Sunday, June 6, 2010

Rainbow Ffolly - Sallies Fforth (1968)

Rainbow Ffolly were an English psychedelic pop band who released only one LP, Sallies Fforth, in 1968. Their only single, Drive My Car, failed to garner much success on the charts, and they disbanded shortly thereafter. A beautiful album with a great psych cover, painted by John Dunsterville (also the songwriter) with a little help from his wife jane.

The world of '60s psychedelia is filled with rediscoveries that might better have been left buried in the mists of time, except as artifacts -- it's possible to have shelves filled with the work of no-talent bands and of acts that weren't even psychedelic (what one wag at Bleecker Bob's in New York refers to as "lounge acts that dressed real cool"). Rainbow Ffolly wasn't one of those -- indeed, they're one of the bands and one of the records that is worth finding as a CD reissue (their original LP could run several hundred), and that goes double for anyone with a taste for British psychedelia.


Jonathan Dunsterville - Guitar, Vocals

Richard Dunsterville - Vocals, Guitar

Roger Newell - Bass, Vocals

Stewart Osborn - Drums, Vocals.
Thirteen examples of pleasant, mid-tempo, mildly amplified psychedelic pop, most of them owing some considerable debt to the influence of the Beatles' Rubber Soul and Revolver (though not their production), with some of the nutsy brand of humor that Giles, Giles, & Fripp later traded in. This is basically Paul McCartney-influenced psychedelia, not only in the tone and texture of the lead vocals, but the retro style of songs like "I'm So Happy," with some vaguely progressive touches that make one think of the more ornate tracks off of Bee Gees' 1st. "Montgolfier" is a folky/trippy, deliberately antiquated cut that intersects somewhere midway between the early psychedelic Bee Gees and the early work of Amazing Blondel. The group also had the temerity to write and record a bouncy number called "Drive My Car" that sounds McCartney-esque (even anticipating the scatting on the latter's "Heart of the Country") without ever sounding at all like the Beatles' song of that name. Other cuts, such as "Goodbye," contain elements that anticipate Simon & Garfunkel's "So Long, Frank Lloyd Wright." It's all under-produced, which makes the attempted guitar flourishes on "Hey You" seem a bit anemic, but imparts a nicely lean and trippy sound to "Sun Sing." Every track here was essentially a demo, a fact that may explain why the album never found an audience in an era when layer upon layer of overdub was the norm -- but it is pretty, in a minimalist sort of way. [The album was reissued by Rev-Ola in 2005 with the addition of two extra tracks: the mono single versions of "Go Girl" and "Drive My Car."]
1. Rainbow Ffolly - She's Alright (3:42)

2. Rainbow Ffolly - I'm So Happy (2:33)

3. Rainbow Ffolly - Montgolfier (2:37)

4. Rainbow Ffolly - Drive My Car (2:14)

5. Rainbow Ffolly - Goodbye (3:54)

6. Rainbow Ffolly - Hey You (2:05)

7. Rainbow Ffolly - Sun Sing (3:57)

8. Rainbow Ffolly - Sun And Sand (4:02)

9. Rainbow Ffolly - Labour Exchange (1:55)

10. Rainbow Ffolly - They'm (1:55)

11. Rainbow Ffolly - No (2:58)

12. Rainbow Ffolly - Sighing Game (3:06)

13. Rainbow Ffolly - Come On Go (2:57)

14. Rainbow Ffolly - Go Girl (mono single version) (2:40)

15. Rainbow Ffolly - Drive My Car (mono single version) (2:09)
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