Sunday, April 21, 2013

Big Boy Pete - The Margetson Demos(1966-68 )

This mysterious British guitarist (real name Pete Miller) cut some oddball non-hits in the '60s that have amassed quite a reputation among psychedelic collectors. Starting out as a member of minor British group Peter Jay & the Jaywalkers, he went solo in late 1965 with "Baby I Got News for You," a Troggsish number with wads of fuzzy guitar. Billed simply as "Miller," Pete was backed on the recording by Peter Frampton and members of the Herd. For the next few years he concentrated on writing for British music publishers, and recording demos for himself. A second single, "Cold Turkey," this time billed to Big Boy Pete, was issued in early 1968. With its eerie blasts of spaceship-elevator psychedelic guitars and biting mod-psych vocals, "Cold Turkey" fully deserves its classic status, though few heard it at the time. In a further twist to the already odd Big Boy Pete story, Miller refused to tour; a different singer was sent out in his place, leading to a good deal of "who really was Big Boy Pete" speculation among serious '60s historians before the confusion was cleared up.
Miller/Big Boy Pete eventually relocated to San Francisco to work as a producer and engineer, occasionally releasing albums on tiny labels. "Cold Turkey" and (to a lesser extent) "Baby I Got News for You" were reissued on compilations of '60s British psych/mod rarities, and the Damned (under the guise of Naz Nomad & the Nightmares) covered "Cold Turkey." Several albums of unreleased late-'60s Big Boy Pete demos have been issued.

Big Boy Pete - The Margetson Demos(1966-68 )

Margetson Demos album by Big Boy Pete was released Mar 09, 2004 on the Gear Fab label.

1. Nothingness Minus The Fun (02:52)
2. Baby, Get Some Of That (02:53)
3. Silhouette (03:17)
4. Cell Soliloguy (03:34)
5. My Love Is Like A Spaceship (04:11)
6. Little Men (02:13)
7. Penthouse (03:15)
8. If Flowers Please Your Hair (02:20)
9. Invalid Of Love (03:07)
10. Funny World (02:42)
11. Henry Nut (Part 3) (01:46)
12. Sitting In The Sun (03:14)
13. The Painter (02:57)
14. Boogaloo (02:45)
15. Watch Your Step (02:50)
16. Charactor Actors (02:51)
17. Flowers Cry Too (02:55)
18. Love Is Proud (03:21)
19. For Love Of Thee (02:52)
20. Who In The Heck Do You Think You Are (03:31)
21. It's Over (02:21)
22. The Sound Of Automation (03:46)
23. LSD (02:22)

Though he has not yet become a household name -- perhaps because he never spent time in an asylum, homeless shelter, or halfway house and because he actively continued to make and promote his music -- Pete Miller's body of work deserves the same sort of devoted coterie of enthusiasts as other great eccentric acid mavericks like Syd Barrett, Roky Erickson, and Skip Spence. The Margetson Demos is still more evidence of Big Boy Pete's incomparable, fascinatingly bizarre vision. And his was no cheeky "Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds" punnery but the real "L.S.D." deal. The compilation features just what the title says: 23 unpolished demo recordings made by Miller alone at his home studio on Margetson Avenue on the outskirts of Norwich between the Technicolor years of 1966 and 1968, and released here for the first time. Miller himself confesses that many of these songs, to say nothing of the rough-hewn recordings and performances, are unfinished. Still, some of them are raw, inspired pop-psych lunacy of the best sort, including an inspired one-two-three commencement: "Nothingness Minus the Fun," "Baby, Get Some of That," and "Silhouette," the last with the opening riff of the Turtles' "Happy Together" apparently dancing in its head. The awesomely creepy "My Love Is Like a Spaceship," which eventually found its way onto the flip side of the classic "Cold Turkey," is here in its primitive form, and "The Painter" and "Charactor Actors" are also magnificent, even as half doses. It's not surprising that the songs strongest on tune are the most successful in this stripped-down state, while the ones heavier on mood -- dirges, drones, and soundscapes that would undoubtedly blossom with fuller, more sympathetic productions -- are less so. Even the lesser demos, though, retain the distinctive, unmistakable Big Boy Pete stamp. In his liner notes, Miller suggests that an enterprising artist might be interested in taking a crack at completing one or more of these tunes. It would need to be a remarkable artist.

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