Monday, December 22, 2008

V.A. - The Golden Road - The Electric Coffee House Vol. 2 (2008)

A little while back, the Psychic Circle label took a journey back to the time when American folk music discovered electric rock and pop. The result was The Electric Coffee House compilation. That turned out to be one of the label's most successful albums, so consequently they've been having another delve into that hallowed region of chiming guitars, righteous harmony and garage joy. Once again, Psychic Circle is delighted to present an intriguing selection of obscurities: some primitive, some sophisticated, some psychedelic, some full of pop sensibility, but all of it with an essential, omnipresent undercurrent of folk tradition, albeit filtered through amplifiers and pick-ups, but there nonetheless. You'll hear from Ian Whitcomb's kid brother, Chuck Berry's favorite backing band, the man who wrote "Mr. Bojangles," a future member of Poco, a band featuring the young Bruce Cockburn, and a whole lot more besides. Come travel The Golden Road, let your mind wander free and let your freak flag fly. Compiled by legendary psych musician and Psychic Circle label-head, Nick Saloman (The Bevis Frond).

Track Listing

1. Let's Take a Walk in the Woods - Welch
2. You Gotta Stop - Ray
3. Hey Girl - Rice
4. Smiling - Steirling
5. Right on Time - Cotton
6. It's Been a Long Time - Shuput
7. The Way She Smiles - Romano
8. Look at Me - Allison
9. Clouds - Vosburg
10. Land of Make Believe - Flannery
11. Bird Without Wings - Cockburn
12. In & Out - Dalton
13. Lost Sea Shanty - Walker
14. I'll Be There - Keske
15. Make Me Over Again - Gorky
16. Where Are You - Roof
17. Fair One - Orvis
18. What's It All About - Cisco
19. Let's Get Together - Powers
20. Parade of Uncertainty - Pacheco

The Golden Road: The Electric Coffee House, Vol. 2: Further Travels into Unexplored Rock Te

V.A. - I Gotta Be Me - 20 Garage Missiles From The USA - Who Needs Tomorrow Vol. 2 (2008)

Organ drenched, fuzzy garage genius from the 60s US scene -- one of the best comps yet from Psychic Circle!!! I Got To Be Me is full of buzzing, r&b fueled garage rock from all over the mid-to-late 60s US -- most tunes really dripping with the trippy organ washes, and searing in the electric guitar department -- but it's no mere proto-punk batch of fiery singles. The musicianship and vocals are of top shelf talent, despite the singles being by-and-large obscure -- cut for bigger labels like Atco, United Artists, Roulette, Phillips and Capitol as well as a number of lesser knowns companies and imprints. Includes in killer take on the Howlin' Wolf standard "Smokestack Lightning" by Group Axis, "I Gotta Be Me" by Kevin Coughlin, "Good Good Lovin" by Les Hou-Lops, "HE's Not Your Friend" by Dee Jay & The Runaways, "Big Mama" by Gobby Simms & The Simers, "Turn Around" by Blue Wood, "Inside Out" by The In Crowd, "Fool That I Am" by Bobby Saint Clair, "Haunted By Your Love" by The Outsiders, "Doubt" by Hex and more. 20 tracks in all. (Dusty Groove)

Track Listing

1. Smokestack Lightning - Howlin' Wolf
2. I Gotta Be Me - Hirth
3. Good Good Lovin' - Brown
4. He's Not Your Friend - Lee
5. It's Only a Dream - Eden
6. Big Mama - Simms
7. Like My Girl - Ford
8. Without You - Carbone
9. Turn Around - Geiger
10. I'm a Man - McDaniel, Elias
11. Southbound Freeway - Somberg
12. Get It On/Wilde Childe Freakout - Morrow
13. Inside Out - Rambo
14. Should We or Shouldn't We - Chalfant
15. Hey You, Hey Me - Cartey
16. You Do Me Wrong - Hachey
17. Fool That I Am - Kalina
18. Haunted by Your Love - King
19. Salt 'N' Pepper - Colonna
20. Doubt - Hex

I Gotta Be Me: 20 Garage Missiles from the USA

V.A. - Cosmarama - Blow Your Cool Vol. 2 (2008)

Heavy thunder and lumbering psyche jams from the Psychic Circle label -- Volume 2 in the Blow Your Cool series -- heavy atmosphere and psychedelia from the UK & European scenes of the late 60s & early 70s! The tunes on Cosmarama are on the heavier side without getting weighed down in hard rock cliches, and bring about the thicker atmosphere in cathartic fashion -- with a few trippier, organ and lyrics led tunes to balance it out the fuzziness and thumping tendencies. Titles include "Cosmarama" by Distant Jim, "In Your Room" by Carriage Company, "All I Need" by Kingdom, "In Your Life" by The Tower, "Daybreak" by Back Street Band, "Old Songs New Songs" by Big Wheel, "I'll Try" by Electric Food, "Free" by The Petards, "Hod Rod Queen" by Castle Farm, 'Give Me Back" by Richard St Clair & Forum and more. 20 tracks in all. (Dusty Groove)

Track Listing

1. Cosmarama - Austin
2. In Your Room - Kent
3. All I Need - Edwards
4. In Your Life - DeGroot
5. Daybreak - Bellis
6. Old Songs New Songs - Chapman
7. Shotgun Express - Englebert
8. Widow Woman - Jones
9. Devil Woman - Weeda
10. Get off My Life Woman - Covay
11. Feline Woman - Pussy Wagon
12. Man in Back - Vion
13. I'll Try - Hesslein
14. Kings of Galaxy - Borgers
15. Free - King
16. Hot Rod Queen - Benike
17. Half Past Dead - Bekky
18. Love Song - Scott
19. Earth - Chips
20. Give Me Back - St. Clair

Cosmarama: Blow Your Cool, Vol. 2

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

V.A. - Holy Fuzz (1967 - 1975)

In the late 1960's, two of the era's major influences, rock music and a revival of Christianity by our nation’s youth, were both attracting new converts by the was inevitable that these two huge followings; would converge with a deafening roar off fuzz guitars and feedback that would be the music of this new breed of psychedelically-inspired "spreaders of the word". This album presents songs by some of the bands that were pioneers of this great new Christian psychedlic music. Several of these bands are well known to collectors of rare vinyl, while some of the others are more obscure. All the songs on this album were specifically chosen for their guitar content...some of it mellow and subtle, and some of it...mind frying heavy fuzz. All of it...Great!

Welcome to the first edition of Holy Fuzz! (


1. The Exkursions - It's Been Sent Down
2. Selha - Romans
3. The Bridge - Jesus
4. The Search Party - The News Is You
5. Pre-Agape - In The Light
6. Stonewood Cross - Majic Man
7. All Saved Freak Band - All Across The Nation
8. The Search Party - You And I
9. The Exkursions - Dry Ground
10. The Concrete Rubber Band - Christian
11. Pressed Down, Shaken Together And Running Over - Pressed Down, Shaken Together And Running Over.
12. Agape - Rejoice

Holy Fuzz

Vinegar - Vinegar (1971)

One and only album by German underground band Vinegar originally released in 1971. Musically in style of early Pink Floyd, progressive but very psychedelic, long instrumental tracks but also with female vocalist reminding of Nico. One of the lost treasures from Germany and very sought after!

Recorded on January 9th, 1971 in Studio Rottenburg, Vinegar’s self-titled album was released on LP in a limited edition of 1,000 copies! I’ve read opinions from folks describing Vinegar’s sound as rather Floydian. While this is true, it should be noted that the group sounds much more like a cross between Amon Duul II and Pink Floyd. With that being said, one can easily hear the Floyd influence in the spacey organ, drum fills, slide guitar, and occasional celestial vocals. Likewise, the Amon Düül II influence can be heard in the violin, vocals, and the guitar riffs. Overall, the two styles are combined rather nicely into a sort of progressive-garage-space rock sound. Highlights from the album include ‘Der Kaiser Auf Der Erbse’, ‘Fleisch’, And ‘Sawmill’. ‘Der Kaiser Auf Der Erbse’ begins with a violin solo which reminds me of Edgar Hoffman from Embryo. From there the track switches gears and turns into a rock track with intentionally unintelligible vocals which could be described as Faust-like. Containing a Floydian organ and drum beat, ‘Fleisch’ slowly introduces distorted guitar and bass into the mix before a celestial vocal kicks in and the track begins to take shape in the classically themed “A Saucerful of Secrets” sort of way. Finally, ‘Sawmill’ showcases the bands mixture of Duul and Floyd influence. ‘Sawmill’ starts out as a psychedelic garage rocker with female vocals (reminiscent of Renate Knaup) before taking a spacey turn and sounding like Sysyphus off of Ummagumma. From here the track revives its garage sound before fading out into part 2 which is dominated by an Amon Duul approach. Overall, the album is a satisfying first effort which, sadly, was never followed up due to their break up in late 1971.

Track List:

1. Missi Solis
2. Sawmill - Teil 1
3. Sawmill - Teil II
4. Der Kaiser Auf Der Erbse
5. Fleisch

Vinegar - Vinegar (1971)

Ash Ra Tempel - Ash Ra Tempel (1971)

Formed by ex-Tangerine Dream member Klaus Schulze, Manuel Göttsching and Hartmut Enke, Ash Ra Tempel was one of the pioneers of the progressive space-rock genre. Their debut-album seems to bee many people's favourite by the band, and I don`t blame them, as you won't get a more perfect space-atmosphere than the one you'll find here. The two tracks on the album is both VERY spacey pieces, but still very different from each other. "Amboss" opens quiet and relaxed, but soon bursts into a frenetic jam, highlighted with Gцttsching`s excellent spacy guitar playing and Schulze's energetic drumming. It`s quite facinating how such an energetic and noisy piece still can be so atmospheric and relaxing. "Traummaschine" lives up to its title, and gives a clue about what Schulze later would do on his own albums. A very quiet and mysterious piece, with floating electronics and shimmering guitar. The whole album gives you a feeling of flying through space in a pyramid and visiting planets with ancient temples. Yes, this really is SPACE music. However, if you're looking for something more controlled and electronic kind of spacey atmospheres, start with one of the first Ashra albums from the late 70's instead. (


1. Amboss
2. Traummaschine

Ash Ra Tempel

Brainticket - Cottonwoodhill (1971)

Cottonwoodhill is one of the trippiest records ever made, capturing the intensity of the peak LSD experience far more successfully than any Timothy Leary recording, and even today, when many such documents from that era can sound silly and dated, Brainticket's fascinating debut still holds hallucinogenic potency. The record has only two proper songs, "Black Sand" and "Places of Light," with a side and a half of the album taken up by the three-part "Brainticket." "Black Sand" opens the disc with a driving funk beat and powerful organ and guitar interplay, adding in vocals distorted beyond coherency. "Places of Light" begins in a slightly lighter vein as a flute leads the proceedings, a looser jazzier piece that throws in some of Dawn Muir's odd spoken word vocals. Before one realizes what has happened, the piece has faded out and there is suddenly a crashing sound, car horns, and engines starting up. "Brainticket" is a bizarre roller coaster ride through weird sound effects and electronics, an endless organ riff, and Muir's acid-rush ramblings from hushed whisper to urgent screams, as any coherency she had earlier becomes lost to mind-expanding visions. Rather than the laid-back mellow groove of some psychedelic music from this era, Cottonwoodhill has a hyper energy in the frenetic organ riff and Muir's voice, like an acid trip out of control, while at times the various sound effects take over completely.

Track List

1. Black Sand
2. Places of Light
3. Brainticket, Pt. 1
4. Brainticket, Pt. 1: Conclusion
5. Brainticket, Pt. 2


Monday, July 7, 2008

V.A. - African Scream Contest - Raw & Psychedelic Afro Sounds From Benin & Togo 70s (2008)

After releases by Zimbabwean 70s bands the Green Arrows and Hallelujah Chicken Run Band, the Analog Africa label now delves into the amazing history of music from 1970s Benin and Togo. This compilation highlights forgotten raw and psychedelic Afro sounds, and the well-researched liner notes tell fascinating stories to accompany the mind-blowing music. The essence of Analog Africa is clear; searching in dusty warehouses for forgotten music to keep the sound alive. Label owner & vinyl collector Samy Ben Redjeb arrived in Cotonou, Benin, "without any special expectations, just hoping to lay my hands on few good records--what I found in the process cannot really be described in words".

Like most modern music in French-speaking West African countries, the music of Benin and Togo was influenced by a few main musical currents: Cuban, Congolese and local traditional music, as well as Chanson Francaise. Additionally, the geographical location of Benin and Togo--sandwiched between Ghana and Nigeria--exposed Beninese and Togolese musicians to Highlife music.

The cultural and spiritual riches of traditional Beninese music had an immense impact on the sound of Benin's modern music. Benin is the birth place of Vodun (or, as it is known in the West, Voodoo), and some of the rhythms used during traditional rituals - Sakpata, Sato, Agbadja, Tchenkoumé and many others - were fused to Soul and Latin music as early as the mid-1960s and later to Funk. In the late '60s and early '70s rock and soul music started creeping into the region. In particular, the music of James Brown and Johnny Halladay became immensely popular with university students. It was then that the music scene in Benin really started to take off. That fusion is the essence of this compilation. The CD includes a well researched 44-page booklet & rare photographs. (

1. Lokonon André & Les Volcans - Mi Kple Dogbekpo
2. Picoby Band D'Abomey - Mi Ma Kpe Dji
3. Gabo Brown & Orchestre Poly-Rythmo - It's a Vanity
4. El Rego et Ses Commandos - Se Na Min
5. Napo De Mi Amor et Ses Black Devil's - Leki Santchi
6. Orchestre Poly-Rythmo - Gbeti Madjro
7. Roger Damawuzan - Wait For Me
8. Ouinsou Corneille & Black Santiagos - Vinon So Minsou
9. Orchestre Super Jheevs des Paillotes - Ye Nan Lon An
10. Tidjani Kone & Orchestre Poly-Rythmo - Djanfa Magni
11. Discafric Band - Houiou Djin Nan Zon Aklumon
12. Le Super Borgou De Parakou - Congolaise Benin Ye
13. Vincent Ahehehinnou - Ou C'est Lui Ou C'est Moi
14. Les Volcans De la Capital - Oya Ka Jojo

African Scream Contest-Raw & Psychedelic Afro Sounds

Edip Akbayram & Dostlar - Nedir Ne Degildir (1976)

A later gem from the Turkish scene of the 70s -- one that's got a bit more funky touches than earlier Anatolian rock! There's still a fair bit of Eastern styles running through the mix, but most of the rhythms are really straightforward and use heavy basslines that really set the groove nicely -- a bit psychedelic, but almost more funk-inspired at times -- jamming in a way that's progressive, but never too noodly. The blend is a great one, and makes this record one of the best for those searching out the funkier side of the Turkish scene -- and this version has 4 bonus tracks added to the original record! Titles include "Yaralarim", "Arabam Kaldi Yolda", "Adam Olmak Dile Kolay", "Birak Beni", "Dar Agaci", "Mehmet Emmi", "Haberin Varmi", "Affetmem Seni", "Sen Actin Yarayi", and "Zalim Zalim". (

1. Yaralarim
2. Arabam Kaldi Yolda
3. Adam Olmak Dile Kolay
4. Dar Agaci
5. Kolum Nerden Aldin Zinciri
6. Ayrilik
7. Birak Beni
8. Haberin Varmi
9. Mehmet Emmi
10. Kaslarin Karasina
11. Affetmem Seni
12. Sen Actin Yarayi
13. Kahpe Felek
14. Zalim Zalim

Edip Akbayram & Dostlar - Nedir Ne Degildir [Audio CD]

Saturday, April 19, 2008

The Boots - Smash! Boom! Bang! Beat In Germany - A 60's Anthology (2003)

This is part of Bear Family's Beat In Germany 1960 series.

1. Gloria
2. Dimples
3. But You'll Never Do It Babe
4. Walkin' In The Sand (Remember)
5. In The Midnight Hour
6. Watch Your Step
7. Another Tear Falls
8. Gaby
9. Jump, Back Baby
10. Mama Keep Your Big Mouth Shut
11. She's About A Mover
12. It Ain't Necessarely So
13. What You Gonna Do About It
14. Got Love If You Want It
15. Boogie Children
16. Enchanted Sea
17. Comin' Home
18. When I Loved Her
19. No Part Of It
20. It's A Man's Man's World
21. I Don't Want To Go On Without You
22. Alexander
23. Aber ich blieb kühl
24. One More Time
25. I Wish You Would
26. Spoonful (Crazy Enough For Me)
27. Wreck My Life
28. Gaby (demo-Karaoke version)

Smash...! Boom...! Bang...!

Sunday, April 13, 2008

V.A. - Realistic Patterns - Orchestrated Psychedelia From The USA (2008)

Orchestrated Psychedelia might seem to be something of a misnomer -- given the freak and fuzz usually associated with the psyche genre -- but the name is well-put here, since most of the tracks feature bigger musical backings! And although "orchestral" might be one way of describing the music, the sound isn't the sleepy sort you might associate with classical or dramatic soundtracks -- as most of the arrangements use the added instruments in ways that range from jazzy to driving to exotic, often with some wonderfully trippy touches. The set's one of our favorite so far from the Psychic Circle -- and once again, compiler Nick Saloman has come up with a whole new genre unto itself, by really shedding new light on a host of overlooked tunes. (


1. All Those Who Enter Here - Burned
2. Realistic Patterns - The Subterranean Monastery
3. Brother Lou's Love Colony
4. I Call Her Lady - Bubble
5. Her Sadness Primer - Compass
6. Popcorn Double Feature - Tim Wilde
7. I Had the Notion - The Sound Solution
8. Yesterday Girl - Mystic Astrologic Crystal Band
9. Snowqueen - The Byzantine Empire
10. Dying Daffodil Incident - A Handful
11. Jersey Thursday - Douglas Fir
12. Dominique Is Gone - Gregg Shively
13. Don'tcha Feel Like Cryin' - Nobody's Children
14. Hurry Up Sundown - The Balloon Farm
15. Lydia Purple - Dunn & McCashen
16. Small Town Commotion
17. Glory Train - Drake
18. Pedestals - The 31st Of February
19. Theme from Valley of the Dolls - Natty Bumpo
20. Mr. Tripp Wouldn't Listen - Little Boy Blues

Realistic Patterns: Orchestrated Psychedelia from the USA

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

The Moon - Without Earth & The Moon (1968 - 1969)

Listen to 'Never Mind':

The Moon was a short-lived late-'60s psych-pop "supergroup," notable for featuring ex-Beach Boy David Marks on lead guitar. 20-year old Marks had, by then, enjoyed quite a career. At 14, circa 1962, he joined the Beach Boys as a rhythm guitarist (the Wilsons were his neighbors in Hawthorne, CA) when Al Jardine left their lineup to attend dentist school. Marks appeared on the first four Beach Boys albums and several hit singles, including "Surfin' U.S.A." and "Surfer Girl." When Jardine returned, Marks, just 16, became the leader of Dave & the Marksmen, who had localized hits with "Cruisin'," "I Wanna Cry," and "I Could Make You Mine." Marks then formed the Band Without a Name, who recorded two singles for Tower and Sidewalk and were the house band at two Sunset Strip clubs, circa 1965-1966. After leaving this group, Marks formed the Moon with organ/pianist/vocalist Matthew Moore, who penned most of the band's songs. Moore's previous group, Matthew Moore Plus Four, had recorded for GNP Crescendo, and also solo material for White Whale and Capitol. The other Moon members were bassist David Jackson (ex-Hearts & Flowers, who had two LPs on Capitol in the late '60s) and drummer Larry Brown (ex-Davie Allen & the Arrows and a veteran of countless film soundtracks and those Sidewalk/Tower releases that were produced by Mike Curb). The members of the Moon literally moved into Continental Recorders in Hollywood, where they recorded two albums — 1968's Without Earth and 1969's The Moon — for Imperial. Today, Marks admits these were produced under the influence of LSD, and sound "like a cross between the Bee Gees, the Beatles, and Jimi Hendrix." The group's membership also included bassist Andy Bennett and session drummer Jim Keltner occasionally filling in.
After the Moon dissolved, Marks began working as a studio musician with Denny Brooks, Delaney & Bonnie, and others. Marks, Moore, and Jackson later worked together — alongside members of Colours and the East Side Kids — on Buzz Clifford's See Your Way Clear album. Marks also joined Mike Love's Beach Boys, but was forced to leave due to his own battle with Hepatitis C. He founded the non-profit Artists Against Hepatitis foundation and became the national spokesman for the Hep C Hope Foundation. More recently, he still finds time to tour with Beach Party!, made up of former members of the Boys' touring band. Moore, meanwhile, joined Joe Cocker's 1970 Mad Dogs and Englishmen Tour, which was captured on vinyl and film for posterity's sake (Cocker performed Moore's "Space Captain"). Moore then went on to have a successful career as a session vocalist and keyboardist, recorded solo albums, and even had his own label, New Decade. David Jackson went on to become the bassist with Dillard & Clark. Larry Brown played with Gunhill Road, Tony Allwine, and was the official voice for Mickey Mouse.

1. Mothers And Fathers
2. Pleasure
3. I Should Be Dreaming
4. Brother Lous Love Colony
5. Got To Be On My Way
6. Someday Girl
7. Papers
8. Faces
9. Never Mind
10. Give Me More
11. Shes On My Mind
12. Walking Around
13. Pirate
14. Lebanon
15. Transporting Machine
16. Mary Jane
17. Softly
18. Not To Know
19. The Good Side
20. Life Is A Season
21. John Automaton
22. Come Out Tonight
23. Mr Duffy
24. Pirate Song (Mono 45 Mix) (Bonus Track)
25. Not To Know (Mono 45 Mix) (Bonus Track)
26. Face In The Crowd (Matthew Moore Plus 4) (Bonus Track)
27. White Silk Glove (Matthew Moore Plus 4) (Bonus Track)
28. Come On Home (Matthew Moore Plus 4) (Bonus Track)

Without Earth and the Moon

Friday, March 14, 2008

Ashes - Featuring Pat Taylor (1970)

The only album ever from The Ashes -- a group who both pre-dated and post-dated Peanut Butter Conspiracy -- morphing into that famous act after an initial 60s run, then changing back to Ashes form with this group featuring female singer Pat Taylor! Taylor's got a style that's folksy, but a bit fierce too -- a quality that almost gives the group a Jefferson Airplane sound on vocals, but a bit lighter overall and not nearly as trippy. Tunes are relatively straightforward, occasionally a bit rootsy -- late 60s California underground work at its best, although more Northern Cali than southern. Titles include "My Life Has Changed", "Sands Of Love", "Sleeping Serenade", "Gone To Sorrow", "Simple Complexities", "Look Around Rock", and "Her Invention". (dustygroove)


1(A) THE ASHES (Vault 125) 1966 R1

1 Is There Anything I Can Do?/Every Little Prayer (Vault 924) 1966
2 Dark On You Now/Roses Gone (Vault 936) 1967
3 Homeward Bound/Sleeping Serenade (Vault 973) 1971

The above line-up is that featured on the album. This Los Angeles band's original drummer was, of course, Spencer Dryden, before he joined Jefferson Airplane. The remaining members, aside from Taylor, later teamed up with Bill Wolff, Lance Feat and Sandi Robinson to become The Peanut Butter Conspiracy.

The Ashes also have four tracks (both sides of their first two singles) on the 1967 Vault compilation, West Coast Love-In (LP). Every Little Prayer, Is There Anything I Can Do?, Dark On You Now and Roses Gone are all characterised by the distinctive melodies that typified so many mid-sixties English bands like The Fortunes. They feature Sandi Robinson rather than Pat Taylor on vocals. Their album is well worth a spin. A very hippyish sixties album with nice lead vocals. (Fuzz, Acid & Flowers)

The Ashes were a folk-rock group formed in 1965 that included John Merrill (guitar/ vocals), Alan Brackett (bass/ vocals), Barbara Robison (vocals), Spencer Dryden (drums) and Jim Cherniss (guitar/ vocals). Before they were known as the Ashes, the group called themselves the Young Swingers and released two long lost 45s under that name: "Love Her Every Day" b/w "Or Else You'll Cry" (Courtney 746) and "Let's Take Our Love" b/w "The Winds Up High" (Portafino 901) . From the summer of 1965 up until May of 1966, the Ashes served as the house band at a club in Santa Monica called the Waleback. They released their first single under their new moniker in 1966: "Is There Anything I Can Do?" b/w "Every Little Prayer" (Vault 924). The a-side was written by Jackie DeShannon and featured a fine lead vocal from Barbara Robison. This 45, along with its follow-up "Dark on You Now" b/w "Roses Gone" (Vault 936), also appeared on the 1967 compilation WEST COAST LOVE-IN (Vault 7980). Around the time of the first Ashes single, Spencer Dryden left to replace Skip Spence in Jefferson Airplane. Jim Cherniss also exited the group at this time.

With the addition of two new members, the band was transformed into the Peanut Butter Conspiracy, who of course recorded two albums for Columbia in 1967. John Merrill resurrected Ashes in late 1968, around the same time that Alan Brackett was working on the tracks that would ultimately constitute the PBC's FOR CHILDREN OF ALL AGES album. The new Ashes recorded their debut LP for Vault Records that year; it stands today as a staple of the collector's market, routinely fetching $50 or more on eBay. The album also featured singer Pat Taylor standing in for Barbara Robison (who could not appear on the record due to contractual obligations). The LP's release was delayed until 1970, while two songs from the record-- "Homeward Bound" b/w "Sleeping Serenade" (Vault 975)-- were issued as a 45 in 1971.

--Jason Penick


Peter Stark - Mushroom Country (1976)

Another private pressing from a band that recorded a single record only to disappear without trace immediately after. Peter Stark's Mushroom Country, with its unusual phallic mushroom artwork and 'cosmic folk' groove, has become an extremely collectable album of late. Recorded at The Mike studio in Ann Arbor, Michigan, the album appeared on the Montage label in 1976, although for some reason no catalogue number was assigned. The album features 8 original works by Stark and his brother Ben, and a particularly fine cover of Donovan's 'Hey Gyp'. Musically, the album takes us on a tour of genres, from the instrumental 'Raga For Bayleaf', the folky 'You Make Me Feel' and the blues of 'Searching'. There is a real charm about Mushroom Country, with its varied instrumental accompaniment to Stark's vocals and fluid guitar and a 'we're having a great time doing this' vibe that pervades throughout. Hippie folk? Well, possibly, but none the worse for that. (

BEN STARK gtr, vcls A
PETER STARK gtr, vcls A

1(A) MUSHROOM COUNTRY (Montage ) 1976

From Ann Arbor, Michigan, this album contains acid folk music, with a cover of Donovan's Hey Gyp, some ragas (Ragas For Bayleaf) and fluid guitars. Housed in a nice sleeve, the album is now extremely rare and sought after.

(Stephane Rebeschini/Clark Faville)

Mushroom Country

Monday, February 18, 2008

Brigitte Fontaine - Comme A La Radio (1970)

Listen to 'Le Goudron':

Of all the strange records this French vanguard pop chanteuse ever recorded, this 1971 collaboration between the teams of Brigitte Fontaine and her songwriting partner Areski and the Art Ensemble of Chicago -- who were beginning to think about returning to the United States after a two-year stay -- is the strangest and easily most satisfying. While Fontaine's records could be beguiling with their innovation, they occasionally faltered by erring on the side of gimmickry and cuteness. Here, the Art Ensemble provide the perfect mysterious and ethereal backdrop for her vocal explorations. Featuring the entire Art Ensemble of that time period and including fellow Chicago AACM member Leo Smith on second trumpet, Fontaine and Areski stretched the very notion of what pop had been and could be. With strangely charted arrangements and mixing (percussion was in the foreground and horns were muted in the background, squeezed until they sounded like snake-charming flutes), the ten tracks here defy any and all conventions and result in the most provocative popular recording of 1971 -- and that's saying something. For their part, the Art Ensemble hadn't played music this straight since before leaving Chicago, with long, drooping ballad lines contrasted with sharp Eastern figures and North African rhythmic figures built in. The finest example of how well this works, and how seductively weird it all is, is on the two-part "Tanka." Here, Malachi Favors' bass and Areski's percussion meet everything from bouzoukis to clarinets to muted trumpets to sopranino saxophones, courtesy of Joseph Jarman, Roscoe Mitchell, Smith, and Lester Bowie, who play in tandem, using striated harmonies and modal intervals in order to stretch the notion of time and space under Fontaine's vocals. The effect is eerie, chilling, and hauntingly beguiling, and sets the tone for an entire album that runs all over the stylistic map while not adhering to anything but its own strange muse. This is remarkable stuff from a very adventurous time when virtually anything was possible.

Thom Jurek, All Music Guide

1. Comme à la Radio
2. Tanka II
3. Le Brouillard
4. J'ai 26 ans
5. L'Été L'Été
6. Encore
7. Leo
8. Les Petits Chevaux
9. Tanka I
10. Lettre à Monsieur le Chef de Gare de la Tour Carol

Bonus tracks:

11. Le Goudron
12. Le Noir c'est mieux choisi

Comme à la Radio

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

V.A.-Insane Times:25 British Psychedelic Artyfacts From The EMI Vaults (2007)

Listen to 'July - Dandylion Seeds':

The compilation kicks off with the staggering and brilliant groove of Song For Insane Times by Kevin Ayers. With a vocal delivery not unlike Nick Drake, and a shimmering groovy backing of strings, skittering beats and blissed out piano, Ayers nails a very unique brand of Britsike and delivers the fantastic line "we all sung the chorus of I Am The Walrus". As comp openers go, this is one of the best you'll ever hear.

Hot on the heels of Ayers is the mental wrongs of July and Dandelion Seeds (single version). The song is pretty tough and has a vomiting guitar sound that wouldn't be out of place on an Os Mutantes LP. Wretching and heaving atop a fierce overdriven freakbeat, Dandelion Seeds is as out there as you'd expect. Of course, being influenced by huge doses of acid, it's not long before the single implodes and disappears into a subdued electronic track with cavernous reverbs and echoes before unleashing a ferocious guitar solo that manages to narrowly avoid falling to pieces.

Amongst the madness are some well comped tracks like Real Life Permanent Dream by Tomorrow (worth hearing again mind you), Syd Barrett's No Good Trying and The Penny Peeps Model Village. However, most of these tracks have featured on obscure box sets and the like, so this comp is well worth taking a punt on if you don't fancy shelling out £50 or so.

Some of the tracks border on self indulgent... but it's a psych comp... you really should know what you're getting yourself in for. One such track by the preposterously named Mandrake Paddle Steamer features serious axe work with a spliced coda built around some session men playing the Incredible String Band's Maybe Someday'. Strange Walking Man may be hard work on the ear, but it's a good laugh and worth hearing.

A great hidden gem can be found in the fantastic Last Cloud Home by The Orange Bicycle. You might know the band from their Hyacinth Threads 45 which topped the French charts in 1967. Interestingly enough, the man behind this driving psych number - Wil Malone - went on to produce and arrange for bands like Massive Attack and The Verve. It would seem that his best work came and went in the tail end of the flower power era.

Dadaists, Bonzo Dog Doo-Dah Band show up with the brilliant and hilarious Equestrian Statue. It's part baroque pop masterpiece and piss-take. It's vintage Bonzos. The sleeve notes of this album compare them to the lunacy of Frank Zappa's Mothers of Invention, and rightly so. Eccentric Englishness abounds where Zappa's sneer lived. To try and convey what this song entails in print is foolhardy at best... rest assured, you need to hear it to believe it.

An easier to swallow track is the fantastic Sun Sing by The Rainbow Ffolly. The track is perfect summer pop with "a lysergic sense of fun" (c/o Record Collector) with double tracked harmonies and phased leads. Reminiscent of The Beatles' better work and The Pretty Things' SF Sorrow LP, this track ain't no dancer, but one that no home should really be without. It sounds for all the world like it should have been a hit. The same can be said for the incredible sounds of The Koobas. The Koobas are one of the most underrated bands of the sixties and listening to Barricades, possibly the strongest track from their eponymous LP, it's difficult to grasp why they didn't sell millions of records.

Featured for the first time on CD is the cracking and biting Mr Commuter by Mike Proctor. In what can only be described as a Ray Davies-esque attack on the middle classes, Mr Commuter sees Proctor sneering "Mr Commuter you're like a computer... you never step out of line..." It's a little twee, but jesus, there's a fuzz guitar to die for in this.

As ever, with comps like this, you hear a record that, as soon as it starts, you demand that you own it on seven inch immediately... only to find out its one of the rarest records in the world and you'd have to sell your arse for life in the vain hope of owning it. The track I'm talking about is the staggering pop masterpiece that is World Of You by The Aerovons. I know nothing of this band and nothing of this record apart from what I'm hearing. What I'm hearing is tripped out mellotrons gliding through grand orchestrations, minor key vocals and drums that could bring down a mountain. It's perfect and worth buying Insane Times for alone. In a similar fashion, World Spinning Sadly by The Parking Lot is another piece of beautiful and haunting psych. (

01. Kevin Ayers - Song For Insane Times
02. July - Dandylion Seeds
03. Tomorrow - Real Life Permanent Dream
04. Ipsissimus - Hold On
05. Mandrake Paddle Steamer - Strange Walking Man
06. The Gods - Towards The Skies
07. The Penny Peeps - Model Village
08. Paul Jones - The Dog Presides
09. The Idle Race - Hurry Up John
10. The Orange Bicycle - Last Cloud Home
11. Jon - Is It Love
12. The Brain - Nightmares In Red
13. Bonzo Dog Doo Dah Band - Equestrian Statue
14. Rainbow FFolly - Sun Sing
15. Simon Dupree & The Big Sound - Castle In The Sky
16. Tales Of Justine - Monday Morning
17. Mike Proctor - Mr Commuter
18. The Hollies - All The World Is Love
19. The Aerovons - World Of You
20. The Lemon Tree - William Chalker's Time Machine
21. The Parking Lot - World Spinning Sadly
22. Herbal Mixture - Please Leave My Mind
23. The Koobas - Barricades
24. The Yardbirds - Think About It
25. Syd Barrett - No Good Trying

Insane Times: 25 British Psychedelic Artefacts from the EMI Vaults

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Serge Gainsbourg- Les Annees Psychedeliques (1966 - 1971)

All the freaky, funky Serge Gainsbourg you could ever want -- served up in a single set! The package pulls together some of the grooviest tracks by Serge from a host of late 60s and early 70s albums -- including some of his super-rare French soundtrack work -- from movies that include Le Pacha, Anna, Ce Sacre Grand-Pere, Cannabis, and Manon 70! The double-length set is overflowing with great grooves -- tracks done with that subtly funky style that Serge cooked up with arrangers Michel Colombier and Jean-Claude Vannier, all topped with that breathy, nearly-spoken style that made Gainsbourg so great back in the day. A few of the most break-heavy cuts are even presented with special bonus beats -- and titles include "Requiem Pour Un Con", "Je N'Avais Qu'Un Seul Mot A Lui Dire", "New Delire", "Pas Mal Pal Mal Du Tout", "Chanson Du Forcat", "Danger", "Premiere Blessure", "L'Alouette", "No No Yes Yes", "Breakdown Suite", "Psychastenie", "Boomerang", "Photographes Et Religieuses", "Generique Pop 2", and "En Melody". (

1. Requiem Pour Un Con
2. Requiem Pour Un Con Bonus Beats
3. Je Navais Qu Un Seul Mot a Lui Dire
4. Sous Le Soleil Exactement
5. Chanson Du Forcat
6. Pas Mal Pas Mal Du Tout
7. New Delire
8. Bonnie and Clyde
9. Premiere Blessure
10. Danger
11. Danger Bonus Beats
12. Generique Pop 2
13. Photographes Et Religieuses
14. Boomerang
15. Psychastenie
16. Cadavres En Serie
17. La Horse
18. La Horse Bonus Beats
19. L Alouette
20. Breakdown Suite
21. No No Yes Yes
22. En Melody

Les Annees Psychedeliques (1966-71)