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Plain and Fancy

"I hope for nothing, I fear nothing, I am free"

Monday, April 29, 2013

Various Artists - Feeling High The Psychedelic Sound Of Memphis (1967-69 us, incredible garage psych, 2012 Big Beat release)

This post is dedicated to Cor by Jim the Greek 

Memphis is well known as the birthplace of the blues, the fount of southern soul and the locale that begat rock’n’roll. My colleagues and I have been digging deep in various Memphian vaults over the past decade, but the focus up until now has largely been soul and R&B. Lest we forget, the city boasted a healthy rock scene well into the 1960s and 1970s, but few retrospectives have documented Memphis music in the psychedelic era when, as a major recording centre, it was the nexus not just for local freaks, but those from neighbouring Arkansas, Mississippi and beyond. Big Beat’s “Feeling High – The Psychedelic Sound Of Memphis” shines a welcome light on this long-neglected area, focusing on the years 1967-1969 and principally on the work of two renowned Memphis mavericks.

With a decades-long career as an iconoclastic musical polymath, Jim Dickinson needs little introduction. However, his rarely-discussed apprenticeship as a producer-engineer at Ardent Studios in the late 1960s made Dickinson responsible for many of the wildest and wackiest sessions ever held in Memphis. Some excerpts slipped out at the time on obscure singles on Stax and elsewhere, such as the absurd version of ‘For Your Love’ by Honey Jug. “Whenever anybody came into Ardent, it was obvious who was going to do the crazy stuff, ”Dickinson recounted to me several years ago. The bands he produced there include the pyjama-wearing Kinks-ish Wallabys of Jackson, Mississippi and psychedelic hillbillies Knowbody Else, later to become famous as Black Oak Arkansas.

In contrast, James Parks was a young wet-behind-the-ears punk who took over the control room at uncle Stan Kesler’s Sounds Of Memphis studio in 1968, bringing in his freak friends from counterculture hotspots such as the Bitter Lemon. Parks’ production work included Changin’ Tymes, Mother Roses and Triple X, featuring future country star Gus Hardin, as well as crazoid studio-only experiments such as ‘Rubber Rapper’ and ‘Shoo Shoo Shoo Fly’. There is a palpable air of chaos about much of what Parks produced, which explains why he was unable to place a lot of it at the time – but in hindsight it’s a remarkable cache of work.

Dickinson and Parks represent the outer edge of the Memphis music scene in those years. While the vast majority of tracks on “Feeling High” have not been issued before, their inspired lunacy and a shared willingness to push the envelope make the recorded evidence very special indeed. Local notables such as the Poor Little Rich Kids, 1st Century and Goatdancers share the tracklisting, the sound quality is excellent, and the detailed liner notes spill the beans on this fascinating tributary of the city’s musical legacy. 
by Alec Palao

Artists - Tracks
1. Sealing Smoke - Rubber Rapper - 4:30
2. The Honey Jug - For Your Love - 2:49
3. The Changin' Tymes - Blue Music Box - 2:09
4. The Knowbody Else - Secret Storm - 3:06
5. Triple X - Spare Me - 3:37
6. The Wallabies - Holy Days - 2:28
7. Greg McCarley - Shoo Shoo Shoo Fly - 4:11
8. The Changin' Tymes - Hark the Child - 5:32
9. Poor Little Rich Kids - Come on Along and Dream - 3:02
10.The Goatdancers - Eat Me Alive - 2:33
11.Greg McCarley - Crazy Man's Woman - 3:49
12.Judy Bramlett - Deja Vu - 2:48
13.The Knowbody Else - Free Singer's Island - 2:18
14.The Wallabies - Feeling High - 3:16
15.Triple X - Rockin' in the Same Old Boat - 4:25
16.Poor Little Rich Kids - I Need Love - 2:37
17.Mother Roses - Ticket to Ride - 4:46
18.David Mitchell - Ogden - 2:55
19.Greg McCarley - If You're Thinking - 2:09
20.The Wallabies - Old Man of Time - 2:27
21.The Goatdancers - We're in Town - 2:54
22.1st Century - Dancing Girl - 2:11
23.The Knowbody Else - Flying Horse of Louisiana (Live) - 6:05
24.The Goatdancers Advert - 1:03

Free Text


jaime andronico said...

Thanks Marios...great post...the best blogger ever

Anonymous said...

I concur with what Jaime said; this is a gold-star post! I'd love if you posted some more of Cicadelic releases. The remastered versions of The Red Crayola/Krayola's "Parable"& "God Bless..." would be most welcome as well! Whatever you do keep up the good work, sir.

Cor said...

Hi Jim and Marios, I'm just curious why Jim dedicated this post to me. I can't recall having done something special. Thanks anyway.

psychonaut said...

Thanks so much!

Phil Gordon said...

Awesome (as always)! Part 2 doesn't seem to be working. Every captcha solve just goes back to the 60 second countdown. Thanks Marios!

Pipo said...

Great!! Thank you very much.

Woody said...

Fabulosa recopilación, como todas las de Big Beat de garage. Muchas gracias. Thank you very much.

Robert said...

Thanks for this post. Great music. Post more like this one. And the new Fading Yellow, I need it.

Anonymous said...

Thanks a lot !


DanP said...

whoah, seems like this could be really cool! surprising! Thanks again Marios!

Jared said...

Wonderful time capsule... I wouldn't call many of these tracks classics (well, maybe Changin' Tymes "Blue Music Box") but the picture they paint of the Memphis psychedelic scene is vivid, and the liner notes are fascinating. Wondering if maybe you have the companion volume Thank You Friends: The Ardent Records Story?

Anonymous said...

Wow! The Knowbody Else tracks give me an even more bizarre impression of Black Oak Arkansas than I already had...

Anonymous said...

Links don't work.

Anonymous said...

Marios, the links are defunct, could you please repost this? Thanks.

Marios said...