Writing about music is like dancing about architecture

Wednesday, 19 October 2011

Exploito # 12 - Crystal Blue Persuasion and Other Sounds of Today with Vocals by the Orange Grove

Welcome back for more recycled budget label cash-in fun.
This time we have ...... well its not really clear who we have as this record doesn't seem to have a band name on it.
Of course the vocals are attributed to the Orange Groove (geddit!). Can we assume that this means that this is the name of the band? Or maybe its the Sounds of the New Generation, or perhaps this is what you listen to if you are part of the new generation?
I'm confused!
And haven't we seen those happy fuggers before somewhere? Of course we have. We've seen them here and here. This will be the last time we meet them. I promise. Unless anyone can point me in the direction of any more covers with them on, and then we might have a reunion party!
Anyway, this is one of the best of this kind of record and if you pass one in your travels I suggest you pick it up. My copy came from the same place as my copy of the Black Diamonds. Initially I didn't even know that his was another Animated Egg record. I was in a for a pleasant surprise.
The record kicks off with the the title track Crystal Blue Persuasion a hit in 1969 for Tommy James and the Shondells. According to Tommy James the song was inspired by the bible but for many in California is seemed to be referring to drugs and I am sure its that angle that our exploito kings at Somerset were hoping innocent record buyers would pick up on.
Not being very familiar with the original version I have to say that I quite like the version on this record. Its quite calming in a folky kind of way.
Next is the amazing A Bad Trip Back to '69 which is from the 101 Strings Astro Sounds record which in turn is a version of Down Down and Gone from the Animated Egg LP but with added strings. I love this song. Here it is from the 101 Strings record. I'm not sure but I think that the version on this record is slightly more fuzzed out!

Next is Can't You See I'm Right . When I first heard this song I that is sounded very much like a real band. There was something about the way it was played, something I couldn't quite really put my finger on that just seemed, for want of a better word 'real'.
I was first made aware that it appears on this record:

Now if this bunch on the sleeve don't look like a fake band then I'm a monkey's uncle, I said to myself. Sure enough Can't You See I'm Right appears unchanged from this record.
It rather a nice, unassuming record in a slightly folk-rock vein.
So, Doctor Marigold's Prescription aren't real?
According to this site they are. click here and read the comments as well
I'm not in the slightest bit surprised to see that there is a Marble Arch connection. After all so many Alshire/Somerset records appeared on Marble Arch as well. I guess that the flow of records went both ways but typically the musicians from Doctor Marigolds Prescription never knew about their record being sold in the US and never received a penny!
Down Home Baby sounds like a Mustang out-take and I am sure that if I spent enough time I could track it down - but life is just too short.
The first side closes with the amazing Street King. I can't imagine where this song came from. Imagine a girl group Spector-ish record but with the girl's voices sped up to Chipmunks levels - its that crazy. Slashing electric guitar and Mo Tucker style drumming back the squeaky voices as they tell a story of unrequited love for a young road racer who "Doesn't take it from no one, yeah". You just know it will end badly. "The Street King talks about far off places" - of course he does! Some off beam harmonies and basic drumming fade out this absolutely remarkable track.
Side opens with Sockerina which we've come across before on the Sock It To Me LP and on the Now Generation record. Recycling at its best. Rinky dink organ noises from our man Paul Griffin. Don't spend too long on this one.
Now we have The Land of Fusan by Dr Marigold's Persuasion. I like this song very much. I reminds me of Cat Stevens circa Tea for the Tillerman. Escape from the horrors of the contemporary world to an imaginary place with beautiful animals - how very hippy. It has a lovely mandolin part which I like very much.
Poppy's to be Picked is a countrified affair that quickly overstays its welcome. Not good.
Troubled Mind is another intriguing song. Funky bass, fuzzy guitar and words about the world being saved by love this is something you can imagine in a movie being played while the heroes dance in an underground night club. Its so funky it seems unlike anything on an exploito record. There's even a cool breakdown. Its helped enormously by the double tracked vocals.
And finally More Than Now. Female singers, perhaps the same as the ones from Street King but this time without the speed-up sing in an almost hymnal way about wanting more. Its lovely stuff and completely unexpected. But then this record is completely unexpected. Every track is unlike its predecessor and not what, even someone like me who's listened to many such record, one expects.
I would like to think that there was a mad genius behind the song selection, someone who had a master plan. Unfortunately I fear that the record's success is as much down to chance than anything else. Which is the beauty of the record.