Posts Tagged ‘ 1968 ’

Tiny Tim “God Bless Tiny Tim”

Love him or hate him, there was no one else like Tiny Tim in the late 60’s.  John Lennon was reportedly a fan, and Tim was a staple on late night television of the time. In 1968 he released his debut album on Reprise- a blend of American popular songs and extreme weirdness that often veers into psychedelia.

God Bless Tiny Tim was promoted as a joke record, but beneath all the camp and novelty there are some stunning gems on this very musical album.

This is an early example of outsider music and Tim did exactly what he wanted here, aided with expert production by Richard Perry. Some moments recall the whimsy of Van Dyke Parks’ debut, or even that of Randy Newman’s first with dense dynamic orchestral arrangements supplementing a full band. Tracks like “Strawberry Tea” and “The Coming-Home Party” and the brilliant version of Irving Berlin’s “Stand Down Here Where You Belong” are completely straightforward pop songs and would have been coveted by any self respecting psych band of the era.

The creepiness of “Daddy Daddy, What is Heaven Like?” is overpowered by Tiny Tim’s sincerity. His knowledge of American musical tradition and dedication to music hall and vaudeville allow these songs to come to life in very satisfying ways. It’s somewhat prophetic that in 1968 Tim was singing “The ice caps are melting…”, and there is a definite vibe that Tim’s not only in on the joke, but is really the one laughing here (which he does hysterically at one point).

The between-song narration occasionally stifles the flow, but it gives us a little glimpse into Tiny Tim’s mindset- his intentions were clearly to open himself up to the world and put on a show; his tastes, interests, showmanship, and quirky personality are all clearly present here. It’s the perfect production and it’s Tiny Tim’s consistently entertaining performances that really elevate this record above mere musical comedy status.

God Bless Tiny Tim is available from Rhino Handmade as a single disc or the 2006 “God Bless Tiny Tim: The Complete Reprise Studio Masters . . . And More” box set.

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“Strawberry Tea”

:D CD Reissue | 2008 | Rhino Handmade | buy here ]
:) Original Vinyl | 1968 | Reprise | search ebay ]
8-) Spotify link | listen ]

Bobbie Gentry “The Delta Sweete”

With its picture of the gorgeous Bobbie Gentry superimposed in monochrome over a falling down shack, The Delta Sweete promises the peculiarly Southern music that Gentry was known for. The Delta Sweete is Bobbie Gentry’s second album, coming on the heels of the tremendous success of one of the most memorable, if bizarre, hits of the 1960s, “Ode to Billy Joe.”

A loosely-formed concept album of sorts, Delta further explores the vagaries of the Mississippi Delta country  of “Ode to Billy Joe.”  Here, Gentry evokes the county fairs and family reunions that would have been events during Gentry’s girlhood, along with the small, everyday moments that made “Ode to Billy Joe” such a classic.

“Okolona River Bottom Band,” a song about a southern talent show, is a veritable travelogue of the Mississippi Delta area, delivered in the husky voice that’s Gentry’s trademark.  It sounds like something from another time, or at least a lost track from one of the Band’s early albums.

“Reunion” is a child’s experience at that most Southern of traditions, the family reunion, complete with gossip, hair pulling, and a finger stuck in a Coke bottle.

Songs like “Penduli Pendulum,” “Courtyard,” and “Jessye’ Lizabeth” don’t lyrically reference the Delta country, but are musically evocative of the South,  from the dog days rhythm of “Penduli Pendulum” and the folk-song like structure of “Courtyard” and “Jessye’ Lizabeth.”

“Sermon,” “Louisiana Man,” and “Tobacco Road” are well-known covers, but are of a piece with the rest of the album, referencing the hellfire and brimstone of a country church service and the hand-to-mouth existence of sharecroppers and trappers.

The strength of The Delta Sweete makes the case for Bobbie Gentry as one of the most underrated and largely forgotten songwriters of the late 1960s-early 1970s era.  Gentry’s episodic lyrics, referential of the South of her girlhood, married to the simple, often melancholic melodies of her music are as arresting today as when they were released, yet most of her catalogue is out-of-print in the U.S.  Even “Ode to Billy Joe,” in its ubiquitousness, is often dismissed as a one-hit-wonder or novelty song.

If you appreciated the husky vocals or the unforgettable lyrics of “Ode to Billy Joe,” The Delta Sweete is worth looking for.

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“Okolona River Bottom Band”

:) Original Vinyl | 1968 | Capitol | search ebay ]
;) MP3 Album | download here ]
8-) Spotify link | listen ]

The Chocolate Watchband “The Inner Mystique”

The infamous Chocolate Watch Band from San Jose California are the quintessential garage psyche band; their story is angst ridden and strange. Chocolate Watch Band, originally formed in 1965, went through a relatively complex series of personnel rearrangements settling for a short while on the lineup most familiar to fans consisting of Dave Aguilar, lead vocals and harmonica, Mark Loomis, lead git and keys, Bill Flores, bass, Sean Tolby, rhythm guitar and Gary Andrijasevich on drums. It was this incarnation that earned Chocolate Watch Band its reputation as an excellent live act by becoming known for their wildness and raw energy on stage. They were regularly gigging around the Bay Area with big groups such as the Doors and the Mothers of Invention playing mostly blues covers and tracks by obscure groups from the UK. Around this time in ’67 the band was introduced to the up-and-coming studio producer Ed Cobb. The band got their kicks by upstaging headliners with their forceful stage performance. They considered the recording studio an afterthought best left in the hands of Cobb.

Ed Cobb was to have a profound impact on the legacy of Chocolate Watch Band. He penned much of Chocolate Watch Band’s original material and enforced his vision of soft psychedelia on a band that he never bothered to see perform live, a fact that he has in later days openly regretted. It was because of this that the raw garage power of Chocolate Watch Band somehow eluded him, much to the group’s chagrin. There is a notorious story of the band using entire boxes of their second single as skeet pigeons because they detested the inclusion of Cobb’s gentle orchestral ballad “She Weaves a Tender Trap” on the B side; these boys were all nails and dog tails.

But boys grow up and it was the Summer of Love… under whose dubious charms Loomis departed to form a short lived psych-folk project “The Tingle Guild”. This was the beginning of a collapse for Chocolate Watch Band as one member after another left to pursue other interests just prior to the release of their first album No Way Out.

Cobb, however, was committed to the idea of Chocolate Watch Band and recruited a new lineup consisting of previous members Bill Flores on bass and Sean Tolby, now playing lead, and newbies Tim Abbott, rhythm, Mark Whittaker, drums and Chris Flinders singing. The ostensible purpose of this short lived incarnation was to support the hastily slapped together psychedelic era oddity that is The Inner Mystique.

Released in early ’68, the conundrum of The Inner Mystique is that not only was the band lineup at the time of the album’s release almost totally different than the band that recorded the psyche-rippers on the second side, but more stunningly, the music on the first side of the album was mostly recorded by studio musicians Cobb’d together [sic] that were never in Chocolate Watch Band. Far from a detriment, its schizophrenic dual personality makes the album more interesting in my mind.

Let’s take it one side at a time. The Inner Mystique kicks off with the psychedelic raga “Voyage of the Trieste”. Drenched in sitars, chimes, meandering flute, and jazz sax breaks, the cut is propelled by a repetitive fuzzy power-chord pulsing ‘m-e-l-l-o-w’. This cut is followed a soft sitar-psyche rendition of “In the Past” featuring Don Bennett singing. This shimmering and echoey number is impressive considering its strictly studio creature origins. The first side closes with the title track, another sitar ballad that is essentially a reprise of “Voyage of the Trieste”, albeit slower and darker in tone. Altogether this side of the album is a pleasant slice of gentle psychedelia, enjoyable, but without the power of the second side to rescue it from the otherwise probable obscurity that would be its fate.

Which brings us to the actual Chocolate Watch Band on the second side. Five songs, covers done better than the originals all, composed of out-takes from their first album No Way Out and a remixed and redubbed version of Dylan’s “It’s All Over Now, Baby Blue” from CWB’s first single released in ’66. The first cut is a burning cover of “I’m Not Like Everybody Else” by the Kinks. Aguilar’s vocals simmer, coming to a rolling boil as he barks out the chorus in a punk brogue Ray Davies couldn’t have achieved. Bashing caveman drums and Fender Twins in overdrive, this is garage primitive at its best. It was at this point Cobb committed a cardinal sin – he removed the original and far superior vocals of Aguilar on the next two tracks, “Medication” and “Let’s Go, Let’s Go, Let’s Go” and dubbed in Bennett’s vocals which range from unexceptional on the former to painful on the latter. Despite the mediocre vocals, these tracks still cook. The Dylan cover is excellent although the original 45 version is better as the album cut suffers from Cobb’s affinity for superfluous meandering flute overdubs. The album closes out with the wailing “I Ain’t No Miracle Worker”; Aguilar positively howls. Jangly guitars and some overdubbed bouzouki round out this killer cut.

Confrontational garage-punk on stage or soft studio psychedelia, whatever it was the Chocolate Watch Band had moved on just as Ed Cobb moved on to producing other bands like Fleetwood Mac, Steely Dan, and Pink Floyd. Luckily we have these scraps and oily rags from the psyche-garage to ignite but The Inner Mystique applies the balm before the burn.

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“In The Past”

:) Original Vinyl | 1968 | Tower | search ebay ]
:) Vinyl Reissue | 2009 | Sundazed | buy at sundazed ]
;) MP3 Album | download here ]

Book A Trip: The Psych Pop Sounds Of Capitol Records

Shortly after the sonic experimentalism of Pet Sounds and Sgt. Pepper’s, the rules for creating the perfect pop single changed. A catchy refrain wasn’t enough– producers and musicians were now expected to use studio technology to dress up pop hooks with trippy effects, unconventional instrumentation, and multilayered harmonies. Book A Trip: The Psych Pop Sounds Of Capitol Records collects twenty-six singles that attempted to capture some of that studio magic.

As is to be expected, there’s a distinct Beatles/Beach Boys influence throughout the tracks. Although a few betray perhaps a bit too much influence (such as The Tuneful Trolley’s magical mystery tour through the Fabs’ 1967 recorded output in “Written Charter”), the majority of the acts comped here took the newfound sense of musical adventure as a starting point and charted their own path. I can’t think of a better example than the anything-goes production of Tim Wilde’s “Popcorn Double Feature,” which not only brazenly mixes dit, dit, dits and bah, bah, bahs, but throws in an electric sitar breakdown followed by an exuberant trombone solo. And did I mention the random bubble sounds?

There’s a wide range of psych pop styles represented among the twenty-six tracks, including attempts by decidedly non-groovy Capitol acts such as The Four Preps and The Lettermen to update their sound. Yet even the more conventional numbers contain surprises in their arrangements and are worth a listen, especially Leon Russell’s Pet Sounds influenced orchestration on the Preps’ “Hitchhiker.” On the whole, Book A Trip is loaded with fine examples of psych pop and sunshine pop, with many tracks containing elements of both genres– you won’t find any bad trips here.

A personal favorite is the faux-British psychedelia of The Act Of Creation’s “Yesterday Noontime,” its insistent percussive riff competing with undulating peals of guitar and lysergic backing vocals. Other high points include the handclaps and soaring harmonies of Fargo’s “Robins, Robins,” the pumping harpsichord of Stained Glass’s “Lady In Lace,” and the quirky vaudeville of the Sidewalk Skipper Band’s “(Would You Believe) It’s Raining Flowers In My House.”

Moorpark Intersection’s sole Capitol single (co-produced by David Axelrod) is another highlight. “I Think I’ll Just Go And Find Me A Flower,” ambles along on a sunny acoustic riff, nodding to the country-psych direction the band would later follow as Morning, while the flip, “Yesterday Holds On,” is a much heavier slice of orchestral psych pop.

With Book A Trip, Now Sounds has put together a first-rate compilation, featuring pristine sound and detailed track-by-track information– the CD graphics even replicate the classic Capitol “swirl” 45 label. Whether you’re new to the genre or a sixties pop aficionado, there’s much to recommend here.

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“Yesterday Noontime”

:D CD | 2010 | Now Sounds | buy here ]

Lee Hazlewood “Love and Other Crimes”

Shortly after the release of the million-selling Nancy & Lee, Lee Hazlewood exercised his newfound clout with Reprise and headed to Paris to record a new solo album. Along for the ride were rhythm guitarist extraordinaire Donnie Owens and Wrecking Crew members James Burton, Hal Blaine, Chuck Berghofer, and Don Randi. If Hazlewood’s stream of consciousness notes on the back of the album are to be believed, they lived the life of the jet set, their days and nights a bacchanal of fine wine, beautiful women, and Lotus Europas with all the extras. Fortunately for us, Hazlewood and crew still managed to find the time to record the stunning Love and Other Crimes.

A baroque precursor to his minimalist Requiem For An Almost LadyLove and Other Crimes finds Hazlewood in a reflective mood, sifting through the ashes of a love gone wrong. Yet the album isn’t all loser’s tears and raindrops – by the end of side two, Hazlewood is unbowed, undefeated, and above all, unrepentant.

This is prime Hazlewood and essential listening for fans of the man and his work. With its sophisticated production, this is a truly great sounding album, and at just under thirty minutes, it demands to be listened to from start to finish. James Burton and company effortlessly shift from country-fried pop to jazzy lounge to elegant ballads and back again. Among the inventive arrangements, “She Comes Running” and “Pour Man’” successfully pair twangy guitar and harpsichord, with “Pour Man’” coming off like a mash-up of Merle Haggard’s “Mama Tried” and Paul Mauriat’s “Love Is Blue.” And you haven’t heard Burton’s trademark volume swell technique until you’ve heard it on full display in “Rosacoke Street.” Even Chuck Berghofer’s distinct upright bass work deserves special mention – listen for his famous “These Boots Are Made For Walkin’” bass slide at the end of “Pour Man’.”

Tracking down an original copy of this album is highly recommended – to these ears, Hazlewood’s voice has never sounded better. Although Love and Other Crimes doesn’t appear to have been reissued as a stand-alone CD, tracks from the album are available on several compilations. However, note that the import LHI compilation, which inexplicably shares the same title and cover art as Love And Other Crimes, only contains four tracks from the album. A better bet is Rhino Handmade’s two-disc Strung Out On Something New, which presents Hazlewood’s three Reprise albums in their entirety, as well as a handful of hard‑to-find singles produced by or featuring Hazlewood.

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“Forget Marie”

:) Original Vinyl | 1968 | Reprise | search ebay ]
:D CD Reissue | 2008 | Rhino Handmade | 2CD Comp | buy here ]

Spur “Spur of the Moments”

Spur was an unknown Illinois band who gained some local notoriety in the late 60’s but never hit the big time (they opened for many of the era’s big bands: The Byrds, Cream, Bob Seger, Steve Miller and The Grateful Dead).  For Spur of the Moments, Drag City compiled the best tracks from their sole album (1968-), along with several outtakes and rare 45 cuts.  Tons of blogs and rock magazines/fanzines have reviewed this gem, so we figured we’d give our own spin on this exciting new reissue.

While Spur of the Moments is by no means a cohesive, album-like statement, each song is finely crafted 60’s rock n roll that’s well worth a spin.  Spur started out life as a garage band who called themselves The Unknowns.  The Unknowns would eventually change their name to Spur and touch on a variety of classic 60’s sounds: garage, folk-rock, heavy psych and country-rock.  It must’ve been a challenge to assemble and piece together this anthology.  Spur were certainly long-lived by 60’s standards (1965-1972) but they were also a group who frequently revamped their sound/style and spent very little time in the recording studio.  That being said, Drag City does a great job putting all their highlights together in one convenient place.

The LP’s first five cuts are its most brilliant ones.  We begin with “Mind Odyssey,” a classic slice of psychedelic country-rock that’s highlighted by fluid guitar work and mild studio experimentation.   With “Tribal Gathering,” Spur turns a classic Byrds track into a 14 minute Grateful Dead-like acid guitar jam.   “Time Is Now,” another great performance, is quality West Coast psychedelia with good harmonies (about mid way through), fuzz guitar and a strong Jefferson Airplane feel.  These 3 cuts also suggest that Spur may have been listening to The Byrds’ Notorious Byrd Brothers album.  “Modern Era,” a 1966 single which was originally backed by a cover of Gene Clark’s “Feel A Whole Lot Better” (not included), recalls 5D Byrds, with it’s punchy, jangley guitars and acid fried lyrics – definitely a keeper.  “Mr. Creep,” a terrific cut from Spur’s sole album, sports cool, distorted vocals, razor sharp guitars and bizarre lyrics (great, twisted garage psych).  Other fine tracks: Spur’s excellent country-rock take on The Beatles’ classic “Eight Days A Week” (banjo and steel guitar make me think of a cross between Dillard & Clark and The Flying Burrito Brothers), the suprising power pop of “Help Me I’m Falling” and the jumpy garage number “Be Tender, My Love.”

Spur of the Moments is only being offered on vinyl and MP3 formats (not cd).  This is certainly one of the better reissues of 2010.  A good one to own if you’re into Moby Grape, The Byrds or Buffalo Springfield.

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“Mr. Creep”

:) Vinyl Reissue | 2010 | Drag City | here ]
;) Digital Download | here ]

John Pantry “The Upside Down World Of John Pantry”

John Pantry is one of those artists that deserves to be heard by more people, especially those who value melodic British pop.  He released one decent solo disc in the early 70s (which has not been reissued as of this date) before delving into the world of Christian music.  Prior to that, he had been a talented studio engineer for IBC Studios (working with Eddie Tre-Vett), producing for the likes of Donovan, The Small Faces, The Bee Gees, The Who, Jimi Hendrix, and Cream.  He was also a member of Peter & The Wolves, an accomplished mid 60s pop group from Leigh-on-Sea/Southend and had a major hand with many other IBC studio projects of the time: the Factory, Sounds Around, Wolfe, The Bunch and Norman Conquest.

In 2009, Wooden Hill released a double disc set of Pantry’s late 60s/early 70s work.  It includes singles/tracks from all the above groups plus numerous outtakes and demos.  If anything, this set (53 tracks!) illustrates the depth of Pantry’s talents.  Besides being a savy studio technician, Pantry was a gifted songwriter and vocalist and an accomplished musician (he played the keyboards).  The earlier tracks stem from one of Pantry’s first groups, Sounds Around.  These guys played straight pop with slight soul and psych influences – they released two singles in 1966-1967.  Peter & The Wolves came shortly after Sounds Around’s demise (they were essentially the same group).  This is the group with which Pantry is most associated, along with The Factory.  Peter & The Wolves released several singles and lasted into the early 70s.  This group’s most productive period was probably the years of 1967-1969, where they released a string of pop gems:  a good, upbeat blue-eyed soul number titled “Still”, the superb Emitt Rhodes like “Woman On My Mind” and several tuneful psych pop creations, “Lantern Light,” “Birthday,” and “Little Girl Lost And Found” being the best in this style.

It was around this time that John Pantry was asked to write two tracks for The Factory, a legendary psychedelic group who had previously released the classic “Path Through The Forest” 45.  Pantry wrote and sang lead on the two Factory standouts, “Try A Little Sunshine” and the more folk-like “Red Chalk Hill.”  “Try A Little Sunshine” is the heaviest song on this comp, a classic that mixes Who power with Moody Blues spaciness.

During this period Pantry took advantage of free studio time and recorded a slew of demos.  While the sound quality is slightly below par, the power of popsike gems like “Battle Of Trafalgar,” “Pitsea Pub,” “Wash Myself Away,” and “Mississippi Paddleboat” cannot be denied.   Most of the material spanning these two discs strongly recalls Paul McCartney, Emitt Rhodes/The Merry-Go-Round and a more cheerful, punchy Bee Gees.  Wooden Hill exercised quality control (no duff tracks to be found) and should be commended for reissuing this great anthology.

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Peter and the Wolves “Woman On My Mind” (1968-)

:D CD Reissue | 2009 | Wooden Hill | buy at amazon ]
:) Original Vinyl | 1999 | Tenth Planet | search ebay ]

uReview: The Byrds “Sweetheart of the Rodeo”

12345678910 (70 votes, average: 8.29 out of 10)
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I’d be happy to see a uReview for every Byrds record in the discography (excepting Maniax), seeing as they’re one of the house bands around here, but it’s the middle of country season and I wanna hear your honest opinion on this one. Are you all about Sweetheart or did you never quite get it? Is this really the landmark country-rock record (does it even deserve the ‘rock’ tag)? If not this, then what?

mp3: Radio Spot – Sweetheart Of The Rodeo

:D CD Reissue | 2003 | Sony | amazon ]
:) Original Vinyl | 1968 | Columbia | ebay ]

Deep Purple “The Book Of Taliesyn”

The first incarnation of Deep Purple has tended to be ignored until lately, shaded by the
overwhelming success of Mark II which benefited from a homogeneous (and supremely
timely) musical direction and the outstanding talent of Ian Gillan. By contrast Mark I found
itself at a many-sided crossroads; musically the band was pulled in the conflicting directions
of freakbeat, psychedelia, retro-classical and nascent prog-rock, and perversely it enjoyed
unexpected early adulation in the States whilst remaining virtually unknown in its homeland.
Adverse critical comment of Mark I has only recently begun to ease, as the undoubted
attractions of some of the early works become retrospectively appreciated and the works
themselves remastered and reissued.

Even the beginnings of Purple were artificial, the band being conceived by ex-Searchers
drummer Chris Curtis as Roundabout, an ever-changing musicians’ combine, and sponsored
by two London businessmen looking for a purely commercial foothold in the pop market.
The Mark I lineup pulled in diversely-experienced, classically-trained session musicians
Ritchie Blackmore (gtr), Jon Lord (keys) and Ian Paice (drs). Bassist Nick Simper had played
rock’n’roll with Johnny Kidd and Screaming Lord Sutch alongside Blackmore, and vocalist
Rod Evans came with Paice from Mod R’n’B outfit the Maze. A unified direction was unlikely
from the start.

Following the clearly saleable example of Vanilla Fudge, the band developed a set
based largely on grandiose reinterpretations of known hit songs, subjected to Lord’s cod-
classical Hammond interludes, Paice’s jazzy percussion and Blackmore’s unique, manic
style of soloing involving heavy use of his Stratocaster’s whammy bar. The first album,
Shades Of Deep Purple, produced an unexpected US hit single with a rollicking cover of
Joe South’s “Hush”. This led rapidly to a second album and a prestigious support slot to
Cream on the latter’s final US tour. Meanwhile, the band couldn’t get arrested at home.
The Book Of Taliesyn (pronounced Tal-ee-ess-in) followed the pattern of Shades Of,
expending first-class musicianship over a confusingly diverse mix of styles, most of which
deserves more attention than it’s received. “Listen, Learn, Read On” is tautly-constructed
psychedelia with a semi-recitative vocal extolling the virtues of the tome in the album’s title
(Taliesyn was the bard at King Arthur’s court); Evans’s powerful vocal on this belies one
critic’s description of him as a “supper-club crooner”, although he does display Scott Walker
ish tendencies on the string-quartet-enhanced ballad “Anthem”. “Kentucky Woman” is a
similarly energetic workout on the modest Neil Diamond tune to the earlier “Hush” which
would again feature in the US singles chart. “Wring That Neck” is a stereo-tastic proto-prog
instrumental in which Lord and Blackmore vie for supremacy; it portends the sound of In
Rock
and would remain in the live set for years. Pretentious covers of “We Can Work It Out”
and “River Deep, Mountain High” segue out of equally bombastic classical themes in which
Lord displays the same leanings as Keith Emerson without the outrageous stagecraft; this
is the sort of “pomp-rock” material that’s reduced Mark I in the eyes of its later heavy-metal
acolytes. Perhaps the best track, “Shield”, is a funky, loping offering with an impenetrable
hippie (or possibly sci-fi) lyric, a catchy, almost oriental organ riff, and splendid guitar work
throughout which deserved to be a hit single in its own right.

Home success continued to elude Purple until the collapse of its US label, Tetragrammaton,
forced the band to return home, re-evaluate and regroup. Evans and Simper were fired and
replaced, and the rest is history. The first three albums, however, show that all the required
elements were in place; only the focus was missing. Avoid the earliest CD reissues and go
for the remastered (at Abbey Road) versions with bonus tracks.

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“Listen, Learn, Read On”

:D CD Reissue | 2000 | EMI | buy at amazon ]
:) Vinyl | 1968 | Harvest | search ebay ]

Second Hand “Reality”

Second Hand’s Reality is rarely mentioned when collectors compile their lists of best ever UK psych albums.  That’s a shame, because Reality is probably better than most of the well-known psych classics.

Second Hand was originally known as The Next Collection, a Clapham/Balham/Streatham group who, early on, were structured around the guitar talents of Bob Gibbons (Gibbons would eventually quit the band due to depression).  The Next Collection were heavily influenced by the sounds of the Who, the Creation and the Small Faces, utilizing feedback and charging arrangements in many of their early tunes.  The axis of the group would eventually become keyboard player Kenny Elliot and drummer Kieran O’Connor.  This group would change their name to the Moving Finger as psychedelia became the new trend and some time later, they’d eventually settle on Second Hand.  Early copies of their debut, released in 1968, are in fact credited to the Moving Finger.  The group changed their name to Second Hand because another group called the Moving Finger had just released a 45 on Mercury.

Lots of people comment that the album’s one weak point is Kenny Elliot’s vocals.  This reviewer feels his vocals fit the music appropriately and do not take anything away from the album’s greatness.  Some tracks such as “A Fairy Tale” and “Good Old ’59” are appealingly twee while others hit much harder, like the stoner rock of ‘Rhubarb!”  There’s lots of mellotron and cool studio tricks throughout Reality.  The album’s one certified classic, “The World Will End Yesterday” has swirling backward tapes, crashing drums and heavy guitar – a psych masterpiece!  A few of the longer cuts have led some people to unfairly label this disc prog.  Reality is pure psychedelia but more experimental and challenging than most.  Two sad drug OD songs (“MainLiner” and “The Bath Song”) hit really low, downer moods but are truly brilliant.  An album that can be played from beginning to end, without skipping thru any tracks.  One of the great unknown LPs from 1968.

Second Hand would issue their second album in 1971.  This disc, titled May Death Be Your Santa Claus, is another standout effort from the early progressive era, full of great ideas and eccentric music.

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“Good Old ’59 (We Are Slowly Getting Older)”

:D CD Reissue | 2007 | Sunbeam | at amazon ]
:) Orig Vinyl | 1968 |  Polydor | search ebay ]
8-) Spotify link | listen ]