The Pink Fairies – The Collection

Back in the dim distant past, or before the internet, finding out information about more obscure bands was a very hit and miss affair. Record Collector Magazine was a good place to start but this did depend on if the editor felt that that particular artists would help sell more copies that month, or the odd reference book. In my case, it was whether I or my family knew someone who had a record collection that they had built up throughout their life and didn’t mind me playing them. Even better was when some of these family friends donated their vinyl to archive. One such occasion happened in 1992. This  particular collection contained records that mostly dated from the 70s and was full of bands and artists a good many I had never heard of. One of those is the featured artists in this post, and that is the Pink Fairies. 

The album in my hands turned out be part of record label Polydor’s Flashback series. The Flashback series was Polydor mining their back catalogue but in a different way from other labels. Whereas other label would produce Greatest Hits or Best Of compilations, Polydor took a different route and produce a good number of budget priced compilations of big names (Cream, Hendrix), bands that had been on the label, or associate label but moved onto pastures new (Fairport Convention), cult acts (Velvet Underground, Frank Zappa) and half forgotten acts (Pink Fairies). Now, at the time, I knew nothing of this. In front of me was an album with a pink background with three hairy looking musicians giving it plenty on stage and a list of songs contained within. The back cover gave a very short history of the band which included a limited list of records the band had released. As soon as I put the needle on the vinyl and the first song played, I knew I was entering into a different world. 

The Pink Fairies came out of the Ladbrooke Groove underground scene of the early 70s. They played the first Glastonbury as well as appearing outside the gates of the Isle of Wight festival. On the second of these, the band played outside because not only were they not on the bill, but felt that music should be free. That being said, they did release three albums on a major label in their first incarnation and people would have had to pay for these. Anyway, it from these early years that this collection is drawn from. The music the band produced was a heady mix of good time rock ’n’ roll from their most self written material with the odd cover in there. Original guitar player Paul Rudolph played a mean guitar and it was wild solo on the opening track of the Flashback album that mesmerised me in the first place. That song was ‘The Snake’, and when you hear it you will see what I mean. Rudolph left after the second album to be replaced with first Mick Wayne, who only appeared on the ‘Well, Well, Well’ single and then Larry Wallis who stuck around for the last album, ‘King Of Oblivion’. After this taster, I was after more Fairies records to add to the collection.

Back in the early days of me collecting records, having to find a record by an obscure artist I was getting into was a very hot and miss affair, and mostly it involved misses. That was down to one simple factor; luck. Not only did the second hand record shop you went to have to have it (which was unlikely), I also had to hope that it was within my merger budget. As it was, on my first trip out I picked up a copy of ‘King Of Oblivion’. That might explain why it has more songs on this compilation that the other Fairies records. The original trio of albums were available in the early 90s on some rather pricey Japanese import CDs, but being a student at the time, I was unable to afford them.  I did pick up a couple more albums along the way but these were from one or more of the numerous times the band has got back together down the years. None of them held a torch to what the band had produced before and that was not probably the reason why they were so cheap. You live and learn. There was the odd semi legitimate release (most of which came from Italy) which had some live stuff, especially from he archives of the BBC. Then, in 2002, the original albums were dusted off by Polydor and released on CD with bonus tracks. Finally I was able to hear then all for the first time after ten years of waiting. As with most of these things, the anticipation only lead to the hardest of falls. I had already heard most of the best songs on the records I had in the collection already. it did feel like a bit of a let down, but it was great to hear them finally and I was able to put this compilation together that I present to you here. Enjoy.

  1. Thor – Never Never Land
  2. Johnny B. Goode – BBC In Concert Radio Broadcast 1971
  3. The Snake Single – A-Side
  4. Portobello Shuffle  – What A Bunch Of Sweeties
  5. Say You Love Me – Never Never Land
  6. Lucille – BBC In Concert Radio Broadcast 1971
  7. City Kids – Kings Of Oblivion
  8. Chromium Plating – Kings Of Oblivion
  9. Raceway – Kings Of Oblivion
  10. Well, Well, Well – Single A-Side
  11. Do It – Single B-Side
  12. Chambermaid – Kings Of Oblivion
  13. Going Down  – What A Bunch Of Sweeties (2002 Reissue)
  14. Right On, Fight On – What A Bunch Of Sweeties
  15. I Wish I Was A Girl – Kings Of Oblivion
  16. Street Urchin – Kings Of Oblivion

Out of all of the bands that I have posted about, I thought that this would be another one in which I would not be able to produce a Spotify playlist. Well, it just goes to show how wrong you can be. Every song is on there, even the BBC In Concert session. I was amazed. What that does mean is that you can enjoy this Pink Fairies compilation as much as I have down the years. 

The front cover is adapted from their debut release, ‘Never Never Land’.

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