The Autumn winds are carrying more than their fair share of change lately, meaning it’s only fair that you offer said wind some help in carrying it’s heavy shopping. Foremost among these advances is the first of Melanie Xulu’s fortnightly radio shows which you really ought to hear. It’s an excellent listen full of truly visionary reverberations. I listened in the dead of night in the dark and could’ve sworn I levitated several inches, bonking my nose blissfully off the ceiling. I await your feedback before I check with my doctor whether these are typical side effects for exposure to such high levels of beautiful sound. Indeed, MOOF is fast becoming a multimedia conglomerate approaching Orwellian standards. Wait thirty years and you’ll see a line of riot police armed with flowers working for Big Brother MOOF, with a protester meekly placing a gun into one of their stamens. Room 101 will contain personalised versions of heaven rather than hell. Utopia and dystopia are closer related than you’d think…
I also hope you’ve had the chance to tune into ‘Moonlight Ride’, perhaps my own Room 101 of nice things. If not, I’m glad I myself have it to listen to. The first (number two is in the pipeline) kicked off with ‘Road To Cairo’ by Julie Driscoll and the Brian Auger Trinity, one of my favourite records of late. Such a shame that this venerable troupe is largely solely known for the fantastic ‘This Wheel’s On Fire’ because their canon, including such gems as ‘Indian Ropeman’ and ‘Save Me’, is jazzy mod-psych at its very best. It’s impossible to listen to the Brian Auger Trinity and not imagine yourself strolling down King’s Road in a groovy Pathé newsreel. ‘Road To Cairo’, it should be noted, is written by the ever so talented David Ackles, a singer songwriter very much in the Leonard Cohen vein who is very much worth your time with such gems as ‘Down River’. Live vicariously through his songs and you’ll easily persuade yourself you’re in the warmth of the sun rather than wallowing in the dismal September rains.
On the album front, Neon Pearl’s 1967 album, unreleased at the time of its recording, are now readily available. Featuring the melancholic vocals of the venerable Peter Dunton, later a member of the Flies (with whom he cut the beautiful ‘Winter Afternoon’, a fantastic little song by all accounts) and Please. The contents drift from the acoustically led ‘Just Another Day’ to ‘Dream Scream’, a hard edged riffy song that evokes a British Red Krayola. An excellent period piece well worth seeking out which reveals a more experimental edge to the first wave of the U.K. psychedelic boom.
Also worth mentioning is the debut album of Pearls Before Swine, ‘One Nation Underground‘. This is a wonderful patchouli scented delicacy with lead vocals sounding like the free lovechild of Country Joe McDonald and Bob Dylan. The obscene morse code chorus on ‘Oh Dear Mrs Morse’ is sure to make any merchant sailor neighbour’s blush if you play your copy loud enough. Playful keyboard psych (‘Playmate’) mixes well with Donovan-esque folk (‘Ballad of an Amber Lady’). I envy anyone yet to uncover this pearl.
Another album which is no rarity to longtime heads but is nonetheless new to myself is ‘Gris Gris‘ by Dr John, The Night Tripper. Befitting of the strange cover, this is an at times unsettling but consistently interesting blend of New Orleans R&B and psychedelia. When it works, as on ‘Mama Roux’ and ‘I Walk On Guilded Splinters’, it’s absolutely unlike anything you’ll have ever heard. ‘Croker Courtbullion’ is one of the most unnerving compositions this side of ‘Revolution 9’. The Facebook page for the Middle Earth Club and Record Label remains a goldmine for discovering new psych sounds. I’d long neglected the Lemon Pipers as too bubblegum, yet, having been informed that they lent part of the soundtrack to the legendary London club’s typical playlist, I was very surprised by what I found. The ten minute long ‘Through With You’ has provoked a complete reassessment in my opinion of this group with its surprisingly competent take on heavy acid rock.
Finally, I recently discovered an upcoming sequel of sorts to Cherry Red’s ‘Let’s All Go Down And Blow Our Minds – The British Psychedelic Sounds of 1967‘. As you could probably imagine, I’m very excited for this. ‘Looking At The Pictures In The Sky- The British Psychedelic Sounds of 1968‘ is released next month and features essential rarities courtesy of Rameses & Selket, Boeing Duveen & The Beautiful Soup and the Mike Stuart Span, among others. Hopefully this compost will help many flower children grow.
Once more, thank you very much for reading. ‘Moonlight Ride II’ is coming soon and will feature the likes of the Who, Roger McGough and Elizabeth. If you’re inclined to have yourself a looksy, be sure to check out the other mixes courtesy of Melanie Xulu and Roberto Pastore. A splendid time is guaranteed for all (if only I could remember who coined that phrase….)
There is always room in the Curiosity Shoppe for more love. Be sure to get in touch with me and open my eyes to your favourite sounds,
Your friend Jack
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