Regal Zonophone 2
I have just finished playing this comp and I must say it is excellent. I would though change the title to ‘Disintegrating Grey’. Firstly, it references the psychedelic element a la the Pretty Things ‘Defecting Grey’, secondly it literally refers to the condition of the grey metal acetates and thirdly, it gives a nod to Fading Yellow on which a few of the cuts here would happily fit.
The first two songs 'Love's A Spider' and 'Cromwell Music' are great dance floor fillers. Track 7 by ‘unknown Artist 3’ is absolutely mental - and again plays to the 'Defecting Grey' aspect. It sounds like a standard 60s pop song underneath it all, but someone’s dubbed on chimes and bells and something approaching a counter melody and it’s turned it into an acid meltdown! Definitely an aborted experiment and a must hear track.
Tracks 13 and 14 by Silver Unicorn and Unknown Artists 6 are acid / prog-folky tunes from c.1970 and would appeal to anyone with an interest in Trees or Jade’s 'Fly On Strange Wings' etc.. A lot of the run throughs of known tracks by Small Faces etc have an added rawness due to being on acetate and also have slightly differening instrumental emphasis to the fore. The Blossom Toes tracks are a revelation – just the band playing without the embellishment of the studio and they sound great.
Overall, I think this would go down really well with readers here. It's just the sort of thing Sweet Floral Albion would have raved about. The surface noise is predominantly slight and only really noticeable for the most part in the run out or fade of some songs. Where it does come through, it is a useful reminder to the listener that these are indeed fragile acetates and that entropy, time itself is jealously scratching at the ever thinning layer of acetate on these metal platters, inchingly dragging them back off to the obscurity they have been temporarily salvaged from. This set most certainly deserves a proper CD treatment. Anyone who has volumes of Psychedelic Shelmiels on their shelves could put this one proudly beside them.
Sounds very interesting,im hoping mine arrives soon, as im pretty curios to hear this,but from your description paul its sounding like a winner!!Thanks for the review of sorts Paul!!Once ive heard it i'll give some feedback on it too!!
That was an interesting review. A while back I think I mentioned an acetate on Youtube by what I believe is an unknown band with the title "Senses" being the only clue besides it being an EMIdisc. It definitely has seen better days, but the song was terrific. Would love to see that turn up on a compilation of this sort. I like your idea of the title, Paul...maybe the next one will use that title.
Even closer to the Pretty Things, maybe 'Defective Grey'!
Sorry if this is a bit long but I did promise SPS a review. I listened to the cd (blind) a couple of times and jotted down these notes. I was also lucky to get access to the recordings on 3 of the acetates before the clean up as described by the SPS so I added those observations into the text below. The bands I mention as reference are just my subjective views of a ‘closeness’ and I do so as a compliment to them as much as a compliment to the bands on this release.
Full credit to SPS for a remarkable job and a genuinely wonderful collection and sequencing of outstanding recordings. Finally just before I posted, I looked at the notes accompanying the cd which were also posted on this site by SPS - they are really good and I happily defer to your greater insight but these are my initial thoughts anyway as promised.
Unknown Artist (UA) Tr. 1 ‘Love’s A Spider’. Like The Open Mind- from a Very Scratchy acetate , this is a great clean up job.
Tr 2. Cromwell Music ‘ I’m Not A Rock’ like Rings & Things with fuzz guitar by Ernie Isley
Tr 3. Small Faces ‘Green Circles’ , just great. Need to study released version but main vocals seem varispeededslower!!
Tr 4 UA 2 ‘Sleepy Head’ Shades of psych Donovan
Tr 5 Family ‘Mellowing Grey’ . Been a while since I listened to ‘Music in a Doll’s House’ this really highlights the extraordinary voice of Roger Chapman. Beautiful and slightly different version. Tr 6. Carter & Alquist ‘Say Goodbye to Yesterday’ . Great popsike with some neat psych shifts. Tr 7. UA 3 ‘Nanci’. Imagine Giant Crab with psych dial in the red zone .
Tr 8. UA 4. ‘Beautiful Bareback Rider’. Alan Bown as in ‘Outward Bown’ comes to mind but what about these lyrics “Beautiful Bareback Bicycle Rider , Riding past the church , Stop and say hello to me” Fantastic. Tr 9. Blossom Toes. ‘I’ll be late for Tea’. Longer version than LP and very different recording. As Paul says above this is a revelation. I have always loved the LP but felt like I never got to know the band. This is superb...powerful but at times delicate playing, the musicianship and cohesiveness of the band is very evident- a real band performance and the vocals with harmonies are special .
Tr 10 UA 5 ‘Muffin Man’ Classy popsike.
Tr 11 Small Faces ‘That Man’ , great, need to study released version Tr 12. Welcome ‘The Flames are getting Higher’ (approx 5 mins). How about Amazing Friendly Apples ‘Magician’ ? Lyrics include “My Mind is back behind my eyes” -they must have gone to same anatomy school as Fripp & Giles Bros . Tr 13 Silver Unicorn ‘Autumn Leaves’. Great recovery job here from a very scratchy acetate with much of the bass lost which is critical in this song. Hypnotic acoustic guitar riff , really good female singer , the bass is essential in weaving around the riff lead . Very special- hopefully this band can be traced. Tr 14 UA 6 ‘Windfall’ . Beautiful pop led off by acoustic guitar. Tr 15 Toby Twirl ‘You’re the only one’. Good UK pop. Tr 16. UA 3 ‘Players Choice’, Strong US pop. Tr 17. UA 7 ‘Don’t Make Me Leave You ‘
Tr 18 . Blossom Toes ‘What on Earth’ I prefer this take/mix to the released , more of an insight again into how the band worked ...great songs .... both sound more interesting and are still intrinsically psychedelic ....any more acetates of them ?
Tr 19. Angle 6 ‘Jamie’ reminds me of Keith West / Mark Writz
Tr 20 UA 6 ‘Deeper Magic’ .
Tr 21 Mother’s Milk ‘Listen to my Eyes’ . Hunger meets Graffiti. Seriously good US psych.
Tr 22. Small Faces ’Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow’ . Just fantastic, again need to study against released.
Tr 23. UA 1 ‘Jessica’. The original acetate is very scratchy with a couple of particularly nasty scratch sounds that jump out which just magically disappear with the clean up
Tr 24. UA 8 ‘ Do you want to buy’ Only one song from this group which is a shame- this is special .
Tr 25 UA 4 ‘Stranger then Truth’ . Interesting one- mostly a pounding piano and voice which works really well, then they allow in acoustic guitar and it’s really cool
Tr 26 Factory ’Try A Little Sunshine’. Just extraordinary. A different take methinks with more prominence given to guitar.
Tr 27. Toby Twirl ‘Good Girls’. Kind of Vaudeville, I suppose it works ok but following Factory, now that’s the short straw.
Tr 28. Mystery Track that even skips 4 or 5 times but bloody hell what a beautiful example of UK psych It has the melodic spirit of ‘A day in the life’. Haunting. After just 2 plays I think I know this song ?????
Again, a fantastic job to reclaim these acetates . Thank you.
I too promised a review - so here it is - THIS IS WONDERFUL put it out now please!
Honestly, great stuff that will sound even better when its cleaned up. I take Paul's point about psychedelic schmiels (is that how you spell it??) but this is better. The alternate takes are great but the originals are what really make the comp.
For me the 2 highlights are Beautiful Bareback rider (Lady Gadiva gets a sixties update and Deeper magic which is just perfect early 70s pop
Actually just wondering is "Deeper magic" a C S Lewis reference??
1.At last i had time to listen to this excellent collection of acetates etc,first "Loves a Spider"is mod gone odd to my ears.
2.Cromwell muic-Im Not a Rock-This fuzz driven dancer with excellent female vocals is a must hear,think Sharon Tandy but more weird sounding!!
3.Green Circles-Small Faces acetate is excellent with louder drums and a definite lysergic vibe,certainly the vocals are different to the official releaseed version.
4.Unknown-Sleepy Head-A drowsy sounding track which fits in great with the title,a rather modest lysergic pop song.Reminds me of Turquoise for some reason.
5.Family-Mellowing Grey-Certainly different from the official released track on music in a dolls house with excellent mellotron and strings.Ace number!!
6.Carter&Alquist-Say Goodbye To Yesterday-Excellent flowerpot men influenced harmonies and a jaunty singalong chorus,a real mellow vibe and would fit perfectly on the ministry of sound cd.
7.Unknown-Nanci-What a trippy start to a song,well its a top notch piece of well arranged and at times tripped out pop/psych with a pengant for weird orchestrated pop,this song sounds aas if it took a few quid to record,cos the arrangements are pretty complex.
8.unknown-beautiful bareback Rider-Whimsical Popsike from 1967,really a fairly sparcely arranged piece of kaleidoscope like arrangements,with piano and vocals being the main instruments.The vocals are really whacked out at the end.
9.Blossom Toes-Ill be late For Tea-In my opinion a completely different version than the officially issued version on the album,its interesting to hear this without all the embellishments that were added on We are Ever So Clean.Shows them to be a neat little who inspired popart band.
10.unknown-muffin man-Hey man this is odd pop that could've only be recorded in the psych era,a sike taste for sure.
11.Small Faces-THat Man-Mod gone odd,class piece of early psych which im sure they also recorded with French artiste Johnny Hallyday,but this is the trippiest version ive heard.
12.Welcome-The flames are gettingHigher-Very psych Moody Blues influenced track,from their Lost chord era.Great sooked up guitar leads,excellent track
13.Silver Unicorn-Autumn leaves-This is a lovely floating piece of female lead folk music,lysergic folk indeed.
14.unknown-windfall-Very Tull(imo) influenced track to my ears anyway,with an orchestral score lifting it above the norm,again a recording that sounds as if no expense was spared.And a yummy flute part to boot.
15.Toby Twirl-Youre the only one-Maybe one of the least psych tracks on this fine collection,its just a nice pop song with nice orchestration,
16.unknown-players choice-More of a soulful vibe replete with saxaphone featuring prominintly,again i think it sounds like the pop that the likes of The Foundations were creating/
17.unknown-dont make me leave you-I dont know about this might being Eire Apparent,sounds more soulful than their magical sunrise album.
18.Blossom Toes-What on earth-Class piece of uk psych,with brass embellishments adding to the sound,a bit more produced on this version,but still sufficiently different from the official version.
19.Angle 6-Jamie-A slab of whimsical popsike,one of those charcter songs which was so beloved of many other popsike ventures.
20.Unknown-Deeper Magic-The latest track that features on this fine collection from 1970,good piece of pop fluff with a fuzzed up guitar in the mix,very catchy pop imo.
21.Mothers Milk-Listen to my eyes-Organ led stomper,another one of those mod gone odd recordings,with fab organ being the main instrument on here and some trippy vocals,love this track.
22.Small Faces-yesterday today and tomorrow-he third track to feature this excellent foursome,another early piece of uk psych which does sound a wee bit ahead of its time.
23/Unknown-Jessica-Prominent wind instrumetation and as a whole a well arranged track takes this character tune to popsike tendencies,though to my ears its a good pop track.
24.Unknown-Do you want to buy-Excellent eerie vibe on this folky psych track,one of my faves,even mentions mods and rockers in the lyrics.Great bassline which adds some oomph to procedings.
25.unknown-stranger than truth-Piano and tortured vocals are the main instruments here,but what a good eastern infused guitar part in the middle i have to be honest and say its one of my least faves tracks on this excellent collectionof tracks.
26.factory-try a little sunshin-Bloody brtilliant as the guitars seem to be more harsh and louder than the released version,gotta here this!!
27.toby twirl-good girls-Not one of my faves as i cant stand the music hall vibe on this number,but again its arranged professionally with strings and loud drums with horns added too
Well thats my review of this magical cdr of unreleased gems,this deserves to be heard by more people so a release would be great,go for it and thank you for giving me the chance to have a listen.BTW whose the extra track at the end by??
First of all I’d like to say thanks for sending me the promo copy. Very much appreciated!
It’s an excellent compilation that definitely deserves a proper release! Except for a couple of tracks that are only OK (Toby Twirl), it’s chock-full of brilliant songs. Here are some notes I jotted down while listening to the CD:
(Track 1) “Love’s A Spider”: A great energetic and punchy opener!
(Track 2) Cromwell Music - “I’m Not A Rock”: The start reminds me a bit of Elli (the piano). Excellent, professional sounding production. Awesome fuzz and tight drumming!
(Track 5) Family – “Mellowing Grey”: I’m not a big fan of Chapman, but this is a lovely version of a lovely song.
(Track 6) Carter/Alquist – “Say Goodbye”: Lovely popsike – I need to get that John Carter CD anthology (now unfortunately OOP).
(Track 7) “Nanci”: Great dramatic production! The singing style sometimes reminds me of Hendrix of all things… A quick Google search reveals that this is Bobby Paris, or…?
(Track 8) “Bareback Rider”: Excellent acoustic pop sike. I love the build-up at the end.
(Track 9) Blossom Toes – “Late For Tea”: Fantastic version of this classic!
(Track 10) “Muffin Man”: Kind of US sounding hippy LA-style psych.
(Track 12) Welcome – “Flames Are Getting Higher”: One of my favourites on the set. I’ve had this on my hard drive for years, and it blows me away every time I play it. Amazing guitar break.
(Track 17) “Don’t Make Me Leave You”: Vocals definitely sound familiar. A version of this (the original?) appears on American Breed’s Bend Me, Shape Me LP.
(Track 19) Angle 6 – “Jamie”: Beautiful lite psych with excellent harmonies.
(Track 21) Mother’s Milk – “Listen To My Eyes”: Brilliant! There’s some interesting info on its popsike listing here: http://www.popsike.com/LISTEN-TO-MY-EYES-UNKNOWN-BAND-UNRELEASED-RARE-60s-GARAGE-PSYCH-ACETATE-1/320822771140.html
You can also hear the slower version here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oGyCFjldGw8
(Track 24) “Do You Want To Buy”: Magic song that I first heard on the fantastic BMA site. A big favourite. Quite sinister-sounding.
And the mystery bonus track is genius! Shame about the multiple skips…
I’d love to see a vinyl release of this – maybe a 2 volume set or a single LP with the best songs?
Whatever you decide, I will buy!
Just received! Lookiing for more info about Beautiful Bareback Rider, found the guy who posted the later Hratch version on Youtube is Chris Gilbey himself! here his blog,
where he talks about this demo and also about other Kate and related unreleased tracks... anyone interested in making a compilation out there? (Cherry Red... Angel Air maybe?)
When I was around ten or eleven - this was back in the early 70's - my father came home with an old portable record player and a stack of 45's. He gave both the record player and records to us boys and we spent countless hours building walls with empty boxes and listening to these amazing fuzzed out blasts from the past. Although for the most part, all the singles were from the mid to late sixties and by obscure bands that I'd not heard before (or since for that matter), so they really can't be considered "Blasts from the Past". But when you're not quite a teenager, five years is an awfully long time... ancient history even.
Acid Oranges and Green Circles is a lot like that... although these truly are artifacts from a bygone century. New / Old sounds that - if it weren't for the kind folks at the Secret Psychedelic Society - I'd never have had the opportunity to hear. And for that, I can't thank you enough. Sign me up for a copy of the official release when it's ready.
Now I'm off for another listen while I build a wall of cardboard boxes...
A fancy looking thing fell down my mail slot the other day. It was something called ”Acid Oranges and Circles of Green”. Cool beans! Er… OK, introductions aren’t my strong side… neither are reviews to be honest, but here goes. Please bare with me!
Starting with unknown artist 1, ”Love’s a Spider” reminds me of something I’ve heard before. Not the song itself, but the sound of the band. Perhaps on a volume of ”Syde Tryps” or ”Purple Heart Surgery”? Anyway, it’s a great rockin’ song with Hammond and cool vocals. The other song (”Jessica”) attributed to the same artist sounds completely different, being more in a popsike vein with glockenspiel, flutes, oboe, etc… I prefer this to ”Love’s a Spider” (on a side note, I have an aversion for spiders) but both are solid tracks with ”Jessica” being my favourite.
I managed to dig up some more info on the song ”I’m A Rock”, which sports some jazzy bass and piano interplay and a cool tremeloed rhythm guitar. Composed by John Simon (producer of ”Music From Big Pink”, ”Cheap Thrills”, Cohen’s first LP etc., songwriter, and musician) with lyrics by poet Fran Landesman. I presume this is the work by US studio musicians as the acetate is on American music publisher Richmond Organization’s label. According to a quick web search, the song was copyrighted on March 16 1967 and US garage band The Hard Times recorded a version of this song for their 1967 ”Blew Mind” LP. Both versions have their merit, and this demo isn’t bad at all. According to John Simon, the song was Fran’s reaction to Paul Simon’s song ’I Am A Rock’ with the last line of the song being ’I’m not an island either’…
The three Small Faces acetates was something that intrigued me since reading about this set many years ago in an old issue of SFA. Unfortunately all three of these are now available in much, much better fidelity on the recent Deluxe Editions of the first Immediate album and ”From the Beginning”. ”Green Circles” (identified as ”Alternate Take 2” on the Deluxe Edition) is presented in a slower take with some exciting Marriott shouts at the end, ”That Man” and ”Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow” are alternate mixes that don’t differ much from the album versions, apart from ”Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow” having a slowed down cymbal at the end for effect. They’re interesting recordings for fans but personally I’d drop them from the track listing as they’ve now seen an official release from the master tapes.
”Sleepy Head” by unknown artist 2 (catchy band name!) is a laid back song with cool harmonies, a tasty wah wah guitar and a generally lazy atmosphere that’s very appealing with some very fitting lyrics (”Monday morning and I feel so bad, like a nightmare I never had. But I gotta get up and face another day, got to get to work and earn my pay. Wake up, wake up, you sleepy head”). I think most of us can relate to that… Plus points for a bass sound that sounds like it’s straight out of ”Helter Skelter”.
”Don’t Make Me Leave You” is an up-tempo rocker with some blistering lead guitar, unfortunately way back in the mix, rattling tambourine, organ and pounding piano. It sounds like the entire band was recorded live in a room with just one microphone… Pretty cool stuff.
Family ”Mellowing Grey” is a killer track from their debut LP, and hearing an alternate mix is alway interesting. Fidelity is a bit rough, but this mix seems a little drier and running slightly faster than the commercial version. This doesn’t have the fade-in but otherwise the differences are minor.
Carter & Alquist’s ”Say Goodbye to Yesterday” is a joy, and very different from Flowerpot Men’s version that appeared on their Past Imperfect album. This is more guitar based with a very brief rave up at the end. The Toyshop’s version is in a similar style and was perhaps based on this demo?
Unknown artist 3 and ”Nanci” is probably the highlight of the entire disc. Huge, orchestrated pop with a couple of totally mental sections drenched in mindbending echo, rattling drums and ”psychedelic harp”(I made that up, but there is a harp and the production makes it sound a bit psychedelic). The other song by the same artist, ”Player’s Choice”, wouldn’t be out of place on a dance floor. It’s an uptempo orchestrated pop tune with a brief Motown-sounding sax solo and infectious handclaps. Not really my cup of tea and not at all in the same league as ”Nanci”, but nice for the kids to dance to.
A few years ago, eBay was more or less flooded by a massive amount of Blossom Toes acetates, complete with sound samples. Several of these were later put out by Sunbeam Records on a rarities set, but the alternate take of ”I’ll Be Late For Tea” and the alternate mix of ”What On Earth” aren’t on that CD. ”I’ll Be Late For Tea” is a basic band run-through with the emphasis on guitars, bass, drums and vocal harmonies. There’s a kind of garage rock vibe here and it’s great hearing the song without all of the overdubs that appeared on the album version. ”What On Earth” is quite similar to the LP take with the orchestral overdubs in place, but there are some minor mix differences. No revelation, but nice for completists.
On first glance I thought Welcome’s ”The Flames are Getting Higher” was going to be a cover of Elmer Gantry’s ”Flames” at the title shares a line from that song but I was pleasantly surprised hearing a good original. Beginning with a riff that’s bordering on funk, this track features outstanding lead vocals and some soaring guitar work at the end that unfortunately fades out, ending the song too soon.
Silver Unicorn’s ”Autumn Leaves” is a good female folk tune. Melancholic with mandolin-like guitar and a minimalistic guitar solo. Some might say it’s a bit repetetive, but I think it conveys the autumnal theme very well.
Unknown artist 5 ”Muffin Man” was another case of ”Ah, could this be a cover of THAT song?”, but this is an original I’ve never heard before. A good pop song with some tasty vocal harmonies, nylon-stringed guitar and interesting arrangement. Wouldn’t have been out of place on a volume of ISSS.
The two songs by unknown artist 6 is one of the great finds on this collection. ”Windfall” is a great folkpop song, with awesome tight harmonies, a wonderful flute solo, a beautiful string arrangement, chiming acoustic guitars and a good chorus that’ll stick in your head for days. One of my favourites on the set. The second song is almost as good; an infectious pop song with organ, more of those awesome ’bah bah’ backing vocals, some funky bongos (yes, funky), a short but nice fuzz guitar solo and another catchy chorus that’ll you sing in the shower the upcoming weeks.
The pair of unreleased Toby Twirl songs are a nice addition, especially since reading the appraisal in the latest issue of Shindig! magazine. The songs aren’t spectacular in any way but solid orchestrated pop and it’s nice to hear them. They’re no ”Romeo and Juliet 1968”, but what is?
The slightly fey vocalist of Angle 6 seems oddly familiar but I can’t seem to remember where I’ve heard that voice before… It’s slightly reminiscent of Timon, Jon Plum or Jason James and that’s high praise coming from me! Anyway, ”Jamie” is a toytownish slice of pop with a lovely string arrangement that would most likely appeal to fans of the above mentioned artists.
The Factory’s ”Try a Little Sunshine” is presented here in a powerful alternate mix, with the Who-like power chords way up front in the mix. There’s much more reverb, giving it a live feel as opposed to the regular 45 mix which is somewhat weak and dry in comparison. There’s also a third guitar playing rhythm that you can actually hear in this mix. It’s almost buried on the 45.
Seeing as this is only a preview and not the final product nitpicking about technical details seems unneccesary, but I still would like to point out my one small reservation regarding the sound: It would be nice if the recordings were folded down to true mono. Now they’re mono recordings transferred in stereo, leaving quite a bit of rumble and surface noise. Converting to true mono would also cancel out some of the crackles and pops. Also, if I’m going to be picky, some of the fades are rather abrupt, but I’m sure this will be sorted out for the general release.
I’m not sure if I’d place this alongside the best volumes of ”Incredible Sound Show Stories”, ”Circus Days” or ”Syde Tryps” but I probably need to spend some more time with this collection. There are some really good finds here and it comes highly recommended!
As my copy arrived downunder a little later and others have given a track by track description I won't do the same.
The Small Faces tracks are fantastic. They are a lot more Psychish than I remember the released versions to be. But as mentioned if they are now available on the recent Small Faces Deluxe Editions, as great as they are, they're not rare. Still, if you don't have the reissues, and you are a big psych fan, you'll love these.
Blossom Toes tracks are very good. I'm so used to the over the top Gomelsky production that I found them a bit hard to get into, but the more listens, the better they seem.
Factory-BRILLIANT. What a great find. But I am biased on this one as it is probably my favourite UK psych single ever. Whereas the more well known version sounds like the epitome of psych this version is heavier and that gives it a more psych into prog sound. On a different note, how come these guys have never been tracked down for an interview/ story?
Welcome-The Flames Are Getting Higher is a real find. The best track imo from an unknown or unreleased track on this comp.
Of the unknown artists my favourite would be Sleepy Head. I also particularly liked Love's A Spider,Nanci,Carter & Alquist,Windfall and Do You Want To Buy. The unnamed track at the end is excellent, and it's a pity it could not be cleaned up to a decent standard.
I'm not a big fan of plain UK pop.Well I don't hate it, but I would not buy say a Ripples pop type comp over a psych Perfumed Garden one. So some of the tracks that don't do much for me are in this vein.eg. Player's Choice,Jamie,Deeper Magic and unfortunately as I was hoping for more, both the Toby Twirl tracks.
Thank you for your efforts and good luck with the release.
Finally got around to listening to this today (sorry, Mum was visiting from overseas and I don't generally like listening to music on headphones). I thought this was a very good comp with lots of quality tracks. Nice mix of the whimsical and the Swinging London vibe with a bit of trippiness. Certainly worthy of a wider release, which I wouldn't hesitate to purchase in remastered form. Well done SPS, you should be most proud!!!