Wednesday, November 24, 2010

VA - Acid Drops, Spacedust and Flying Saucers

Four CD set covering UK psychedelia from 1965-1969, compiled by Mojo writer Pat Gilbert. Includes one-hit wonders & psychedelic obscurities alongside acts such as The Who, The Move, The Kinks, Donovan, Hollies, The Small Faces & many more. 72 tracks in all.

Mojo Presents - Acid Drops Spacedust and Flying Saucers: Psychedelic Confectionary from the UK Underground 1965-1969 [Box Set]

Lovingly compiled by those scholarly scribes at Mojo magazine (and with excellent sleeve notes from genre connoisseur Jon Savage), the 72-track, four-CD box set Acid Drops. Spacedust and Flying Saucers is a veritable encylopedia of British 60s psychedelic pop. Come, let us leave our monochrome 21st-century adult lives and climb the technicolour loft-ladder into an enchanted and forgotten childhood attic of benzedrine bedtime stories, liquorice allsorts, toy trains, rainbow trees and--in the case of Mandrake Paddle Steamer--strange men walking across the lawn. As Acid Drops correctly points out, American psychedelia was all about napalm guitars, carbon monoxide poisoning and "they're coming to take me away to Vietnam" psychosis. However, its cuddly, post-ration book British sibling was more concerned with sniffing the school chemistry set, eating sweets and something or other to do with gardening. Thus, beat-band blokes from such unlikely places as Scunthorpe, Hove and Hounslow set sail for new musical horizons--possibly on flying carpets made out of flutes and mellotrons--with the pioneering zeal of Victorian free-thinkers. Aside from cult cornerstone classics by The Poets, Timebox, Kaleidoscope, David McWilliams, Amazing Friendly Apple (whose "Magician" really does sound like the work of mysterious robed men with long white beards) and World Of Oz (although surely the pervy nursery rhyme "Muffin Man" would have been a better choice than "Peter's Birthday"), Acid Drops boasts plenty of familiar hit parade fare from The Move, Donovan, The Yardbirds. The Hollies et al, plus obscurities galore. Who, exactly, were proto-punk freak-beat exponents Allen Pound's Get Rich and how come they sounded like Adam and The Ants 11 years before the event? Bamboo Shoot? Nope, us neither--nor the compilers. With such notable absentees as Svensk and Dantalion's Chariot, a whole tangential area of weird-folk to explore and with EMI holding the magic key to the locked cupboard of early Floyd outtakes, here's hoping this essential, un-put-downable box set is the first in a very, very long series. --Kevin Maidment

Although perhaps a little too similar to volume two of the highly regarded Nuggets series, Acid Drops, Spacedust, & Flying Saucers, compiled by the fine folks at Britain's (in fact, the world's) finest music magazine, Mojo, is the perfect introduction to the rise and fall of British psychedelia. Rather than chart the influence of British music on its surroundings and colonies (as done by Nuggets) Acid Drops takes an easier route. The Nuggets collection focused on all manner and strains of the old empire's R&B, freakbeat, mod, and psychedelic scenes, whilst Acid Drops dissects and inspects the solely British mutation from beat/pop (signified by the Kinks' quasi-raga "See My Friends") into full-blown psychedelia (from the most commercial to most underground of guises). For the hardened collector and avid fanatic, Space Dust will bring few surprises. There's a hefty weight of British hits and a delve through the type of major-label material that missed the mark at the time but has since become legendary through contributor Phil Smee's '80s psychedelic compilation series, Rubbles, that anyone bitten by the bug will be familiar with. What will make purchase of this -- it must be said, rather cheaply packaged box -- essential is the superior sound quality (all tracks have been remastered at Abbey Road) and the interesting liner booklet, which if not a little skimpy, features a superb essay in which Jon Savage chronicles the evolution and devolution of British music's most quirky, imaginative, and brief of genres. 

Alongside the short running time (why the hell have EMI held back to only 18 tracks per CD, whilst Rhino made the effort to fill their Nuggets set to spilling point?) and minor quips, like the edited beginning of the Smoke's tremolo-infused classic "My Friend Jack" and the inclusion of the pretty much non-psychedelic "Granny Takes a Trip" by jug band the Purple Gang, this is still a very decent set which takes into account the different sides of U.K. psych. And as said, although rather preliminary for those seeking new thrills, this holds the very essence of the cause and effect the genre had on the changing face of the British music scene from 1965-1969. Practically none of this music has aged badly, and for some reason, however pompous and ridiculous a lot is, it still sounds as invigorating as the day it was recorded. Timeless. ~ Jon "Mojo" Mills, Rovi

CD1 - Down To Midlle Earth
1. So Much In Love - McGough & McGear
2. 10000 Words In A Cardboard Box - Aquarian Age
3. Flower King Of Flies - Nice (1)
4. Dream On My Mind - Rupert's People
5. Reputation - Shy Limbs
6. Vacuum Cleaner - Tintern Abbey
7. Light Of Your Mind - David (2)
8. I Can Take You To The Sun - Misunderstood
9. Dear Delilah - Grapefruit
10. Shine On Brightly - Procol Harum
11. Fox Has Gone To Ground - Bamboo Shoot
12. Armenia City In The Sky - Who
13. 10000 Years Behind My Mind - Focus Three
14. Gone Is The Sad Man - Timebox
15. Peter's Birthday (Black And White Rainbows) - World Of Oz
16. Subway's Smoky Pokey World - Tickle (2)
17. Meditations - Felius Andromeda
18. Nite Is A Comin' - Warm Sounds

CD2 - Gandalf's Garden
1. Flight From Ashiya - Kaleidoscope (2)
2. Way - July (1)
3. Witches Hat - Incredible String Band
4. Celeste - Donovan (1)
5. Mind's Eye - Ramases & Selket
6. Shades Of Orange - End (1)
7. Love - Virgin Sleep
8. Pools Of Blue - Barclay James Harvest
9. Monday Morning - Tales Of Justine
10. Girl From New York - Nicholls, Billy
11. Red Sky At Night - Accent (1)
12. Am I The Red One - Softley, Mick
13. Laura's Garden - Orange Bicycle
14. Baby Your Phrasing Is Bad - Caleb
15. Magician - Amazingly Friendly Apple
16. We Are The Moles - Moles (1)
17. Michaelangelo - 23rd Turnoff
18. Screams In My Ears - Fay, Bill

CD3 - Mushroom Soup
1. Granny Takes A Trip - Purple Gang (1)
2. My Friend Jack - Smoke (1)
3. Imposters In Life's Magazine - Idle Race
4. Talkin' About The Good Times - Pretty Things
5. Hurdy Gurdy Man - Donovan (1)
6. Time Seller - Davis, Spencer Group
7. Say You Don't Mind - Laine, Denny
8. I Can Hear The Grass Grow - Move (1)
9. See My Friends - Kinks
10. LS Bumble Bee - Cook, Peter & Dudley Moore
11. Happenings Ten Years Time Ago - Yardbirds
12. Green Circles - Small Faces
13. King Midas In Reverse - Hollies
14. Days Of Pearly Spencer - McWilliams, David
15. From The Underworld - Herd
16. Sky Pilot - Burdon, Eric & The Animals
17. Paper Sun - Traffic
18. Kites - Dupree, Simon & The Big Sound

CD4 - Roundhouse Ghosts
1. Colours Of My Mind - Attack (2)
2. Searchin' In The Wilderness - Pound, Allen Get Rich
3. Father's Name Is Dad - Fire (1)
4. Dr Crippin's Waiting Room - Orange Machine
5. Model Village - Penny Peeps
6. Run And Hide - Fairytale
7. Strange Walking Man - Mandrake Paddle Steamer
8. When My Mind Is Not Live - Status Quo
9. In Your Tower - Poets (2)
10. Listen To The Sky - Sands (1)
11. Octopus - Barrett, Syd
12. Other Side - Apple (2)
13. I'm Not Your Steppin' Stone - Flies (1)
14. Machines - Herbal Mixture
15. Revolution - Tomorrow
16. You've Got What I Want - Sorrows (1)
17. Royston Rose - Koobas
18. Escalator - Gopal, Sam Dream

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