Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Fools On The Hill 22: Fabulously Fake Freakouts – 25 wannabe psychedelic tunes from all over the world

At last! The New Foth series is getting online. In our search for more 60's scenes and genres, we selected the exploito - psych or psych exploitation style as our first subject. When I started listening to "Garage" music a few decades (!) ago, I wasn't aware that some of the coolest stuff I was digging was fake. If truth be known, it doesn't really matter, it just sounds too good, specially when frolicking nude in an Alpine river, under the influence.
What makes something "psych exploitation"? We decided on 5 possibilities: records done by studio sharks (usually for a dollar-bin record company), bands where none (or so few) of the original members remain at the time of recording, producer or band projects that clearly try to jump on a bandwagon, records done by bands so ashamed of what they're doing, they prefer to use a pseudo name and finally, movie score music, usually linked to some exploitation B-Movie, exploiting the hot themes of the 60's (drug, sex, bikers, hippies, or any combination thereof). There were some tough cases: for example, we didn't include The Deep's "Psychedelic Moods", it didn't fit any of the above rules: that record is an UFO, probably the first explicitly psychedelic record… so can't really be exploito. Nor did we include Davie Allan: he can be credited for starting the whole Movie Biker genre, check the definitive compilation of the style here. A heartbreaking task, but it must be said: Psych exploitation is a land where the pick of the crop is far and few between, hence the long wait for this comp. While most of the Expoito Lp are so bad you can't listen to them twice, the ones we selected have an excellent audio quality as, one way or the other, some studio pros were involved in the making. For us dedicated followers of fashion, a vast majority of the music in this comp is easily detected as wannabe chart makers trying to ride the wave (Hey, Psychedelia was the "Next Big Thing" then!). I don't think that it mattered then and it certainly doesn't matter now. We tried to arrange most of the songs in this comp in chronological order (what a headache!) so you actually get to experience the artistic slide from "Let's be psychedelic, guys" to "Hey, Man, let's be far out!" Enjoy!
I also couldn't resist showing you the covers… some of the best (or worst) psychedelic art around.

Get your rare and bizarre psychedelic songs with weird vocals, a lot of fuzz guitar, garage-band rhythms, and freaky covers HERE!

Track listing:
1 – Sunset And Clark – The Leathercoated Minds from the fictious A Trip Down The Sunset Strip LP movie. (1967)
Fake music for a fake film, a very young J.J. Cale plays on this.

2 - Psyched - Out - The Ventures from Super Psychedelics LP (1967)
Even the Ventures felt the need to be slightly hipper… surf was out, psych was in.

3- Skip To My Mary Lu – Stu Phillips from Hell's Angels On Wheels (1966)
Also exists as "Skip to my Mary J" (recorder by The Poor, same guy), oh so subtle double-entendre for wannabe Hippies.

4- Fendabenda - Friar Tuck And His Psychedelic Guitar (1967)
This has the hand (and voice) of Curt Boettcher all over it, and it features Mike Deasy, heavy L.A. session cat and sometime-member of Phil Spector's Wrecking Crew on guitar, musical arrangements and producing…A really odd combination of gonzo guitar soloing and the Living Voices on acid.

5 - Naked Angels Theme - Randy Steirling From the Naked Angels Movie score. (1966)
Not Davie Allan under disguise, Studio Cat Randy Steirling rips on that tune. I mean NAKED angels… really?

6 - The Trip - The Fire Escape (1967) from the PSychotic reaction LP (1967)
This mind-blowing psychedelic garage collection was put together by the legendary Kim Fowley and Michael Lloyd (October Country, West Coast Pop Art Experimental Band, Smoke) in San Francisco, 1967. Comprising of "far out" covers of garage songs, the album's personnel remains a mystery, though it's rumoured to feature involvement from The Seeds' Sky Saxon and Steppenwolf's Mars Bonfire.

7 - Boil the kettle, mother - The ID from The inner Sound of the ID LP (1967)
Probably the best Exploito project. So good, it might also be one of the best psych LP…
Bandleader, Jerry Cole started with, "The Champs" (Tequila, anyone?). The members of the group were all playing with other groups and as studio musicians, but, came together to rehearse, develop and build the album. When things didn't work out trying to promote the LP, the musicians went their separate ways. This LP was way ahead of its time and is one of Exploito Psych greatest gem.

8 - The War For My Mind - The Mesmerizing Eye from the A Musical Lightshow LP 81967)
This is about as psychedelic as it gets. Trippy stuff my man. Created by two producers Larry Goldberg and Hank Levine with a few studio freak musicians. Its got it all baby, fuzzed out guitars, sound effects galore and lots of random brain sizzle.

9 - Psychedelic Vibrations - The Underground from the Psychedelic Visions LP (1967)
Great exploito album by a faceless bunch of session hacks. Psych for ageing surf heads that couldn't come to terms with the acid era. Suzi-Q gets the treatment here.

10 - Behind the mind - The Freak Scene from Psychedelic Psoul LP (1967)
Very similar tho' not as exceptional as The Deep's "Psychedelic Moods" LP, which was a recording studio only project of Rusty Evans. Supposedly members of The Deep are playing on the Freak Scene album, as this is another of Rusty's projects. The Freak
Scene LP is one of those albums where the "great stuff" is truly great, and the "awful stuff" is indeed truly pretty awful.

11 - Kyrie Eleison - The Electric Prunes from Mass In F Minor LP (1968)
Or rather what's left of The Prunes under the ruling hand of producer Dave Axelrod… HArd luck: it was to be their greatest success!

12- Something's wrong with Bokaj - Bokaj Retsiem from Psychedelic Underground LP (1968)
A german singer with an obsession for the lullaby "Meister Jakob" (hint, hint) tries to stretch a bad trip for the length of a full LP… Not. Educational but scary.

13 - Flash' bam' pow' - The Electric Flag - from the Trip Movie score. (1967)
Established band needs extra cash and contributes to exploito movie in order to give it a bit of street cred. Embarrasing for them but fun.

14 - Aries-The Fire Fighter - Mort Garson From the Zodiac cosmic sounds LP (1967)
Dave Axelrod look alike Mort Garson produces an entire Lp based on zodiac signs… Pay attention to the lyrics: the label says "Must Be Played In The Dark!"

15 - Sock It My Way - The Animated Egg - from the Animated Egg LP (1968)
Really, it's the ID tracks without vocals. How to make the most of a session. Still one of the best Psych instrumental out there.

16 - Karma Sitar - 101 Strings Orchestra from Astro Sounds From Beyond The Year 2000 LP (1968)
Budget Label buys the ID sessions (again!) and adds strings to them. Goofy but nevertheless a classic Exploito album.

17 - Utterly simple - Traffic - from Here We Go 'Round The Mulberry Bush movie score (1968)
Traffic should have known better than recording songs for that score. They could have at least hidden their name. Interesting sitar ditty from a very forgettable film.

18 - Eight Miles High - the Folkswingers - Raga Rock (1968)
They're really not the Byrds, but why create when you can imitate and, hey, it's got some sitar on it!

19 - Voyage Of The Trieste - The Chocolate Watch Band from The Inner Mystique LP (1968)
Was it really the Chocolat Watch Band? Not even the singer is left in the band. Still one of exploito's best result.

20 - Expo in sound - T Swift & The Electric Bag from Are You Experienced ? LP (1968)
Don't let Jimmi get away! No one besides the folks who made Are You Experienced? knew exactly who T. Swift, let alone his Electric Bag, was. And it's a good thing. Another dollar bin LP to cash in the sudden Hendrix (and others) success.

21 - Free Fuzz - Firebirds from the Light my Fire LP (1969)
The Firebirds or the 30 Flavors? - we will probably never know. Not that it matters. From all accounts this isn't even a real band. Just a group of studio muscians cramed in a studio to make a quick buck on the wild and untamed youth and their endless hord of disposable income. Blue Cheer, here we come.

22 - Fying - Braen's Machine from Underground LP (1971)
Italy gets into the game. An ex-Morricone sideman teams up with a friend for this Exploito psych prog LP. Not as bas as my spelling.

23 - Courante - Hell's Preachers Inc. from Supreme Psychedelic Underground (1968)
This has all the right catchwords in the title, but the music is a session players' offering. One of the better period exploito albums. Rumour has it it was Deep Purple in disguise, but the singer has a strong german accent. Go figure.

24 - Microchaos - Blue Phantom from Distortions LP (1971)
A popular album among european psych and prog collectors, Distortions was released in Italy in 1971, along with a single, by a group of unknown studio musicians.

25 - Revolution - Head Shop from The Head Shop LP (1969)
Similar in spirit to Arthur Brown. Intensely psychedelic, high energy and feverish with far more hot tracks than some famous albums. The version of the Beatles' Revolution is far better than the original!

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Fools On The Hill: New series soon to be up

FOTH Volume 23: A last splash of colors marks the end of the original FOTH series that was sold as CDs way back when it was fashionable. The new series which we will post shortly is designed as a continuation and aims to cover all the other scenes and genres we missed the first time around. We will start with Volume 22: Faboulusly Fake Freakouts, centering on exploitation psych, Volume 23 will showcase the best of the Pre-Kraut style and Volume 24 will introduce you to the wonders of the Sitar. Further Volumes are planned with European Beat Explosion, French Yé-Yé and Weird Hippie Shit as subjects.
Stay tuned for more Rock 'n' Roll!

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Fools On The Hill 21: A last Splash of Colours - 19 fabulous mid-60's POP Masterpieces that time forgot

Sorry for the late post – we need holidays too! This nifty pop compilation is the last volume in the original FOTH series published on CD. Don't worry: we have 3 other Internet-only volumes ready to be published when we resume our normal rythm and we will keep up making them.
True to Sylvain's POP sensibility, this (not so) last splash of colours features songs that really should have made a dent on the charts… but didn't. No snarling vocals here, but a rather subdued and mellow sound that served as godfather to the future 70's powerpop scene. It also ends with one of my all-time fave "I go to sleep", which showcases how much Chrissie Hind defaced the song when she was given it by her then-husband… hard to beat a Davies!

Making these comps does take a while and we will put up another series to fill in the gaps… the incredible Psichodelicias compilations, handwrought way back when email was cutting edge technology, by the same team who brought you FOTH. Psichodelicias is centered on the (then) little-known South-American garage scene, all ripped from original 7". You'll be in for a surprise, even if the savage scene from Peru and the mellow hipsters from Brazil are better known today. It is also under study that we start the Incredible Sound Show series, with a few unknown volumes… Wait and See.

Get your little POP masterpieces here.

Track Listing:
1●Randy Fuller ●It’s love, come that way (USA)
2●Jerry J. Nixon ●Miss Lonely (USA)
3●? & the Mysterians ●Love me baby (USA)
4●Elli ●That’s what they say (UK)
5●The Clefs of Lavender Hill ●So I’ll try (USA)
6●Herman’s Hermits ●Upstairs, downstairs (UK)
7●C.A Quintet ●Blow to my soul (USA)
8●The Critters ●Don’t let the rain fall down on me (USA)
9●The Conquests ●Is it right ? (USA)
10 ●West Coast Pop Art Experimental Band ●Transparent day (USA)
11 ●The Cyrkle ●Don’t cry, no fears no tears comin’ your way (USA)
12 ●Nirvana ●The touchables (all of us) (UK)
13 ●West Coast Pop Art Experimental Band ●She may call you up tonight (USA)
14 ●We The People ●Half of Wednesday (USA)
15 ●The Zombies ●Girl help me (UK)
16 ●The End ●Dady loves baby (UK)
17 ●Mike Furber & the Bowry Boys ●You stole my love (Australia)
18 ●The Mascots ● A sad boy (Sweden)
19 ●Kinks ●I go to sleep (unreleased demo) (UK)