Sunday, 25 January 2009

A Psychedelic Union

"Strange memories on this nervous night in Las Vegas. Has it been five years? Six? It seems like a lifetime, the kind of peak that never comes again. San Francisco in the middle sixties was a very special time and place to be a part of. But no explanation, no mix of words or music or memories can touch that sense of knowing that you were there and alive in that corner of time and the world. Whatever it meant.

There was madness in any direction, at any hour. You could strike sparks anywhere. There was a fantastic universal sense that whatever we were doing was right, that we were winning.
And that, I think, was the handle - -that sense of inevitable victory over the forces of Old and Evil. Not in any mean or military sense; we didn't need that. Our energy would simply prevail. We had all the momentum; we were riding the crest of a high and beautiful wave. So now, less than five years later, you can go up on a steep hill in Las Vegas and look West, and with the right kind of eyes you can almost see the high-water mark - that place where the wave finally broke and rolled back

-Hunter S. Thompson, Fear & Loathing In Las Vegas, 1971

Can days such as these ever make a return? A youth movement interested in being alive more than anything else. Whats left of it all outside of the same odd fearful fiction of those pulp books above? Did it ever really exist at all? Anymore than this ubiquitous +++GLOBAL ECOMONIC DOWNTURN+++? How much does it really cost to have a good time? What price happiness?
I'm going to write a letter to Emperor Obama to see if we can't get those good times they've got locked up in the Pentagon basement loose.

Psychedelic Woman-Honny & The Bees Band

Psychedelic Man-De Frank & His Professionals

Thursday, 8 January 2009

Opium Flower

In late 2002 John Peel played 'Opium Flower' by Cass McCombs A LOT. I remember a couple of repeat plays near midnight as i lay in bed in the dark recording it on cassette.

The name of who was doing the song i didn't get, it sounded good, Kassma Cooms? Cazz Mac Ooms? I imagined it was a band of Velvets obsessed waistrels, maybe in a garage in Glasgow...or a basement in New York...that was what i loved about listening to radio late at night then, he'd play something totally unheard and all you got was a name & the song, who these people might be and all the rest of it was up to you to imagine.

Then i bought the E.P. 'Not The Way' by, as it turned out, Cass McCombs. And it was fine. I wrote a fanzine back then and wanted to interview him. After being in regular contact with a chap called Brian Pork-Leg at Monitor Records it didn't happen because Cass was working in a New York Deli 12 hours a day and was real hard to get in touch with. Cooooooooooool.

I used to play my cassette recording off Peel as I drove 6 hours a day up & down the M1 delivering photographs & picking up films from odd middle aged men in knitted jumpers, singing this most of the day. This & 'I Could Drive Forever' by Smog. I never made in-roads to contacting Smog though, i couldn't think what to ask.

'Opium Flower'-Cass McCombs (From the 'NOT THE WAY' e.p. ,Monitor Records, 2002)

'I Could Drive Forever'-Smog (From 'Knock, Knock', Domino, 1999)

A Group Called Smith

Smith were:

Gayle McCormick - Lead Vocals
Larry Moss - Hammond B-3 & Kazoo
Jerry Carter - Bass
Robert Evans - Drums
Rich Cliburn - Lead Guitar

Strange how this lot never made great waves. They seemed to have it all, not least in the soaring blue-eyed soul vocals of Gayle McCormick, who was also, i'm sure it won't escape your attention, red hot.

Information is pretty scarce on detailed history, and it probably wouldn't be that fascinating if it was available to cut & paste here. This much i know-they recorded two cracking LP's- 'A Group Called Smith' in 1969 & 'Minus-Plus' in 1970.
The US Top 5 hit they had with 'Baby Its You' & the version of 'The Weight' on the soundtrack of Easy Rider should have been the springboards to massive success but...ah well...they still knocked out some stormers, heres the closing tracks off boths LP's.....

Minus-Plus-Smith (From 'Minus-Plus' 1970)

Mojaleskey Ridge-Smith (From 'A Group Called Smith'1969)

Live TV appearance in 1969:

Sunday, 4 January 2009

Sick & Saccharine

I need taking to the vets. Sick as a pike for over a week now. Slept into a new year. My lungs feel like they're full of ashes. I'm on my second pack of Peach & Raspberry Soothers today, they're pretty good. With those and the mixture of pills and sweet medicine i'm in a very odd place, waking at around 04.18 every morning with the roaring heaves before bringing on the sugar rush treatments.

And here are todays sugar rush treatments.

Simple Man-Graham Nash

Lets Pretend-The Raspberries

I Don't Believe In Miracles-Colin Blunstone

Chestnut Mare-The Byrds