Saturday, April 14, 2012

VA - Psychedelia at Abbey Road (1965-69)


A 22-track single CD seems a bit paltry given the scope of the title -- except, of course, that the 1969 cutoff date here puts the material from Harvest (a label started late that year and containing the lion's share of EMI psychedelia) out of reach. Of course, there are no Beatles tracks and, likewise, no Pink Floyd here, but we do get cuts by the Hollies, Donovan, Tomorrow, the Fingers, Focus 3, the Tales of Justine, Simon Dupree & the Big Sound, the Pretty Things, the Aquarian Age, the Koobas, the Nocturnes, Locomotive, the Gods, Mandrake Paddlesteamer, Mark Wirtz, and Syd Barrett. Most of this stuff, apart from "Sunshine Superman," "My White Bicycle," and "King Midas in Reverse," isn't exactly routine material, and two tracks -- "Delighted to See You" by the N'Betweens and "Why" by Tomorrow -- are previously unissued. The latter, a cover of the Byrds' song, features a tour de force guitar break by future Yes member Steve Howe. Just as revelatory is "Monday Morning," a 1967 single by the largely forgotten the Tales of Justine, featuring David Daltrey, with arrangement and production by Tim Rice and Andrew Lloyd Webber, respectively. Everything on the album has been remastered in 24-bit digital sound, and the long version of Donovan's "Sunshine Superman" has been remixed, bringing out extraordinary detail in the percussion section, from the choppy rhythm guitars and harpsichord down to the exceptionally busy drumming. The annotation by Brian Hogg is detailed without going overboard on trivia, and the entire collection turns out to be great fun.



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