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Saturday, July 28, 2012

Kaleidoscope - Please Listen To The Pictures / The BBC Sessions (1967-71 uk, unique essential psychedelia)

Most of these recordings have seen the light of day in the form of a CD bootleg some time back, but I'll wager there are more people who want to hear them than actually have already. Therefore, this beautifully presented set is a most welcome addition to the much revered and loved Kaleidoscope / Fairfield Parlour canon. As with all the Circle releases, the packaging and presentation is sumptuous. If you have a record deck, plump for the vinyl edition, I do every time. The double LP comes in a heavy duty gatefold sleeve. The Kaleidoscope LP has a faux Fontana label and the Fairfield Parlour LP has a faux Vertigo label.

The liners by Peter Daltry in the gatefold itself tell of the dilemma of being a progressive band in a regressive recording environment (with the indifference of the BBC's white coated clock-watching engineers). The four page LP sized booklet features a raft of memorabilia in colour and b/w and further liner notes by Nigel Leese on the intriguing life expectancy of BBC transcription records and master tapes!

So how groovy are the grooves then? It should be said straight off, as do Circle themselves, that there are four off-air cuts from a manky old reel to reel tape, the only remaining extant recordings from two Kaleidoscope sessions. The first features 'Faintly Blowing' and '(Further Reflections) In The Room of Percussion' from a Tommy Vance hosted Top Gear session. These are actually pretty reasonable sound wise. Once the ears adjust, they are strangely compelling. Indeed 'Faintly Blowing' sounds like it has some interesting extemporisation going on which makes it worthwhile in itself. The second two off-air numbers, 'Do It Again For Jeffrey' and '(Love Song) For Annie' come from Radio 1 Club session and are pretty rough in sound quality, but nonetheless we're not exactly awash with Kaleidoscope sessions (see why in the liners! - there were plenty more at one time), so even a rough old tape has an aesthetic value.

That said, the rest of the album's 22 tracks are in excellent sound quality and all feature the introductions of Brian Matthew whose perky, effervescent style never really changed even though the music and the times did. Matthew 's continuity links indeed must amount to more than the sum total of some acts recorded musical output on reissue discs these days given the number of Saturday Club etc. sessions that have found their way onto reissues in recent years! Indeed, just listening to the brief interview he conducts with Kaleidoscope at the beginning of Side 1, LP 1, shows just how mannered and polite not to mention self-effacing some of these acts were (think Zombies, Eclection etc) in conversation, so unlike the 'yeh of course I'm brilliant, tell me something I don't know already' attitude of many of today 's popsters (and that's my pitch for a grumpy old man interview!).

As for the rest of the music, the Kaleidoscope tracks on Side 1 especially, throw the sound images of the released versions into relief. It is great to hear songs like 'Flight From Ashiya', 'The Murder of Lewis Trollani', 'A Dream For Julie' and 'Dive Into Yesterday' in the raw. The songs are so strong that even without the dreamlike embellishments of the studio, these songs stand up as masterpieces now as much as they did nearly 40 years ago. 'Snapdragon' is especially excellent. Daltry tells of the widespread practice of taking in pre-recorded backing tapes to the BBC studios to record against as it saved time and made the engineers happy! Both 'Snapdragon' and the studio version (as opposed to the off-air version) of 'Do It Again For Jeffrey' would appear to be of this ilk, featuring as they do brass sections, pianos etc.

The Fairfield Parlour numbers sound more produced (but it was 1970-71 by then) But it's very cool to hear the prominence of the sitar for instance on 'Bordeaux Rose' or the chorused guitar on the first version (of two) of 'Free'. 'Long Way Down, 'Diary Song' or 'Matchseller' are excellent renditions and enjoyable to the utmost, you'll be rooting out your 'White-Faced Lady' and 'From Home To Home' CDs to compare them with.

Overall this is another quality package from Circle and I can't think how the justice done to most of the songs here could be bettered. Fans will love this set, it's a real treat for the eyes and ears, rough old tapes and all!
by Paul Martin

1. Kaleidoscope - Flight From Ashiya - 3:05
2. Kaleidoscope - The Murder Of Lewis Tollani - 2:51
3. Kaleidoscope - A Dream For Julie - 2:36
4. Kaleidoscope - Dive Into Yesterday - 3:32
5. Kaleidoscope - Do It Again For Jeffrey - 2:17
6. Kaleidoscope - Snapdragon - 2:25
7. Kaleidoscope - Bless The Executioner - 3:07
8. Kaleidoscope - Jump In My Boat - 2:31
9. Kaleidoscope - Balloon - 2:40
10.Kaleidoscope - Faintly Blowing - 4:50
11.Kaleidoscope - (Further Reflections) In The Room Of Percussion - 3:23
12.Kaleidoscope - Do It Again For Jeffrey - 3:16
13.Kaleidoscope - (Love Song) For Annie - 1:46
14.Fairfield Parlour - Bordeaux Rose - 2:34
15.Fairfield Parlour - Free - 3:20
16.Fairfield Parlour - By Your Bedside - 2:30
17.Fairfield Parlour - Aries - 2:49
18.Fairfield Parlour - Monkey - 2:26
19.Fairfield Parlour - Long Way Down - 3:38
20.Fairfield Parlour - Diary Song - 3:06
21.Fairfield Parlour - The Matchseller - 2:49
22.Fairfield Parlour - Free - 3:31
Words by Peter Daltrey Music by Eddy Pumer.

*Peter Daltrey - Vocals, Keyboards
*Eddy Pumer - Guitars
*Steve Clark - Bass, Flute
*Dan Bridgman - Drums

Kaleidoscope's mosaic 
1967 Kaleidoscope - Tangerine Dream
1967-69 Kaleidoscope - Dive Into Yesterday
1969  Kaleidoscope - Faintly Blowing
1970  Fairfield Parlour - Home to Home

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The Lemon Fog - The Psychedelic Sound Of Summer (1967-68 us, pure texas garage psych, 2011 cicadelic release)

In 1967, Jimmy Duncan sent a tape of demos by The Lemon Fog to Ray McGinnis of Orbit Records. Duncan was a producer and songwriter, out of Houston. He also owned a local club called "The Living Eye" (featuring an immense, pulsing eye in the middle of the ceiling). 

Ted Eubanks, keyboardist and songwriter for The Lemon Fog, recalls "we named the band Lemon Fog at the request of Duncan. He wanted us to help him remain relevant and to make the progression into the
rock world so we became the house band at "The Living Eye". "Our live act consisted of original songs and many covers of popular hits. We opened for The Electric Prunes, The Moving Sidewalks, The 13th Floor Elevators, Question Mark and the Mysterians, and Fever Tree. Mike Knust, Fever Tree's guitar player, went to the same high school that we did, and most of the band lived in the neighborhood. 

Scott Holtzman wrote their hit "San Francisco Girls" and managed them. He eventually managed us as well." The first Lemon Fog recording session was at Doyle Jones studio in Houston, during the summer of 1967. Five songs were completed, "Lemon Fog", "Summer", "Yes I Cry", "Girl From The Wrong Side Of Town", and "Echoes Of Time". The songs were sophisticated psychedelic numbers written by Duncan and Eubanks. The oldest member of The Lemon Fog was seventeen year Chris Lyons, a senior in high school, the rest of The Fog were juniors. 

The first single from the sessions was "Lemon Fog" b/w "Echoes Of Time" released in November, 1967. "Lemon Fog" was alternately titled "The Living Eye Theme" to tie in with Duncan's club (he also wrote the lyrics). For "Echoes Of Time" Eubanks wrote the music and played the keyboards, which sounded like a Mellotron. In reality it was the Farfisa and phasing. The engineer would manipulate the tape as it moved across the heads to get that phasing sound. The master tape reveals that "Echoes Of Time" was taped for ten times, before the right band track was found on which to overdub Simmon's lead vocals. As first singles go for a band, The Lemon Fog were mi les ahead of the other bands with their unique sound and style of mixing spacey lyrics with even spacier psychedelic music. 

The second Lemon Fog single, "Summer" b/w "Girl From The Wrong Side Of Town" was released right before school let out, in May, 1968. Eubanks wrote "Summer" when he was sixteen and this was no typically written upbeat teen summer song, it was about alienation and boredom. The single mixed version was edited by almost two minutes, with the verse that includes "My bird has flown" omitted (the unedited complete version is track one on this album). 

The second Fog single was another winner, but according to Eubanks didn't make the charts! II the Fog weren't hitting the charts with their singles, they did get on The Larry Kane TV show. The first time on, they performed "Lemon Fog" with a yellow tinted see-through sheet layered over the video and a foggy mist on stage. Their next and final appearance on Larry King was to perform "Summer". The next Lemon Fog session was for the recording of "Day By Day", and The Prisoner". By now Eubanks was writing all the band's material and he recalls, "we recorded "Day by Day" and "The Prisoner" at Huey Meaux's studio". The single is a existential example of the far out sound of The Lemon Fog, with obscure, philosophical lyrics and observances of life. Unfortunately this was to become 

The Lemon Fog's third and final single. The band members graduated high school in June 1968 and went onto divergent paths. Eubanks says that "when I left The Lemon Fog I joined Duncan at his new Soundville recording studio where we recorded as "Wichita" in 1970". Wichita cut one single and an unreleased album before breaking up in 1971.

1. Summer (Previously Unreleased Complete Version) - 3:48
2. Lemon Fog (Original Single Master) - 2:52
3. Echoes Of Time (Original Single Master) - 2:33
4. The Prisoner (Previously Unreleased Complete Version) - 4:04
5. Day By Day (Previously Unreleased Complete Version) - 3:31
6. Yes I Cry (Previously Unreleased Mix) - 2:49
7. Girl From The Wrong Side Of Town (Previously Unreleased Version) - 3:08
8. Summer (Original Single Master) - 2:42
9. Echoes Of Time (Previously Unreleased Outtake) - 1:26
10.Echoes Of Time (Previously Unreleased Outtake) - 3:38
11.Echoes Of Time (Previously Unreleased Complete Version) - 2:46
12.Lemon Fog (Previously Unreleased Complete Version) - 3:15
13.Day By Day - 3:25
14.The Prisoner - 3:30
15.Girl From The Wrong Side Of Town (Original Single Masters) - 2:52
16.Girl From The Wrong Side Of Town (Previously Unreleased, Discarded Outro) - 0:22

The Lemon Fog
*Ted Eubanks - Keyboards, 12 String Guitar
*Bill Simmons - Lead Vocals
*Terry Horde - Lead Guitar
*Chris Lyons - Drums
*Danny Ogg - Bass
*Keith Manlove - Guitar (Left the band before the recordings)

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Various Artists - Three O'Clock Merrian Webster Time (1966-68 us, great texas psychedelic brands)

By the time 1966 ended, many of the groups in Texas that started out playing British Invasion and folk-rock music, were now immersing themselves in the newly emerging psychedelic music. The five groups that comprise this album reflect the changes that occurred during this period and four of them even changed their names to sound more psychedelic.  The Nomads became Smoke, Carrols Mood became The Sights And Sounds, The New Imperials became The Front Page News, and The Boys became The Remaining Few.

Represented by twelve tracks on this album, The Nomads/Smoke, started out playing folk-rock music, but by 1967 went psychedelic-as witnessed by their “freak-out” version of “My Little Red Book” replete with backwards tapes. “Carrols Mood” went from singing ballads to surreal songs such as “Mystical Bells”. 

The Front Page News went from the soul of “Baby Let Me Bang Your Box” to the fuzz drenched “Thoughts and Afterthoughts”.  If the 13th Floor Elevators were the epitome of what a Texas psychedelic band was, then the groups on this album were not far behind in trying to emulate that state of existence. Here then are twenty-two tracks compiling the changes that occurred from late 1966 to 1968, when the Texas bands went metaphorically speaking from “Kool-Aid” to “Electric Kool-Aid Acid”.  

Tracks - Artists
1. What You're Doing to Me (Previously Unreleased Mix) - Carrols Mood - 3:47
2. Out She Goes (Previously Unreleased Mix) - Carrols Mood - 2:30
3. I'll Be There (Single Master) - The Nomads - 2:39
4. I Walk Alone (Single Master) - The Nomads - 2:26
5. Thoughts (Previously Unreleased Mix) - The Front Page News - 3:09
6. My Little Red Book (Unreleased Master) - The Nomads - 1:58
7. Situations - The Nomads - 2:45
8. Three O'Clock Merrian Webster Time (Single Master) - The Nomads - 3:22
9. The New Generation (Previously Unreleased Mix) - The Rebellers - 2:45
10.Mainstream (Single Master) - The Smoke - 2:35
11.Church House Blues (Single Master) - The Smoke - 3:28
12.Painted Air - The Remaining Few - 3:37
13.In the Morning - The Remaining Few - 2:40
14.Mystical Bells (Unreleased Master) - The Sights And Sounds - 3:28
15.You Keep Me Hangin' On (Unreleased Master) - The Sights And Sounds - 2:49
16.I Walk Alone (Previously Unreleased Mix) - Carrols Mood - 3:02
17.Three O'Clock Merrian Webster Time (Take 1) - The Nomads - 2:33
18.Three O'Clock Merrian Webster Time (Take 2) - The Nomads - 2:50
19.Three O'Clock Merrian Webster Time (Take 3) - The Nomads - 3:26
20.Three O'Clock Merrian Webster Time (Take 4) - The Nomads - 3:23
21.My Little Red Book (Previously Unreleased Alternate Mix) - The Nomads - 1:56
22.Out She Goes (Alternate Version) - The Sights And Sounds - 2:29

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