Writing about music is like dancing about architecture

Wednesday, 5 January 2011

Exploito psych #2 - 101 Strings - Astro Sounds Beyond the Year 2000

I've never been clear why this record seemed like a good idea at the time.
I mean, here you are running Crown and later Alshire, both cheap exploitation record companies and you get your hands of the original masters on some great west coast psych by Jerry Cole, intended for the Id album but never released.
So you do the obvious thing and put it out on record and give it a stupid 'hippy' name - the Animated Egg.
But what weird chain of thought do you go through that leads you to think that you can add strings, give it a space age feel and sell it to middle American 101 Strings buyers? Maybe they thought that times had moved on and people were ready for something different.
Well, something different was exactly what they got.
All of the Animated Egg tracks appear here - just with different names. Overdubbed on each one are some, frankly, freaky string arrangements. Amazingly it works!
In my opinion Astro Sounds is a better record than either the Inner Sounds of the Id or the Animated Egg.
Maybe those wacky guys in charge of Alshire Records did know what they were doing!

The spirit of the age was obviously catching, because in the same year Alshire released 101 Strings - Sounds of Today.
Although it has nothing to do with the Animated Egg it does have some great covers and some very good originals (Stone Baroque, Karma Sitar, Blues for the Guru and Strings for Ravi) by Monty Kelly who would arrange most of the best 101 Strings records in the sixties. These tracks would reappear on a number of other records - some of which we will meet in later posts!
I love this record. I love the wildly over the top covers of MOR standards. The imaginative mix of strings and small 'pop' group sounds. It a great record all the way through.

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