basin, as its one bit of furniture
an almond that it has just shelled, hanging by a thread from the middle of

This is the time of pretty landscapes
of pretty landscapes made
from 10,000 little artistic crystal jars
with frothy roots
pretty landscapes made
from three rabid horses pickled in a bottle
pretty landscapes made
from an owl frozen in a stone
pretty landscapes made
from distant mountains which are 3 snails high like the Eiffel tower
and which try their best to represent a little mint leaf

Why all this height, mother-of-pearl shells?
Why do the hands which fall from your summit remain asleep?
Why have my nails started to grow from my fingertips?
Is there a secret in this?
I have enough hair...
Is that a reason for being sad?
Perhaps I ought to tear my hair out?
Would it be good if I danced a nice ballet?
A ballet which is not too tiring?

Why wait for the froth to form a deposit on the smooth rocks
if, as it happens, clouds live
in the feathers inside of the smooth rocks
But the clouds, the froth and the smooth rocks are nothing other than an old
familiar landscape
in which I spent my adolescence
my lips, my eyes lost between the pebbles
my hair imitating the gestures of stones
and watched over only
by a vigilant little olive
as a violent kick in the butt of
                                        Salvador Dalí

(First published (in Spanish) in 'La Gaceta literaria', no. 56, 15th April
1929. Translation by Yvonne Shafir.)

LOS IBEROS, by Paul Cross
Los Iberos, who are without a doubt one of the best Spanish groups of the 1960s, were formed in 1966, in Torremolinos. They comprised -
Adolph Rodriguez (of Ponferrada) - rhythm guitar / lead vocs
Enrique Lozano - lead guitar (but later replaced due to illness, by Anselmo José Fernandez (of Madrid)
Cristóbal de Haro (of Almeria) - bass (later replaced by Carlos Attias)
Diego Cascado (of Malaga) - drums
They began to gig at the 'Top Ten Club', performing like countless other bands, tracks by The Beatles, Hollies, Small Faces and Manfred Mann. They even got to appear on Spanish Television on the famous programme 'Escala en Hi Fi'. With Emilio Santamaría as manager, and due to the TV appearances, the band were signed  by Columbia records, and were soon whisked off to the studies of Decca in London. Here the group worked with messrs Bickerton (World of Oz, Toby Twirl...) and Waddington, and cut half a dozen Decca-Deram styled pop tunes, all with those delightful Bicky & Waddy hallmarks: catchy, commercial-slanted 60s bubble pop with a Syke sheen, which so delight fans.
In 1968 the first product of these London sessions is issued, and without a doubt it is  one of their better works, "Summertime Girl", generally considered to be one of the ten best Spanish pop songs of 60's; with its lovely orchestral arrangement, perfectly geared harmony vocals, it is without a doubt a sparkling gemstone. The B-side is certainly not inferior - if anything it's better, "Hiding Behind my Smile", is another song sung in the language of William Shakespeare and not Miguel Cervantes, perfectly complements  "Summertime Girl".  A monumental single!
For their second 45, they choose two  songs in Castilian: "Las Tres de la Noche" / "Corto y Ancho". The A side is a melancholic song, but still bearing that summery pop vibe. The flip, which in English means "Short and Wide", with a waft of popsyke, is an amused, antithesis of the topside, and frankly rather silly.
In 1969, they toured with and provided support to the singer Massiel. More significantly, the group also, took part in two hip movies  - 'Topical Spanish' (directed by Ramon Massat, with a script by Chumy Chúmez), in which they interpreted "Fantastic Girl" , "Back in Time" and "Amar en Silencio"); and Iván Zulueta's very groovy, '1,2,3 al escondite inglés' (which also featured Brit-Psych heros The End!), "Hiding Behind my Smile".
This year they also issued "Nightime" / "Why Can't We Be Friends", returning again to the English language. "Nightime", a  melancholic and classic John Pantry song, features a typically Pantrian piano intro. "Why Can't We Be Friends" is a delicious song, that could easily have been the work of The Hollies.
Also in '69 the group issued their one and only LP: simply called "Los Iberos", it was produced by Los Bravos, and  contains 12 tracks, including both their singles of the previous year. The rest of tracks would emerge on singles during 1969 and 1970. It is in my opinion, the best Spanish LP of the 1960s.
Also in '69 they issued "Liar Liar" / "Mary Ann She". "Liar Liar" first popularized by The Castaways, is a very good version, whose strongpoint is the magnificent falsetto harmonies; "Mary Ann She", is a decent danceable song.
In 1970, after a simple and not very exciting 45, "Te Alcanzaré" / "Amar en Silencio", Los Iberos issued another single, "Fantastic Girl" / "Back in Time". "Fantastic Girl" , in the same ballpark and league as "Summertime Girl" , is another danceable tune, an optimistic jewel. "Back in Time" (also recorded by Toby Twirl, of course) on the other hand, is another track where the choral vocals perfectly complement the voice of Adolph Rodriguez. This 45 is the highpoint of the Iberos' output.
Until 1973, the group only issued one single per year, as their popularity nose dived.
In 1971  "Angelina" / "Con Tu Amor", was a flop in the cruel and fickle Spanish musical market, which had by now rejected them.
The following year they issued "Mañana", a song introduced by almost angelical choirs, which had a gospel feel. Whilst the B-side, "Isabel", was simple and romantic.
In 1973, the Iberos issued their final single  "María, Tobías y John" / "Bajo el Álamo". By now their luck and creative streak had run dry.
With hindsight it seems obvious that the Iberos were a group, like a profusion of others,  predestined to make little or no impression upon the virtually impossible Anglo-Saxon market, and for this reason alone their English languauge songs failed  to reach their objectives. However, the quality of their material - in particular these English songs - is exceedingly high and their lack of success outside Spain was totally undeserved. It remains the duty of a later generation of music fans to pay hommage to the fab sounds of Los Iberos.

Spanish-released 45s: All records issued on Columbia records (Spain), unless otherwise indicated.
"Summertime Girl" / "Hiding Behind my Smile" (1968) Also released in the USA on Mainstream records.
"Las Tres de la Noche" / "Corto y Ancho"  [trans.:  "Three at night" / "Short and Wide one"] (1968)
"Nightime" / "Why Can't We Be Friends" (1969)
Liar Liar" / "Mary Ann She" (NOTE: Not "Mary And She" as in the CD comp] (1969)
"Te Alcanzaré" / "Amar en Silencio",  [trans.: "Will reach to You '" / "To love in Silence" ] (1970)Columbia MO 744
Fantastic Girl" / "Back in Time" (1970) Columbia MO 788
Angelina" / "Con Tu Amor", [trans.: "With Your Love"] (1971)
"Mañana" /"Isabel" (1972)
"María, Tobías y John" / "Bajo el Álamo" [trans.: "Maria, Tobías and John" / "Under the Poplar"] (1973)

'Los Iberos' (1969)

(Translated and expanded from a (Spanish) text by Millán Herrerias)


94 BAKER ST.: Songs From The Apple Era (RPM) CD Comp.
1) Focal Point: Love You Forever (Paul Tennant-Dave Rhodes)
2) Focal Point: Sycamore Sid (Paul Tennant-Dave Rhodes)
3) Focal Point: Never Never (Paul Tennant-Dave Rhodes)
4) Focal Point: Girl On The Corner (Paul Tennant-Dave Rhodes)
5) Focal Point: 'Cept Me (demo) (Paul Tennant-Dave Rhodes)
6) Grapefruit: Dear Delilah (George Alexander)
7) Grapefruit: Ain't It Good (George Alexander)
8) Grapefruit: Lullaby (Alternate version) (George Alexander)
9) Grapefruit: Another Game (Alternate version) (George Alexander)
10) Ways and Means: Breaking Up A Dream (George Alexander)
11) Iveys: I'm Too Shy * (Tom Evans)
12) Iveys: Maybe Tomorrow (demo) (Tom Evans)
13) Iveys: Tube Train * (Ron Griffiths)
14) Iveys: She Came Out Of the Cold * (Tom Evans/Pete Ham)
15) Iveys: I've Been There Once Before * (Pete Ham)
16) Misunderstood: Children Of The Sun (Tony Hill/Rick Brown)
17) Misunderstood: I Unseen (Tony Hill)
18) Misunderstood: Find the Hidden Door (Tony Hill/Rick Brown)
19) Paintbox: Getting Ready For Love (George Alexander)


DREAM WEAVERS: The Later Pop Stylings Of Pre-Beatles People 1966-73 (CDR
Comp. First edition: 30 copies only).
1.   Tommy Roe - Leave Her (1967)
2.   Rick Nelson - Dream Weaver (1967)
3.   Bill Ramsey - Confusion (1966)
4.   Billy Fury - In My Room (unissued)
5.   Roy Orbison - Southbound Jericho Parkway (1969)
6.   Del Shannon - I Think I Love You (1967)
7.   Lou Christy Saco - Waco (1971)
8.   The Everly Brothers - The Collector (1966)
9.   Gene Vincent - Born To Be A Rolling Stone (1967)
10. The Ventures - Endless Dream (inst) (1967)
11. Bobby Darrin - Long Line Rider (1968)
12. Brian Hyland - Lorrayne (1970)
13. Marvin & Farrar - So Hard To Live With (1973)
14. Hank Marvin - Boogitoo (inst) (1970)
15. The Shadows - A Better Man Than I (1967)
16. The Everly Brothers - Like Everytime Before (1966)
17. Bobby Darin - Jingle Jangle Jungle (1968)
18. Bobby Vee - Objects of Gold (1967)
19. The Four Seasons - Mrs Stateley's Garden (1967)
20. Cliff (Richard) & Hank (Marvin) - The Joy Of Living (1970)
21. Brian Hyland - Maria / Somewhere (1970)
22. Billy Fury - Easy Living (unissued)
23. Bill Ramsey - An Unknown Quantity (1966)
24. Rick Nelson - Marshmallow Skies (1967)
25. Cliff (Richard) & Hank (Marvin) - Throw Down A Line (1970)
26. Tommy Roe - Moon Talk (1967)
We at SFA have always been fascinated by the peripheral and the marginalised. None were more musically marginalised during the second hals of the 1960s than those once greased and be-quiffed types who'd rocked the world in the good ol' pre-Beatle days. The obsessions with Image, Identity and supposed Credibility meant that many earlier acts would cut no ice with the permed and be-paisleyed youths of '67, and were consigned to the dustbin. If only those youths had ditched their unsuitable small-minded prejudices and LISTENED to the music, rather than simply react all Pavlovian to the name of the artist, history might have been different. Forthere were many established artists of the 1950s who reacted to pop's broadening mid-60s landscape not with a slide into queasy balladry or sad nostalgia, but genuine growth, development and not a little experimentation.
'Dream Weavers', a collection by one of SFA's most highly respected contributors, is a true ground-breaker: it is the first time that an attempt has been made to compile post-66 paisleyed pop sounds which were actually created by pre-63 quiffed people.  For those not in the know, there are many surprises galore here; and for those already hip, treats galore.
Doubtless, all the names of the artists herein, will have the wrinkly old guard spitting into their beers, whilst the nouveau avant garde will purr with delight.
'Dream Weavers' is simply blinding, I won't really discuss the music, other than to say that all tracks were hand-picked, and perfectly illustrate how these artists grew in creative terms, even as their sales fell. The sleevenotes are erudite and an example to all of how it CAN & should be done, with more thought and less trainspotterliness.
If I ruled the world (and could sort out the licensing nightmare!), this would be released by a major label to a grateful and benevolent public...
Well, I can "dream", but now it's time for you to "weave"!

For copies/info contact
paul@mardel.free-online.co.uk (See also Paul Martin's 'All Grown Up?', above)


WRITING LETTERS TO NOWHERE  ([Germany:] Round-A-Bout) Vinyl LP Comp. 500 copies only.
Side 1:
1. GLASS WEB - Two Faced Woman
2. THE LIMIT - Happy Life
3. VYT & THE WORD - Dapper Dan
4. ALLISON GROS - Naturally
5. PETER WRIGHT - House Of Bamboo
7. THE CHOCOLATE - I'm An Animal
Side 2:
1. GLASS WEB - In A Year Or So
2. MUSZAK - Writing Letters To Nowhere
3. OAK APPLE DAY - Oceans Of Fire
4. PLAYBOYS - Black Sheep R.I.P.  (Demo version)
5. JET SET - Now I Love You
7. JOHN VINCENT & INN SECT - Madge's Charity Badges

Sadly, this is an opportunistic and rather pointless release, unless you are one of those saddo vinyl-only freaks who digs shredding vinyl on a ropey Dansette. This is nothing more than a bootleg - mastered from the superb CD - of the Aussie 'Datura Dreamtime' CD. Still, the music is near faultless, Allison Gros, Muszak and Plaster Scene, in particular are all marvellous examples of Down Under dementia.

ALEX HARVEY - 'Teenage A Go Go' (Alchemy [formerly Burning Airlines] Pilot
159) CD.
This fascinating and frankly rather important CD truly is a labour of love, - it bears a heartfelt plea not to copy but to buy, as well as a proud declaration that it was 10 years in the making - it assembles 19 previously unreleased Alex Harvey recordings from the years 1965 thru '69, all once in the possession of
Harvey-friend and associate, the late David Firmstone. Whilst the music herein - like Alex's ouevre in general - is to say the least diverse and eclectic, but veering oftener into folk and blues than one would expect, there is sufficient material to interest us here:
'Marie Bailey' is punchy fuzz pop/freakbeat. There's a rousing rendition (could it ever be otherwise???) of 'Blake's Hymn/Jerusalem' (very George Bean); 'Man A Space Hymn' is a great weird-out piece; there's a tasty freak-out ending to 'Electric Blues #2'; a very bizarre assortment (I blame the drugs myself!) of nursery rhymes entitled 'Grandfather's Clock Medley', which you'll either love or hate but cannot ignore its fuzz and effects and sheer bloody-minded audacity.
But of course, of greater importance (certainly in an historical context), is confirmation of a long-held theory of mine: two tracks here, correctly attributed for the first time to Alex Harvey and correctly titled - 'Please Be Reasonable' and 'Dance Of The Green Scarab' - are revealed as those tracks which appeared on two volumes of 'Circus Days', where they were attributed (without any indication of this being so) to "The Green Scarab" (sic), and respectively mis-titled "Asariah's Dance" and "Psychedelic Wilderness", doubtless to enliven a double-sided I.B.C acetate bearing only the words "Green Scarab".
Now that the authorial & titular truth is revealed, another chapter in the Great British Psychedelic Story is closed.

***PSYKE (ETC.) DISCOG - PART G/2b, paragraph 9, subsection 3***

A few more from one of those dusty old boxes in the attic...

THE CHALLENGE - 'Reflections Of Charles Brown' ([Australia:] Impact IR 1047).
A note-for-note cover of Rupert's anthem. You really do need to listen very hard to tell the twins apart, but maybe, just maybe, this version (GASP!!!) has the edge...just!!!
The group were (supposedly) from New Zealand. This was recorded in Sydney.

BARRY BENSON - 'Cousin Jane' (Parlophone R 5578) 1967.
This, Barry's masterpiece, is fabulous! Creepy popsyke with a claustrophobic atmosphere and hypnotic vibe (the somnambulistic aura suits perfectly the naughty nocturnal subject matter), with a fey vocal and lovely toytown arrangement (most notably, the wonderfully blurry strings). Both this track, and its flip - the utterly daft gogo dancer, 'Meet Jacqueline' (an Albert Hammond song) - are covers, produced by Larry Page, of tracks on the Troggs' February 1967 LP, 'Trogglodynamite'. The Troggs' version of 'Cousin Jane' ain't bad either.

LOVE CHILDREN (Featuring "Little Joe")  - 'Easy Squeezy' (Deram DM268) 1969.
Great stuff! Also covered by Overlooked, even though it's on a TOP popsyke label, and totally under-appreciated. Bubblesyke of the most saccharined water. E-Numbers galore. It'll make your tongue go blue and it smells like pear drops. Yummy! Dig  that rumbling guitar line!
Oh, and the flip - 'Every Little Step' - is worth a lick too! Good, catchy mod-ish danceable pop with some attractive guitar. Both outclass the awfully wimpish 'Paper Chase'.

SVENSK - 'You' (Page One POF 050) 1967.
Damned and dismissed by "serious" (snigger!) psych fans. 'You' is actually delightful.
A lazy dreamy baroque beauty, which would surely be appreciated by those fine enlightened souls of a Spinning Wheel & Fading Yellow persuasion. Its romantic whimsy-pop ambience certainly shows more than a nod to the Jason Paul solo sound.

ALAN HULL - 'Obidiah's Grave' (Big T BIG 129) 1970.
Slightly folky (but not as folky as you'd probably expect), nice 'n' psychy, this is more bin-fodder which needs rescuing. Can't remember if this has made it onto Sanctuary's Transatlantic comp, or not? I do hope so...

COLORS OF LOVE - '20-10' (Page One POF 086) 1968.
Female harmony popsyke version of the ("classic"?) Tinkerbell's track which was popularised by inclusion on a 'Rubble'. If anything, this version, by a studio outfit, is better than the Tinks, possessing that smooth Curt Boettcher vibe we all love so much.
"Yellow" is the colour of my true love's hair...
The demented flip, 'Just Another Fly', is, it must be said, lyrically blinkin fantastic, milud- daft to the point of the sublime, but musically it is absolutely bleedin awfu,l ma'am.

MOVING FINGER - 'We're Just As Happy As Happy As We Are' (Decca F13406)
Groovy progtastic pounder, with a Jess Roden flavoured lead vocal. Horns, Hammond and a big big bassline dominate proceedings.
The A side, 'So Many People', is OK, a decent rock-soul hybrid, which although firmly a seventies recording, is not a million miles away from their earlier "Finger Poppin" sound.

THE HIGH - 'Long Live The High' (CBS 4164) 18/4/69.
Both sides written by Tommy Moeller & Russ Ballard, so there's a definite link to Unit 4 Plus 2. Around this time the Unit split, so there is a strong possibility that this was another  tentative post-Unit project, a la Paradise Hammer???.
The A side is an absolute  beauty. Slow, very atmospheric, totally cool, and with LASHINGS of lovely Mellotron!!!
The B side, 'Beggar Man Dan', is OK. Nice popsyke title and lyrics, but the country-pop inflected (rather: infected???) backing lets it down badly, although there's also some striking high-register Mellotron blasts.
PS ~ ignore what it says in 'Tapestry', they'd obviously never heard it! And don't bother checking out our following 'Discography' 45s in that book either, cos they simply didn't include them (bitch bitch!)...

LINCOLN BLACK - 'Famous Last Words' (Penny Farthing PEN 712) 1970.
A Findon/Shelley song and production. "Chance" is a groovy pop mover; an OK piece of entertainment in itself but made impressive by the fuzzzztastic lead guitar. Smashing!

HUBERT THOMAS VALVERDE & THE HT's - 'We Don't Care' (SNB 55-3922) 1968.
The virtually unknown and very elusive 'We Don't Care' is pretty off the wall, and quite uncategorisable - although we'll try: a blend of classical, blue eyed soul and popsyke, with Ladybirds-sounding girlie backing, soaring strings, Pepper-style piccolo, wah wah and some woozy Walrus strings, all topped with Hubert's high camp faux profundo (think Scott Walker with a head cold). What were they thinking of?
The A side, 'Genevieve', is a bit like 'Visions' by Gervase (see below) meets John Barry, but swiftly degenerates into slicko smootho MOR pop. Both sides produced to perfection by the wonderful Vic Smith.

THE SANDCASTLES - 'Oh! How I Miss You' / 'Waiting For You' (Beacon BEA 123)
Now going for big money and bloody hard to find.
The topside is commercial pop with a hint of syke, toytown pop with a rumbling bottom end (nasty! - Dave) and pretty trumpets.
'Waiting For You' is pretty similar. Toytown popsyke with a big nod to "Oh dear what can the matter be"!
Both sides penned by the incomparable Mealy & Costello.

GERVASE - 'Pepper Grinder' / 'Visions' (Decca F 12822) 1967.
'Pepper Grinder' is glib toytown pop, commercial and in a dead pan nursery rhyme style, with baroque embellishments. Sort of Baldwin's "Land Of" meets d'Abo's "Gulliver". As English as English whimsy gets.
'Visions' is Cecil McCartney-esque. Slurring, distended vocals, a weird slow ballad which features some sparkling electric harpsichord, orchestration, and tiny touches of Mellotron.
"The visions that I see
Torment me endlessly."
Yes indeed.

GARY HAMILTON - 'Let The Music Play' (Decca F12697) 17/11/67.
An absolute gem! Pop of the finest fettle! And Gary's best recording. An impassioned, soulful vocal performance of a fab and very atmospheric song, with a brilliant very '67 arrangement, decorated with copious flourishes of Eastern-style guitar. Produced by Tony Meehan and written by Mike d'Abo, so it's got a pretty decent pedigree too!
Forget Gazza's later 'Easy Rider' 45, hyped by some cloth-eared fools as "Psych", but pretty dull, despite being derived from the film of the same name.

WINDMILL - 'Big Bertha' / 'Hey, Drummer Man' (MCA MU 1090) 1969.
Windmill were:
Dick Scott - lead gtr/lead vocs
Paul French - organ/piano/glockenspiel/vocals
Dave Knowles - flute
Gavin Wilkinson -bass/bongos
Nigel Reveler -drums/latin percussion
Managed and produced by Ken Howard & Alan Blaikley, the group were their post-Herd, post-DDDBM&T great white hopes.The press release hype ran like this:

"The first new group to be signed by Ken Howard and Alan Blaikley since Dave Dee, Dozy, Beaky, Mick & Tich and The Herd, with a great new Howard/Blaikley/Barry Mason Hit BIG BERTHA.
Something genuinely fresh and exciting to inject some dynamics into a dull scene."

Sadly, the success never materialised.
"Bertha" is bubblepop, with excellent keyboards, some psychy guitar almost lost in the mix, and a classical melody ( a re-working of...what exactly? I can't put my finger on it and it's bugging me!).
The flip is...well, sounds like a DDDBM&T cast-off and is just too commercial.

WINDMILL - 'I Can Fly' / 'Such Sweet Sorrow' (MCA MK5024)  1970.
Certainly their best effort. This is a fabulous version of the Herd classic.
Better than the original? Yes, we think so. The most amazing (and we mean AMAZING!) Hammond-runs (especially in the break) elevate this well-known into something very very special indeed, quite literally a Hammond extravaganza!
The flip is a production tour de force: classical melody, mannered vocal, percussion, swirling organ, sawing (and soaring) strings, flute, harmonies.
It really is a masterful slice of pop, aurally akin to reading Shelley whilst taking a sedate stroll through a Louis XIV garden.

WINDMILL - 'Wilbur's Thing' (MCA MK 5045) 1/5/70.
Idle Race-inspired toytown silliness.A circus parade oompah oompah funfest.
Note: The B side, 'Two's Company, Three's A Crowd', is NOT at all bendy, but is nice Vanity Fair/Ed Lighthouse/Honeybus-flavoured pop.

JULIAN BROOKS - 'Justine' (Pye 7N.17996) 2/10/70.
Penned by Julian Kirsch, no less. Which raises the question: Were the two Julians one and the same geezer??? This is pop class, not really wonky, just delicious.
Mellow and orchestrated with interesting changes of tempo, it brings to mind Angel Pavement or Kaleidoscope's poppiest moments, and we think popsykers will appreciate its beauty. By the way,  Mr. Brooks is a bit of a Kevin Ayers soundalike (another plus point, I think you'll agree).

RODNEY BEWES - 'Dear Mother...Love Albert' / 'Meter Maid' (Revolution REVP 1001) 1970.
Rodney Bewes...???? Yes, he of the 'Likely Lads'. Now, after 30 odd years of neglect this is fast becoming the UK scene's BIGGEST single, and already going for a ton(!) on some greedy dealer lists...
'Meter Maid' (jointly penned and produced by Mike Hugg and our Rod) is Premier League uncomped popsyke. Wonderful breathless, fey vocal performance (with I'm guessing, backing vocals by Mike Hugg), luvverly snaking psych guitar lead . Amazing stuff! For info: it is not the same as the Beatles
track, 'Lovely Rita', although it does cheekily namecheck the lovely Rita! (see lyrics below).
The official A-side (also issued earlier at the B-side to 'Remember When' (Revolution REV 1003) 1969. Confused???), notable for some off-kilter ivory tinkling and general observational weirdness, is another top notch tune, and as those old enough to remember will know, a tie-in to the TV sitcom (1969-1971) of the same name, which starred Rod as Albert.
Both tracks have a slowed-down, wading-thru-treacle blurry dreamy quality and big echoed drums which really light up my psych candle baby.

Interestingly, Rod & Mike also collaborated, together with Ian La Frenais, to pen 'Whatever Happened To You'.
And also out of interest.... the Revolution label was ostensibly a rock steady / reggae outlet, although it also had  Pop and Gospel series. The origins of Revolution are somewhat mysterious, although it is known for certain that it  began business in late '68, and was initially distributed by Immediate. It is rumoured (but not proven) that Immediate also financed the label during its first year. It was anyway most likely bankrolled by a major player, because for starters  Revolution 45s had their own specially-designed sleeves.  There was also a publishing company, Revolution Music, again mostly reggae titles. The label folded in mid-1970.  A later company of the same name, with a pink label, was formed circa 1973, but seems unrelated.
(BTW ~ 'Meter Maid' is our Paul Hodges' favourite ever UK popsyke 45! A little goldfinch tells me both sides are earmarked for the next SFA comp!)


'Meter Maid' - RODNEY BEWES
When the meter maid met the lollipop man
She knew right away
When the meter maid met the lollipop man
The kids were left to play
When the lollipop man met the meter maid
He knew right away
When the meter maid met the lollipop man
Here's what he said -

"Lovely Rita meter maid
Will you please be mine?"
"Mr. Lollipop man" she said
"I should like that fine!"
"Oooh lollipop man" she said "that's fiiine!"

The meter maid and the lollipop man
Got married right away
The meter maid and the lollipop man
The kids are left to play
The lollipop man and the meter maid
Are together every day
The lollipop man and the meter maid
Here's what he say -


The meter maid and the lollipop man
Are turning old and grey
The meter maid and the lollipop man
The kids are left to play
The lollipop man and the meter maid
One day will passs away
The lollipop man and the meter maid
Here's what they say -

[ad lib to fade]

Baby stays out at night
Is she the blue one?
Or is she the green one?
Stays out 'til the morning light
Is she the pink one?
Or is she the yellow one?

Red one, grey one
Which am I?
The red one lives
But the grey one dies
And my baby flies through the sky
Am I the red one?
(Grey one)
Is she the yellow one?
(Green one)

Baby stays out at night
Is she the blue one?
Or is she the green one?
Stays out 'til the morning light
Is she the pink one?
Or is she the yellow one?

Red one, grey one
Which am I?
The red one lives
But the grey one dies
And my baby flies through the sky
Am I the red one?
(Grey one)
Is she the yellow one?
(Green one)

Red one, grey one
Which am I?
The red one lives
But the grey one dies
And my baby flies through the sky
Am I the red one?
Grey one?
Which am I?

And then I heard a darker sound
I turned around
But it was gone
They glide across the endless day
As if to say
The time has come
The world had died
And no-one saw
And no-one tried
To see what for
And dipping thru the heavy sky
I caught its eye
It had to smile
And say I shouldn't really mind
They managed fine
For quite a while
I tried to stand
Sank to the floor
A Chinese band
Marched by in fours
They tore the flowers from my hand
And then they ran
To look for more
Hey I hate the picture 1969
Lord I hate the picture 1969
And then I heard the songs they sung
A hundred tongues
Began to shout
And then a panic in the hall
I heard them call
We can't get out
The world had died
They meant it to
And no-one cried
For no-one knew
I took a photo of the night
In black and white
In colours too
Hey I hate the picture 1969
Lord I hate the picture 1969

'Meditation' - Chris McCLURE
My mind's becoming clearer as I drift beyond the sky
Ground below gets misty and obscure
Familiar faces pass me, their expressions wonder why
Spectral voices silent and unsure
Look into the echoes as the darkness closes in
Hiding me behind its creeping veil
I dance inside a whirlpool of times that might have been
Writing on my pillow tells its tale

I sit and gaze at nothing
The clock is running slow
Outside the wind is laughing
My embers less than glow

Returning to the pages of my faded bygone years
Seeing thoughts that passed my way before
This waste of life has ended
With the growing of my tears
Time has locked and sealed my only door

I sit and look at nothing
The clock is running slow
Outside the wind is laughing
My embers less than glow
My embers less than glow

***OZ PSYKE***

PROCESSION, by Paul Cross.
In a nutshell, Procession grew from the dying embers of the Playboys, Normie Rowe's erstwhile backing band, part of the Bee Gees lead Australian Invasion, who'd gone all psychedelic with their top notch Mike Hurst-produced 'Sad'/'Black Sheep RIP' 45 ([Australia:] Sunshine QIK 1872; [UK:] (Immediate  IM 054) rel.: 16/6/67) (attributed to "Australian Playboys"). Three musicians who'd played on those stunning tracks, viz., Trevor Griffin (a Brit)- vcls, keyb'ds, Brian Peacock (a Kiwi, ex-The Librettos) - bs/gtr/keyb'ds, and Mick Rogers (who later joined Manfred Mann's Earthband) - gtr/vcls/bs,  soon returned to Australia, enlisted Craig Collinge (ex-The Librettos) -drms, and formed Procession.
Live it seems they were a total gas, and they rapidly stirred up the Aussie scene, and received a great deal of press coverage and TV appearances to coincide with the release of their debut, 'Anthem'.
'Anthem' is an a cappella popsyke piece, of outstanding ambition and originality. This song was re-recorded twice - firstly, with a more popsyke
feel and actually backing instruments (a veritable gem which is on the US/Aus pressings of the LP); and secondly as 'One Day In Every Week', with
slowed down rhythm track and girlie backing (rumoured to include Madeline Bell).
Some of the tracks on the group's  self-titled recorded-in-London LP were produced by Mike Hugg, the rest by Phil Wainman (drummer, and later Bay City Rollers boss, whose unexceptional but danceable 'Going Going Gone' is currently an overpriced mod scene indemander).
'Simon Says' is dross. 'Gently Does It' is ...well, "gentle", with a nice melody and heightened atmosphere it is a decnt ballad. 'Essentially Susan' is Hugg-pop par excellance, commercial and rather fab. 'Signature Tune' is jazz, and along with 'Wigwam City', 'Sweet Simplicity', 'Automobile', and 'You - Me' are the group's blandest moments, and 'Take Time' and 'September
In July' are also now't special. Whilst 'Adelaide, Adelaide' is Bee Gees-styled balladry and nice enough; and 'Every American Citizen' is quite lovely, with hit potential and interesting keyboard flourishes.
The group's bendy recording highlights are 'Mind Magician' (included on a volume of 'ISSS') - fabulous popsyke with some excellent lyrics, particularly in the middle eight; and (non-LP) the mighty, UK-sounding 'Listen', one of Australia's greatest ever psych treasures.

The LP differences:

UK pressing: (Mercury SMCL 20132)
Side One:
'Simon Says'
'Gently Does It'
'Essentially Susan'
'Signature Tune'
'Adelaide, Adelaide'
'You - Me'

Side Two:
'One Day In Every week'
'Sweet Simplicity'
'Wigwam city'
'Mind Magician'
'Every American Citizen'

USA pressing: (Smash SRS 67122)
& Australian pressing: (Festival SFL-933091 [Stereo] /  FL-33091 [Mono]*)

Side One:
'You - Me'
'Gently Does It'
'Essentially Susan'
'Signature Tune'
'Adelaide, Adelaide'
'Take Time (A Swinging Waltz)'

Side Two:
'Every American Citizen'
'Sweet Simplicity'
'September In July'
'Mind Magician'

As well as the differences in contents, these 3 releases all had different covers: The UK pressing shows the band dressed in black, by the Thames, holding aloft a red banner on which is emblazoned the group's name, the rear of the sleeve showed the group laughing, in fine shirts and silk scarves.
The US version bears a very groovy psychedelic shot of the group. The Aus version shows (in moody monochrome) the lads looking all nonchalont in black roll necks, the name 'Procession' is in pink bubble lettering in an attractive roundel bearing  an Art Nouveau styled vignette of a long-haired hippie chick .

* Note: Whilst we'd assume the Aus mono exists, we know of no copy, and just cause it has a catalogue number is no guarantee! (Anybody got one???)

Many thanks to Ben Whitten and Stuart Robertson.


SIMPLIFY YOUR HEAD, from Andy Morten:
Hi guys
I enjoyed the informative "SHADOWS" AND REFLECTIONS: EVEN THE GOOD GUYS TURNED BAD piece in SFA #19 which confirms that pretty much everybody worth their musical salt dipped their toes in the sea of strange at least once.
I fundamentally agree with Paul Cross's summing up that Marvin, Welch & Farrar's two albums comprise "mostly well produced but inoffensive material" although there is one track which surely transcends that description. The track in question is "Simplify Your Head" from their second album Second Opinion (Regal Zonophone SRZA 8504) 1971.
It begins with droning acoustic guitars over a fuzz bass rumble which are then joined by double-tracked electric guitar. Then the vocals kick in. And who's that snarling the seriously enlightened lyrics like a man with his leg caught in a bear trap? Why, it's genial NHS-approved mum-magnet Hank B Marvin of course!
I've never thought of the guy in the same way since I heard this track.
His erstwhile colleagues join in with their flawless trademark harmonies on the hookline before the jarring, percussive verses. It's all over in 2:51.
Here are the lyrics for your delectation:

'Simplify Your Head'

Simplify your head and damp the circuits down
Let the world go round without you
Put your tongue to bed and spare me what you feel
Words say nothing real about you

Simplify your head, simplify your head, simplify your head

Far inside the mind, lights awaken all
Let yourself unwind til the last has gone
A wild thesaurus tries to gore us all to death with pointed words
The sad neurotic macrobiotics live in hedges with the birds

Simplify your head and damp the circuits down
Let the world go round without you
Put your tongue to bed and spare me what you feel
Words say nothing real about you

Simplify your head, simplify your head, simplify your head

Deep behind the eyes where no one can go
There the danger lies, there's too much to know
The newly apprenticed (unknown) sits and smugly sings a song
While the pacifist lets himself be kissed by the Irishman selling arms

Simplify your head and damp the circuits down
Let the world go round without you
Put your tongue to bed and spare me what you feel
Words say nothing real about you

Simplify your head, simplify your head, simplify your head

Keep up the good work!

SURREALISM from Graham Meredith:

Hi Dave & crew,
The article on surrealism was greatly appreciated, being a follower of this essential movement for a long time. You might be happy to know that the original group has a branch in Prague which is alive and well.
If you don't already know about Jan Svankmajer check out his films (starting with the shorts) & his website.
Hope you like it, his use of sound is definitely psychedelic!
All the best,

***THE SFA ROLL OF HONOUR ~ The first 20 issues***

Everyone who's added something to the SFA stew...

Shane Hoey, Dominic Reynolds, Jason Scott.

Lewis Anderson, Neal Andrews, Mathew Bates, Joe Beard (Purple Gang), Suzanne Brighton,Tony Burton, Roy 'Woody' Capstan, Scott Charbonneau, "Vinegar" Tom Christian, Mary Christie, Amanda Cohen, Paul Cross, Paolo Crotch-Potch, Gaven Dianda, Jamie Driscoll, Rebecca Even, Andy Farrow, Fred Fluffball, Mark Frumento, Patrick Hobart, Paul Hodges, Ray Holton, John-Paul "Johnny" Hortus, Mark A. Johnston, Jon Kerr, Mika Kerttunen, Jorgen Johansson, Jeff Lawton, Arturo Luiditti, Paul Martin, Jan Maxence, Jim McAlwane, Joe McFarland, Daniel McGlynn, David Mednikoff, Peter Moore, Andy 'Bronco' Morten, Gary Murphy (Leviathan/Mike Stuart Span), Lucy Nation, Ashley Norris, Marc Pacan (technical support), J.Barrington Phillips, Nick Philips, Justin Purington, Giles Radish, Dominic Reynolds, Stuart Robertson, Roger St. John, John Salmon, Jason Scott, Andy Shehan, Jeremy Stutterford, Kirstin Svendsen, Dave Thubron, Michael Walters, Greg Watt, Mark Wirtz.

Denny Ball, Barry Beaumont-Jones (The Motives), Paul Brett, Martin Briley (MPS), Roger Bunn, Geoff Gibbs (Him & The Others), Colin Gibson (Skip Bifferty), Martin Gordon, Will Hammond (The Uglys), Graham Harris (Angel Pavement),  Charlie Hart (117), Ray Heard (The Kynd), Larry Morris (Larry's Rebels), Dave Lewis (Andwella's Dream), John Pantry, Paul Riordan (MPS), Nick Saloman (Bevis Frond), Eric Stewart (Mindbenders), Chris Townson (John's Children), Glyn Tucker (The Gremlins), Tom Winter (The Motives/Opus),  John Wonderling, Steve York.

LETTER WRITERS (published, from non-contributors):
Rob Ashmore (Robbie Curtice), Gianpaolo Banelli, Dave Brzeski, Rob Caiger, Martha Copeland, Marc Czulay, Cal Heatley, Steve Ingless, Mark Lawton, Nigel Lees, Joe McFarland, Erik Meinen, Graham Meredith, Joel Morgenstern, Olaf Owre, Sean Perrott, Gary Ramon, Dr. Alex Randal, John Reed, Mike Stax, Rhys Webb, David Wells, Ben Whitten.

To all of the above (and "Sorry" to anyone else I've missed out): thank you!
A toast ~
Dave Thubron


In SFA 21, we'll have all the usual groovy gear and bric-a-brac, including run-thrus of a handful of forgotten LPs, and what nots, plus an exclusive interview with Ron Griffiths of The Iveys !

EDITOR: Dave Thubron
DEPUTY EDITOR: The Rt. Hon. Paul St. James Cross
CONTRIBUTORS: Paul Cross, Mark A. Johnston, Paul Martin, Jason Scott.

All contents copyright (c) Sweet FA, July 2003, except ~
Dalí  translations: copyright (c)Yvonne Shafir / Exact Change, 1998.
Any lyrics (naturally!)

Sweet FA is a non-profit making & non-capital generating publication. No part of the contents may be reproduced for gain. It's strictly 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.
Please note: The opinions expressed by writers in SFA are not always the editor's own.
!!!esuom doog a s'eh tub ,dlo rehtar gnitteg s'eH