Sunday, 15 September 2013

From Here To Uncertainty

Geranium Pond, 1968

This is going to be my last post for a while. During next few months, I will be far too busy to regularly update this blog. I can't really tell how long this hiatus is going to be, but hopefully I will be back before the end of this year.
Before I go, I want to share some great 1960's British Psych tunes I have been enjoying lately..

Elmer Gantry's Velvet Opera - 'Dream Starts' - 1968 

Standout track from Elmer Gantry's Velvet Opera's sole album released in 1968. Nice melody, and those distorted vocals sound really good..

Elmer Gantry's Velvet Opera, 1968

 Hat And Tie - 'Finding It Rough' - 1967

Hat and Tie were a duo consisting of Christopher Thomas and Patrick Campbell-Lyons (also a one-time member of July and Nirvana). 'Finding It Rough' was their second single, released in April 1967. Despite being incredibly catchy,this sitar-led piece of psych-pop did not chart, and Hat And Tie disbanded soon after.
Geranium Pond - 'Dogs In Baskets' - 1968 

I've heard this song at the Mousetrap last week, and I have been listening to it on repeat since. There is precious little information about Geranium Pond. According to British Music Archive, this group originated from London, and 'Dogs In Baskets' was their only release. There is also some evidence, that the Geranium Pond shared the bill with the likes of The Nice and The Move.

'Dogs In Baskets' is a mellotron and harpsichord-led ,whimsical lullaby in a style of Syd Barrett. Listen to it here.   

Tintern Abbey - Vaccum Cleaner - 1967

Unquestionable cult classic, 'Vaccum Cleaner' was a B-side to Tintern Abbey's single 'Beeside' from 1967. This highly collectible seven inch will today set you back nearly a grand. The lyrics of 'Vaccum Cleaner' were pretty risque at the time...

Break it up, break it up, let's have it now girl
Don't you know I need it all the time
Fix me up with your sweet dose, now I'm feeling like a ghost
Whoah whoah whoah whoah all the time

Now my head is really spinnin
maybe now I'll show some willin
To help you with house work, if you want to...

Yep, no prize for guessing what this song is about... Surprisingly, there is no mention of this song ever being banned by the BBC. But then again, it was only a B-side.

Now I finally have an excuse to post this great photo of Tintern Abbey. Psychedelic/Peacock style at its finest. I absolutely love that jacket on the left.

The Quik - 'I Can't Sleep' - 1967

Not much is known about The Quik. They released three singles on Deram in 1967. 'I Can't Sleep' was the final one - It is a fantastic piece of dark, Hammond-led psychedelia..

The Fox - 'Hey! Mr. Carpenter' - 1968

The Fox, 1968

Another cult classic. Great dance number, and obligatory play at any decent Psych night (I always get the those Hey's wrong when I try to sing along to it)
The Fox were a short-lived band from Brighton. They released an album For Fox Sake (see what they did there?) on Fontana in 1968, which disappeared without a trace, and the band split up soon after. 'Hey! Mr. Carpenter' has been popping up on various psych compilations (including Bam Caruso's Rubble) since 1980's, and since then it's been universally acclaimed by Psych fans as one of the British Psychedelia's finest moments. 

The Kinks - Big Black Smoke - 1966

I'll end with this lesser known track by The Kinks from their 1966 album Face To Face. It is a grim, cautionary tale about a young girl from provincial town and her misadventures in London. Healthy dose of reality after all this psychedelic stuff..

 The Kinks, 1966

So, That's about it for now. See you again in about 2 or 3 months!!!


Terry Rawlings, Then, Now an Rare: British Beat 1960-1969, Omnibus Press, 2002

Tuesday, 3 September 2013

Brighton Mod Weekender 2013

New Untouchables Brighton Mod Weekender is traditionally a high point of my summer. Especially since Brighton's own (once great) Mod/Psych scene went from being rubbish to being virtually non-existent in the last 2-3 years.  This will be my last ever summer in Brighton, therefore I was determined to enjoy NUTs weekender even more than usual.

As regular readers of this blog probably know, it is not the 'Mod' part that I love the most about those weekenders. Having literally no interest in scooters, I usually skip daytime events at the seafront. In  the evenings, not being a fan of soul music, I hardly ever pop in to the main room at Komedia, which is usually full of ageing blokes with Paul Weller haircuts. No, to me, the back room at the Studio Bar at Komedia is where the action is - a place where on Saturday and Sunday you can hear some of the best 60's Freakbeat, Garage and Psychedelia.

I always talk about NUTs events with a mixture of love and hate. I love dancing to my favourite obscure Psych tracks in clubs. Moustrap (Fuzz For Freaks) in London - bi-monthly clubnight organised by NUTs is the best 60's psych night in the country and I discovered some of my favourite tracks there. But, every now and then, I find some things about NUTs slightly annoying, like for example, unnecessarily strict djing rules - original 60's 7-inches only and no re-issues/compilations allowed. Ok, I understand why they wouldn't want dj's to use LP's - there is a discernible difference in sound (although I wouldn't say it sounds worse, but maybe it's just me). But why no re-issues? Does it really take away so much authenticity? DJ's are also afraid of playing too obvious or too popular tracks. They don't seem to understand that expensive and rare does not equal the best. Or even good for that matter. Also, having seen some of the dj's multiple times before, I can say that the sets of some of them have become a little too predictable - every time I see them they play the same records. Of course, if you only buy 7-inches priced £500+, how many new records per year are you gonna get? Not too many probably.... But then again maybe I am not the best person to talk about these things. You see, I belong to a very rare breed - passionate 60's music fan NOT interested in vinyl. I don't mind it, but I never saw it as a superior format. If dj's at The Mousetrap were playing the same tracks they always play, but from their Ipod's instead of vinyl, I'd still come. I love the tune, not the format (I'll probably get banned for saying this, though).

Anyway, on Brighton weekenders, Sundays are traditionally the best for psychedelia. This year, I would say it was Saturday. Sunday turned out to be a bit of an anticlimax. Still, I had a great time that weekend, and I certainly encourage anybody who's into Psych/Garage and, most of all, Soul to come and check out Brighton Mod Weekender in 2014.

I stopped taking photos on my nights out long time ago, so here, I am using some from New Untouchables website. The photos were all taken by Carlo Sesto.

 That's me on the right..

I'll end with some photos of my now ex-girlfriend in her amazing original Biba dress..

Also, I heard this great tune for the first time at this year's weekender - 'Kicks And Chicks' by The Zipps - I've been listening to it on repeat ever since..