"Life is just a game
You fly your paper plane
There is no end..."
S*F*A* SWEET FLORAL ALBION
~THE JOURNAL OF UK PSYCHEDELIA~
No.10~~Date: Sept 2002~~Price: One Krona and half a Flora.
Online at- www.marmalade-skies.co.uk
Howdy doody doo! Back from
the lengthy sojourn under deep-blue tropical skies. I've now got
skin like a flakey old leather sofa, plus a seriously dicky tum,
a bottle or two of the undrinkable local tipple (why? for gawd's
sake???), some Taiwanese-made souvenirs (I don't mind who made
them, it's just that we didn't go to bleedin' Taiwan!), and an
album full of very dodgy snaps. Ok, I'm ready for business and
chomping at the bit...well, kind of.
This month we at SFA are inordinately proud to offer recollections (in the form of interviews with our man, Paul Cross) by two people who, in their separate and very different ways, have done much to shape the form of British psychedelia- Colin Gibson, bass player with legendary 60's band Skip Bifferty; and Nick Saloman, of Bevis Frond, whose wonderful series of psych compilation tapes predate (and quite possibly inspired) the 'Rubble' series, and so laid the foundation for the modern appreciation of the music.
We are deeply indebted to both Colin and Nick for their support. Cheers! -
O - NEWS
O - OUT IN THE COLD- Picadilly Line & The Gods' Second.
O - THE IVEYS' DEMOS
O - LIBROS PSICEDELICOS- Book Reviews
O - SKIP BIFFERTY- COLIN GIBSON INTERVIEWED
O - NICK(BEVIS FROND)SALOMAN INTERVIEWED
O - WHAT THE PAPERS SAID
O - REVIEWS
O - PSYCH DISCOGRAPHY
O - LETTERS
O - LYRICS/QUOTES/PHASING TO THE MAX
SFA CD COMP- UPDATE:
Please note that the SFA track list on the flyers recently sent out with Rubble vols 19 & 20, are incorrect. The correct track list can be found on www.marmalade-skies.co.uk via the 'SFA comp' link. The CD should be available within the next few weeks.
SKIP BIFFERTY COMP
'The Story Of Skip Bifferty' 2-CD comp is due for release by Castle/Sanctuary in the first week of October. It will appear in a wonderful cartoon slip case from Phil Smee. All studio recordings are taken from the BMG-owned mastertapes (the first time that mastertapes have ever been used in a Skip Bifferty reissue!), and will include two previously unknown tracks- 'Comes The Dawn', and 'Portobello Road', together with fabulous BBC-only material, and other goodies.
UK PSYCH INTERNET RADIO STATION- 'CHOCOLATE SOUP FM'
Ashley Norris has launched a UK 60s psych pop radio station on Live 365.
Basically it will feature loads of SFA faves. You can tune into Chocolate Soup FM by going to www.live365.com and keying Chocolate Soup into the search section.
The playlist is essentially UK Psych with the odd European and Australasian track. Much of it is culled from recent comps like Choc Soup 4 and 5, Haunted, Mark Wirtz, Fading Yellow, Color me pop, We Can Fly, Jagged Time Laspe etc. However, there will be the odd classic sneaking in and there's a few as yet uncompiled obscurities. There's about four hour's worth of stuff, which will be tweaked every couple of weeks. At the moment it only works with broadband, but as from next week (w/c Sept. 5th) it should be up-graded to include dial-up.
Here's a station current top ten:
Factory- Path through the Forest
Paul and Bary Ryan- Madrigal
Aerovons- World of you
Universals- Green veined orchid
Philwit and Pegasus- Phony, mixed up crony
The Tages- Read you like an open book
Justin and Karlsson- Somehwere they can't find me
Kinks- Lavender Hill
David- Plese Mr Policeman
Equals- Skies Above
Castle/Sanctuary's compilation of The Nice BBC sessions is now due for release in mid-September. It's gonna be a good 'un!
"IT'S A PSYCH, PSYCK, SYCK, SICK WORLD"
Late July:- A sum of $2,252-00 paid for the lone Tintern Abbey (Deram) 45!!!! Even the acetate of the unreleased second single ain't worth that much!!!
It is the nature of the Internet to attract the asocial lunatic fringe, but a certain sales/auction site attracts far more than it's fair share of seemingly mentally deranged, shopaholic fools. What induces these zombies to pay such stratospheric amounts for items that, in what passes for the "real world", really shouldn't be priced anywhere near that high? Still, can't help wishing I'd kept mine a bit longer. I've had 3 copies over the years.
And to think the first one I bought "new" cost me around 5 shillings!!! (DT)
At long last it's out, and as usual it's a cracker. Among the nice stuff, of which there is a goodly selection, can be found Wonderwall, Spice, Billy Nicholls, a Phil Smee interview and some totally grooved sartorial history from Pete Illingworth, proof, if any were needed, that the Brits are the best-dressed people on earth.
Contact Jon 'Mojo' Mills for copies/info-- firstname.lastname@example.org
'FADING YELLOW' NEWS
Due to the terrible flooding in central Europe there will be a slight delay on the release of volumes 2 & 3 in this series. Don't forget vol. 4 is still due in the autumn.
ON-LINE UK PSYCH FORUM- 'REGAL ZONOPHONE'
Regal Zonophone is now up and running. Looks like it will grow into something very enjoyable and worthwhile.
Access via the link on www.marmalade-skies.co.uk
***OUT IN THE COLD by Jason Scott***
To Samuel A Son
A concept album... Oh my, don't sound good do it? Sounds proggy? Overblown? Well, fear not, for this is a brilliant album, somewhat thematically akin to 'SF Sorrow' in that it recounts in song form the life of a nobody/everyman figure, viz Samuel J. These tracks, cut in '68/'69, are very much psych/pop in style, and yet were strangely not included in RC's 'Trip'. But were included in one of their earlier 'Progessive' listings; the '117' fanzine also gave this short shrift... why???
In a nutshell, this LP contains no proggish, lengthy tracks (most are around the 3 minute mark), no overt displays of "musical expertise", no drum solos, no histrionics, no classical pretentiousness, no synths, no navel gazing...
THIS IS A PSYCH/POP ALBUM!!! Got that? Good. A question perhaps... Why do some folks feel that the 'Real Love Guaranteed' / 'Hey Bulldog' 45 is most representative of the band's work??? It isn't at all really. If anything, it's somewhat out of character. Incidentally, the Head Machine 'Orgasm' LP (which in some places could easily be a third Gods' album) is another quite brilliant, but ignored opus. (see a future SFA)
By the time EMI could be bothered to issue this album, Ken Hensley had already left the band, formed and disbanded Head Machine, and had joined Uriah Heep.
The opener 'To Samuel A Son' has oodles of swirly, churchy organ, sound effects, echo, and double-tracked, treated vocals. 'Eight O'Clock In The Morning' has tougher organ parts and some stabbing guitar. There's a Badfinger/Beatles feel in parts on 'He's Growing' mostly due to the nice harmonies. 'Sticking Wings On Flies' is pure psych fabulousness! The Gods could even turn a song about factory tedium into a heaven sent piece of pop beatitude, this merges effortlessly into 'Lady Lady', which with its distorted vocals and echo, and odd time-sequences is another psych pop gem.
'Penny Dear' is waltzy pop with a touch of the fairground and also features what sounds like a stylophone?!? We'll pass quickly over 'Long Time, Sad Time, Bad Time' and say only that it is a fairly horrible McCartney-styled rock/pop boogie aberration. 'Five To Three' and 'Autumn' are two more psych pop nuggets. The former has more double-tracked vocals and an ethereal mood not unlike that which The End could conjure up. In these two songs Samuel J. sleepwalks into retirement and then into the arms of his maker. 'Autumn' includes some very cool mellotron passages (on 'flute' and 'queasy strings' settings), with the m-m-most m-m-marvelous psychedelic conclusion. 'Yes I Cry' also has another great ending, but we're getting ahead of ourselves, for the song itself is pop perfection with loads of harmonies (like 'Odessey'-era Zombies) and layers of finely overdubbed mellotron sounds.
The remaining tracks are unrelated thematically to Samuel J's tale, and its these which gave rise to the silly, oft-repeated comment that this LP was simply a collection of left overs. 'Groozy' features some tasty guitar licks and the feel of a band who've discovered their power but are constrained by the pop format. Yet, the tension creates another goodie with some strong lead vocals nestling amidst the ever-present harmonies and a tongue twisting rap of a lyric which I challenge anybody to sing along to- and remain in time!!! Put Brian Keith's voice on 'Momma I Need' and it could sit comfortably on a Plastic Penny LP; 'Candlelight' has a hint of Spanglais soap opera with its melodramatic guitar chords. Whilst 'Lovely Anita' is effortlessly catchy pop, saved from its mundane lyrics by a beautiful performance and sterling arrangement. For something similar, see what they could do with 'Maria' (from 'West Side Story'), although this track contains guitar heroics which are markedly absent from 'Anita'. I'm also partial to this track cos I was actually going out with a lovely bird called Anita, when I first bought this LP in 1970. (Yes, I was one of the very few people who did buy it new!) She and I used to play this a lot, it was "our song"! so, not only did The Gods look the biz, they could deliver the goods in fine paisley fashion. In fact, these guys really were Gods!
NOTE- Nice to see that at least the 'Freak Emporium' recognise a psych opus when they hear one. Repertoire reissued this LP, with extras, on CD in 1995.
PICADILLY LINE - The Huge World Of Emily Small (CBS CBS BPG/CBS SBPG 63129) 1967
It's about time this band were given the respect they're due. This LP and their 45s are an antidote to fuzz guitars, full-on psych and the unhealthy "serious"/"rock" attitude (taking it all too seriously).
This material is warm, sentimental, fragile, summery, finely-crafted flower pop. They might never break into a sweat, but let's not forget that - although some fools would try to edit Piccadilly Line out of the story they were there, they played at Middle Earth, and damn it! we liked them then and still do!
'Emily Small (The Huge World Thereof)' is superb popsike (a different mix to the 45), it is effortlessly commercial - great pop! 'Silver Paper Dress' is folky and delicate, rather like Nirvana (UK), with simple guitar and clarinet, it is a beautiful, evocative song. And mentioning as it does a paper dress, calico curtains, lace veils, swings and roundabouts how can it fail to charm? 'At The Third Stroke' is bloody great! Nice twangy guitar and full-scale production job (again a different mix to the single version), it's as close as you can get to Nirvana without actually being Nirvana. Nice sound effects too! 'Can You See Me' is twee, pretty pop, a flower pop beauty, all wistfulness... 'Your Dog Won't Bark' is structurally almost identical to 'Can You See Me' and the two songs, form one pleasing whole.
More pretty pop is up next 'How Could You Say You're Leaving Me' this time with more than a hint of Barry McGuire, albeit ensconced in a chamber pop arrangement. 'Gone, Gone Gone' especially in the verses is in a jazzy/groovy mood, somewhat like a cross between the brothers Giles and Ray Davies Button Down Brass. 'Twiggs' is kinda Simon & Garfunkel-ish on one level (but maybe with more class!!!), but on another it happily shows its popsike leanings and a very dubious lyric- "[he's] back to watching schoolgirls in the park at play...(!)" . More prettiness and lovely orchestration on 'Tumble Down World', a beautiful ballad, blending acoustic instruments with orchestral flourishes, finger cymbals and a breathless vocal.
A brilliant, if rather respectful take on Die-Lan's word-salad classic 'Visions of Johanna' is easily better than it's originator's version, for at least these fellers could actually sing, which almost redeems it. 'Come And Sing A Song' is another Nirvana soundalike; gentle and melodic. 'Her name Is Easy' is Sundragon-styled sunshine pop, with a weeny hint of brass.
If you dig 'Fading Yellow', you'll dig this album. Oh, almost forgot! Of the 45s 'Yellow Rainbow' (penned by Graham Nash-see last month!) is fab, 'I Know She Believes' (demo copies only) is Piccadilly Line's most overtly psychedelic recording ('psychedelic' as opposed to 'sike'). It is wonderful, their best track, with great psychy organ and a brill hazy/trippy ending. Also great is 'Evenings With Corrina' which is like the Idle Race with a hint of A New Generation.
Acknowledgements to Bryan Russell.
***THE IVEYS' DEMOS by Jason Scott***
As a follow-up to the
recent UK screening of The Iveys' "Jukebox Heroes"
programme, I've picked out 10 tracks, from the Iveys' large body
of demo recordings (a lot of which has surfaced over the years
from the estate of Mal Evans), plus one BBC goodie, which I can
recommend as being especially interesting.
This material shows a band very different from that which cut the 'Maybe Tomorrow' album. This demo material is more hard-edged and on the whole better than the officially released stuff.
'Another Day' (11/67-03/68)- Lovely pop, with some "very 1967" atonal/eastern-styled guitar flourishes.
'(Call On Me)For My Sympathy' (11/67-03/68)- Notable for a rather brilliant guitar break.
'I Believe' [c. 66-67]- 2 versions of which I'm aware. Both are great commercial beat/pop.
'(In A)Taxi' (12/66)- AKA 'The French Song'. Great catchy pop. No sign of any snails or garlic, luckily!
'The Girl Next Door (In The Mini Skirt)' (11/67-03/68)- What a title?!? The very essence of groovy swinging Golders Green. Modish pop with lovely Who-style harmonies and occasional pumping lead bass. Song structure, not to say the "Hoooo, hoooo" vocalizings, owe rather a lot to The Supremes' 'Come See About Me'.
'Handsome Malcolm' (11/67-03/68)- good pop/beat.
'Man Without A Heart' (08/66)- Very classy harmony pop with a curious organ sound.
'Mr. Strangeways' (11/67-03/68)- Fabulous Mirage-style pop/psych, with a deliciously bendy middle eight. Song is about a man, who runs a yo-yo shop, and his customers, who purchase dreams...
'Sausage And Eggs' (12/66)- Great singalonga pop - wouldn't have been too out of place on the 'Italian Job' soundtrack.
'Turn On Your Loving Mood' (08/66)- beat/soul with some Beach Boys-style harmonies. Reminds me somewhat of Tim Tam & The Turn Ons.
'Surrender' - Strong version of the Mary Langley UK soul track. (Also covered by The Carrolls', itself a Northern Soul treasure). Aired on 'Dave Cash Presents' in Spring '69.
***PHASING TO THE MAX**
Part 86- GRACIOUS- 'Hell'
This is on their self-titled LP, issued in August '70. It is a spiky and unsettling progger with an overdose of phased percussion.
***LIBROS PSICEDELICOS- Book reviews***
Granados- Those Were The Days : An Unofficial History Of The
Apple Organization 1967-2002 Cherry Red Books Ltd: London, 2002 ISBN-1-901447-12-X - £14.99
"Hasn't it all been said before?" you ask. Well, most of it, but not all of it. And not as indepth as here, nor through the words of the protagonists themselves.
Mr. Granados casts his redoubtable net over the entire Apple empire - not just the Fab Four - and, in the process, captures numerous tiddlers (including those of most especial interest to SFA, such as Sands, Focal Point, Fire, John's Children, Grapefruit, Chocolate Watch Band (UK), Jackie Lomax, (White) Trash, Ways & Means, Moving Finger, Mortimer, Brute Force; there's even a pertinent mention of cult, psych weird-out 'The Dog Presides' by Paul Jones), together with higher profile stars like The Iveys/Badfinger, The Fool, and the most obvious...
Solidly built on interviews and important printed sources this is wider ranging and both more detailed, and not to say more objective, than self-reverential memoirs by Derek Taylor or Richard DiLello. This work includes a complete US/UK Apple discography and useful references - both bibliographical and internet. It is a thoroughly enjoyable read. Informative and well-written it should be heralded as a major addition to both the scholarship of the Beatles/Apple in particular and of rock in general.
Highly Recommended (PC)
Frank Habicht-Young London: Permissive Paradise. Harraps: London, 1969
After the recent excitement concerning the discovery of the identity of the band [i.e. The Iveys] behind the "Pleasure Garden" nom-de-plume. We have a brisk little ruffle thru the book it was meant to promote.
First things first. Don't be fooled into parting with large sums for this tome. Despite the hype it really ain't that rare, and it really ain't that great. 91 black & white photos- some good, a few are admittedly very groovy, but most are dull; plus two introductory essays- one spot-on, t'other is po-faced, morally superior rubbish. Not really recommended, unless you find it for a fair price (less than £20). Get someone to send you photo copies of the good pages and save your dosh.
Mick Farren- Give The Anarchist A Cigarette. Pimlico: London, 2002 ISBN- 0-7126-6732-6
Wonderful stuff! Whilst it must be acknowledged that Farren isn't everybody's cup of char, he was a central feature of the underground. And much loved/loathed by those of us with whom he crossed swords, sorry paths.
This memoir is chock-full of tasty anecdotes, sleaze, rock 'n' roll reportage and hippie filth. It should be on the 'O'-Level Eng. Lit. syllabus, if only to remind "the kids" that there was once much more to life than computer games, shopping and football.
Farren's barbed comments and incisive wit make this revisionist history a must-read for anyone with at least a passing interest in the period, although as the review in 'Uncut'magazine points out, they may not necessarily be the most reliable account! The following quotes I found particularly noteworthy-
Re. The Pink Floyd
"The Floyd sang about Neptune and Titan, and setting the controls for the heart of the sun, but all was not science fiction, and I often regretted that the Floyd assumed such a crucially influential role in the London version of psychedelia. They seemed so Oxbridge cold in their merciless cosmos: the Stephen Hawkings of rock & roll. They lacked the Earth-warmth of, say, the Grateful Dead, and things might have been a whole lot different if their sound hadn't permeated so many of those formative London nights."
Re. Rock & The Revolution
"The world of rock & roll, despite its pretensions to hell raising, exposed itself as tiresomely conservative, with extremely limited criteria of what was 'good' and 'bad'."
"In the backstage area, the happening bands all met each other en masse for the first time. We'd been assigned one vast communal dressing room, a tiled, institutional room the size of a tennis court. We corralled ourselves in our own separate little camps, with instrument cases, bits of gear, props and stage clothes defining our defensible space. My first surprise was how the denizens of backstage - considering that they were looked up to as the prime motivators - were actually more conservative than the punters outside.
Considerably more drinking was going on backstage, and although a few world-class druggers were among those assembled, I quickly realised two things. Most bands, even though they might have their flamboyant extremists, also had members who, despite their long hair and floral shirts, still clung to a decidedly brown-ale consciousness, and would probably never change. Too many didn't believe a word of all this counterculture malarkey, and were only embracing the trend as another avenue to rock-business success."
Re. Happening 44
"Happening 44 also ran like a cabaret. Bands, of course, predominated, and I well remember a night with Fairport Convention when the Deviants challenged Richard Thompson to stretch 'Reno Nevada' to a full twenty minutes. A lot of their weird eclectic stuff, however, also graced the stage. Hippie sirens Mimi and Mouse, and their gay friend Alan, went under the collective title of Shiva's Children; the women performed a kind of yab-yum ballet, while Alan played percussion and intoned. He rather charmingly tried to seduce me one night, but it wasn't to be. The Sam Gopal Dream also had a Hindu theme, as Sam warrior-pounded the tablas behind an electric raga, first provided by Andy Clarke and Mick Hutchinson and later by Lemmy."
***SKIP BIFFERTY- COLIN GIBSON INTERVIEWED***
Paul Cross (PC) asks the
questions, Colin Gibson (CG), bass player with The Chosen
Few, Skip Bifferty, Griffin, etc...provides the answers.
'PHOTOGRAPH'- THE APPLE.
"You laugh a lot at the sun so hot
You've really got to take your incredible disguise off
And sit in the sun till it has gone
Till it has finally gone down behind the funfair.
Take a subway trip into town for only a dollar thirty-five
Watch Nanna's moustache as it comes electrically alive
And father suddenly died he even cried in the night
Thinking she's the Anti-Christ he never realised she lied
And she talks to me and she's eager to agree
I can see she's speaking of her love for me
Take a hatchet to her head but don't look inside it yet
Don't make her hurry to be a-buried
Cos she's not yet dead.
My rich dowager aunt is standing over there
A keen college boy once did try and make love to her
It's only the experience that the dear lady wants
Neither of you couldn't have her, maybe...
But no need to be sad for there's [?tiniest pills today for that?]
I just don't want you to be at your age
Your mother disguised as a domesticated French cow.
And if you start to purr about your jewels and fur
Look at your mother's foot and say so what
It happened to her.
Take a hatchet to her head I won't look inside it yet
I won't make her hurry to be buried
Cos she's not yet dead.
And just sit in the sun till it has gone
Till it has finally gone down behind the fairground
And just sit in the sun
Where you really haven't got a care feeling free as the air
Never mind which way and time and word and where you'll go...
***NICK SALOMAN: INTERVIEWED***
Paul Cross(PC) asks the
questions, Nick Saloman (NS)provides the answers...
PC - What first attracted you to psychedelia?
NS- Well, I guess I was about 13 when psychedelia started appearing as a movement, although there had been pointers towards it for a couple of years.
If you listen to some of the things The Who and The Yardbirds were doing in 65, you can definitely tell that something new was on the way. I guess it really started happening in 66, with Cream, Hendrix, The Beatles 'Revolver' and all that. By 67 it was in full flow. The West Coast scene had taken off, London had discovered psychedelia in a big way, and there were movies, shops, fashions, designs and clubs which reflected this new artform. When it came, everything changed really fast. Bands who had been really popular were suddenly old-fashioned overnight, rather like when The Beatles first burst on to the scene. Bear in mind that when Hendrix was setting England alight with 'Hey Joe', people like Wayne Fontana and Freddie & The Dreamers were still big news! So for someone like myself, pretty young, but very into pop music, it was inevitable that I'd be aware of it all. It was unavoidable.
I'd been playing guitar since I was 7, and by 66 I thought I was pretty good. I think that it was hearing Cream and Hendrix that really drew me into psychedelia. I was totally blown away by what they were doing, the sounds they were creating, and I wanted to hear more, so I started checking out all these new, strangely named bands, and it was like discovering a new world.
PC- What are your first memories of the scene?
NS- I was really lucky to have been brought up in central London, because it gave me easy access to all the cool record shops and boutiques. The first gig I ever went to on my own (my Mum had taken me to see a few shows, Beatles, Cliff & The Shads) was in 1966 at The Albert Hall. I saw The Stones with The Yardbirds and Ike & Tina Turner. What I recall most was the feeling of real excitement. I remember going to a 'happening' in a massive Victorian embassy building in Piccadilly. You had to climb in through a window after crossing the drop to the cellar area on a ladder which had been placed with one end on the widow-sill and the other on a stone balustrade on the street. I went along with my mate Charlie, we must have been about 14. Everyone seemed much older than us (probably 18). We got separated in the mass of rooms, and I ended up going upstairs to a huge ballroom where a band (I never found out who) was freaking out to the first light show I'd ever seen.
I just stood there for ages watching the colours expanding and contracting to a soundtrack of feedback and strange organ noises. It was totally brilliant. Suddenly new, groovy record shops were opening. I used to buy most of my records from a little old-fashioned electrical goods shop called National Radio. Then Manzi's opened in Swiss Cottage. It had all the latest cool albums in, and you were actually treated like a human being. The boss, Eugene Manzi, would even put aside new records he thought you might like. 'I think you'll get off on this', he'd say producing a Mad River album from beneath the counter with a flourish. I'd buy them without even listening to them. If Mr Manzi said it was good, then it was.
PC- What was the East London scene like?
NS- I only moved east in 1979, so my knowledge of that scene is virtually non-existent. I grew up in St. John's Wood, back in the days when normal people could afford to live there. The clubs I used to go to were either in The West End or local to The Wood, so you'd find me at The Marquee, The Temple, The Lyceum, The St. Moritz, The Country Club in Belsize Park, The Chalk Farm Roundhouse (as opposed to The Dagenham Roundhouse), The Phonogram in Golders Green and various other places. I think my favourites were The Marquee because it was so intimate, and The Roundhouse because it was just a fantastic venue.
PC- What can you tell us about Geranium Pond?
NS- One of my best mates at school was a guy called Charlie Webber, who I recently hooked up with again, after not having seen him for about 30 years.
He's living in New York now. Anyway, his elder brother, Steve, was a bit of a cool customer. He'd already left school and played keyboards in a band.
The Webbers lived in Hyde Park Mansions, block of flats right next to our school, so at lunchtime we often used to go over to Charlie's place to listen to Steve's records. I was greatly impressed by Steve's albums, he had American imports and more interestingly, a Hammond organ. Steve seemed quite intrigued by the fact that one of Charlie's little mates was so into music, and kind of took me under his wing. He used to lend me albums. I remember returning Blue Cheer's 'Vincebus Eruptum' and saying how brilliant it was.
Steve just smiled and said, 'you can keep it, I can get myself another copy'. I thought he was wonderful. He'd joined a psychedelic band called Geranium Pond, and I recall seeing their photo in The Marylebone Mercury. I wasn't too sure about the floral face-paint. But it was still impressive. He also took me to a free gig in Hyde Park featuring The Pink Floyd, Tyrranosaurus Rex, Roy Harper and a new band called Jethro Tull, who I thought were superb. 'They're on at The Marquee on Friday' said Steve, 'Wanna come?' I was worried I wouldn't be allowed in as I was only just 15 but in those days The Marquee didn't have a drinks licence, so it wasn't a problem. In fact, the only problem was my Mum, who insisted I got Steve to phone her and assure her I'd be safe! Shortly after that, I got my first band together, with me on guitar, Charlie on vocals, another friend Ray Flores on bass, and a schoolmate called Bill O'Brien on drums. Charlie was a very good frontman, but a crap singer, however, his inclusion meant we could borrow some of Geranium Pond's equipment. In the end, Charlie left and was replaced by another great mate of mine, Mick Donovan, also a crap singer, but a brilliant dancer! Finally we became a 3 piece, with me on vocals. Incidentally, me, Ray and Mick still play football together every Thursday!
There were some other interesting people around the area where I lived, such as Roy Sharland who was in Spice, played with Arthur Brown and ended up in Fuzzy Duck; Alan Mostert guitarist with Quintessence; the guitarist Gary Grainger, who together with Fruzz (drums) and Martin Abrahams (vocals), comprised The Confusion- a very loud and heavy band somewhat like The Who in their 'I Can See For Miles' period. Gary was later in Strider, then ended up playing with Rod Stewart.
PC- How did you get the name Bevis Frond?
NS- When we got our band together, we had the eternal problem of thinking up a name. I'd come up with 'Museum', which seemed to suffice. One day on my way home from school with mate Julien Temple (now a famous movie director), who lived directly opposite me in Charlbert Street, I asked him what he thought of the name. Now Julien was always a bit of an enigmatic character, often seen striding around The Wood in a large straw hat, with a selection of odd albums under his arm. He considered Museum for a while, then out of the blue said, 'Not bad, but Bevis Frond is much better'. Then strode off. I had to agree, and so as not to be outdone called the first line-up The Bevis Frond Museum. Later we dropped the Museum bit because it was too much of a mouthful.
PC- What about your early demos?
NS- I'd been writing songs since I was about 9. The first ones I wrote were obviously not too great, though one called 'Over The Hills And Far Away' made my Mum cry. My parents split up when I was 5, and I lived with my Mum, so I guess this 9 year old singing 'yesterday brought troubles and my parents had to leave, didn't even give me time to grieve, and they're gone, yes they're gone, my mother and my father, over the hills and far away from my dwelling' must have hit a nerve. In about 67 my Mum borrowed a reel to reel tape recorder from a neighbour and recorded me performing 12 of my recent compositions. I used one of them, 'Alistair Jones' on an album, and to my amazement it's actually been covered by a couple of bands! I still have the tape, and thought most of the songs are just a 14 year old boy's attempts at sounding like his heroes, a couple are actually not too bad.
'We'll Meet Again Above The Clouds' is quite nice with some very far out lyrics. 'I run down this cardboard street without an end, no one but this humming bird to call my friend, people who live on the hill that holds the sky, when orange snowdrifts form you just can't understand, was I born to live my life in emptiness? Will I die in happiness or No Man's Land?' Oh yes!
(SFA would like to thank Nick very much for this interview)
***From 'The Bumper Book Of Psych Quotations', by Roger St. John***
(A now tragically neglected national treasure, who was always so much more than the "poor man's Dylan" that a lost of snooty old farts dismissed him as)
"In late 1965 was the change. I'd made two folk-style records, the second of which was Fairy Tale. It was definitely a black-and-white folk period, as it were. But in that album Fairy Tale was a song called "Sunny Goodge Street", which was clearly a departure. It was jazz-classical fusion. That song had within it the embryo of everything I would do in '66: project mystic lyrics, touch on mythological figures and experiment. Mickie Most, the producer, John Cameron, the arranger, and I became a trio, and away we went. They would listen to what I had in mind and sounds that came to me. I heard the sounds in my head, and Cameron would write them down. That lasted all the way through '66 for the Sunshine Superman and Mellow Yellow albums. It was a tremendously powerful departure. Sunshine Superman is now considered my psychedelic album. It was experimental. The "psychedelic sound" is considered to be mostly an "electric" sound, yet on my Sunshine Superman album I used jazz, classical, ethnic, troubadour and rock sounds in a fusion. I developed the "mystical" sound to present lyrics of self-realization. My own psychedelic journey was not to just "get high". I followed the path Aldous Huxley described in his book Doors of Perception.
Most people think the "trip" was a hallucination, not real. I consider the psychedelic experience to be a view into the true reality behind the illusion the mystics call 'Maya'."
***WHAT THE PAPERS SAID- Selections by Jim Mac***
Here's a hand-picked
selection of letters to the music press, which presents a
grass-roots picture of how psychedelia impacted on Joe & Joan
From the 'Melody Maker' letters page, November 18, 1967:-
T.Nolan of the Sunset (Mailbag 11/11/67) asked why so many Scottish groups hit the trail for London and are never seen again.
Seems like many Scottish groups head for London without first sussing out the scene. They are happy to accept any old contract for the sake of getting to London but we have played it cool for the last year, waited until everything was just correct and now have Allan Clarke of the Hollies producing our records, a great recording contract with Deram and a manager who knows the scene upside down.
Our first record "Bird Has Flown" comes out November, 17, and judging by the radio plays and publicity we have coming up we don't think we'll be "never seen or heard of again".
Dave Dougall, The Societe, London SW5.
It's time Mick Jagger and
the rest of the Stones started considering their fans. I have
brought every record they have made, but I am getting fed up with
the trash they have turned out lately. Don't they realise their
fans want to hear great R&B like "Not Fade Away";
"Little Red Rooster"; "Satisfaction" and
every track of their first LP. We Don't want rubbish like
"We Love You".
If the Stones don't know why they aren't at number one anymore, they must be dim. I believe I am expressing the sentiments of all Stones fans when I say Please Stones, play your old music!
R.Anchors, Stoke On Trent, Staffs.
letters. These two are from 'Top Pops' issue 9, Nov 7th, 1967:-
Where are you now Scott Walker? What are you doing? Have you forgotten about your fans, the people who first recognised you as the best on the British singing scene? You came to us with numbers like "My Ship Is Coming In", placing on record your fabulous voice and professional styling. You sang to us a lot then---where are you now? All right, the Walkers break-up had to be. The fans accepted us. Now there would be three Walkers instead of a single unit. John is still with us, making and selling good records. Gary's plans for his own outfit are almost completed. Where are you? Please don't make us wait too long, we are getting rather tired of waiting for now.
If only the grooves......
I do not agree with Hazel Bouvier's views on "1984" by the Wheels of Time (Issue 7). I feel it's not fair to knock this group when they have worked so hard to try and make themselves "different". I have seen and heard them at Romanoes in Belfast and they are as good as many so called TOP English groups.
Miss G. Marsden, Dunmurray, Belfast.
Mr. John F. McCall of Harmony Hill, Lisburn, Northern Ireland, manager of the Wheels of Time, also wasn't very happy about Hazel's criticism of the disc.
He writes to tell us it is important to realise his group are creating an entirely new sound. They are "progressive" in their music---which has six beats to the bar instead of the usual four, and also they are using instruments new to the pop world. "I arranged and produced this record myself", he writes "and part of the creative idea was to alter the normal balance between voice and music. The voice dominated and then moved back to the normal balance at the end before the final fade-out."
But, unfortunately, those producing the disc (Spin Records) saw this as a mistake and endeavoured to boost the backing. The result was an indistinct and generally "fuzzy" recording. After playing the record on hi-fi equipment, Mr. McCall says the recording lost it's "fuzziness". "The only explanation I have so far been given for this peculiarity is that it is all to do with the width of the micro grooves on the disc."
Here are a couple of Beatles ones from the NME (1967):-
At Last The Beatles have have outdone even "Yellow Submarine" with their worst production to date. "Strawberry Fields Forever" and "Penny Lane" are driveling nonentities of meaningless lyrics and elementary harmonies and music. "Strawberry Fields" sounds like out of work street-corner buskers.
Chris Read (Felixstone, Suffolk).
For years I have absolutely loved the songs of Lennon & McCartney but I am sorry to say that I find their new LP very disappointing. It is impossible to compare songs like "And I Love Her" and "Yesterday" with the way-out rubbish on the "Sgt. Pepper" disc. These songs will be remembered long after "Sgt. Pepper" has been forgotten.
Joan Perry (Newcastle).
Two from the NME, 3rd August 1968:-
I would like a constructive answer as to why the following records were not chart successes: "Part of my Past" - Simon Dupree; "Morning Dew" - Episode Six; "No Face, No Name, No Number" - Traffic; "To Love Somebody" - Bee Gees; "Angel of the Morning" - by anyone; "Walk In the Sky" and "Man Without a Woman" - Flowerpot Men; "Wonderboy" - The Kinks.
Is it (a) because the record-buying public did not think them good enough for the charts or (b) the public could not afford the high price, or (c) there is no room for them because of the Americanisation of the charts, or (d) they did not appear on 'Top of the Pops'?
My guess is they were too good for our charts.
W.Fearon (Romford, Essex).
In some of your recent letters people praise groups like the Jimi Hendrix Experience, the Cream and the Who etc. We think you should listen to the LP by Eric Burdon and the Animals, which makes better albums like Sgt. Pepper seem amateur. People in this country are ten years behind everyone else, it's about time that they woke up.
Neil Schofield (Oldham, Lancs).
From the NME, 17th August 1968:-
Steve Marriott is reported as saying that he likes nothing better than to go into the country and play 'Mothers of Invention' albums at full blast.
It is a pity he hasn't been influenced by Frank Zappa's work, when he and his group churn out such rubbish as "Lazy Sunday" and "The Universal" which he says are too complicated to play on stage.
He should go and see the Nice and Pink Floyd who play their complicated recordings even better live.
Long"- THE EPICS
Yet another of those classic everyday British tales of sexual degeneracy, in the same vein as Floyd's 'Arnold Layne', or 'Friendly Man' by July- purest perv-adelica!!! Effortlessly poptastic! With brill, backwards guitar to boot. In honour of the recent re-emergence from the shadows of this 5-star sike pop nugget, on 'Jagged Time Lapse vol. 4' & 'Fading Yelow', here are the lyrics.
"My name is Henry Long and there is something wrong
See the people looking at me, I don't know why it's worrying me
Heads are turning round, eyes are rolling on the ground
There's a man in blue beside me
It's so embarrassing, he's started questioning
"Do you always go out like that
Nothing on except a top hat?"
Mother nearly died, came to visit me inside
No, it can't be nice on Henry
Officer, for his mother's sake
Give an absent-minded boy a break
Anyone can make the same mistake
Sorry for the trouble and pain, I've caused, but it won't happen again!
I have never heard a story sounding so absurd!'
Said the magistrate before me
Mister plod, what's the latest news?
Absent-minded friend gets on the loose
Bet he's got another good excuse!"
RUBBLE 19 (Past & Present PAPRL019)
Vinyl LP Comp.
RUBBLE 20 (Past & Present PAPRL020) Vinyl LP Comp.
Full tracklistings can be found on the Rubble page at www.marmalade-skies.co.uk.
Long, long over-due. Volume 19 supposedly made it to test pressings back in 1991, but first time out for Vol. 20. All tracks on vol. 19 have been available elsewhere on CD, particularly on the "stripy" 'Best Of The Rubble Collection' CDs from voiceprint. But, if you want them on vinyl with the upturned paint pot cover and some liner notes then this will be an essential release.
Volume 20 appears here in a trice constructed format. Originally it was to have included 'No Presents For Me' (Pandemonium), 'Try A Little Sunshine' (The Factory), and 'Am I The Red One' (Mick Softley). Kate's 'Sweet Little Thing' seems to have fallen off version #2. So, we're left with Rubble 20 (version #3), which includes some over-comped "classics" (why are 'David' referred to as 'The David'???) and a few items of curiosa. Of these, it must be said 'Walter Built A Bridge' by The Bump is truly execrable, and American to boot; Adjeef the Poet (ie DJ Ad Visser) is both annoying and again overly familiar; whilst The Beautiful (a pseudonym disguising The Soft Machine) present a most fabulous US-issued only alternative mix of 'Reelin' Feelin' Squeelin''; and The Beatstalkers' marvelous take on Bowies' (still unreleased) 'Silver Tree Top School For Boys' is both the final track on the comp and a fabulous and fitting way to end the most significant and influential series of reissues in British pop history (JK)
Available from all good outlets, or direct from email@example.com
THE BARRIER - 'First, Last And Always' (Penniman PENN10003) 10 inch vinyl EP.
First thing that hits you are the fantastic photos of the band - the very essence of Britpop c.1968/9. Fab presentation by the Penniman outfit, purveyors of bespoke reissues. Like so many bands who performed rock on the underground circuit, but were forced by A&R men and greedy managers to release pop A sides, The Barrier fell between the cracks in the UK. However, the less-snooty European audiences rewarded them with minor hits in Belgium, Holland, and Scandinavia. This four track EP includes 'Spot The Lights', the bubblefuzzer 'Uh!', 'Dawn Breaks Through' and the previously unknown
'Tomorrow Of Yesterday' (their earliest recording), which was re-cut, reshaped and became 'Shapes and Sounds'. Highly recommended (BP)
Available from firstname.lastname@example.org
ODDITIES: Vol 1 (No label [Carnaby?] ODDS-001) Vinyl LP comp.
THE EXCEPTIONS - 'The Eagle Flies On Friday'
APHRODIET'S CHILD - 'Magic Mirror'
HERMAN'S HERMITS - 'It's Alright'
LEVIATHAN - 'Second Production'
DENIS COULDRY & SMILE - 'Tea And Toast, Mr. Watson?'
PANDEMONIUM - 'Fly With Me Forever'
THE SHAKESPEARES - 'Something To Believe In'
CUSTER'S TRACK - 'On The Run'
FRUIT MACHINE - 'Sunshine Of Your Love'
THE UNIVERSALS - 'Hey You'
TANGERINE PEEL - 'Solid Gold Mountain'
CAT'S PYJAMAS - 'Camera Man'
PATTERSON'S PEOPLE - 'Deadly Nightshade'
GASS COMPANY - 'Nightmare'
MOJOS - 'Until My Baby Comes Homes'
THE MUD - 'Latter Days'
Yet another superb, pioneering comp. Mixing beat with psych it delivers three-quarters of an hour of aural bliss. Nice to see The Shakespeare's' A-side finally getting some attention. About time too, 'cos it totally out-classes 'Burning My Fingers'!!! Tangerine Peel are too easily reviled for their "chinny chap" pedigree. Pity, cos they created some great soundz (look out for their LP in a future SFA!). Great music, in great sound quality (Gass Company sounds better than on previous efforts), wrapped in a great René Magritte sleeve. Roll on Volume Two (due in the Autumn). (JS)
Available from email@example.com , or firstname.lastname@example.org
McDONALD AND GILES (Virgin CDVKMG 1X) CD.
This is a great album from 1970, originally issued on Island, by two King Crimsoners - Ian McDonald and Michael Giles. Although it's usually lumped in with prog and certainly does have its moments of self-congratulatioriness about it, its misty eyes are still set on late 60's Beatlesesque exploratory pop and melodic, jazzy prog rather than the lumpen 70's sound. It features some particularly nice distorted vocals and sound effects, especially in the intro to 'Birdman', which is like a blend of early Decca-era Caravan and Syd's Floyd. The album features both Giles brothers, as well as Steve Windwood. Long since unavailable, (except in Japan) this is a very welcome reissue, and, as we'd earmarked it for a future 'Out In The Cold' feature, we needn't bother now. Cover photograph by Richard DiLello (the Apple "House Hippie").(BP)
DARKENING VIOLETS (Acid Machine Gun AMG001) CDR Comp.
1 Clown - Lord of the ringside
2 J. C. Heavy - Mr Deal
3 Motions - Nightmare
4 Chaps - Constant Journey
5 New Phoenix - Give to me your love
6 Tages - You're too incomprehensible
7 John Wonderling - Midway down
8 Don Fardon - Sunshine Woman
9 James Anderson - Muskatel muskatel
10 Rodys - Easy come easy go
11 Keith Dangerfield - She's a witch
12 Keith Dangerfield - No life child
13 Freaks of Nature - People let's freak out
14 Gods - Come on down to my boat baby
15 Grand Union - She said
16 John Wonderling - Man of straw
17 Rare Bird - God of war
18 May Blitz - Honey coloured time
19 Gun - Situation Vacant
20 Gun - Long Hair Wildman
21 Aardvark - Copper sunset
22 Love Sculpture - River to another day
23 Hard Meat - Rain
Provocatively subtitled "An antidote to Fading Yellow!!!" Oo er, there's certainly no anodyne wet 'n' weedy ballads here! It's a CDR boot. Sound quality is iffy, but we love its "Old School" basic packaging. It's like the bootleg tapes you'd get in Camden years ago - no fancy window-dressing, no liner notes. Just a fascinating blend of good sounds- no maudlin, light weights allowed! And cheap too.(JK)
STATE OF MICKY & TOMMY- With Love From 1 To 5: An anthology of 45s & EPs by Micky Jones & Tommy Brown (AA907)CD Comp.
1 There She Goes
2 Wow! Wow! Wow!
STATE OF MICKY & TOMMY:
3 With Love From 1 To 5
4 I Know What I Would Do
5 Sunday's Leaving
6 Quelqu' Un Qui Part (Someone Like You)
7 Frisco Bay
8 Julien Waites
9 Nobody Knows Where You've Been
10 Good Time Music
11 The Bird
12 Don't Let It Get The Best Of You
MICKY JONES & TOMMY BROWN:
13 If I Could Be Sure
Brilliant! (Only pity is they didn't include The Blackburds 'Play The Bugaloo' EP (France: Philips 437 323) '67, which included a good version of 'The In Crowd'). Long anticipated. Rumours circulated of a planned 10 inch vinyl issue in the mid/late 80s, but it seems never to have appeared.
The music is, with the exception of a tiresome romp through the Loving Spoonful's 'Good Time Music', absolutely blinking essential.'Julien Waites' in particular, is perfect '67 popsike and would have sounded perfectly at home on 'The 49 Minute Technicolour Dream' (Rubble vol. 4). You get both sides of the '66 J&B 45, both French EPs, the Nimrod 45 and the last 45 sans 'State of'. This last single (France: Philips 6009 109), contains the duo's two least known songs, and two of their best songs, both are beautiful - sleepy, psych-orientated pop. 'Alice' was also used in an obscure French TV movie of the time.
Sound quality is not great, but how else you gonna get all these treasures on one little silver disc? (JK)
URIAH HEEP - The Landsdowne Tapes 2 CD expanded edition (Castle CMDDD441) 2-CD comp.
An expanded version of the comp which appeared 10 years ago. Most notable, from an SFA perspective, for the inclusion of 8 tracks by SPICE from 1969.
'Born In A Trunk' is a fabulous phased rocker; 'Magic Lantern' is lyrically trippy and structurally adventurous with some great Byrds-like guitar and a jazzy interlude which contrasts with the post-psych book-end sections; 'Astranaza' pts 1&2 is great, albeit perhaps a "wee bit" self-indulgent (I'm understating the case, you understand!!!); 'Celebrate' is a groovy but unenthusiastic cover of the Three Dog Night song, also done to great effect by Plastic Penny as 'Celebrity Ball'. 'Schoolgirl' is a goodie; 'I want You Babe' is bluesy with a touch of mellotron in the middle-eight and some nice double-tracked drums; and the frantic instrumental version of 'Born In A Trunk' is OK. Great pics, full line-up details and praise-worthy liner notes make this an essential purchase for anyone exploring late 60s British pop and rock (PC)
VICTORIA PHANTASIA British Psych- ECCENTRIC BRITISH SOUNDS FROM THE PSYCHEDELIC ERA (Queen Victoria Records Cat#2002) Vinyl LP Comp.
Woody Kern - Biography
Bulldog Breed - Austin Osman Spare
Mindbenders - Yellow Brick Road
Gods - Somewhere In The Street
Villiers & Gold - Of All The Little Girls
Love Affair - Sea Of Tranquility
Chris Britton - Sit Down Beside Me
Panama Ltd - Dangle Wild
Sharon Tandy - Gotta Get Enough Time
Cupids Inspiration - Different Guy
Mosaic - Bird Of Time
Clown - Lord Of The Ringside
Quartet - Joseph
Paul Brett Sage - 3D Mona Lisa
PAPERMEN FLY IN THE SKY- ALTERED STATES OF SOUND FROM THE REAL BRITISH POP MOVEMENT 1966-1970 (Paper Records Cat#2003) Vinyl LP Comp.
Mindbenders - Schoolgirl
Chris Farlowe - Paperman Fly In The Sky
Kippington Lodge - Turn Out The Light
Paradise Hammer - She Is Love
KG Young - Spider
Daddy Lindberg - Wade In The Shade
Herd - Beauty Queen
Paul/Barry Ryan - Madrigal
Boomerangs - Dream World
Sugarbeats - Alice Designs
Alan David - Flower Power
Sleepy - Rosie Can't Fly
Cherry Smash - Sing Songs Of Love
Consortium - The Day The Train Never Came
Both LPs are limited to 400 copies and come with booklet/insert & a paste-on sleeve in a poly bag .
Flippin eck tucker!!! These are very tasty!!! Two more highly recommended releases from what is turning into a vintage year for psych repackages. The white label, paste-on sleeves, and xerox inserts give them a real "collectors'" feel. Issued by two of the divisions of the renowned and mighty Dig The Fuzz conglomerate, sound quality is better than expected, very professionally mastered. Interesting to observe that they're taking the same worthwhile course as SFA, exploring the terrae incognitae ignored, neglected or excluded by previous compilers and discographers. The following quota (from the insert to "Paperman...", referring to 'Schoolgirl') gives an idea of their philosophie de musique - "It was crowned in Record Collector's 'A-Z British Psychedelia' apart from that, they seem to know shit about The Mindbenders' other glorious psychedelic 45s (pretty typical really)." The inserts were written by someone who obviously loves the music and applies themselves to the intricacies of the subject.
The broadchurch approach to the genre is very refreshing, and offers a track-mix that leaves the majors floundering on the starting grid, whilst these guys are spurting their magnums over the silver gilt trophy. We have only the merest smidgen of info to add to their glorious notes: VILLIERS & GOLD included future popstar Andrew Gold; QUARTET were to contradict their name, actually an Anglo-Aussie five-piece. They were David McCrae, Kevin Peek, Trevor Spencer, Alan Tarney and SFA hero, ex-Twilight Terry Britten; KG YOUNG was Kenny Young - we've got more info on him somewhere. His producer Ian Green, of course produced a tons of tunes at CBS (including the extremely annoying but quite bizarre Chris Andrews-penned'Groovy Baby' by Microbe, and its Dave Cash flip) and elsewhere.(PC)
MARK WIRTZ POP WORKS: Rare And Uncollected Tracks 1967-1971 (USA) CDR Comp.
PHILWIT & PEGASUS- EXPANDED EDITION (USA) CDR repro of original album, plus bonus tracks.
Mark Wirtz is an important, if sometimes under-rated figure in the UK popsike/psych-pop field. he is important both as a producer/arranger/writer and as a performer. So it is always to come across new reissues of his work.
These volumes are two of the most delightful packages of Wirtziana yet assembled. These have been compiled by Mark Frumento, not only with much love and care, but with the co-operation of Mr. Wirtz himself. The first- 'Pop Works'- is a compilation of rarities; the second is the surprisingly rare Philwit & Pagasus album,its sleeve-art reproduced, with additional tracks. Both releases have fold-out liners, with pics of rare sleeves and memorabilia. Highlights are many, and although neither of these are predominantly "psychedelic" in focus, or content, there are many alternative pop curios, including several previously unreleased items, for your delectation. The finest moments are Zion De Gallier's 'Geraldine', one of the most perfect melancholic sike-pop tracks ever recorded. Its twee whimsy completely over-ridden by the pathos of its message of childhood trauma; and three tracks by Philwit & Pegasus; both sides of the 1971 45, which stomps a fine line between a groovy psych-orientation and bubblegum/proto-glam, quite superb and almost universally over-looked, and an album track; 'My What A Lovely Day It's Been', a gorgeous, melodic, pop beauty, with a very psyched-out ending.
These two discs truly were created by a fan for other fans! (NP)
Both available from email@example.com
READY, STEADY STOP! DOIN' THE MOD - Volume 4 (Castle CMRCD 535) CD Comp
(Previewed in SFA... where we printed the track list)
Let's side step the endless debate about "What is mod" and ignore the accusations of the word 'mod' used as a cynical marketing vehicle. Instead, let's say that this is a fab, highly recommended collection of 30 corkers.
It's the best volume of the series thus far, and a great compilation in its own right.
Of the tracks The Kinks- 'She's Got Everything', Tony Colton- 'I've Laid Some Down In My Time', The Truth- 'Who's Wrong' (the liner notes incorrectly read "What's Wrong", not once... but twice!!! Who writes this stuff???), The Sorrows- 'Gonna Find A Cave' (also covered in fine fashion by Sorrows-associate Mickey Dallon), The Blue Chips- 'Some Kind Of Lovin'', The Clique- 'She's Been Unfair', Pussyfoot- 'Good Times', The Alan Bown Set- 'I Really Really Care' (a blue-eyed stomper) are the very epitome of mod. Other highlights include The Onyx- 'You Gotta Be With Me', Justin & Karlsson- 'Somewhere They Cant Find Me', Young Blood- 'Don't Leave Me In The Dark', The Movement- 'Head For The Sun' and The Bobcats- 'She Can't See For Lookin' which all naturally appeal very much to the SFA taste. The Montanas' under-appreciated version of the Bee Gees' 'Top Hat' is a great slice of swinging 67 pop. 'The First Time I Saw The Sunshine' by The Time is superb summer of '66 pop- catchy and with a hint of things to come, especially in the guitar break. The unissued-at-the-time 'My Way Of Thinking' by The Bystanders is outstanding, an absolute gem. The Koobas, a band I love, turn in a sterling performance of Horace Ott's Chicago mover, transmuting it into something very British indeed. Also worth the price of admittance alone is Guy Darrell's oustanding version of 'Evil Woman' (perhaps only bettered by The Troggs and the Mike Stuart Span), I first remember hearing this at mod bashes in the late 70s, but never since - why??? The old rumour of the Lemon Dips involement in the track are here repeated. Sadly, with no evidence (other than a distinct aural similarity) to back it up. The liners, which include a reference to Pussyfoot's 'Good Times' as "bubblegum hard rock" (surely not?!?), display a great photo of The Montanas and a very cool Dezo Hoffmann shot of The Alan Bown Set, looking like all good boys should.
Still looking forward to the Riot squad comp! [an Onyx comp would be nice too!!! -DT] Keep these volumes a-coming! (PC)
PINK FAIRIES - Never Neverland (Polydor/Universal 589 550-2) CD.
Ah yes! Happy days at Glastonbury Fayre an' all that... Top quality underground freak rock from the dawn of the 70s. Part of a stash of late 60s/early 70s releases which evoke stoned nights at the Roundhouse, college gigs and muddy summer days, which includes The Deviants' third album, Pretty Things- 'Parachute', the first two Hawkwind albums, 'Think Pink', Edgar Broughton- 'Wasa Wasa', NSU- 'Turn Me On...', and Human Beast- 'Volume One'.
A classic album hereby reissued, with 4 bonus tracks - the 45-only 'The Snake', the 45 edit of 'Do It!', an alternative take of 'War Girl', and the awesome, original brain-shagging version of 'Uncle Harry's Last Freakout!'
Digitally remastered, this LP has never sounded so clear (although output levels do lack a certain "punch" which original vinyl copies possess). It's nice to see that the artwork, evocative and typically hippie, by Pennie Smith & Tony Vesely has been treated with respect (on the whole. Eagle-eyed trainspotters will detect some heinous cropping!); and with a bountiful booklet full of erudite notes from Mark Powell, which place the band and this album firmly in the correct context, you are being spoilt rotten. For those who don't know, this is loud, noisy stuff - not for the timid or weak of constitution. But that's not to say that mellower, trippier moods are totally ignored here. Check out 'Heavenly Man', 'War Girl', 'Thor' and 'The Dream Is Just Beginning' if you dig a more melodic dose of hippiedom. All, funnily enough, songs penned in part or solely by Twink, these continue much in the same vein as his solo 'Think Pink' album. All of which has always seemed to me to offer a tantalising glimpse of what the Fairies might have sounded like, had not control been wrested from Allder by Paul Rudolph et al... (JS)
LITTLE BARE BIG BEAR - Little Man / Dr Morgan's Panacea (Butterfly Records BUT-11) vinyl 45.
Modern stuff ain't usually in our remit, but we can make an exception if we feel its worthwhile, and we do, so there! These sides are very much in the classic UK popart/psych tradition (although the A side is more garage inspired) with Power chords and a load of sound-effect wiggyness. Also, dig the self-referential line about the "pills you've given me doctor"... "the Mojo Mills pills"! Beautiful sleeve too, from the multi-talented Gaven Dianda. (DT)
Contact firstname.lastname@example.org BIG B... LITTLE B......
***CATALOGI PHONOGRAPHICUM PSYCHEDELICORUM - Capitulum LXVIII***
'Western Man, Eastern Lady' (Columbia DB8374) 1968.
MOR pop, reminiscent of 'Strange Light From The East', with an oriental/"Madama Farfalla" theme. A pleasant ditty, penned by Russell Alquist.
LIEUTENANT PIGEON- 'Opus 300' (Decca F.13365) 12/72.
Not to be confused with the Pigeon's other B-sides 'Opus 302' or 'Opus 304'.
This one was the B side of 'Desperate Dan'. It's a mental, classic piece of off-the-wall psych-inspired lunacy, which includes classical allusions, a feast of backwards effects, a ragtime/calypso passage, manic laughter, a stomping glam rhythm and cries of "Mother!" Bloody crazy. File on the shelf marked "Psychotic", alongside 'Nightmares In Red'.
ABEL FLETCHER- 'Esmeralda' (Concord CON 012)10/70.
Fabulous! catchy, popsike unknown, with a chord sequence nicked from Pachebel's 'Canon', and some nice mellotron too. Released on Cambell-Connelly's great little Concord label (home to Alan Avon, Stavely Makespeace, etc...)
JO JO GUNNE - 'Every Story Has An End' (Decca F12807) 1968.
Not the crap US outfit. These guys very successfully marry pop/psych to soul/pop. Nice 'n' eerie mellotron chord intro, then groovy time changes, brass, a catchy chorus... Fab-a-roonie!!! (As Milo Tweenie would say)
BRINDLEY D. SPENDER- 'The Company I Keep' (Domain D8)1968.
Ignore the scorching dismissal this was given in Record Collector's 'Trip', under the entry for Tamara Koran, cos I doubt they'd ever heard it. This is top class, orchestrated UK pop. Glorious arrangement, and a wonderful vocal performance. Also issued in Germany on Deutsche Vogue, but this time attributed to the singer's former band 'Odyssey'. The singer's real name seems to have been Ken Smart. He was from great Yarmouth, he'd been in the Sons Of Fred, and then Odyssey, check out the very wonderful 'How Long Is Time?' (Strike JH 312)1966, which also features his lead vocal. Sons Of Fred also had some connection with wimp-poppers Tandem, but we haven't unravelled
it all... yet.
AMEN CORNER- 'Nema' (Deram DM 151) 10/67.
B side of 'World Of Broken Hearts'. A weird one from these guys. Creepy organ, falsetto vocals, punchy rhythm, rolling piano and a trippy bridge all combine to produce a great slice of odd pop, impossible of categorisation and quite wonderful!
People' - UFO
Slow and grinding freak rock with a bizarre, impenetrable lyric, which is followed by one of the most OTT phased sections ever laid to vinyl! Issued as a B side to 'Boogie For Malcolm' (Beacon, 1970) and also on the eclectic but fab debut LP, which was called strangely enough 'UFO 1':
"I walked through the space
That wasn't really there
And when I reached the other side
Oh, I didn't really care
I moved round a bit
And started seeing people
And the people that I met
Oh, were all covered in treacle
Everyone was laughing
Everyone except poor old me
So I tried to entertain them
Oh, but they were hard to please
As time went by
Oh, backwards I were gone
Backwards I talked
And backwards I slept"
***From 'The Bumper Book Of Psych Quotations', by Roger St. John***
Entry no. 98 MILES:
Barry Miles- underground mover, shaker and hip scene maker.
"Popular myth holds that 1967 was the summer of love in London and San Francisco. The truth of the matter is that 1966 was the real summer of love in both cities and that 1967 was the beginning of the end.
The year 1966 was a time of tremendous activity in the London underground.
It marked the formation of the London Free School, the opening of Indica, the launching of the 'International Times' and the UFO club, the first psychedelic posters, the release of the Beatles' proto psychedelic 'Revolver' and the mind blowing early performances of Pink Floyd and Soft Machine".
Re. Robbie Curtice (Fading
Thanks to Dave Thubron for his kind words about "When Diana Paints the Picture/Soul of a Man" on "Fading Yellow Volume 3". Since making the record in 1968 this is the first sign I've had that anyone's heard the record - let alone enjoyed it. I've certainly made nothing out of it. Now I just have to work out how to get a copy in UK.
Some background for you - the recording session took place at Regent Sound Studios in London on June 17th 1968. I had written "When Diana Paints the Picture" with schoolfriend Tom Payne and we had taken the song around Denmark Street (Tin Pan Alley). Two publishing companies - Pan Music and Mills Music both wanted the song, but we agreed to go with Mills Music as it was bigger. This might have been a mistake as Gerald Benson of Pan Music had already commissioned an arrangement for Cilla Black (then a very big star) to record it! Mills Music wanted me to record the song, to be produced by Ralph Murphy (now vice-president of ASCAP Nashville) and Vic Smith (later Vic Coppersmith-Heaven, producer of early Jam material). They co-wrote "The Soul of a Man" which I had never seen or heard before the recording session; the lyrics were literally handed to me scribbled on the back of a cigarette packet. They had assembled a large orchestra of session musicians, arranged by Cy Payne, who laid down the backing tracks before leaving me to do the vocals. The drum break in "Soul of a Man" was the result of two drummers frantically trying to outdo each other. The sound engineer Adrian had spent the previous week recording the Moody Blues "In Search of the Lost Chord" LP in the same studio.When we heard the studio mix of "Diana" played back it sounded terrific and everyone was convinced we would have a very big hit.
However, when we received a copy some weeks later, the mix was not so good and as a result the UK record companies were not prepared to release it.
After some weeks we were told it would only be released in USA on Sidewalk and later heard that it had done well in Sacramento. I only have one copy of the record and would be interested in finding out where I can buy more.
Incidentally neither Tom Payne nor I have received any royalties or other payments as a result of this record.There was talk of making a follow up record but this came to nothing and we have heard nothing for over 30 years!
Tom and I got on with our lives. I have been married for 30 years and am now a primary school headteacher. I keep my hand in at the karaoke -mainly the sixties songs of course! We have continued writing and are still waiting the call to make our long overdue comeback!
Thanks again and all best wishes.
Rob Ashmore (Robbie Curtice)
Re Honeybus, etc
Dave & Gang
Hi. Just finished reading SFA 9 and I'm happy to report it's up to your usual brain-melting standard.
Thanks for giving Castle's new Honeybus comp the thumbs-up. I was kind of involved with the release (they used my CD-R of Recital for the selections) and I've been plugging the CD to anybody who'll listen on the Shindig list etc. If you're interested, pop into www.honeybus.net when you get a moment. All me own work! The reason the entire Recital album isn't included is this: When we first approached Warners about using it, they were wary (aren't all multi-nationals?) but agreed. Then they soured on the idea, the reason being there was some old dispute between Warners and Castle about licensing some other, non-Honeybus material which hadn't been 100% settled.
After a lot of coaxing, they let up slightly and agreed tolicense 5 tracks.
They claim to now be interested in issuing their OWN Recital CD (though this seems highly unlikely, after all they rejected it 30 years ago and I doubt they've changed one bit) and therefore didn't want the Castle release eating into their potential sales ($$$$$$$$$$$). On top of this, Pete Dello only has the master tapes of his own compositions, hence the Ray Cane and Colin Hare tracks being dubbed from a good quality CD-R of mine, taken straight from a mythical promo copy. The other factor to consider is space. If we had been able to include the whole album it would have pushed the whole thing onto 3 CDs or forced us to drop other material. No easy solution. Anyway, it turned out nicely in the end. There is talk of an expanded Pete Dello & Friends CD too. Check the website as I'm in touch with both Pete and Castle and details will appear there as soon as.
Also, Dave Munden wasn't the drummer with The Searchers, he was the drummer / vocalist with The Tremeloes and "Wait A Minute" can be found as a bonus cut on Castle's expanded CD of the Trems' wonderful Master album from 1970.
Keep up the splendid work.
Andy 'Bronco' Morten.
Dave says~ Thanks Andy. Ah yes! My perennial confusion concerning the Trems and Searchers...The Marmalade Skies'(on-line) version of SFA9 has now been corrected, along with a handful of other errors. Hope this makes amends...-Dave.
Re. DJs and psych music
Thanks for the SFA newsletter [Mini Bulletin 9.5- Current Faves]-----uuh,I AM a "DJ " and I DO play all those bands you talk about in your newsletter on the air.You too can listen!! It's called Music From the Underground and it's on Sat.nights 10 to 12 PM(Pacific Standard Time) It's on KAOS--the Evergreen State college radio.The Website to go to to listen is www.kaosradio.org and by pressing the little red micorphone icon up in the right corner,you can listen to KAOS wherever you happen to be. This week I'm playing all Canadian psych bands.
Thanks again for your newsletter!
Re Herman's Hermits
Thank you very much for giving Herman's Hermits' "It's Alright Now" (B-side of "Here Comes The Star"), a favourable mention on your website. It has long been a favourite of mine - a real gem! Here are some facts about that recording which might be of interest to you:
Herman's Hermits' single "Here Comes The Star" was released in October 1969.
At that time Peter Noone and producer Mickie Most seemed to be drawing closer together in a working relationship, and the idea behind the new release "Here Comes The Star" was obviously to groom Peter Noone as a solo artist. They had picked up the song, written by Johnny Young and a hit for Ross D. Wyllie, while on tour with Tom Jones in Australia earlier in 1969.
The Hermits really hated the song and the idea behind releasing it, and none of them wanted anything to do with it. So Mickie Most ended up hiring a string orchestra to back up Peter Noone on the recording sessions. On the B-side, "It's Alright Now", a Noone-Hillary-Most collaboration, lead guitarist Derek Leckenby and the Hermits retaliated by deliberately turning the treble all the way up on the guitars to ruin the effect! Ironically they captured the sound of a 1966 garage band by doing that. Hillary, by the way, was a pseudonym used by Graham Gouldman from time to time, while the other co-writer was Mickie Most's brother Dave Most. The track has deservedly been included on a compilation vinyl LP: "Oddities Volume One" (ODDS 1) that I've seen offered at eBay recently.
Other Herman's Hermits tracks worth checking out are "Last Bus Home" (Peter Cowap) and "Ace, King, Queen, Jack" (Cowap-Noone) from their 1967 album "Blaze" (German Repertoire CD REP 4850) , as well as "Wings Of Love" (Spyropoulos-Campbell= UK Nirvana duo) also from 1967 - recently included on the lavishly packaged CD "Mrs. Brown, You've Got A Lovely Daughter - Soundtrack" (German Repertoire CD REP4857). "It's Alright Now" is, by the way, one of twelve bonus tracks on the "Blaze" CD available at Amazon etc.
Our next issue will include MARK WIRTZ, ELTON JOHN(Gasp!), WOLFE, GLAM-PSYCH, and lots of other scrummy things, plus all the usual twaddle.
***Confusion and a concealed identity are weapons of the revolution***
SWEET FLORAL ALBION- THE
WORLD'S ONLY PERIODICAL DEVOTED TO UK PSYCH IS PUBLISHED MONTHLY.
All contents copyright (c) Sweet FA, August 2002.
Editor: Dave Thubron; Sub-Editor: The Rt. Hon. Paul Cross (PC);
Writers: Jim Mac, J. Barrington Phillips (BP), Jason Scott (JS), Paul Hodges (PH), Nick Phillips (NP), Jon Kerr (JK).
'The Bumper Book Of Psych Quotations', by Roger St. John, quoted with kind permission of the publisher Tangerine Books, London. (c) 2001.
'Uurrgggh! What a pong!'
said Mister Wong.
'But, I think it's you?' said Mister Wu.