- Audio CD (27 Jan 2003)
- Number of Discs: 3
- Format: Box set
- Label: Decca - Pop
- ASIN: B00007IPZO
- Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 52,182 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)
|1. Legend Of A Mind - Moody Blues|
|2. Screams In The Ears - Bill Fay|
|3. Suite No. One Giles, Giles and Fripp|
|4. Introspection (Part One) - The End|
|5. I Can't Keep From Crying Sometimes - Ten Years After|
|6. Austin Osmanspare - Bulldog Breed|
See all 16 tracks on this disc
|1. Maybe Someday - Human Beast|
|2. Chauffer - Black Cat Bones|
|3. Tomorrow Morning Brings - Pacific Drift|
|4. The Unknown Years - Zakkarias|
|5. Free To Be Stoned - Clark Hutchinson|
|6. Cemetery Junction Part One & Two - Room|
See all 13 tracks on this disc
|1. Hellbound Train - Savoy Brown|
|2. Stranded - Khan|
|3. The Rise And Dear Demise Of The Funky Nomadic Tribes - Thin Lizzy|
|4. Seafull - Trapeze|
|5. C'Lu Thlu - Caravan|
|6. Whiskey In The Jar - Thin Lizzy|
See all 11 tracks on this disc
By late 1967 something was happening, and (to paraphrase Dylan) it wasn't just Mr Jones who didn't know what it was. Major labels were faced by an audience who now wanted something considerably more challenging than three minutes of the Hollies singing about bus stops. Those pesky Beatles had opened Pandora's musical box and it wasn't unreasonable to ask for at least three time signature changes in the space of one song. Mellotron solos! Lyrics about women selling tea! Scary chord changes! Folk music played on electrical instruments! Blues played backwards! It was all legal tender in them days and Decca wanted a piece of the action. Signing acts left, right and centre to their subsidiary, Deram, the label inadvertently set loose some of the strangest music known to man. It's all here...
To be fair most of this music's fascination lies in its position somewhere between psychedelia and progressive. It's some evolutionary stop-gap, like a musical sabre-toothed mongoose and, on the whole, clumsy and not a little pretentious. Let's face it, there's a reason why you've probably never heard of Human Beast, Clark-Hutchinson or Aardvark. But for every Keef Hartley obscurity there's a lost gem waiting to blow your mind.
Revel in the jazz exotica of the Johnny Almond Music Machine (featuring a fledgling Alan White). Be dazzled by the young Robert Fripp on Giles, Giles and Fripp's ''Suite No.1''. Realise why the folksy intricacy of Mellow Candle has won them cult status. To lump it all under prog or underground seems utterly pointless; Ten Years After's blues owes just as much to Wes Montgomery as to Freddie King, while the Canterbury sounds of Egg, Khan and Caravan juggle complexity with a self-deprecating homeliness (and how many modern bands even bother to sing with an English accent these days?).
3 CDs may seem daunting, yet such is the passion and vaulting ambition (9 times out of 10 falling charmingly short of ability) that you merely wish that major labels could still be this adventurous. Those days are long gone but, thanks to this fine compilation, far from forgotten. --Chris Jones
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My favourite song is "Roundabout" by the Keef Hartley Band. A close second is "Free To Be Stoned" by Clark-Hutchinson, simply because they sound as if they're having such a great time during the recording (which they probably were).
It doesn't get five stars from me because there's a fair amount of dross among the 40 tracks - how could there not be? However, if there were half stars I'd certainly increase the rating on the basis of the packaging alone! Enjoy.