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Various Artists - 2020 - “A Band For All Seasons”

(Fruits de Mer Records, 4 CD set)


Track list:

CD1 1. The Past Tense - Magic In The Air (originally by The Attack : recorded 1967) 2. Anton Barbeau – Sunshine Superman (originally by Donovan : VERY late 1965!) 3. Campbell Stokes Sunshine Recorder - Amelia Jane (originally by Made In Sheffield : 1967) 4. LoveyDove - Bedazzled (originally by Drimble Wedge and the Vegetations : 1967) 5. Jack Ellister - Aquarius (originally by The Zodiac:Cosmic Sounds : 1967) 6. Rob Gould - Granny Takes A Trip (originally by The Purple Gang : 1967) 7. Mark McDowell - Up The Wooden Hills To Bedfordshire (originally by The Small Faces : 1966) 8. The Electric Prunes - 7 and 7 is (originally by Love : 1966) 9. Moonweevil - Child Of The Sky (originally by The Deviants : 1967) 10. Kris Gietkowski - A-Minor Explosion (originally by Don Shinn : 1966) 11. Jay Tausig - Time Has Told Me (originally by Nick Drake : 1968) 12. Starlings Planet - The Story (originally by Please : 1968) 13. Bhopal's Flowers - I Feel Free (originally by Cream : 1966) 14. Spygenius - Paper Sun / Love Is Only Sleeping (originally by Traffic / The Monkees : 1967) 15. The Jeremy Band - Pictures Of Matchstick Men (originally by Status Quo : 1968) 16. Cat Frequency - Flameout (originally by 101 Strings : 1968) 17. The Yardbirds - Think About It (live in 2016) (originally by The Yardbirds : 1968)

CD2 1. The Locker Room Cowboys - We Love You (originally by The Rolling Stones : 1967) 2. King Penguin - White Bird (written in 1967, released by It's A Beautiful Day : 1969) 3. Aunt Cynthia's Cabin - Solitary Man (originally by Neil Diamond : 1966) 4. The Luck Of Eden Hall - Reflected (originally by Alice Cooper : 1968) 5. The Honey Pot - Kites (written by Hackaday/Pockriss; recorded by The Rooftop Singers / Simon Dupree and the Big Sound : 1967) 6. London Underground - Mercy, Mercy, Mercy (originally by Cannonball Adderley : 1966) 7. Mysterious Clouds featuring Your Friend - Mobius Trip (originally by H.P. Lovecraft : 1968) 8. Permanent Clear Light - Refugees (originally by Van Der Graaf Generator : 1969) 9. Cary Grace - 1983...(A Merman I Should Turn To Be) (originally by the Jimi Hendrix Experience : 1968) 10. Echo Train - Portland '69 (originally by Hunger : 1969) 11. Moon Goose - It Ain't True (originally by Faine Jade : 1967) 12. July - My Clown (live in 2016) (originally by July : 1968)

CD3 1. Sidewalk Society - A Saying For Today (originally by The Action : 1968) (4:04) 2. Jay Tausig - Let No Man Steal Your Thyme (trad. recorded by Anne Briggs : 1963 / Pentangle : 1968) 3. Magic Bus - Tribal Gathering (originally by The Byrds : 1967) 4. Proud Peasant - Down At Circe's Place (originally by Touch : 1968) 5. Icarus Peel's Acid Reign - Beck's Bolero (originally by Jeff Beck Group : 1966) 6. The Green Ray - Dusty (originally by John Martyn : 1968) 7. Ex Norwegian - Winter (originally by Family : 1968) 8. Consterdine - Fly (originally by J.K. & Co : 1968) 9. The Gold Needles - The Smell of Incense (originally by West Coast Pop Art Experimental Band : 1967) 10. I Am Voyager 1 - I Never Asked To Be Your Mountain (originally by Tim Buckley : 1967) 11. Elfin Bow & Gary Lloyd - Autumn Stone (originally by The Small Faces: 1968) 12. The Telephones - I Can Hear The Grass Grow (originally by The Move : 1967) 13. Fuchsia - See Emily Play (originally by Pink Floyd : 1967) 14. The Purple Gang - Boon Tune (originally by Syd Barrett : 1967) 15. Mr.Armageddon and the Suicide Society - We Are Normal (originally by The Bonzo Dog Doo-Dah Band : 1968) 16. Vert:x - Emotions (originally by Love : 1966)

CD4 1. Chad and Jeremy - Rest In Peace (unplugged) (originally by Chad and Jeremy : 1967) 2. Schizo Fun Addict - Dedicated To The One I Love (originally by The "5" Royales : 1957 / The Mamas and The Papas : 1967) 3. Hanford Flyover - Just Another Day (originally by Neon Pearl : 1967) 4. Us and Them - What Did You Do To My Life (originally by Neil Young: 1968) 5. Nathan Hall - Please Read Me (demo) (originally by the Bee Gees: 1967) 6. Cat Frequency - Ski-ing (originally by George Harrison : 1968) 7. The Alain Pire Experience - Only A Northern Song (originally by the Beatles : 1967) 8. Cranium Pie - Baby You're A Rich Man (originally by The Beatles : 1967) 9. LoveyDove - Gently As You Feel (originally by The Flies : 1967) 10. Crystal Jacqueline Acoustic Band - Granchester Meadows (originally by Pink Floyd : 1969) 11. Back Street Carnival - Pretty Song from 'Psych-Out' (originally by The Strawberry Alarm Clock : 1968) 12. Claudio Cataldi with Aldo Ammirata - White Light, White Heat (originally by the Velvet Underground : 1968) 13. The Lemon Clocks - Crimson & Clover (originally by Tommy James & The Shondells : 1968) 14. Marc Brierley - Welcome To The Citadel (solo in 2018) (originally by Marc Brierley : 1968) 15. I Am Voyager 1 - Sky Children (originally by Kaleidoscope : 1967) 16. The Pretty Things - Loneliest Person (live in 2010) (originally by The Pretty Things : 1968

I really have no idea even where to start with this review as musically, and sonically, it is huge! In 2018 Fruits de Mer Records released a triple vinyl set called 'The Three Seasons – songs from 1966-68', and now they have extended the remit to include songs from 1969 and have greatly expanded the original. What we have here now is 61 songs, a whopping 4 hours and 39 minutes in length, and every single one of them is an absolute gem. Some stay incredibly true to the original and could almost be “lost” recordings given the authenticity of the sound and instrumentation being provided, while others have been taken into new areas.

Some of those involved in this set were there the first time around, some are known to me from other releases, while the vast majority are new to me and every single one is a delight. In the near future I will be working through the releases of Cary Grace and reviewing five of her albums, including the recent ‘Lady of Turquoise’, but here she makes an appearance with a full-length version of Hendrix’s “1983...(A Merman I Should Turn To Be)”. Not only does she have balls to attempt it, but the result is both a homage and a revision of the original with her delicate vocals in full control and the guitars just right. My old friend Jeremy Morris, who I have been writing about for well in excess of 20 years, is here with The Jeremy Band and a wonderfully evocative version of Status Quo’s “Pictures of Matchstick Men”. I have always loved Quo’s early material, almost as much as their Seventies heyday, but it is often overlooked in the UK due to the heavy influx of denim and boogie which became the mainstay of their sound. What about Elfin Bow & Gary Lloyd with their delicate take on “Autumn Stone”, simple piano and a slight reverb on the vocals, or “Us and Them” with the stupendous “What Did You Do To My Life” and layered vocals? Normally when I moan about a release being a review-killer it is because it prevents me from listening to other things as it is just so good, and I want to listen to the album again and again, but in this instance that is exacerbated by also being a release which is the best part of 300 minutes long!

Normally when I have finished reviewing an album it gets gently placed to one side and is rarely listened to again, just because there are always new releases to listen to, new music to write about which needs my attention. This time around all that is going to happen is it is going to be moved from my review pile to my essential pile, as this is an album I need to keep with me and continue playing as it is sheer joy from the beginning to the very end. Talking of the end, The Pretty Things finish proceedings with Dick Taylor accompanying Phil May with a live version of “Loneliest Person” which they originally recorded on ‘S.F. Sorrow” back in 1968. It really is the perfect finish to a simply amazing compilation. BTW, as I write this it is available for just Pound Sterling 15 including P&P from the label, so what are you waiting for? Expand your brain today. This is a limited edition, and as I write there are just 20 left so get in today!

Progtector: March 2020

Related Links:

Fruits de Mer Records


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