If you are wondering if you really need another compilation of obscure psychedelia and underground music - if it's this one then I'm afraid the answer is yes! David Wells (the Grapefruit label's main-man), ably assisted by John Reed, has produced a delightful compilation of tracks - some of which you may know, some you will not know and some which were unreleased at the time of recording.
Where this set scores over some of the similar compilations is that every track is licenced and full credit given to the sources used; the audio quality is very high - even though the sources are not 100% master-tapes, and the material itself is mainly very strong indeed. Many of these tracks could easily have been big hits at the time, and why they weren't is one of life's little mysteries. The 3 CDs run to nearly 4 hours between them with 65 tracks in total. Each CD takes a loose heading from the set's title - CD 1 being Love, CD 2 covering Poetry with CD 3 bringing on the Revolution - it almost works!
Even if you don't recognise some of the bands featured here, the helpful booklet details each track and you will find that many bands contained members "before they were famous" in their own right or with other bands. The booklet also features many, many illustrations of artists, record labels, posters and assorted memorabilia and full credits to all involved.
Love, Poetry and Revolution will take you back to another time - when John Peel was on Radio London and you could see a great gig for a few shillings! For me the set was worth it if just for Busy Bee - the working title and demo of the Tintern Abbey single; it could have come straight from an album by Love. But there are many, many gems to be found here and top marks to David and John for producing a superior compilation in a very well-trodden field. An unreserved five stars for every aspect of this set.
on 25 February 2014
So, you are a child of the sixties. You grew up there with the music blooming all around you, and could not stop listening to the sheer vibrancy that enveloped and surrounded. Okay, there wasn't that much on the radio, only TOTP on the tv, but somehow you got to hear it all. Wrong! There are enough numbers on just the first cd of this 3cd compilation that will have you wondering just where your head was at, where you were when these tracks were made. I can give the excuse that after the initial relief of hearing the Beatles, the amazement of listening to The Stones, and the wide open wonder of the brilliant, cutting-edge bands that followed - The Kinks, The Who, The Small Faces, Spencer Davis...and many many more (you name your own if you wish) - I was swept up by the Soul bandwagon, so maybe my head was not quite in the right place for this at the time.
It matters not. It is here now, and the wonder is wide, the amazement is mesmerizing, the music is miraculous. On top of that it is also a really cheap buy, despite the beautiful box and the bountiful booklet. Enough already, except to say that if you are not a child of the 60's buy this and you will be!
Collated by collectors for collectors – "Love, Poetry & Revolution..." is not your usual run-of-the-mill 60ts trawl through the mushroom-fields of Psych and British Beat – it goes deep and comes up trumps (and even has a hidden bonus track on Disc 3). There's an absolute ton of detail to get through so once more unto the lysergic lava lamps of love (and that's just the left leg baby)...
UK released November 2013 (December 2013 in the USA) - "Love, Poetry And Revolution: A Journey Through The British Psychedelic And Underground Scenes 1966 to 1972" by VARIOUS ARTISTS is a 66-track 3CD Mini Box Set on Grapefruit CRSEGBOX025 (Barcode 5013929782501) and breaks down as follows:
Disc 1 (78:51 minutes):
1. Pretty Colours – DEEP FEELING (not originally issued, recorded circa October 1966)
2. Find The Hidden Door – THE MISUNDERSTOOD (not originally issued, recorded circa June 1966)
3. Am I Glad To See You? – THE IN CROWD (not originally issued, recorded circa October 1966)
4. Day And Night – THE DRAG SET (March 1967 UK 7" single on Go Records AJ 11405, A)
5. A Strange Light From The East – TUESDAY'S CHILDREN (January 1967 UK 7" single on King KG 1051, A)
6. The Wedding Of Ramona Blair – THE MIRAGE (May 1967 UK 7" single on Phillips BF 1571, A)
7. Tread Softly For The Sleepers – THE HI-FIS (April 1967 German 7" single on German Star Club 148 578, A)
8. Mr. Second Class – THE SPENCER DAVIS GROUP (December 1967 UK 7" single on United Artists UP 1203, A)
9. Busy Bee – TINTERN ABBEY (previously unissued demo version, recording circa July/August 1967)
10. I’ll Be Late For Tea – BLOSSOM TOES (previously unissued demo version, recorded circa August 1967)
11. Devil's Grip – THE CRAZY WORLD OF ARTHUR BROWN (September 1967 UK 7" single on Track 604 008, A)
12. Mrs. Gillespie's Refrigerator – SANDS (September 1967 UK 7" single on Reaction 591 017, A)
13. Don’t Go 'Way Little Girl – THE SHAME [featuring Greg Lake of ELP on Lead Vocals] (September 1967 UK 7" single on MGM 1349, A)
14. Rosemary's Bluebell Day – THE PICADILLY LINE(not originally issued, recorded Autumn 1967)
15. Two Little Ladies (Azalea And Rhododendron) – CROCHETED DOUGHNUT (October 1967 UK 7" single on Polydor 56204, A)
16. Second Production – THE MIKE STUART SPAN (nor originally issued, recorded October 1967)
17. Cheadle Heath Delusions – FELIUS ANDROMEDA (November 1967 UK 7" single on Decca F 12694, B-side of "Meditations")
18. Just Another Day – NEON PEARL (not originally issued, recorded late 1967)
19. Jagged Time Lapse – JOHN'S CHILDREN (October 1967 UK 7" single on Track 604010, B-side to "Go Go Girl")
20. Man In Yellow – ONE IN A MILLION (not originally issued, recorded circa December 1967)
21. Crushed Purple - JADE HEXAGRAM (not originally issued, recorded early 1968)
22. I Am Nearly There – DENIS COULDRY & THE NEXT COLLECTION (February 1968 UK 7" single Decca F 12734, B-side of "James In The Basement")
23. Story Book – THE ALAN BOWN! (March 1968 UK 7" single on MGM 1387, A)
24. Naughty Boy – SIMON'S SECRETS (April 1968 UK 7" single on CBS Records 3406, A)
25. Phoebe's Flower Shop – THE CORTINAS [later became Octopus, see Disc 3] (May 1968 UK 7" single on Polydor 56255, A)
26. Child Of The Sky – THE DEVIANTS (on the June 1968 privately pressed UK LP "Ptooff!" on Underground Impresarios IMP 1)
Disc 2 (75:40 minutes):
1. Morning Sun – THE SPENCER DAVIS GROUP (on the June 1968 UK Stereo LP "With Their New Face On" on United Artists SULP 1192)
2. Ebaneezer Beaver – THE MIRAGE (not originally issued, recorded March 1968)
3. Amanda Jane – WEST COAST CONSORTIUM (not originally issued, recorded mid 1968)
4. Teagarden Lane – JASON CREST (not originally issued, recorded mid 1968)
5. Winter Afternoon – THE FLIES (not originally issued, recorded late 1968)
6. You've Got To Hold On – THE DEVIANTS (October 1968 UK 7" single on Stable ST 5601, A)
7. Nightmare – THE CRAZY WORLD OF ARTHUR BROWN (November 1968 UK 7" single on Track 604 026, A)
8. Peacock Dress – SUN DRAGON [featured Guitarist Ritchie Blackmore, Keyboardist Jon Lord and Drummer Ian Paice of Deep Purple] (on the November 1968 UK LP "Green Tambourine" on MGM Records CS 8090)
9. Jabberwocky – PETER HOWELL & JOHN FERDINANDO (on the January 1969 UK LP "Alice Through The Looking Glass" on SNP Records LP 11/12)
10. Bits Of Your Life, Bits Of My Life – FOREVER AMBER (on the January 1969 privately pressed UK LP "The Love Cycle" (99 copies) on Advance M ADV 00101)
11. Strange Ways – PLEASE (not originally issued, recorded 1969)
12. We'll All Be Spacemen Before We Die – THE LIVERPOOL SCENE (not originally issued, recorded February 1969)
13. Castles – SERENDIPITY (not originally issued full-length version, recorded early 1969)
14. The Makers – THE SORROWS (on the 1968 Italian-Only LP "Old Songs New Songs" on Italian Miura MIU 10011)
15. A Fairy Tale – SECOND HAND (not originally issued demo version, recorded 1968)
16. Oh Strange Man – INFORMATION (March 1969 UK 7" single Beacon BEA 121, B-side of "Orphan")
17. Love – SHY LIMBS [featuring Greg Lake of ELP on Lead Vocals with Robert Fripp of King Crimson on Guitar] (May 1969 UK 7" single on CBS Records 4190, B-side of "Reputation")
18. Tomorrow Today – HARDIN & YORK [ex Spencer Davis Group] (May 1969 UK 7" single on Bell BLL 1064, A)
19. Venetian Glass – INFINITY (not originally issued, recorded 1969)
20. What The Dickens – MIC READ [Mike Read] (not originally issued, recorded 1969)
21. Santa Lucia – RESPECT (not originally issued, recorded 1969)
22. Iridescent Butterfly – FAT MATTRESS (September 1969 UK 7" single on Polydor 56352, B-side of "Naturally")
Disc 3 (78:52 minutes):
1. Magic Potion – THE OPEN MIND (August 1969 UK 7" single on Phillips BF 1805, A)
2. Red Lady – PHIL CORDELL (September 1969 UK 7" single on Warner Brothers WB 8001, B-side to "Pumping The Water")
3. Whitchi Tai To – TAICONDEROGA [featuring Malcolm Mortimer the Drummer with Gentle Giant and Brian James of The Damned] (November 1969 UK 7" single on Beacon BEA 143, A)
4. Hurry On Sundown – HAWKWIND ZOO [Hawkwind] (not originally issued demo version, recorded late 1969)
5. Lament For The Earth – PRINCIPAL EDWARDS MAGIC THEATRE (December 1969 UK 7" single on Dandelion S 4405, B-side of "Ballad (Of The Big Girl Now And A Mere Boy)")
6. Ritual Fire Dance – CZAR (not originally issued, recorded February 1970)
7. Have You Heard The Word – THE FUT (March 1970 UK 7" single on Beacon BEA 160, A)
8. Fillin' A Gap – PAPER BUBBLE (on the March 1970 UK LP "Scenery" on Deram SML 1059)
9. Butterfly – THE FOX (on the June 1970 UK LP "For Fox Sake" on Fontana 6309 007)
10. Images Blue – COMPLEX (not originally issued demo version, recorded July 1970)
11. Rainchild – OCTOPUS (on the April 1971 UK LP “Restless Night” on Penny Farthing PELS 508)
12. Careful Sam – T2 (not originally issued, recorded late 1970)
13. Laughing 'Til Tomorrow – SIMON FINN (on the April 1971 UK LP "Pass The Distance" on Mushroom 100 MR 2)
14. Creation – BEAU (on the June 1971 UK LP "Creation" on Dandelion DAN 8006)
15. End Of The Seasons – BILL NELSON (on a November 1971 privately pressed UK LP "Northern Dream" on Smile LAF 2182, 300 copies only)
16. The Witch – MARK FRY (on the June 1971 Italian-only LP "Dreaming With Alice" on ZSLP 70006)
17. Evil Island Home – KEVIN COYNE (on the November 1972 UK LP "Case History" on Dandelion 2310 228)
18. I Am The Walrus – LOL COXHILL (on the 1971 UK 2LP set "Ear Of Beholder" on Dandelion DSD 8008) – HIDDEN TRACK sung by kids
Each CD has a different logo – the All-Seeing Third Eye for Disc 1, a Large-Winged Butterfly for Disc 2 and Guitarist with Flowers for Disc 3. The clamshell box is sturdy enough but the 36-page booklet is truly a thing of beauty and factoid wonder (well done to Andy Morten at Pepperbox). Compiled by reissue heroes David Wells and John Reed – every song gets properly elaborate paragraphs which are themselves sided by wads of label Repros - elusive British 45s – quality black and white and colour publicity photos - trade adverts - gig posters – album covers – clothing boutiques and even two gorgeous babes with 'Soft Machine' painted on their bellies as they make their way through the London Soho night to a 'far out' gig. SIMON MURPHY has done the transfers and remasters at Another Planet Music and as you imagine the Audio varies wildly – especially given the source and of course the crudity of some 60ts recordings. Excluding those songs dubbed from discs out of necessarily and sheer rarity – the quality is superb time and time again. Besides I was enjoying it too much to nitpick…
Disc 1's two openers from Deep Feeling and The Misunderstood are in far better Audio quality than I had expected (both are unreleased) – incredibly clean and rocking in all the right ways. We enter pure hippy territory with Tuesday's Children's "A Strange Light From The East" and while good its nothing to the genuinely brilliant "Tread Softly For The Sleepers" by Britain's The Hi-Fis who had a two year residency in Germany where they produced two singles and an album (what a kick-ass tune this is). Tim Hardin replaced Steve Winwood in The Spencer Davis Group and on the excellent "Mr. Second Class” you can hear why – vocally similar to the mighty Steve – Hardin’s larynx suited their particular form of driving-organ 60ts Rock (fantastic solo too). The audio on Tintern Abbey's “Busy Bee” is rough for sure but anything new by them is likely to cause a frenzy of excitement amongst collectors. Other nuggets on here include the wild guitar on otherwise Monkees-melodic Mrs. Gillespie’s Refrigerator and ELP's Greg Lake on Lead Vocals for the Janis Ian cover version of "Don't Go 'Way Little Girl" by The Shames. Genius choices go to the 'creepy-then-wild' obscure B-side "I Am Nearly There" by Denis Couldry, the swirl of "Second Production" by The Mike Stuart Span (what a discovery), the impossibly pretty 60ts pop of "Phoebe's Flower Shop" by The Cortinas and the equally sweet acoustic strum of the slightly sinister "Child Of The Sky" by The Deviants as they tell us about "...an ancient prophet...dragged off by his heels..."
Disc 2 opens with a barnstormer – the wild organ and guitars of "Morning Sun" by The Spencer David Group (with Tim Hardin on vocals) stamping its huge-sounding Psych authority on proceedings. Things get even better with a stunning demo find in "Ebaneezer Beaver" by The Mirage which if it had made its way onto a 7" single would surely be pushing £500 plus in 2015. It has a very Beatles "Blue Jay Way" phased guitar throughout and screams full-on post Sgt. Peppers influence. Things go melodic on another wonderful find – the accomplished "Amanda Jane" by West Coast Consortium – fleshed out with a Mellotron and Classical Guitar. By the time we hit "Teagarden Lane" by Jason Crest – you're beginning to think Disc 2 by itself should win an industry award. The follow-up to Arthur Brown's "Fire" was the completely forgotten "Nightmare" – an inventive slice of screaming-voice-and-organ Beat Boogie that doesn't deserve its tanked-2nd-single historical tag. Deep Purple fans will want Sun Dragon's "Peacock Dress" which featured Ritchie Blackmore (Guitar), Jon Lord (Keyboards) and Ian Paice (Drums) as the backing band. The hippy claptrap and whimsy of "Jabberwocky" is a trip too far for me – far better is yet another cool find in "Strange Ways" by Please – a band that featured Peter Dunton of The Gun (what a great melody). And genius inclusion has to go to "We'll All Be Spacemen Before We Die" – a brill piece of doom-laden spoken Psych preceded by Cape Canaveral giving its enthusiastic countdown to the Apollo Missions. It has wild guitars and goes right out there (lyrics from it title this review). Other winners include the Italian-only release from The Sorrows called "The Maker" which features thrashing guitars, drums and even a deeply buried Sitar across its no-holes barred six and half minutes of Freakbeat mayhem. Hardin & York's "Tomorrow Today" is a fantastic inclusion - Vocalist Eddie Hardin and Drummer Peter York used to be with The Spencer David Group after Steve Winwood left and this upbeat track features a superb Joe Cocker's Grease Band feel to its piano, organ and backing singers melody - and you wonder why it wasn’t a hit at the time. The Shy Limbs UK 45 is booked at £70 but I’ve seen it make twice that easily whenever it hits the marketplace. It contains both Greg Lake (Lead Vocals) and Robert Fripp (Guitar) of King Crimson with Fripp rocking out in that peculiar way of his. Noel Redding's Fat Mattress recorded the very Traffic-influenced "Iridescent Butterfly" for their debut LP but it ended up as the B-side to "Naturally" with the song's writer Neil Landon on Lead Vocals.
Disc 3 opens with the speaker rattling Stooges-Punk of "Magic Potion" by The Open Mind (formerly the Mod band The Drag Set) – a wicked grunge-rock groove that surely had Iggy Pop reaching for the superlatives. From that we go into a very cool slice of choppy dancing pop – the brill B-side "Red Lady" by Phil Cordell (great choice). The indefinable Taiconderoga is a misspelling of Ticonderoga – a town in New York State) and features Malcolm Mortimer of Gentle Giant with none other than Brian James of The Damned (who was Brian Robertson at the time). Unexpected beauty comes in the shape of Hawkwind's "Hurry On Sundown" (then known as Hawkwind Zoo) featuring here in a lengthier demo variant (what a discovery). We finally arrive at what most resembles Prog in the shape of Czar doing the Love Sculpture's "Ritual Fire Dance". Sounding so much like John Lennon that Yoko Ono tried to copyright "Have You Heard The Word" by The Fut in 1985 as a JL song – it now turns out to be the Australian band Tin Tin who recorded it at a drunken studio session in the summer of 1969. Whatever way you look at it – the giggling and screaming aside – it’s a wicked tune and so post-Beatles solo it’s not true (you kind of wish it was a Lennon song). By the time we get to Paper Bauble, Fox and the Dandelion Label acts, Beau and Kevin Coyne we’ve moved across Folk Rock, Avant Garde and into Prog again. The T2 track is dubbed from Acetate and so correspondingly rough – but a more than worthy inclusion. But the real winner on here is Mary Fry's ludicrously rare "Dreaming With Alice" LP which was released in Italy only on an obscure subsidiary of RCA. His sitar-drenched Acid-Folk "The Witch" is stunning stuff – like the Incredible String Band doing LSD and letting rip on the Sitar and Flute (nice). And it all ends on a Hidden Bonus Track from Lol Coxhill's double album "Ear Of Beholder" where kids from 2 to 13 sing a genius and funny version of "I Am The Walrus" by The Beatles complete with Lol on the maracas! It’s mad, bad and stoned out of its tiny mind(s)! And would we have it any other way…
So there you have it. I've come to the party late on this one but I'm glad I did. It won't be everyone's cup of soothing Camomile (Psych and Acid Folk never is) - but Box Sets like this are not just a labour of love for their compilers (David Wells and John Reed) – they’re genuinely worthy of our attention - because the track choices are both smart and new to even the most diehard genre lover (Discs 2 and 3 are simply brilliant).
Put "Love, Poetry And Revolution..." high on your 'to buy' list. And remember Pipers At The Gates Of Croydon...as the button on your sister's smock used to say...drop acid and not bombs...
on 25 October 2014
Others have already praised this profusely, but I must admit I wasn't expecting it to be this good. In fact, I haven't been as impressed by a psych boxed set since I first got Perfumed Garden and Real Life Permanent Dream, with the difference that this one trumps PG for sound quality and is trippier than RLPD. A lot of these tracks have never been released before, and even when you think you may have heard some of them, they usually turn out to be demos or extended versions, and often the demos (still well-produced with effects etc) turn out to be far more interesting than the final tamed-down versions. And if you compare the overlapping tracks with the versions you already have, you'll find the improvement in sound quality to be so dramatic it was worth getting the song again. There are very few tracks which are not interesting in one way or another, and I find that quite rare with psych comps. Often the good tracks are diluted by some noisy garage or weak pop filler, but that's not the case here. With little overlap with the myriads of psych comps already released, this is an essential boxed set.
on 16 January 2014
A compilation like this is the perfect example of how the job should be done. Intelligent and comprehensive sleevenotes by David Wells, fine layout by Andy Morten, some great mastering giving familiar tracks a new brightness and, above all, an outstanding mix of the familiar and the obscure. Too many highlights to detail, safe to say if you have a liking for 60s psychy-pop you should have this on your shelf or, if you want the perfect introduction to the genre, this could be the perfect introduction. In the unlikely event that other less meticulous reissue labels are paying any attention - this is what we want.