Sunday, March 18, 2012

V.A. - Chocolate Soup For Diabetics





Chocolate Soup For Diabetics 1-3 


These three volumes of obscure '60s British psychedelic treasures are slightly tainted by dubbed-from-disc sound quality; the transfers also made the records play faster than their actual speed. The music, however, is mostly terrific, the cream of a very fertile U.K. scene that gave birth to dozens of little-known classics and near classics during its brief apogee in 1966-68. The influence of the Who, Syd Barrett--era Pink Floyd, and 1967 Beatles runs rampant, but most of it's too idiosyncratic to be dismissed as imitative. You could actually say that this was the genre of rock music that most effectively balanced exuberant melodies/harmonies with imaginative experimentation. If that nutshell description sounds appealing, you won't be disappointed by the gems on offer from Tintern Abbey, Dantalian's Chariot, One in a Million, Big Boy Pete, Mike Stuart Span, Syn, and numerous others. A lot of the tracks have been since reissued in better fidelity on sanctioned re-releases, but some are hard to find anywhere else but on these anthologies, which are now themselves sought-after collector's items.

Chocolate Soup For Diabetics 4 

In its original three-volume vinyl form in the early 1980s, the Chocolate Soup for Diabetics LPs comprised the first and possibly greatest reissue series of obscure-'60s British psychedelia. It was eventually made somewhat irrelevant when virtually all of the material got reissued on CD in better sound quality (and at the right speed), but it's still remembered fondly by collectors. So the appearance of some follow-up volumes, again on LP, about two decades later raised some hopes that the series had resumed with a similar dedication to uncovering old nuggets. However, although the front cover graphics copy the design of the original series to a T (simply using some different colors), it's really a continuation of the concept in name only. The 14 songs on volume four, for one thing, are not all that psychedelic, with a greater bent toward 1966-68 mod-rock and a curious predilection for mod-soul. Those genres are good too, of course, but the non-hits chosen for this album are on the whole not nearly as stellar as the ones that filled the original three volumes. What's more, some of these tracks really aren't all that heard to find elsewhere, like the Longboatmen's smoking mod number "Take Her Any Time" (though the band was actually from Sweden) and Chords Five's somewhat silly "Universal Vagrant." There are a few other above-average cuts, like Answers' slightly ominous "Just a Fear" (with future Misunderstood guitarist Tony Hill) and (from France), the Darwin's Theory's strange "Hosanna," which does boast a nifty riff despite having few words other than the title. Much of the rest is on the middling-to-forgettable side, and while it has its uses for very dedicated collectors, it's far below the standards of the earlier volumes bearing the "Chocolate Soup for Diabetics"

 Chocolate Soup For Diabetics 5

Like Chocolate Soup for Diabetics Vol. 4, by claiming to be a continuation of the early-'80s three-part Chocolate Soup series of British psychedelic rarities, this volume both raises unrealistically high expectations and sets itself up for a fall. For while all 14 cuts are certainly obscure, they're neither nearly as good as what was found on the original three Chocolate Soup volumes, nor as psychedelic, with a strange affinity for soul-influenced 1966-68 British rock, throwing in some more mod-ish, mid-'60s sounds, too. It's not bad at all, just pretty average, and nothing you'd compare to either the best-famous or best-rare British rock of the time. Too, a few of these cuts have been reissued elsewhere, sometimes a few times, like the Mickey Finns' mod-psych stomper "Garden of My Mind" -- certainly one of the finest tracks here, but one that had been doing the rounds for a couple of decades before its appearance here. Another definite standout is the Ways & Means' "Breaking Up a Dream," perhaps the best Easybeats soundalike ever waxed (no doubt due in part to it being written by Grapefruit's George Alexander, brother of the Easybeats' George Young). There's not much exultant to say about the rest of the songs, all of them by bands that never got anywhere, with the marginal exception of St. Louis Union. It's still likely most collectors will find a few tracks they haven't heard, as well as a few neat flourishes, like the Who/Creation-type guitar solo in the Sons of Fred's "Baby What You Want Me to Do."


Chocolate Soup For Diabetics - Disc 1
1 The Voice - The Train To Disaster
2 The Nuchez - Open Up Your Mind
3 One In A Million - Double Sight
4 Paper Blitz Tissue - Boy Meets Girl
5 The Playboys - Sad
6 The Fire - Father's Name Is Dad
7 The Poets - Wooden Spoon
8 Les Fleur De Lys - Circles
9 The Hush - Grey
10 One In A Million - Fredereek Hernando
11 Apple - The Otherside
12 Winston's Fumbs - Snow White
13 Les Fleur De Lys - Mud In Your Eye
14 The Craig - I Must Be Mad
15 Wimple Winch - Save My Soul
16 The Accent - Red Sky At Night
17 Chapter Four - In My Life
18 Him & The Others - She's Got Eyes That Tell Lies
19 The Tickle - Subway (Smokey Pokey World)
20 The Syn - 14 Hour Technicolour Dream
21 The Factory - Path Through The Forest

Chocolate Soup For Diabetics - Disc 2
1. Mike Stuart Span - Children Of Tomorrow
2. Wimple Winch - Rumble On Mersey Square South
3. Les Fleur De Lys - Circles
4. The Craig - I Must Be Mad
5. Apple - Buffalo Billycan
6. The Score - Please Please Me
7. Winston's Fumbs - Snow White
8. Him & The Others - She's Got Eyes That Tell Lies
9. Big Boy Pete - Cold Turkey
10. The Hush - Grey
11. The Tickle - Subway (Smokey Pokey World)
12. The Syn - 14 Hour Technicolour Dream
13. The State Of Mickey & Tommy - With Love From 1 To 5
14. Paper Blitz Tissue - Boy Meets Girl

Chocolate Soup For Diabetics - Disc 3
1. The Factory - Path Through The Forest
2. Felius Andromeda - Meditations
3. Wimple Winch - Save My Soul
4. Les Fleur De Lys - Mud In Your Eye
5. The Playboys - Sad
6. Graded Grains - Animal Magic
7. The Accent - Red Sky At Night
8. Chapter Four - In My Life
9. The Poets - Wooden Spoon
10. The Smoke - Have Some More Tea
11. The Game - Help Me Mummy's Gone
12. Graded Grains - Lucifer's Son

Chocolate Soup For Diabetics - Disc 4
1. Chords 5 - Universal Vagrant
2. The Anteeeks - I Don't Want You
3. The Perishers - How Does It Feel
4. The Exceptions - The Eagle Flies On Friday
5. The Rebel Rousers - As I Look
6. Alan Avon & The Toyshop - A Night To Remember
7. The Dodos - I Made Up My Mind
8. Roger Young - It's Been Nice
9. The Answers - It's Just A Fear
10. The Force Five - Don't Know Which Way To Turn
11. The Darwin's Theory - Hosanna
12. The Transatlantics - Look Before You Leap
13. The Longboatmen - Take Her Anytime
14. Linda Van Dyck With Boo & The Booboos - Stengun
15. Gary Walker - You Don't Love Me
16. Caleb - Woman Of Distinction
17. The Trend - Shot On Sight
18. Family - Scene Through The Eye Of A Lens
19. Steve Aldo - You're Absolutely Right
20. The Peasants - Let's Get Together
21. The Original Roadrunners - Waterloo Man

Chocolate Soup For Diabetics - Disc 5
1. The Quotations - Cool It
2. The Transatlantics - Don't Fight It
3. The Longboatmen - Only In Her Hometown
4. The Ways & Means - Breaking Up A Dream
5. Chords 5 - I Am Only Dreaming
6. The Moving Finger - Shake And Fingerpop
7. The Authentics - Climbing Through
8. The Mickey Finn - Garden Of My Mind
9. The Force Five - Baby Let Your Hair Down
10. St. Louis Union - English Tea
11. The Magic Lanterns - I Stumbled
12. The Bad Boys - She's A Breakaway
13. The Sons Of Fred - Baby What You Want Me To Do?
14. Boo & The Booboos - Oriental Boo
15. Mike Rabin & The Demons - Head Over Heels
16. Caleb - Baby Your Phrasing Is Bad
17. Wayne Gibson & Dynamic Sounds - Baby, Baby, Baby Pity Me
18. The Petards - Tartarex
19. The J & B - Wow! Wow! Wow!
20. King Size Taylor & The Dominoes - Thinkin'
21. The Four Squares - Don't You Know I Love You




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