One of the most entertaining things to do on
websites that allow customer reviews of CDs is read the apoplectic fury
Kurt Cobain's fans have for the original Nirvana, the cultily-adored
British psych-pop group from the late '60s. Much of that misguided and
ill-informed venom seems to be directed toward this album, Nirvana's
1967 debut. An unashamedly twee early concept album, The Story of Simon
Simopath (subtitled "A Science Fiction Pantomime," suitably expressing
the deliberately childlike tone of the album) sounds, like most rock
concept albums, like a collection of unconnected songs forced together
by the story written in the liner notes.
Ignoring the rather silly story
(something about a boy who wishes he could fly), what's left is a
regrettably brief but uniformly solid set of well-constructed psych-pop
tunes with attractive melodies and rich, semi-orchestrated arrangements.
Although the core of Nirvana was the duo of singer-guitarist Patrick
Campbell-Lyons and keyboardist Alex Spyropoulos, the group is here
expanded to a sextet including full-time French horn and cello players,
and the semi-Baroque arrangements are particularly memorable on the
singles "Pentecost Hotel" and "Wings of Love."
Although The Story of
Simon Simopath has no individual songs as instantly delightful as
"Rainbow Chaser," the hit single and key track from their next album All
of Us, it's a much more consistent record than that somewhat patchy
The British psych-pop outfit known as Orange Bicycle
evolved from a Beat group, Robb Storme & the Whispers, also known
as the Robb Storme Group. They had recorded a handful of harmony pop
singles for Pye, Piccadilly, Decca, and Columbia Records during the
early '60s, but with little success. In 1966, the Robb Storme Group
covered the Beach Boys'
"Here Today." It was arranged by the band's own multi-talented
keyboardist/producer Wilson Malone and produced by Morgan Music's
co-owner Monty Babson
at Morgan Studios in the Willesdon area of London. With psychedelic
music at its zenith, the group decided to change its name change and, in
1967, they re-emerged as Orange Bicycle.
Over the next few years, they released a half-dozen singles; their --
"Hyacinth Threads" -- remains the band's best-known track, appearing on
numerous compilations. In late August/early September 1968, Orange Bicycle -- wearing matching black and orange suits -- performed at the Isle of Wight music festival, reportedly covering songs by Love and the Rolling Stones. In 1970, already somewhat past their prime, Orange Bicycle recorded their only album, The Orange Bicycle. It was comprised largely of covers, including Elton John's "Take Me to the Pilot," Bob Dylan's "Tonight I'll Be Staying Here with You," and Denny Laine's "Say You Don't Mind." A few tracks were produced by John Peel.
Psychedelic pop music, however, was on the wane, or transmogrifying
into heavier prog or hard rock, so the group decided to call it a day,
breaking up in 1971. Wilson Malone's self-titled solo album (as Wil
Malone) for Fontana was released that same year. Meanwhile, drummer Kevin Currie joined Supertramp, then Burlesque,
before becoming a session drummer. Malone went on to form the heavy
psych-prog trio Bobak Jons Malone with celebrated engineer/producer Andy
Jons and guitarist producer Mike Bobak.
They recorded one album, Motherlight. Malone also collaborated with
bassist John Bachini on singer/songwriter Robert MacLeod's 1976 solo
album Between the Poppy and the Snow. That same year, they covered the Beatles' "You Never Give Me Your Money" for All This and World War II.
Malone then went on to become a top producer/arranger on his own,
working with many successful groups and solo artists.
arrangement for the Verve's "Bittersweet Symphony" (which appropriated the symphonic arrangement from the Rolling Stones' "The Last Time") caused a ruckus that resulted in Andrew Loog Oldham suing the Verve for songwriting royalties. In 1988, the Morgan Bluetown label issued an Orange Bicycle
compilation, Let's Take a Trip On..., which contained all of the band's
Columbia singles but no Parlophone-era recordings. Edsel later reissued
all of Orange Bicycle
's recordings -- 33 tracks total -- on a double CD in 2001.
Good musicians were involved here and the album have some pretty good songs. It's not a real pop album but with some nice sounding melodies and good vocals. 4 stars out of 6 from my view of today.
SB1 Flac1 Flac2
The Fraternal Order of the All is guitarist Andrew Gold
in a home studio overdubbing mode, making the record he always wanted
to make back in 1967 and 1968. To call this album retro-flavored would
be putting it mildly, as Gold's tongue is firmly planted in his cheek
all throughout the record and attendant booklet, right down to the fake
names for all the musicians. With the exception of guest turns from
Jimmy Caprio, Jimmy Herter and Graham Gouldman
(who also produced one track and like Caprio and Herter, wrote one
other), this is pretty much Andrew's ballgame here, with him playing and
singing all the parts. The British rock, Beatles-styled
psychedelic sounds truly abound on this disc, in the production values,
instrumental work, and songwriting style. Highlights include "Tuba Rye
and Will's Son/Balloon in the Sky" (with its Beach Boys-like
vocal intro), "Rainbow People," "Freelove Baby," the three
instrumentals that help the mood along ("Swirl," "Twirl," and "Whirl"
and don't forget the "Groovy Party at Jimmy's Magic Pad"), and the
trippy title track.
Gold successfully nails all the sounds and cosmic
junk that came with these kind of albums back during those heady times,
and if the music wasn't so darn good on here, you'd declare this record
just a nostalgic joke that works, but it is so much more than merely
that; it's a tucked-away little gem that deserves a much wider audience.(allmusic.com)
Wonderful work of Andrew Gold and Graham Gouldman. Really great psychedelic pop record from 1997. But what did i say, it's all said in the review.
SB1 Flac1 You need both links! Flac2
I have added a mp3 link here
Besides "My Friend Jack," other highlights of the Smoke's
only album (all but one of whose tracks were group originals) include
the beautiful mid-tempo ballad "Waterfall" and the bee-humming guitars
and lilting backup vocals on "You Can't Catch Me." This Repertoire
reissue of the original LP adds 14 additional cuts, including non-LP
singles, a single issued in 1965 by the Shots (an earlier version of the
group), a single puzzlingly issued under the alias the Chords Five, and
an interesting alternate take of "My Friend Jack."
A lot of these
tracks pale in comparison to the 12 from the original album, but "Have
Some More Tea" is a great Who-ish
number, and "Sydney Gill" is a good stab at a more progressive mood.
[Originally released in 1967, It's Smoke Time was reissued on CD in 2006
and contains the first 12 tracks of the original LP.](allmusic.com)
Them's second post-Van Morrison album, even more than their first such effort (Now & Them), grew further away from their mid-'60s style, to the point where there were few audible links to how Them sounded in the British Invasion era. And like Now & Them,
it was an intermittently worthwhile but somewhat characterless record,
reflecting late-'60s trends in album-oriented rock without adding much
to them or innovating paths of their own. It was even more Los
Angeles-psychedelia-influenced than their prior LP, taking the lead of Now & Them's
strongest cut ("Square Room") to explore sitar-laden raga-rock on
several songs. "Time Out for Time In" adds a nice waltz overlay to the
raga-rock sound, but "Black Widow Spider" and "Just on Conception"
frankly live up to the stereotypes of "oh wow!" hippie-trippy word soups
from the era.
So does "The Moth," but at least there some Roger McGuinn-like
vocals and dreamy orchestration add spice. Other songs are competently
done but nonstandout heavy soul rock, with "She Put a Hex on You"
sounding right off the cutting room floor of a 1968 psychedelic dance
rock club movie scene; you can just see the bandana-swathed babe from
central casting gyrating as the strobe lights flash. "Waltz of the
Flies," the best song, is indeed a beguiling psychedelic waltz, and Jim Armstrong's
guitar work throughout is far more instrumentally accomplished than
what you'll hear on many similar albums. Yet the record's not in the
same league as either the Van Morrison-era Them
or the better psychedelic/raga-rock endeavors of the late '60s. The
2003 Rev-Ola CD reissue adds eight bonus cuts (all taken from 45s) of
value to anyone interested in the post-Van Morrison Them,
including the non-LP single "Corinna"/"Dark Are the Shadows," the rare
original single version of the punky "Dirty Old Man" (which is superior
to the one on Now and Them), and the rare original 45 version of "Square Room" (which isn't as good as, and is much shorter than, the one on Now and Them).(allmusic.com)
I LOVE IT ! If you don't know the album give it a try.
Frank Flac1 As always you need both! Flac2