Classic Singles #99: Boeing Duveen and the Beautiful Soup – Jabberwock / Which Dreamed It (1968)

Boeing-pic sleeveThis prime slice of Carnaby Street-style UK psychedelia appeared on the Parlophone label in May 1968. The a-side brilliantly sets Lewis Carroll’s famous nonsense poem ‘Jabberwocky’ from Through The Looking Glass, the follow-up to Alice’s Adventures In Wonderland, with a musical backdrop full of strange sound effects and bursts of sitar, keyboards, and fuzzy guitar.

Flip-side ‘Which Dreamed It’ continues in similar fashion, this time taking the words from the poem that concludes Through The Looking Glass, and matching them with a more laid-back sitar, flute and tabla-driven backing that has a raga-like feel to it.

Promotional copies of the single came in the art sleeve pictured, which reproduces the original illustration of the Jabberwock by John Tenniel. The 45 was the brainchild of Sam Hutt, a qualified doctor who was one of the signatories to the pro-marijuana advert paid for by Paul McCartney that appeared in The Times in July 1967. Hutt played guitar and had been learning the sitar but couldn’t write lyrics, hence the co-opting of Carroll’s poems – an inspired choice as it turned out.

Sam HuttIn 1969 Hutt joined a general practice aimed at young people in London’s Ladbroke Grove founded by Dr. Ian Dunbar, which among other things used tincture of cannabis (then legal to prescribe) instead of methadone to help recovering heroin addicts.

He later ran (by his own admission) a not-too-successful private practice from a flat on Exhibition Road that he shared with Roger Chapman from the group Family and Jenny Fabian, author of Groupie. Fabian recalled that “I did find it a bit weird…trying to lie around stoned listening to the sounds of vaginal inspections going on behind the curtain up the other end of the sitting room”!

Hutt moved on to become a so-called “rock and roll doctor” to bands such as The Who, Rolling Stones, and Grateful Dead. Indeed, he already had form in this area as the picture on the right shows – this was taken on Formentera in the summer of 1967, when Hutt accompanied the Pink Floyd on holiday to keep an eye on an increasingly erratic Syd Barrett.

It was a fateful meeting with Gram Parsons, who had been sent to see Hutt by Keith Richards, that led to the good doctor’s discovery of country music, and he later adopted the alter-ego of Hank Wangford, who continues to record and perform live to this day.

‘Jabberwock’

‘Which Dreamed It’

Reissues: ‘Jabberwock’ is on Rubble Volume 14 and ‘Which Dreamed It’ on The Perfumed Garden Volume 3 or Rubble Volume 20 – or you can find both sides on the Rubble box-set. There is also a vinyl reissue of the single on the Captain High label, though this doesn’t have the picture sleeve.

 

Classic Singles #98: The Aquarian Age – 10,000 Words in a Cardboard Box / Good Wizard Meets Naughty Wizard (1968)

AquarianAgeThis 45 appeared on the Parlophone label in May 1968 and was recorded by two members of the recently defunct band Tomorrow. Drummer John ‘Twink’ Alder and bassist John ‘Junior’ Wood were joined on the single by Clem Cattini on drums and Nicky Hopkins on piano. The 45 was arranged and produced by Mark Wirtz (the mastermind behind the uncompleted A Teenage Opera project, which only yielded a couple of singles at the time), who had worked with Tomorrow on their self-titled album released in February 1968, an essential artifact in any collection of UK psychedelia.

‘10,000 Words In a Cardboard Box’ is a perfect slice of psychedelic pop, with prominent orchestration that adds to the impact of the song. It doesn’t always have to be about fuzz guitars!

‘10,000 Words In a Cardboard Box’

‘Good Wizard Meets Naughty Wizard’ combines an Eastern influenced, quite enjoyable Mark Wirtz backing track with the whimsical story of the two wizards. This will not be to most people’s taste (it probably wasn’t at the time either) and I don’t expect you to listen to the end if it all gets too much!

‘Good Wizard Meets Naughty Wizard’

Later in 1968, Twink joined The Pretty Things in time for their seminal S.F. Sorrow album, a masterwork of the highest order that all should know, and appeared with the rest of the band in British comedian Norman Wisdom’s film What’s Good For The Goose (the group recorded several numbers for the film that appeared on the last of their releases on the De Wolfe sound library label under the alias The Electric Banana, Even More Electric Banana in 1969).

Twink had another go at the a-side for his Think Pink album in 1970, recorded with ex-Tyrannosaurus Rex man Steve ‘Peregrine’ Took and members of The Deviants. This is an excellent slowed down, heavy psychedelic version with treated vocals and stinging guitar. (And Wirtz also included a version, re-titled ‘Love and Occasional Rain’, on his own Come Back and Shake Me LP from 1969.)

The collaboration with The Deviants eventually lead to the formation of The Pink Fairies, though Twink left the group in mid-1971 following the band’s Never Never Land debut, and after that was only occasionally in the line-up on tours. More infamously, in 1972 he formed the band Stars with Syd Barrett but this collaboration lasted only half a gig before Barrett wandered off the stage.

Reissues: ‘10,000 Words in a Cardboard Box’ is on Rubble Volume 3 (or the CD box-set The Rubble Collection Volumes 1-10), Psychedelia at Abbey Road, and both sides are included as bonus tracks on the EMI CD issue of the Tomorrow album.