Children of the Mushroom were from Thousand Oaks, California and were a popular live attraction across Ventura and Los Angeles Counties. Starting out as The Captives in 1965, in March 1967 they moved with the times and switched to the more hip name, though according to the band the meaning went beyond simple drug connotations, signifying also the looming nuclear mushroom clouds of the Cold War era.
The group were influenced by The Doors and Iron Butterfly – playing the full album version of ‘Light My Fire’ live and even covering the Butterfly’s ‘You Can’t Win’ before it was released on their debut Heavy long player, having seen them play the song live at the Valley Music Center.
The 45 was recorded at Nashville West, on the the corner of Western Blvd. in Hollywood, a studio that had also been used by Iron Butterfly.
This for me is one of the all-time great double siders from the 60s. ‘August Mademoiselle’ is the more up-tempo number but with a wistful quality to the melody. It also has a very tasteful fuzz guitar solo. The Vox organ flourishes of young keyboard virtuoso Bob Holland, who had joined the band in late 1966, also add to the distinctive sound on both sides of the 45.
‘You Can’t Erase a Mirror’ is just maybe the best psychedelic ballad of them all, with a melancholy vibe that cuts to the very heart of your soul!
The 45 was successful in Southern California and as far afield as Texas but there were no further releases, though other recordings of the band do exist including The Mushroom Theme, their psychedelic rendition of Scheherazade (these can be found on the band-produced Anthology DVD).
At the end of the 60s, and after a few personnel changes, the band morphed into Lady and continued performing live until the mid 70s.
Reissues: Both sides of the single are to be found in excellent sound quality on Cicadelic’s Human Expression and Other Psychedelic Groups compilation. Failing that they are both on the less hi-fidelity Growing Slowly Insane. ‘August Mademoiselle’ is also on Pebbles Volume 9, and ‘You Can’t Erase a Mirror‘ on The Magic Cube. (Or you could snap up the original copy currently on eBay for 899 euros.)