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.

 

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Classic Singles #61: The Chateaux – Reference Man Part 1 / Reference Man Part 2 (1968)

Chateaux_labelTime for something a little more psychedelic I think. The Chateaux were from Vermillion, South Dakota and their single appeared on the Eye label in January 1968. They had previously been known as The Shattoes, with one single to their credit on Studio City in 1965, ‘Surf Fever / Do You Love Me’.

‘Reference Man Part 1’ starts as it means to go along with heavy fuzz guitar. This one has a thumping beat and strong, confident vocals. Tape flanging is used to great effect on both the guitar breaks and the slower middle section, which in an embarrassment of riches also has some neat wah-wah guitar. And as has been pointed out, when they ask the Reference Man to guide them as “you say you have a way to feel the sky”, they probably aren’t talking about the local librarian!

‘Reference Man Part 1’

The first half of ‘Part 2’ consists of a different version of ‘Reference Man’ with plenty of space for some sweet guitar work. After an up tempo start, it soon settles into a slowed down, more reflective reading of the song. Just when things seem to be grinding to a halt, the familiar strains of the a-side kick in and a full reprise of that ensues. I don’t know if the whole of ‘Part 2’ was one long monolithic take which they edited down for the a-side or whether they added this to the end of the slower version to give the choice between the “short single” and a more sprawling flip that might appeal to the freaks.

‘Reference Man Part 2’

An earlier version of ‘Reference Man’ also exists. This dates from 1967 and a trip the band made to take part in a Battle of the Bands competition in Milford, Iowa organised by IGL Records. While they were there they booked into the label’s recording studio and cut this and another track titled ‘Caught Up In The Blues’, the latter being included on IGL’s Roof Garden Jamboree album issued the same year (the early ‘Reference Man’ can now be heard on Arf Arf’s The IGL Rock Story Part 2).

Reissues: ‘Part 1’ is on 30 Seconds Before The Calico Wall. The flip hasn’t been commercially reissued but there were a series of compilations called U-Spaces: Psychedelic Archaeology put together by a group of music fans and ‘Part 2’ is on Volume 4.

Classic Singles #55: The Buddhas – Lost Innocence / My Dream (1967)

Buddhas_label‘Lost Innocence’ was first compiled way back in 1979 on Pebbles Volume 2. It was the work of an outfit from Bakersfield, California and was the a-side of their lone single released on the Shell-Dee label in September 1967. It is no wonder that the song was reissued so early as it is a fantastic high-energy mover with strong vocals and harmonies, incisive guitar work, and a ripping break (that sounds to my ears anyway like a twin guitar duel).

‘My Dream’ takes things down a notch tempo-wise and moves into more psychedelic, folk-rock territory – very catchy and with another absolutely top-notch guitar break and more great work from the vocalist. A superb double-sider that would set you back in excess of $400 these days.

‘Lost Innocence’

‘My Dream’

Reissues: Apart from Pebbles Volume 2, ‘Lost Innocence’ is also on the CD Pebbles Volume 9: Southern California Part 2; the flip is on Yesterday’s Dawn.

One Side Wonders #12: The Dave Heenan Set – Alice In Wonderland (1967)

DHS_labelLewis Carroll’s 1865 children’s classic Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland was of course a fertile source of inspiration for the 60s psychedelic generation, and here is a nice example from The Dave Heenan Set from Long Island, New York released on Epic in 1967. Swirling early Floyd style keyboards and a neat backwards guitar solo help to create a suitably trippy atmosphere for the a-side of their single.

Heehan himself was an ex-pat from Newcastle, England. He left the band after this 45 and they changed name to The Glitterhouse and released an album Color Blind and a brace of singles in 1968 on Dynovoice. They also provided music for that kitsch gem of 60s science fiction movies Barbarella.

‘Alice In Wonderland’

Missing side: ‘So Many Roads’

Reissues: you can track ‘Alice In Wonderland’ down on The Glitterhouse: Almost Complete Recordings 1966 to 1974, a release put out by their keyboard player Moogy Klingman.

UPDATE (26th October 2013): I’ve added the missing side ‘So Many Roads’ below. It is a catchy pop rocker with neat guitar harmonics during the quieter sections and pleasing use of harpsichord on the verse and chorus. (Apologies for the surface noise at the beginning of the record; sound quality improves quite quickly though).

‘So Many Roads’

Classic Singles #52: The Brain Train – Black Roses / Me (1967)

braintrain_labelThe Brain Train were based in Los Angeles, California and were discovered by Bud Mathis, a Sunset Strip-based song writer and music publisher who had previously been a professional boxer, while they were still known as The Garnerfield Sanitarium (a name given to them by Alan Brackett, bassist of The Peanut Butter Conspiracy, whose singer Sandi Peanut Butter was married to Brain Train guitarist Robbie Robison).

braintrain_bandIn late 1966 or early 1967, having changed name, the band recorded the tracks that eventually appeared on their lone single at Electro Vox Studios in Hollywood. These songs were used to secure the group a deal with Elektra Records, where producer Paul Rothchild became their new manager in place of Mathis and they morphed into Clear Light, recording two singles and an excellent psychedelic album for the label.

The debut Clear Light 45, which included a re-recording of ‘Black Roses’, appeared in September 1967. Bud Mathis had retained the rights to the Brain Train recordings and as these weren’t going to be used by Elektra he released them on the Titan label a month after the Clear Light single.

It is no surprise that ‘Black Roses’ is less polished than the Clear Light version, though the vocals and harmonies are just as sweet, and it does have the advantage of rave-up sections that are much more feral and in your face than on the later recording.

‘Me’ opens and closes with a reverbed guitar effect that sounds like a dripping tap and spooky strummed chords. In between pulsating psychedelic punk alternates with monk-like chanting and furious lysergic guitar playing. This one is guaranteed to fry your synapses!

As The Brain Train, the group played at venues such as The Sea Witch, The Hullabaloo, and Pandora’s Box. As you can see from the picture above (and no doubt hear from the pounding, wall of sound drumming on the single), their line-up included two drummers, an unusual arrangement that was carried on when they became Clear Light.

Reissues: Both sides can be found on Scarey Business and Take The Brain Train To The Third Eye: Bud Mathis’ Sunset Trip.

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.

Discography
  • 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)

Classic Singles #49: The Beautiful Daze – City Jungle Part 1 / City Jungle Part 2 (1968)

BeautifulDaze_labelThis single appeared on no less than three different labels in 1968: RPR, Spread City, and Alpha (on the last the band were credited as More Beautiful Daze). As RPR was a Hollywood label it is assumed that The Beautiful Daze were from Los Angeles, California (perhaps by way of the Pacific Northwest, though that might be because co-writer J. Greek is thought to have been John Greek, guitarist in an early line-up of Tacoma, Washington’s Wailers).

Of course, the 45 could be the work of a studio group, but tantalisingly there is a Beautiful Daze listed as support for The Santana Blues Band (as they were then known) when they played The Matrix Club in San Francisco on 18 to 20 January 1968, certainly not a long trek for an L.A. band to make.

‘City Jungle’ is in fact one long fuzzadelic rave-up edited into two parts for the single. ‘Part 1’ is the vocal side, with a melody that shows a strong pop sensibility, albeit accompanied by full-on fuzz and punctuated by frenzied raga-like breaks.

‘City Jungle Part 1’

‘Part 2’ is the instrumental side, and as the track fades in we are in the middle of a wigged out section that breaks down into feedback before it develops into a mind frying twin-guitar assault on the senses that eventually ends with what sounds like an imitation of police sirens. The City Jungle indeed. Joyous!

‘City Jungle Part 2’

Reissues: You can find both sides on High All the Time Volume 1 or Sixties Archives Volume 8.