Classic Singles #50: The Painted Faces – Anxious Color / Things We See (1967)

“Color – streaming from my mind, Color – no ordinary kind…”

PF_labelThe Painted Faces were from Fort Myers, Florida and had previously been known as The Fifth Dimension. When they found out there was another group with that name they took inpiration from William Golding’s novel Lord of the Flies and its chapter titled ‘Painted Faces and Long Hair’.

‘Anxious Color’ appeared in June 1967. It was the band’s second single (and their first for Manhattan Records) and the title of the a-side alone was enough to suggest that The Painted Faces were moving into acid punk territory. The music does not disappoint.

Plaintive guitar chords introduce the song but are quickly replaced by an urgent, fast moving bass-line and Eastern-influenced lead guitar that provide the perfect accompaniment to the trippy lyrics. There is is no instrumental break and the repeated verses and choruses seem to build in tension until the release of the call and response outro. A classic in anyone’s book I would suggest!

‘Anxious Color’

‘Things We See’ had already appeared as the a-side of the group’s debut single from April 1967 on the Qualicon label. It is an understated affair with jangling guitar arpeggios on the verse and a breezy, catchy chorus.

‘Things We See’

The 45 was a big local hit in Florida. The band frequently travelled to New York and were popular in Greenwich Village at venues such as Café Wha?. They even ventured as far afield as residencies at The Jet Set club in Puerto Rico and a bar called A Place in the Sun on St. Thomas in the Virgin Islands.

While in the Big Apple they recorded an album for Sidewalk of cover versions of hits of the day like ‘Incense and Peppermints’, ‘Brown-Eyed Girl’, and ‘The Letter’. This was never released.

The band continued until summer 1968 when drummer Harry Bragg was drafted to Vietnam.

Reissues: Distortions gathered together the group’s singles and unreleased material on their Anxious Color retrospective. The a-side is also on Acid Dreams Testament and Garagelands Volume 2; ‘Things We See’ on the CD A Journey to Tyme Volumes 1 and 2.

  • Things We See / I Want You (Qualicon, 1967)
  • Anxious Color / Things We See (Manhattan, 1967)
  • I Think I’m Going Mad / I Lost You in My Mind (Manhattan, 1967)
  • Don’t Say She’s Gone / In the Heat of the Night (Manhattan, 1967)

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