Take a journey through the British heavy psych and hard rock underground scene 1968-1972 with David Wells, compiler of a new 3 CD box set I’m A Freak Baby. Speaking to Strange Brew host Jason Barnard, David plays highlights from this new collection, balancing the familiar with the obscure.
The Pink Fairies – Do It (Single A-side, Polydor, 1971)
Open Mind – Cast a Spell (Single B-side to Magic Potion, Phillips, 1969)
Crushed Butler – My Son’s Alive (Not originally issued, rec 1970)
Factory – Time Machine (Single A-side, Oak, 1971)
The Mickey Finn – Garden Of My Mind (Single A-side, Direction, 1967)
Deep Purple – Fireball (Single A-side, Harvest, 1971)
Iron Claw – Skullcrusher (Not originally issued, rec 1970)
The Taste – Born on the Wrong Side of Time (Single A-side, Polydor, 1969)
Wicked Lady – I’m a Freak (Not originally issued, rec 1972)
Groundhogs – Cherry Red (Split, Liberty, 1971)
Charge – Rock My Soul (Charge, SRT, 1973)
Fleetwood Mac – Green Manalishi (With The Two Prong Crown) (Single A-side. Reprise, 1970)
Gilbert O’Sullivan’s songwriting soundtracked the 1970s and Nothing Rhymed and Alone Again (Naturally), in particular, are recognised as classics. All his material is currently undergoing a critical reappraisal and his latest retrospective The Essential Collection recently hit the UK top 20.
Transcribed from his extensive podcast interview with Jason Barnard, Gilbert talks about the hits as well as the rarer cuts that deserve wider attention:
Esoteric Recordings have released two deluxe boxsets of The Move’s first two albums, The Move and Shazam. Taken together both sets provide the definitive picture of the Carl Wayne years.
April 1968’s self-titled debut took an 18 month span to record, and there are many magic moments although it’s mix of styles occasionally clash. Roy Wood’s pop perfection shines through frequently, take the hard edged psych of ‘Yellow Rainbow’ or pop gems ‘(Here We Go Round) The Lemon Tree’, ‘Fire Brigade’ and ‘Flowers In The Rain’. Roy’s own take on ‘Eleanor Rigby’ – ‘The Girl Outside’, and baroque folk of ‘Mist on a Monday Morning’ are just gorgeous too. So why doesn’t the album hang cohesively? The band retain old favourites like Eddie Cochran’s ‘Weekend’ and The Coasters ‘Zing Went The Strings of my Heart’, tracks arguably more in keeping with ’65 than ’68.
What this new set does is give us the chance to hear rarer material from the period like the blistering freakbeat of January 66’s ‘You’re The One I Need’. Accompanying singles and b-sides ‘Night of Fear’ and ‘I Can Hear The Grass Grow’ complete the picture. A special mention goes to ‘Disturbance’, an incendiary blast of childhood and teen darkness. The politics bating ‘Vote For Me’ is heavier still, blowing peers The Yardbirds out of the water.
The stereo mixes of their debut material arguably improve much of the original’s muddy mix. Adding clarity we hear the tambourine on ‘Kilroy Was Here’ plus the synth and Tony Visconti’s woodwind sparkle on ‘Flowers in the Rain’. Of the BBC Sessions of the debut set, their cracking version of ‘Morning Dew’ is of particular note.
Their second album ‘Shazam’ is a more consistent album. The riff laden heavy ‘Hello Susie’ ages well, ‘Beautiful Daughter’ is still stunning and the extended remake ‘Cherry Blossom Clinic’ superior to the original. Of the covers on the album’s flip, their remake of Tom Paxton’s ‘The Last Thing on my Mind’, shows a stunning band performance.
The Move’s other 1968 singles and their flips are added as bonus tracks to ‘Shazam’, ‘Omnibus’ and ‘Curly’ are quintessential Wood. ‘Blackberry Way’ surely represents Roy at his peak, a deserved number 1 and a track any band would marvel at. Out of all the bonus material across both releases ‘Shazam’s’ extra disc is the most exciting. It opens with the demo of ‘That Certain Something’, a tour de force for Carl Wayne’s heartfelt vocals. The BBC sessions then highlight that how they excelled with covers, with Goffin and King’s ‘Goin’ Back’, Paul Simon’s ‘Sound of Silence’ and Todd Rungren’s ‘Open My Eyes’ particularly sparkling.
Moving into the seventies with the addition Jeff Lynne and the departure of Carl Wayne, The Move would embark on a new chapter.
More information on The Move and Shazam is available from:
The name biG GRunt may not be familiar to you but the genius of former Bonzo, Vivian Stanshall, surely will. biG GRunt was one of the early projects Stanshall embarked on after the Bonzos fractured following the release of their album, Keynsham, in late 1969.
Featuring two fellow Bonzos, dependable bassist Dennis Cowan and eccentric saxophonist Roger Ruskin Spear, the first official release of biG GRunt’s historical John Peel session will delight Bonzo and Stanshall enthusiasts alike.
Of the four tracks featured here biG GRunt’s ‘Blind Date’ saw release as the b-side Viv’s ‘Suspicion’ single. With conventional country-esque backing tied to Viv’s humorous talking blues it’s typical Stanshall.
Of particular delight is a barnstorming version of ’11 Mustachioed Daughters’ from 1968’s ‘The Doughnut In Granny’s Greenhouse’ Bonzos album.
The blues-tastic ‘The Strain’ debuted here would eventually open 1972’s Bonzo reunion ‘Let’s Make Up and Be Friendly’. It’s a track that proved there were no limits Viv’s lyrical parody.
The instrumental ‘Cyborg Signal’ was, until now, previously unreleased in any form. A good track it is too, it would have made an excellent template for film soundtrack or with Stanshall’s vocal overlay. Alas it was never to be, sadly soon after Viv had a breakdown and all biG GRunt left behind was this superb BBC session.
So buy one of the 500 copies from 26 August and savour the short moment where biG GRunt played over the airwaves:
Ken Scott’s work as a recording engineer and producer spans much of the greatest rock music ever recorded. From The Beatles ‘White Album’, David Bowie’s ‘Ziggy Stardust’, George Harrison’s ‘All Things Must Pass’ to Lou Reed’s ‘Transformer’. He has an excellent book recalling his time working with these artists and much more – ‘Abbey Road to Ziggy Stardust‘.
In a complete transcription of his podcast interview, Ken speaks to Jason Barnard about his time working with some of the most important artists of the 20th century:
Tony Klinger’s 50 year career has straddled the world of film and music, highlighting the symbiotic relationship between the two art forms. Of particular note is his work on Deep Purple and Roger Glover’s ‘Butterfly Ball’ and The Who’s ‘The Kids Are Alright’.
Speaking to Jason Barnard, Tony vividly recalls his time working across both industries: