In The Land Of FREE we still Keep on Rockin'

It's Not Dark Yet

Plain and Fancy

Music gives soul to universe, wings to mind, flight to imagination, charm to sadness, and life to everything.


Monday, December 4, 2023

Dead Sea Fruit - Dead Sea Fruit (1967 uk, extraordinary beat psych, 2017 reissue)

In April 1967, Record Mirror's 'Names & Faces' column introduced Dead Sea Fruit. 'The Dead Sea Fruit used to be known as Some Sloane Squares, their first record is Kensington High Street / Put Another Record On, and they're on the Camp label,' it ran. 'So far, so good. They are gentlemen who met through an advertisement in the Times, no less. They worked the debutante circuit, making money, then went to the South of France. There's an LP on the way by this rather unusually talented outfit, which comprises lead vocalist Clive Foster Kennedy, a Freeman of the City of London, lead guitarist David Lashmar, who started up with skiffle, Simon Winsloe Clifford, who plays organ and is a jazz fan, bassist Christopher Hall, who was once a solicitor, and drummer John Errington-Townsend, who used to go to Portsmouth Grammar School (where also went Paul Jones)?

The band had formed the previous year. After briefly being known as Some Sloane Squares, they adopted the more modish moniker Dead Sea Fruit, after a line in Thomas Moore's 1817 romantic poem Lalla-Rookh: 'Like Dead Sea fruits, that tempt the eye / But turn to ashes on the lips!' were promptly arrested for wearing carnival clothes on a non-carnival day – though I fact  was just their standard hippie attire, Thereafter they found some success playing covers  in  local clubs, and more widely around; France, A good-humored, highly theatrical act more in the vein of the New Vaudeville Band than their more psychedelic peers, they recorded for the local Disquez A-Z label, and had a big hit with the old-timey Loulou, Put Another Record On To promote it, they made some TV appearances (which can be seen online), involving a strikingly long trumpet invented by Kennedy One appearance was with Salvador Dali.

Back in the UK in early 1967, they signed to the new Polydor offshoot label Camp, who put out their debut single in March. The disc c id not prove a hit, but an album ensued, which appeared in April 'Dead Sea Fruit's first album chalks up the first LP release from Camp Records, and really they needn't have bothered,' wrote Disc & Music Echo.

`Musically the group seem to fall somewhere East of Winchester Cathedral and considerably West of Waterloo and its sunsets. They should have got together before making any tapes, and decided what sort of music they were going to play. The album is further distinguished by a nauseatingly pretentious sleeve note.' Sales were pool; and the release of their single in the US (on Atlantic's Atco subsidiary) in June did nothing to alter their profile. On Friday 30th of that month they supported psychedelic legends Tomorrow at the UFO club in London (along with the Knack), but didn't play many gigs in the UK. They did, however, perform in front of Jimi Hendrix and Paul McCartney in their time. September saw the release of their second and final UK 45, Love At The Hippiedrome / My Naughty Bluebell. Around this time Hall departed, and was replaced by Arthur Marsh. Before long, Kennedy and Clifford decided to return to the UK from their French base, upon which Lashmar, Townsend and Marsh accepted a residency in a club in Dakar, Senegal. However, when it became clear that the club only wanted them to play covers, the band splintered.
CD Liner-notes

1. The 8.15 And The 5.45 (David Lashmar) - 2:07
2. Put Another Record On (Clive Kennedy) - 3:06
3. Psychiatric Case (Christopher Hall) - 2:09
4. Mr. Barman (Clive Kennedy) - 3:30
5. Matters (David Lashmar) - 3:39
6. Seeds Of Discontent (David Lashmar) - 3:28
7. I'll Come With You (David Lashmar) - 2:20
8. I've Been Away Too Long (Clive Kennedy) - 2:42
9. Mr. Coffee Pot (David Lashmar) - 1:58
10.Time Waits For No One (Clive Kennedy) - 3:55
11.I Should Have Guessed (Clive Kennedy) - 3:28
12.Kensington High Street (John Townsend) - 2:05

Dead Sea Fruit
*Clive Kennedy - Vocals
*Dave "Beano" Lashmar - Guitar, Vocals
*John Townsend - Bass, Percussion, Vocals
*Si Clifford - Organ, Piano
*Christopher Hall - Electric Bass, Guitar, Vocals