Various Artists – The Psychedelic Years Vol.6

One interesting factor regarding archive releases has been the amount of demos and acetate recordings that have surface. For those who have not heard of an acetate, they are discs that look like vinyl records but they are not and they are not accurately named because an acetate disc does not contain any acetate. They are an aluminium disc covered in a nitrocellulose lacquer. An engraving machine is used to transfer the recording on to the disc. This process was more common before the widespread use of magnetic tape but it was also used by musicians to take a copy of what they had produced in the studio home with them, either to hear what the song sounded like on their turntables or as a way of shopping that song around to labels and/or music publishers.

The most famous acetate recording is arguably ‘It Might As Well Rain Until September’ by Carol King. King had written the song with her then husband, Gerry Goffin for Bobby Vee. However, Vee’s management did not want to release the song as a single but Don Kirshner, music publisher and the man behind The Monkeys heard Kings’ version and released it on his Dimension record label. The record was a reasonable hit in the USA and quite a big one in the UK, but the song was not recorded to tape. It was a demo recorded to acetate which is why it does not sound as good compared to other recordings of the era, especially in the digital age. 

For some artists, the only evidence that they recorded anything could well be an acetate because even though they have made the original recording to tape, that might have been wiped or lost in the years since. Even for well known artists, acetates can be the source of an interesting recording, be it and alternative mix or otherwise lost recording. However, acetates are not designed for heavy use and the lacquer starts to wear out after about ten plays. Modern technology can only do so much to improve the sound but it has been great to at least have the opportunity to hear recordings that would otherwise have been lost. 

This, Volume 6 in my look at the Psychedelic Years, includes many recordings that were taken from demos and acetates. One of the rare exceptions that isn’t is ‘Love Make Sweet Music’ by Soft Machine. The reason for that is down to the sound of the recording fitting better here than my usual compilations. Many of these tracks come from the ‘Psychedelic Schlemiels’ series which sought out recordings from bands who were all but unknown to anyone who did not have extensive knowledge of obscure names on gig posters for venue listings from the music papers from the era. Another source for tracks was the compilations released by RPM that looked at artists signed to Apple Music. The rest are made up of bonus tracks from band specific archive releases and the awesome Jesse Harper album (real name Doug Jerebine) ‘Guitar Absolution In The Shade Of A Midnight Sun’, arguably one of the great lost albums of any era. 

Out of the all of the bands represented on this compilation, most disappeared in obscurity but not all. Soft Machine, one of the pioneers of prog rock as well as jazz fusion and The Iveys, who changed their name to Badfinger had some success during their lifetimes. There are some rough diamonds to be found in these recordings but it is important to remember that the source of the majority of these recordings come from sources with plenty of surface noise. 

Side A

  1. Jug-A Jug Song – Jesse Harper
  2. Come On Up – Carley Hill Blues Band
  3. Broken Man – Peanut Rubble
  4. Helen Doesn’t Care – Penny Peeps
  5. Do What You Must – Tintern Abbey
  6. Great Shadowy Orange – Jade Hexagram
  7. Try Me On For Size – Those Fadin’ Colours
  8. Love Makes Sweet Music – Soft Machine
  9. Mirror – Coconut Mushroom
  10. Second Generation Woman – The Factory
  11. Brace New Lights – Phoenix
  12. You Can Run – The Majority
  13. Great Ideas – Jigsaw
  14. Our Love Will Be Strong – The Majority
  15. Magic Time – The Flies
  16. Will I Find Love – Fire
  17. Sunshine Help Me – Carley Hill Blues Band
  18. Sad Sad Sad – Sheridan’s Bitter Sweet
  19. I Think I’ll Say – Airbus
  20. Thinking Pictures – Rawlings & Huckstep
  21. In The Sunset – Barnaby Rudge
  22. Dark Star – Pussyfoot
  23. Maybe Tomorrow – The Iveys
  24. As He Sees Them – The Intruders
  25. Sitting In The Sun – Cellophane Cloud

Side B

  1. An Apple A Day – The U (Don’t) No Who
  2. Blow Up – Those Fadin’ Colours
  3. Just A Dream – Peanut Rubble
  4. Blues News – Jesse Harper
  5. Sailing – Joker
  6. Wax Candle – Haverson Apricot
  7. Uncle Henry’s Magic Garden – David Matthews
  8. How It Is – John Pantry
  9. How Does It Feel – The Perishers
  10. You & Me Baby – The Obscured Rays
  11. Sunshine Train – The Mirror
  12. Something New Everyday – Timon
  13. Sister Saxophone – Turquoise
  14. In The Park – The Cortina’s
  15. Live For The Sun – Phoenix
  16. I’ve Been There Once Before – The Iveys
  17. Childplay – Sweet Marriage
  18. Somebody Save Me – Paradox
  19. Ginny Stop – West Coast Consortium
  20. This Little Man – Grapefruit
  21. Crushed Purple – Jade Hexagram
  22. I (Who Had Nothing) – Herbal Remedy
  23. Together – The Montanas
  24. Shadow Man – Schadel
  25. Who Is The Man (Death) – Cellophane Cloud

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.