Simply Saucer

As stated before,

Hamilton, Ontario, Canada’s
one and only
Beefheart/Seeds/Floyd/Velvets-even
uber-amalgamation
(aka Simply Saucer)

have recently reformed, relaunched,
recorded and now actually released
their first “official” album in, oh,
say three-and-a-half-decades or so,
give or take.

and
Said sounds can now be streamed,
sampled,
purchased,
and/or experienced fully live

by any and all
willing to leave preconceptions,
not to mention pigeonholes,
firmly in the half past.

Just be sure to tell ‘em
Gary Pig sentcha….

 

Be My Mighty Baby

Yes, me again! Back so soon with real groovy tunes so grabs ya a spoon and start digging in!

Fans of ’60’s British garage pop and R&B have no doubt heard of the great band The Action (and if you haven’t, check them out now!!!) so those fans will no doubt be thrilled when they find out The Action morphed and became a totally different band at one point.

Below is a review of Sunbeam’s recent reissue of one of the best of The Action’s post-Action albums.

Mighty Baby – A Jug Of Love
Sunbeam Records

Thanks to the great, great Sunbeam label we can again enjoy the thrilling psychedelic sounds of one of the most overlooked psychedelic bands ever to arise out of England. I, for one, have been waiting for this album to be reissued for a mighty (baby) long time! This reissue of this underrated band’s second album from 1972 is like manna from the heavens for those searching for long-lost psyche.

For those looking for a little more backstory, Mighty Baby rose from the ashes of another great overlooked British band, The Action. For a while The Action had been tagged as the band most ready to take over from The Beatles, and unlikely as it seems today, if you listen to The Action’s early recordings you will wonder why they didn’t do just that.

No less than Fab Four producer George Martin thought so as well, as he signed them to their recording contract. Come to think of it, he signed wimp-rock band America too so maybe ol’ Georgy’s taste is suspect. But that’s another story. To Martin’s credit, The Action really did kick some major ass. Mixing equal parts of the Beatles’ (and the other Merseybeat bands) melodic savvy with the pure rock power of the Who and Kinks, The Action were a powerhouse band that nonetheless didn’t quite get the breaks necessary to really hit it big.

After a couple of personnel, managerial, label, and even name changes, the remnants of The Action signed with the same management team as Pink Floyd and T-Rex and started experimenting in the studio. Unlike most hard R&B bands who attempted to keep up with the times by embracing the mind-bending sounds of psychedelic rock, the sound seemed natural and not forced and the current line-up seemed adept at playing the new, groundbreaking sub-genre of rock music.

Christened Mighty Baby by the band’s new label in an attempt at a new start, the former Action came up with one of the stronger psychedelic albums of the period, an album that stands up with the Beatles’ Sgt. Pepper and the Pretty Things’ S.F. Sorrow as psychedelic rock blueprints.

Sadly, it went mostly unheard.

Dropped from their label, the band managed to hook up with Blue Horizon Records for this reissue, their second and final album. Though as good as their first record, at the time it still unfortunately succumbed to the same fate: little airplay and hardly any sales. The times had changed and most succesful bands were either playing soft rock like Crosby, Stills and Nash or a simpler form of boogie/blues-based hard rock like Led Zeppelin which would later sadly evolve into the ear-wrecking sounds of heavy metal. For a band more interested in melody, extended fluid guitar lines and thriling vocal harmonies, the time had definitely passed. But that doesn’t mean this album isn’t bliss personified.

A psychedelic fan’s dream with exquisite melodic playing and guitar work to make your heart soar to the heavens, this album makes me wish we could return to the ’60’s for just a little while. Energetic with none of the excessive noodling marring most psyche albums, it’s a perfect meld of garage and psyche that will stay on your turntable for weeks.

Fans of psyche will wet their pants over this one. Pick it up, turn on and tune out, babies. Get some of whatever stuff you smoke when your parents aren’t around and start a-hootin’ because this shit is THE shit. One of the most excellent psyche albums around from one of the most underrated bands ever. Get you some Action and some Mighty Baby as soon as you can. You will not be sorry, and I will guarantee it.

C’mere ya Pretty Thing

While I am fairly sure most of the music experts frequenting this blog have heard of the fabulous British band The Pretty Things, I would like to devote this blog to a fairly rare album of theirs that blew my mind the minute I listened to it.

Now, before you start guessing – it is NOT one of the band’s classic ’60’s albums like S.F. Sorrow or even one of their ’70’s albums recorded when the band started leaning away from their punky/garage/dirty-bluesy beginnings and attempted some classic arena rock sounds. No, this album was recorded by the band wayyyyyy back in the good old days of 1999. The album I am talking about is the expertly titled latter-day masterpiece Rage Before Beauty (on Snapper Records), their first true album since 1980’s supposed swan-song Crosstalk

Note to sticklers: the Pretties did get together to record one new album about a year before Rage Before Beauty came out and the story behind it is really quite cool. The band had decided to regroup for a one-off webcast of their music and, putting their heads together for a concept, decided to record a live concert performing their old concept album SF Sorrow in it’s entirety for the first time since the album was released in 1968. Wanting to make the event extra special, the band enlisted two ringers: Pink Floyd guitarist David Gilmour to augment the band as only he and his guitar work can, and veteran English rocker Arthur Brown to add extra narration and cohesion to the storyline. Needless to say, the resulting album Resurrection is an absolute joy and should be searched out and acquired as soon as possible. Often found in a version that packages it with the original version of SF Sorrow, while not eclipsing the original, shows the band is more than capable of continuing their legend without showing the usual signs of age or obsolecense often all-too-present in the middle-age-rock set.

But, back to the reason I am writing this blog: Rage Before Beauty. Often when listening to a new album from a band or artist of this vintage it is hard to put their past out of your mind and accept a new work as a credible continuation of a band’s legacy. Most likely, the band’s new work suffers from comparison like, say, the Rolling Stones’ releases of the past twenty years or so. Though they may be fine albums and the band members may be better musicians technically, the new works never quite sound as good as our old favorites, do they? Well, believe me when I say this album by The Pretty Things will not suffer at all by comparison to the gritty, sleazy blues rock they belted out in their formative years. In fact, it sounds as if the band has lost nary a step. Gone are the arena rock posings of their middle years and reborn is the anger and hunger this band of hooligans were always known to flaunt like badges of honor. Phil May, Dick Taylor and the rest of the Pretties fly the flag of down-and-dirty rock once again!

From the first note of the urgent rocker Passion Of Love to their ode to their lost ex-bandmate Vivian Prince to my personal favorite of the album Everlasting Flame, the band plays as if their lives depend on it. Guitars twine and twist, the bassist and drummer bludgeon their respective axes as if in a race to oblivion and May does his vocal exorcises on all of his demons on this little shiny disc just for our enjoyment. They even do a version of the Stones’ song Play With Fire that obliterates the Stones’ version. Only an ill-advised cover of Mony Mony slows the proceedings down for a bit, but the band recovers nicely by the next song.

I was very surprised by how good this album sounds, not thin and brittle like the last few albums by the Stones and Paul McCartney but full-bodied and very tough. I recommend this album wholeheartedly and suggest you get re-acquainted with the band as the US label Zoho Records has a NEW album slated by The Pretty Things to come out in the now-great year of ’07. Needless to say, I will be the first in line to pick the album up and if anyone tries to stop me, well, their in for a fight.

So, quit being ugly and pick up a few PRETTY THINGS!

The Music Nerd knows……..

“the perfect book for the advanced record collector” (Ear Candy)

One of the great things about collecting rock and roll music is that there is always an undiscovered gem lacking from your collection just waiting for you to discover. This year (2005) celebrates the 30th year that I have been such a music junkie. LOST IN THE GROOVES is a book that celebrates albums that fell through the cracks in the “classics” description. Included are albums that: might have sold well initially but are now pretty much ignored (“McCartney II”), works by artists that were not taken seriously at the time (Herman’s Hermits, etc), obscure artists of merit, and generally lost gems that demand reevaluation.

I had quite a few of the discs mentioned such as: “Muswell Hillbillies”, “No Dice”, “Klaatu”, “L.A. (Light Album)”, “McCartney II”, “Subterranean Jungle”, “Face Dances”, “Pacific Ocean Blue”, “Hillbilly Deluxe” – just to name a few. But, I found many more that I now need to hear! I only take issue with one entry: Pink Floyds’ “The Final Cut”. I bought it when it first came out and 20+ years later still say its crap!

I’ve already given LOST IN THE GROOVES several readings and, armed with a yellow highlighter, have made note of which albums I need to add to my collection. This is the perfect book for the advanced record collector/music fan! (Ronnie, Ear Candy)