The Pretty Things “Parachute”


In our world, the Pretty Things are as big as the Pink Floyd, and Parachute is our Dark Side of the Moon. And while this analogy works in terms of production values and signature albums, Parachute really owes more to The Beatles and Abbey Road.

The Pretties’ early material is strong and bluesy. They were pioneers in the style that influenced the Rolling Stones in the 60s. In 1968 they recorded the seminal rock opera S.F. Sorrow, known to have influenced Pete Townshend in recording Tommy. Parachute followed two years later and, unlike most albums reviewed here, was a critical success, receiving the Best Album of 1970 accolade from Rolling Stone magazine. It’s an amazing leap from Sorrow as well. While I love S.F. Sorrow for the gutsy and no-holds-barred psych bomb that it is, I must confess that I believe Parachute to be the better album for its intricate production, dynamics, and developed songwriting.

The opener tears it up with massive drum sola and intimidating rhythm section. Abruptly, we are swept into a soothing number that rallies into the next, The Good Mr. Square into She Was Tall, She Was High. And though we may not have a concept record here, the flow of Parachute continues as such, a dramatic experience, seamlessly passing from heart-pounding rock anthems to smartly arranged acoustic-based gems.

If you are a fan of rock music, this is a completely essential album. Bonus tracks are excellent quality.

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  • you are rocking my socks! great stuff!!

  • heyday2day

    I’m a bit late to the Pretty Things party, starting with their early, raw r&b stuff. Great stuff, that. As I followed their career forward and came to “S.F. Sorrow” and “Parachute”, I realized that this is a seminal band. Despite the current critical accoloades they receive, they still remain largely unknown in the States. That’s a shame because they deserved to breathe the rarified air of other worthy 60’s UK acts like Kinks, Who, Yardbirds, etc… Great album indeed. Love the site

  • skip alan

    parachute,at present my self skip alan drums,wally allen bass guitar vocals,who co wrote parachute with phil may and jon povey ,,jon povey keyboards vocals,pete tolson lead guitar, who joined band as we were finishing parachute and went on to record freeway madness and the zep swan song albums silk torpedo and savage eye with us.we are going on to re record parachute with new ideas and some new tracks at this moment watch this space,,,,skip

  • Len Liechti

    Yesterday, completely by chance, I scored a used copy of a Pretties album from 1999 called Rage Before Beauty. According to the notes this was their first studio album since 1980 and had taken eighteen years to assemble. You wouldn’t know it – it’s terrific. Most “reunion” albums made by long-serving musos in their fifties are disappointing, but I can thoroughly recommend this one if you’re lucky enough to run across a copy. All the Pretties’ trademark styles are covered from Diddleyesque R’N’B to cool transatlantic rock, and the playing and singing are superb throughout. The guitar work sizzles and Phil May’s snarling vocals are still right up there. He makes Sir Whatsisname from Dartford sound like Mariah Carey. Nice one, lads, and best of luck with the new project. Glad to hear you’ve made it up with Tolson.

  • Belinda

    Parachute and S.F. Easily my two favourite records EVER.

    Bought ’em both when I was 17 and have listened to either one every week for the last 30 years. Nothing else comes close.

    Nothing will.

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