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New Box Set Explores The “Love, Poetry and Revolution” of ’60s British Psychedelia

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Love, Poetry and Revolution

It’s only appropriate that “a journey through the British psychedelic and underground scenes” would remain one of the best-kept secrets of late 2013.  Love, Poetry and Revolution is the name of the recent box set from Grapefruit, the Cherry Red Group’s dedicated U.K. psych imprint.  (Grapefruit is also responsible for the new John’s Children anthology featuring Marc Bolan.)  Over nearly four hours, this  3-CD set surveys the fertile, creative period in the U.K. musical underground between 1966 and 1972 in which various styles were all blossoming: psychedelic rock and pop, progressive rock, acid folk, even psychedelic blues.

In his introductory note, compiler David Wells notes that “psychedelia and the underground was always a broad church, a house of many windows that sought to incorporate poetry, jazz, pop, folk, rock and many other aspects of the arts.”  And so Love, Poetry and Revolution touches on all of those sounds.  The box draws on bands both well-known (The Spencer Davis Group, The Crazy World of Arthur Brown, Hawkwind) and all but unknown (Sun Dragon, Neon Pearl, Crocheted Doughnut Ring) over the course of its 65 trippy tracks which are arranged in chronological order.  Best of all, each and every track is accompanied by an individual note in the 36-page booklet delineating the original release information as well as details on the artist’s background.

A number of familiar names pop up here, sometimes on unexpected tracks.  The Bee Gees – Barry, Robin and Maurice Gibb – penned the whimsical “Mrs. Gillespie’s Refrigerator,” recorded in 1967 by the band Sands on (Bee Gees manager) Robert Stigwood’s Reaction label.  Maurice Gibb shows up, incognito, on the fabled Beatles sound-alike single “Have You Heard the Word,” credited to The Fut.  The 1970 track was the work of Gibb, his brother-in-law (and Lulu’s brother) Billy Lawrie, and the Australian duo Tin Tin.  What happened to Sands?  The band’s Rob Freeman and Ian McLintock regrouped as the groovy duo Sun Dragon, and their 1968 single “Peacock Dress,” heard here, found them backed by the core of Deep Purple: Jon Lord, Ritchie Blackmore and Ian Paice!  The Spencer Davis Group is heard on a couple of post-Steve and Muff Winwood tracks (“Mr. Second Class,” “Morning Sun”), while offshoot Hardin-York (featuring former Group members Eddie Hardin and Pete York) is represented with the 1969 Bell single “Tomorrow Today.”

If you don’t know the name of Fat Mattress, you likely do know the band’s star member, Jimi Hendrix Experience Noel Redding.  Fat Mattress was a result of Redding’s desire to be heard as both a songwriter and a guitarist, and the band also featured Neil Landon of The Flower Pot Men and Jim Leverton, a bassist who had performed with Cat Stevens and the Walker Brothers.  The group was short-lived, but the box presents their 1969 single B-side “Iridescent Butterfly.”  Another famous name here is that of Greg Lake.  Before he hooked up with Emerson and Palmer, Lake paid his dues in groups like The Shame and Shy Limbs, both of which are heard here – The Shame with the Janis Ian cover “Don’t Go ‘Way Little Girl” (originally “Too Old to Go ‘Way Little Girl”) and the latter with single B-side “Love.”  Trivia: the guitarist on “Love” was none other than Lake’s soon-to-be King Crimson bandmate, Robert Fripp!

After the jump: which tracks are making their first appearance anywhere here?  Plus: the full track listing with discography, and order links!

More than twenty previously unissued recordings make their debut on Love, Poetry and Revolution.  These include songs from Tintern Abbey, Blossom Toes, The Picadilly [sic] Line, The Mike Stuart Span, Neon Pearl, One in a Million, Jade Hexagram, The Mirage, West Coast Consortium, Jason’s Crest, The Flies, Please, The Liverpool Scene, Serendipity, Second Hand, Infinity, Mic Read, Respect, Czar, Complex, T2, and Hawkwind Zoo.  “Hurry On Sundown,” from the latter group, was recorded in late 1969, just months before the August 1970 release of their self-titled debut as Hawkwind.  The box set presents a never-before-released extended demo of the song which was also featured on the LP and as a single.

Love, Poetry and Revolution also makes a fine complement to another recent Cherry Red title, RPM’s Looking Good: 75 Femme Mod Soul Nuggets.  It’s housed in a similar, sturdy small box containing three CDs in individual sleeves and a thick booklet, in this case 36 full-color pages.  The compilation has been curated by David Wells and nicely designed by Andy Morten; Simon Murphy has remastered all tracks.  This eclectic, kaleidoscopic trip through psych-rock’s back pages is available now for order at the links below!

Various Artists, Love, Poetry and Revolution: A Journey Through the British Psychedelic and Underground Scenes 1966-72 (Grapefruit CRSEGBOX 025, 2013) (Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.)

CD 1

  1. Pretty Colours – Deep Feeling (*)
  2. Find the Hidden Door – The Misunderstood (*)
  3. Am I Glad to See You – The In Crowd (*)
  4. Day and Night – The Drag Set (Go AJ 11405, 1967)
  5. A Strange Light from the East – Tuesday’s Children (King KG 1051, 1967)
  6. The Wedding of Ramona Blair – The Mirage (Philips BF 1571, 1967)
  7. Tread Softly for the Sleepers – The Hi-Fis (German Star Club 148 578, 1967)
  8. Mr. Second Class – The Spencer Davis Group (United Artists UP 1203, 1967)
  9. Busy Bee (Demo Version) – Tintern Abbey (*)
  10. I’ll Be Late for Tea (Demo Version) – Blossom Toes (*)
  11. Devil’s Grip – The Crazy World of Arthur Brown (Track 604 008, 1967)
  12. Mrs. Gillespie’s Refrigerator – Sands (Reaction 591 017, 1967)
  13. Don’t Go ‘Way Little Girl – The Shame (MGM 1349, 1967)
  14. Rosemary’s Bluebell Day – The Picadilly [sic] Line (*)
  15. Two Little Ladies (Azalea and Rhododendron) – Crocheted Doughnut Ring (Polydor 52604, 1967)
  16. Second Production – The Mike Stuart Span (*)
  17. Cheadle Heath Delusions – Felius Andromeda (Decca F 12694, 1967)
  18. Just Another Day – Neon Pearl (*)
  19. Jagged Time Lapse – John’s Children (Track 604 010, 1967)
  20. Man in Yellow – One in a Million (*)
  21. Crushed Purple – Jade Hexagram (*)
  22. I Am Nearly There – Denis Couldry and the Next Collection (Decca F 12734, 1968)
  23. Story Book – The Alan Bown! (MGM 1387, 1968)
  24. Naughty Boy – Simon’s Secrets (CBS 3406, 1968)
  25. Phoebe’s Flower Shop – The Cortinas (Polydor 56255, 1968)
  26. Child of the Sky – The Deviants (Underground Imp LP IMP 1, 1968)

CD 2

  1. Morning Sun – The Spencer Davis Group (United Artists LP SULP 1192, 1968)
  2. Ebeneezer [sic] Beaver – The Mirage (*)
  3. Amanda Jane – West Coast Consortium (*)
  4. Teagarden Lane – Jason Crest (*)
  5. Winter Afternoon – The Flies (*)
  6. You’ve Got to Hold On – The Deviants (Stable ST 5601, 1968)
  7. Nightmare – The Crazy World of Arthur Brown (Track 604 026, 1168)
  8. Peacock Dress – Sun Dragon (MGM LP CS 8090, 1968)
  9. Jabberwocky – Peter Howell and John Ferdinando (SNP LP 11/12, 1969)
  10. Bits of Your Life, Bits of My Life – Forever Amber (Advance LP M ADV 00101, 1969)
  11. Strange Ways – Please (*)
  12. We’ll All Be Spacemen Before We Die – The Liverpool Scene (*)
  13. Castles (Full-Length Version) – Serendipity (*)
  14. The Makers – The Sorrows (Italian Miura LP MIU 10011, 1969)
  15. A Fairy Tale (Demo Version) – Second Hand (*)
  16. Oh Strange Man – Information (Beacon BEA 121, 1969)
  17. Love – Shy Limbs (CBS 4190, 1969)
  18. Tomorrow Today – Hardin-York (Bell BLL 1064, 1969)
  19. Venetian Glass – Infinity (*)
  20. What the Dickens – Mic Read (*)
  21. Santa Lucia – Respect (*)
  22. Iridescent Butterfly – Fat Mattress (Polydor 56352, 1969)

CD 3

  1. Magic Potion – The Open Mind (Philips BF 1805, 1969)
  2. Red Lady – Phil Cordell (Warner Bros. WB 8001, 1969)
  3. Whitchi Tai Tu – Taiconderoga (Beacon BEA 143, 1969)
  4. Hurry On Sundown (Demo Version) – Hawkwind Zoo (*)
  5. Lament for the Earth – Principal Edwards Magic Theatre (Dandelion S 4405, 1969)
  6. Ritual Fire Dance – Czar (*)
  7. Have You Heard the Word – The Fut (Beacon BEA 160, 1970)
  8. Fillin’ a Gap – Paper Bubble (Deram LP SML 1059, 1970)
  9. Butterfly – The Fox (Fontana LP 6309 007, 1970)
  10. Images Blue (Demo Version) – Complex (*)
  11. Rainchild – Octopus (Penny Farthing LP PELS 508, 1971)
  12. Careful Sam – T 2 (*)
  13. Laughing ‘Til Tomorrow – Simon Finn (Mushroom LP 100 MR 2, 1971)
  14. Creation – Beau (Dandelion LP DAN 8006,1971)
  15. End of the Seasons – Bill Nelson (Smile LP LAF 2182, 1971)
  16. The Witch – Mark Fry (Italian ZSLT LP 70006, 1972)
  17. Evil Island Home – Kevin Coyne (Dandelion LP 2310 228, 1972)

All tracks originally released on singles unless otherwise indicated.

(*) denotes previously unreleased track

Written by Joe Marchese

January 27, 2014 at 09:46

Posted in Box Sets, Compilations, News

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