Category Archives: UK

mighty baby

Mighty Baby
Mighty Baby – debut album artwork

Formerly known as The Action, this Mod band from London’s Kentish Town were reputedly the best band George Martin signed to the EMI label in the mid-Sixties.

As the musical landscape changed towards the latter half of the decade though, so did The Action, adopting more of a ‘West Coast’ psychedelic approach to their music. However, their deal with EMI was terminated prior to their last planned single could be released.

They continued recording various demos under the new guise of Azoth, these only finally being released in 1985 by Castle, as a mini-album, ‘Action Speaks Louder Than Words.’

Months of hard touring resulted in them finally signing to the small independent Head label in 1969 at which time they took on the name Mighty Baby.

Their debut, eponymous album was recorded but as so often seemed to have happened, the label went bust before any formal UK release – although a deal had been signed with Chess Records in USA who did make some copies available.

Suffice to say, copies of this album are pretty rare and exchange hands for several hundred pounds.

The album itself is a mix of quiet folk infused psychedelic tracks mixed with blues rock and prog rock, the highlight being, for me, the opening track on side one: ‘Egyptian Tomb,’ with its distinctive ‘eastern’ psychedelic sound.

Mighty Baby sound a quintessentially British ‘hippie’ type band, featuring a flute and sax, but not averse to breaking out into heavy riffs and rocking, boogie interludes.

Counting ex-Savoy Brown guitarist Martin Stone and future Ace founder Alan King in their number, they could also turn their hand to some excellent blues numbers like the following, ‘I’ve Been Down So Long.’

Continuing with the hard gigging ethos that brought them to this point, Mighty Baby spent the next two years on the Festival circuit and playing numerous radio and studio sessions. (They were the closing act on the first day of the famous Isle of Wight Festival in 1970.)

1971 saw the culmination of all this hard work with the release of the band’s second, and final album, ‘A Jug Of Love.‘ By this time, several members had turned to the Muslim faith, and the album, being more tranquil and wistful than their debut seems to reflect their new outlook on life.

Despite the critical acclaim, the album failed to shift in any great number and in autumn 1971, the band were forced to call it a day.

Mighty Baby

.

MIGHTY BABY

Alan King – Guitar / Vocals
Martin Stone – Lead Guitar / Slide Guitar
Michael Evans – Bass
Ian Whiteman – Flute / Organ / Sax / Piano / Percussion / Vocals
Roger Powell – Drums

TITLEFORMATYEARLABELNOTES
Mighty BabyLP1969Head
A Jug Of LoveLP1971Blue Horizon

man in the woods

Man! This is one LOUD band!

For the best part of fifty-two minutes, the power and maelstrom that is Man In The Woods raged around me. Yes, their new album, ‘Badlands ‘ runs to around fifty-two minutes – that’s a lot of bang for your buck, and I do mean ‘BANG.’

Man in the Woods

Formed in 2016, this four-piece heavy rock band from Isle of Man released their debut EP, ‘Badlands Part 1‘ in 2018. This consisted four tracks: ‘Icarus Landing‘; ‘Speedeater‘; ‘Toxicology,’ and ‘Angel of Gasoline.’

The intention was to write more tracks that would fit the narrative and release ‘Part 2’ at a later date. But of course, The World took a bit of a wrong turning and, well …

So now, with the additional five tracks written and recorded, the decision was taken to release both parts as one complete tale. Hence the longer than normal length of the new album.

‘Badlands’ album artwork.

In a sense, it was darkly ironic the pandemic and ensuing worldwide lockdown should delay the project. For the inspiration behind the music of Man In The Woods, is one of desolation; of depopulation; annihilation.

I hate to use the description ‘concept album’ because I think that may create an errant perception, but it is certainly ‘themed’ around the inspiration. in their own words:

” …  the album looks at the apocalypse which starts with an alien invasion documented in ‘Signals, Saucers and Satellites.’  The album is not in order of events and we chose to order the tracks in regards to the sound rather than the story.  In a way we have ended up with a Pulp Fiction, Citizen Kane narrative setup where sections of the story are not in order.  But both those films and the concept is quite cool.

“So once the world has been pretty much depopulated by the invasion we look at individual stories within the same universe that don’t all link into one another but set a scene.  If you imagine piecing together lots of letters written during WW1 in order to build up a picture of what people experienced, ‘Badlands’ does a similar thing.   ‘Trenchfoot‘ is about the soldiers going to war; ‘Iron Strider‘ is about a lone vigilante type character, like Mad Max, who seeks revenge; ‘Angel of Gasoline‘ is about a priest who sacrifices himself after he believes God has left him.  Over all each story hopefully leaves you feeling like it’s a shit environment to live.

Musically, Man In The Woods have been tagged with just about every ‘heavy’ music related hashtag: ‘stoner,’ ‘doom,’ ‘psych,’ ‘rock,’ ‘desert rock,’ ‘sludge,’ …. it doesn’t really matter. I’ll probably do the same at the end of this piece! Truth is, ‘Badlands‘ really encapsulates them all at various points.

In a nutshell, the music throughout is typified by Marc’s gruff, rasping and growled vocals laying over the top of a heavy and, yes, at times, doom-laden bass line. Christian’s pounding a crushing drums permeate every track, while James and David provide the powerful guitar riffs that drive, rhythm and share some intricate solos.

Album opener is ‘Icarus Landing.

‘Speedeater,’ to me sounds a bit like a sped-up ‘stoner’ track, if that makes any sense. ‘The Abduction of Barney Hill‘ follows. This is one of my favourite tracks on the album. Here’s why:

Philosorapture’ maintains the intensity and pace with a buzzing guitar riff, while ‘Toxicology,‘ slows things down a little as the mood seems to darken with more of a rumbling backing. ‘Trenchfoot‘ as you imagine with it being about soldiers being called to war, is angry and totally psyched up; ‘Angel of Gasoline‘ is the shortest, and I believe, the first song the band wrote together. It’s pretty straight up heavy rock, and rages from start to finish.

I’ve so far omitted tracks #5 and # 9. These are the two longest on the album. The former, ‘Iron Strider,’ breaches the ten minute mark, while closer ‘Signals, Saucers, Satellites‘ is only about thirty seconds shy of that.

I did initially wonder about having such lengthy tracks on an album of this overall duration. I needn’t have worried – they are my two favourites of the nine! (‘Iron Strider‘ just shades it, actually.)

Both, to the musically untrained ear at least,follow pretty much the same structure: with slow builds moving to heavy, steady paced mid sections, before picking up pace, bigger riffs and searing guitar towards the final two / three minutes.

And that’s it – and then there was silence.

Man In The Woods touch base with so many rock sub-genres on this album, I’m sure ‘Badlands’ will have such a wide appeal. You can check out the whole album from 29th July on Bandcamp.

Then you can buy it! And play it LOUD!

MAN IN THE WOODS

Marc Vincent – Bass / Vocals
James Oxtoby – Guitar
David Murray – Guitar
Christian Hardman – Drums

Man In The Woods

psychlona

I have a new favourite band!

‘1975’ – taken from the Psychlona’s latest album, due on August 19th 2022. (See below.)

I know – I say this just about every week – I’m so fickle. I’m a short-arse with even shorter attention span, but if there’s a band out there right now likely to grab my focus and lock it in a strangle-hold, then it’s Psychlona.

Formed in Bradford, England seven years ago, this is a band whose career is most definitely on a steeply upward trajectory. With two full length releases under their belt, I really don’t know how I’ve failed to hit upon their music before.

Psychlona are billed as a ‘stoner’ band, but that doesn’t do them proper justice. They have so much more in their locker. For instance, ‘Blast Off’ as you can hear, leans more to a ‘space rock’ vibe, with, I think shades of krautrock peeking through.

This track is taken from the band’s second album, ‘Venus Skytrip‘ which was released on Ripple Music / Cursed Tongue Records in 2020. On the same LP, there is the growling doom riffs on ‘10,000 volts’ and album closer, ‘The Owl’; the chugging, driving, heavy rock and infectious chorus of ‘Blow,‘ and the simple out-and-out rocker that I could envisage Motorhead playing – ‘Star.

And then there’s this, which just about covers all bases!

What initially attracted me to the music of Psychlona was this ability to meld various sub-genres of music, not only onto one LP, but at times within individual songs. On their debut album, ‘Mojo Rising‘ from 2018, opener ‘Stone‘ is pretty doom laden, but it also rocks along big time, mid-section. The following track though, ‘Ride‘ is much faster paced and believe it or not actually reminded me of The Damned and ‘Neat Neat Neat‘ with the throbbing bass line and vocals at the start of each verse. ( I know – I live in my own wee world sometimes.)

This though is what I’m getting at – Psychlona are not simply a ‘stoner’ band. Well,, they are … but you know what I mean. Their ability to move effortlessly between space rock, stoner, heavy rock and desert rock is certainly to be admired.

Psychlona

Now, having recently signed with Las Vegas label Psycho Waxx, the in-house label for the famous Psycho Las Vegas festival, Psychlona are set to embark upon a U.S. tour with other scene luminaries: Church of the Cosmic Skull; Black Box Revelation and Lord Buffalo. Dates include shows in Oakland; West Hollywood; Costa Mesa; Phoenix; San Diego, and winding up at the aforementioned festival in Las Vegas.

More! They have a new album due for release on August 19th. ‘Palo Verde‘ is their third album, and though I was fortunate enough to pre-order one of the remaining four from seven hundred Limited Edition vinyl copies, I have only yet heard the excellent ‘1975‘ which plays at the top of this post.

You know that feeling as a kid on the run-up to Christmas, or your birthday? Sometimes it never leaves you. Roll on August 19th!

1st album: ‘Mojo Rising’
2nd album: ‘Venus Skytrip’
3rd album: ‘Palo Verde’

Psychlona music can be bought / ordered / heard at their Bandcamp page – here.

PSYCHLONA

Phil Hey – Guitar / Vocals
Dave Wainfor – Guitar
Martyn Birchall – Bass
Scott Frankling – Drums

Psychlona

khan

(Post by John Allan from Bridgetown, Western Australia – July 2022.)

‘The Canterbury Tales’ – Geoffrey Chaucer

Whan that Aprille with his shoures soote,
The droghte of March hath perced to the roote,
And bathed every veyne in swich licóur
Of which vertú engendred is the flour

So wrote Geoffrey Chaucer in the prologue to his seminal work The Canterbury Tales between 1387-1400.

Fast forward some 600 years and lazy music critics coined the phrase The Canterbury Scene as all music, it seems, needs to be pigeonholed and labelled. Like all misnomer’s not every act associated with the movement had any real link to Canterbury. Case in point, the band Gong were formed in Paris which as far as I’m aware is not a suburb of any Kentish town or village.

It all came about in the mid sixties with local lads The Wilde Flowers who, when wilted, germinated into Soft Machine, Gong, Caravan, Egg, Matching Mole, Robert Wyatt, Hatfield and the North and National Health.

The whole Canterbury sound was a heady mix of psychedelia, anarchy, folkloric mythology, beat poetry and puns. Soft Machine is the title of a William Burroughs novel and Matching Mole a corruption of  machine molle, the french translation of Soft Machine. Perhaps a bit of a dig from sacked drummer Robert Wyatt. For Girls that Go Plump In The Night and Cunning Stunts were albums from Caravan. All terribly quirky and quintessentially English.

Steve Hillage

In among this bunch of posies was a young London born guitarist, Steve Hillage. While still at school, Hillage was in a band called Uriel with his keyboard playing chum Dave Stewart, not to be confused with the Eurythmics chappy. They were encouraged to change their name as it sounded too close to urine (or was someone taking the piss !) and so became Egg.

Hillage attended the University of Kent in Canterbury (there’s the link !) and jammed with local bands Caravan and Spirogyra, not to be confused with the smooth jazz outfit Spyro Gyra. He landed himself a record deal with Deram and set about putting a band, Khan, together. After a few incarnations, the line up for their only release Space Shanty were Hillage on guitars and vocals, former The Crazy World of Arthur Brown bassist and vocalist Nick Greenwood, fellow Egg alumni Stewart and drummer Eric Peachey.

KHAN: ‘Space Shanty.’

This 1972 release, in my humble opinion, is a progressive rocker’s wet dream. Long convoluted tracks with nonsensical lyrics, great guitar solos swaying from hard rock to jazz, luscious fuzzed organ and odd time signatures. The musicianship by all four players is commendable. Sadly there was to be no follow up.

Hillage moved on to Gong (in some French speaking corner of Kent no doubt) before becoming a solo artist.

Dave Stewart & Barbara Gaskin

Stewart formed Hatfield and the North then National Health. Along with former Zombie, Colin Blunstone he had a minor hit with What Became Of The Broken Hearted and It’s My Party with Barbara Gaskin.

Chaucer didn’t include a guitarist’s tale in his magnum opus. Nor a lute player or any other kind of musician either. In different times I’m sure he would have had a few kind words to say about Mr Hillage and his Khan clan.

Khan poster 1971

KHAN

Steve Hillage – Guitar / Vocals
Nick Greenwood – Bass / Vocals
Dave Stewart – Organ
Eric Peachey – Drums

TITLEFORMATYEARLABELNOTES
Space ShantyLP1972DeramTheir only album recording.

froggy & the ringes

Artwork by Jams Domestic from The Domestics

All right, I confess I know ‘jack’ about this band other than they kick serious ass. This could be a pretty short feature!

I stumbled across Froggy & The Ringes on Bandcamp and instantly felt compelled to help spread the word. When their new full length release ‘Ringe Rock Pond Scum’ appeared on the player, little did I realise the artwork was more an actual portrait of the band.

Ringe Rock Pond Scum’ – album cover

Yes – it apears the band do perform like this – hence not very much info is readily available. Indeed, their Discogs listing makes mention of the fact that they are a ‘mysterious UK garage punk band with several releases in unbelievable small quantities. No one ever bothered to put them in the discogs database. Five labels were needed to convince the band to release their first “major” release (300 copies) in November 2020.’

The natural reaction for some, would be to instantly condemn them to ‘novelty’ status. And let’s be honest it would cost a small fortune to hire a defence lawyer and successfully argue against that assertion, given the circumstantial evidence.

But wait! Check out the sounds! This is hardcore garage punk of the highest order – yeah even if it is a sort of ‘concept’ album based on pond life!

Growled vocals, most un-frog-like, rage over the old school, late ’70s punk driving bass and pounding drums. There’s also room for some whining, Stranglers-esque organ squeezed in amongst the chaos. It’s all so frantic. And wonderful!

I dare you not to tap your foot . Or at least nod your head.

‘Growin’ Grapes‘ opens with a sort of USA evangelist rant; ‘Tadpoles’ starts with the sound of gurgling water /tadpoles ‘talking,’ and ‘Fuck You, Kermit!’ contains the fantastically image inducing line “Oi! Oi! Ribbit! Ribbit! Oi! Oi! Ribbit! Ribbit!”

It’s just so silly, especially set against the anger of the ten songs on the album. It made me laugh, anyway.

But the bottom line for me is the music and energy. And in my book, if you can successfully combine genuinely excellent punk rock with a touch of humour, then you’re onto a winner!

Methinks these guys have been hiding their talent under a pond lily way too long.

honk

Honk.

I’m usually a bit reluctant to go out on a limb and make what inevitably turn out rash and ill considered predictions:

… my team will definitely win the league this season;

… this ‘music streaming’ thing will never catch on;

… Boris Johnson is telling the truth this time.

And here I go again, but I’m absolutely confident this time I won’t be left with egg on my face. You’re going to love Manchester six-piece band HONK. In fact, given time, I reckon they’ll become the new darlings of indie-based radio stations. And festivals.

As a token of my faith, I’ve even pre-ordered their forthcoming debut EP, ‘Grand Opening‘ which is due for release on 4th August. And this on the strength of of the only track so far made available, ‘Let the Dog See The Rabbit.’

(You can listen to the track on Bandcamp, here.)

‘Grand Opening’ EP

Describing themselves as a ‘trash can country’ outfit they remind me in a way of a mix between Alabama 3, The Nude Party and Glasgow band, ‘Jacob Yates & The Pearly Gate Lockpickers.’ (Yeah, it is kinda difficult on the basis of only one song, I know.)

Honk recently played The Flying Duck venue here in Glasgow. This was one of my favourite ‘alternative’ bars, with much the same vibe as The Old Hairdressers, where some years ago an unknown band with a distinctive sound graced the stage – Fat White Family.

And they didn’t do too badly, did they?

I have a similar feeling in my water!

Honk.

(I struggled to find much info on the band at this point, but will post an update once the EP has been fully released.)

cothel

Cothel.

On occasion, though, some bands and artists stand out even above the ‘good’ music. It’s hard to define, but some just have that extra ‘something.’

Cothel: on stage

This Liverpool based, psychedelic rock band may have only released three tracks to date, but I’ll stick my neck out right now and predict you’ll hear a lot more of Cothel. With band members from United States, Mexico, Korea, Norway and England, there’s a lot of diverse influences being brought to bear in their music – and it seems to be working a treat.

Latest release, ‘And You Know’ is a slow burning, psych anthem with prog tendencies, moving through different moods and levels of intensity. This is not one to be judged from listening on your phone. It really should be belted out with the benefit of at least half decent speakers for the full effect. It’s also a ‘grower,’ so don’t be too quick to judge either. It has yet another different feel to the first two tracks released by the band last year, illustrating the band’s versatility.

https://cothel.bandcamp.com/track/and-you-know

When You’re Insanely High‘ was Cothel’s second release, in November 2021. It’s an eclectic mix of rock riffs and funky beats, delivered with spiky, punk attitude. Think along the lines of a heavier version of Adequate 7 from the early noughties, and you’ve got it.

https://cothel.bandcamp.com/track/when-youre-insanely-high

This though, contrasts with the sneering vocal delivery and more grunge feel of their first release, ‘That Feeling You Get.’ I say ‘grunge’ but there’s more – there’s also a manic sixties, psychedelic sound to this. It’s like a swirling nightmare … in a good way of course.

https://cothel.bandcamp.com/track/that-feeling-you-get

I believe an album is in the offing, though I have yet to see any confirmation of a release date.

For a band so early in their development, I believe they show great potential. Remember where you read it first – this an outfit you’ll be hearing a lot more of in the months to come.

COTHEL are:

Aaron Stafford (USA): Guitar / Vocals
Toria Terror (USA): Vocals
Emiliano Del Toro (Mexico): Lead Guitar
Lee Jaeyeuk (aka Jerry) (Korea): Bass
Gurkirat Singh (Norway): Drums
Rob King (England): Synths

Cothel.

Hector

Hector: ‘Wired Up.’
Hector

Hector were a four-piece Glam Rock band from Portsmouth, England. Check: technically they are now regarded as ‘Junkshop Glam’ – a band that basically followed the the UK Glam Rock scene of the early Seventies, but for whatever reason, failed to attract the attention they merited and other more media favoured bands achieved.

Details of the band’s history are scant. Even the sleeve notes accompanying ‘Demolition,’ the 2021-released album comprising the band’s two singles, outtakes, demos, live and rehearsal recordings make little reference to the band’s beginnings.

It would appear they were hard gigging and they weren’t totally without media backing. They had the’look’ for their genre – a cross between Geordie and Slade is how they come across from the press photos – and indeed their PR staff made sure their words and faces were included in all the teen music papers and magazines of the time.

They even appeared on TV with Wings and T. Rex in a recording of the popular ‘Lift Off With Ayshea‘ when promoting their debut single, ‘Wired Up.‘ A second slot on that programme was secured to promote the follow-up ‘Bye Bye Bad Days,’ and this time also appearing on the show were, Sunny and The Scaffold.

They kept good company; they had the look; they had the publicity.

Yet the public simply didn’t buy in. Perhaps, or very likely, because Radio 1 were not convinced and resultantly, the sound of Hector failed to reach the ears of the masses, and their two singles were condemned to the Junkshop buckets.

Hector

Hector folded in 1975, having released only two singles, on the realization they were not going to compete with the established Glam Rock bands. Of course the trend by that time was moving away from that genre, so it was all stacked against them at that point.

Hector: album cover

The band’s album, ‘Demolition’ is the result of a chance meeting between the band’s Phil Brown (vocals) and Alan Gordon (drums) and Tim Orchard. Tim was co-hosting a book launch. ‘Wired Up’ was the book’s title and featured garish picture sleeves from records released in the Glam Rock genre. The Hector lads were featured in the pages and attended the party as guests.

One thing led to another and the three kept in touch. When, some years later, Phil moved house, the long lost rehearsal and demo recordings, together with the reel to reel recorder, were rediscovered,

The album is a fun, entertaining trip into the past. ‘Bye Bye Bad Days‘ is very much in the Bay City Rollers mould and elsewhere you could draw reference to other big hitters from the time. ‘Gypsy‘ a demo recording, is a favourite of mine. A real stomper, so yes, I guess you could draw comparison to early Slade. Title track, ‘Demolition‘ which was an unreleased third single, has a soulful feel to it. More gentle in its delivery, it has a really catchy hook and altogether softer hook.

Taking the three tracks identified for single release on their own, I have to say I’m really surprised as to how Hector were not more of a household name back in the early ’70s.

HECTOR

Phil Brown – Vocals / Piano
Pete Brown – Lead Guitar
Nigel Shannon – Bass
Alan Gordon – Drums


TITLEFORMATYEAR LABELNOTES
Wired Up7″ single1973DJM Records
Bye Bye Bad Days7″ single1974DJM Records

Elmer Gantry’s Velvet Opera

Elmer Gantry’s Velvet Opera.
Elmer Gantry’s Velvet Opera – debut (and only) LP
Elmer Gantry’s Velvet Opera debut single: ‘Flames.’

Five Proud Walkers were initially an R&B band from North London. Formed in 1963, they gigged around the city, establishing a good, strong, reputation and developing their sound to include some of the Jazz and Beat influences that were emerging around the capital.

When vocalist Terry Elliott left in early 1966, he was replaced by Dave Terry from The Impacts. Dave was more of a showman and the band’s stage show became much more theatrical and image conscious.

By the end of that year, the band were in demand not just within the London scene, but across the country. The decision was taken to pack in the day jobs and go full time professional band. Bass player John Treais couldn’t commit, and so left at this point, being replaced by John Ford.

It was now 1967. With their more extravagant stage show and appearance, and the music scene in general taking a more psychedelic turn, it was agreed a new era for the band merited a new name.

Guitarist Colin Forster explains:
“It came out of the dress sense, really, with the clothing an the hair. John Ford worked in a shop in Carnaby Street, so he started getting some interesting clothing, so various things developed from that, like Regency styles of clothing. Elmer (Dave Terry) got this hat and cape and somebody said that he looked like Burt Lancaster in that movie ‘Elmer Gantry,’ and we just added ‘Velvet Opera.’ We never knew about the Velvet Underground, but velvet was ‘in’ an ‘Opera’ was the fact that we were doing an act on stage.”

(Dave Terry hadn’t actually planned on becoming ‘Elmer Gantry’ but as the frontman, people would just make the assumption. The band found it funny and would take the mickey, and so the name stuck.)

The band’s first single, ‘Flames,’ gained a lot of radio play and was a favourite of the young John Peel on his ‘Top Gear’ shows. Although it didn’t quite chart, the track was included on the CBS ‘sampler’ album, ‘The Rock Machine Turns You On,’ which also featured Bob Dylan, Moby Grape, Spirit, The Byrds and The Zombies.

Selling at half the price of a standard LP, the compilation reached the Album Chart Top 20, ensuring the band’s music was now being heard by a massive new audience.

Impetus created and momentum building, the band headed into the studio to produce an album of their own. The eponymous named debut is a fantastic mix of psych-pop, raga, soul, harder rock and Vaudeville, I don’t think I’d be far off saying Elmer Gantry’s Velvet Opera were like a proto Sensational Alex Harvey Band. They were also ‘punk’ before Punk formally announced itself nine years later.

Elmer Gantry’s Velvet Opera – ‘Air’.

Sadly, this would be the band’s only album release with this line-up, with guitarist Colin Forster leaving in April 1968, his place being taken by Paul Brett. They continued gigging but the chemistry had been upset and having been coerced by their label into recording a single ‘Volcano’ that did’t really meet the band’s profile, Elmer himself left.

Elmer Gantry’s Velvet Opera were no more, though Hudson, Ford and Brett added Johnny Joyce as singer / guitarist and recorded one album, ‘Ride a Hustler’s Dream‘ in 1969 as Velvet Opera.

Elmer himself formed the Elmer Gantry Band before joining the cast of ‘Hair,’ then in the Seventies joining the band Stretch and recording with the likes of Jon Lord, Cozy Powell and the Alan Parsons Project.

Hudson and Ford would go on to success with The Strawbs, before their #8 hit single, ‘Pick Up The Pieces‘ as Hudson-Ford. They also had another two top 40 singles and released several albums as a duo.

Elmer Gantry’s Velvet Opera -‘I Was Cool.

ELMER GANTRY’S VELVET OPERA

Elmer Gantry – Vocals
Colin Forster – Guitar
John Ford – Bass
Richard ‘Hud’ Hudson – Drums

TITLEFORMATYEARLABEL NOTES
Flames / Salisbury Plain7″ single1967Direction
Flames / What’s The Point Of Leaving7″ single1968Epic
Mary Jane 7″ single 1968CBS
Volcano7″ single1969Direction
Elmer Gantry’s Velvet OperaLP1968Direction

(** Information for this post was gleaned from the album’s insert notes by Mike Stax of Ugly Things Magazine.**)

twink.

Twink – 1970 (Photo by Paul Welch.)

Twink (real name John Alder, though I believe he converted to Islam around sixteen years ago and is also known as Mohammed Abdullah) has played integral parts in two of my favourite bands, The Pretty Things and The Pink Fairies. I’ll get to them both at some point, I’m sure, but it’s as a solo artist he’s celebrated here.

John Alder, as he was simply known as at that time, started drumming for local Colchester R&B band Dane Stephens & The Deep Beats in 1963. On signing a deal with Decca, they changed their name to The Fairies and cut three singles, each of which are now well sought after.

Following the ban’d split, John joined The Santa Barbara Machine for a while, before drumming for the third line-up of The In Crowd who would soon morph into Tomorrow.

It was with Tomorrow, one of UK’s foremost psychedelic bands of the era, that John (having by now adopted the nom de stage of ‘Twink,’) began to make a name for himself. (This was the band that featured future Yes guitarist Steve Howe and Keith West – he of he legendary ‘Excerpt From a Teenage Opera‘ which reached #2 in the UK singles chart in August 1967.)

Sadly, for all their Swinging Sixties ‘cred,’ Tomorrow didn’t last out the psychedelic era and disbanded in April 1968. Twink the formed Aquarian Age a psychedelic band featuring Nicky Hopkins who would go on to play piano with so many bands, most notably perhaps The Rolling Stones.) They released just one single in the UK, ‘10,000 Words in a Cardboard Box,’ a reworking of which appeared on Twink‘s solo album ‘Think Pink‘ and is showcased below.

As seemed to be the pattern, Twink’s involvement with a band didn’t last very long and when Aquarian Age folded, he was on the move again.

By chance, and by being conveniently available at just the right time, he was asked to join The Pretty Things for a gig in Germany …. he remained with the band for about eighteen months!

During that spell with The Pretty Things, Twink was approached by Seymour Stein, the founder of Sire Records, with a view to recording a solo album. And so it was in 1970, using some experimental demos and an unpublished Aquarian Age track – ‘Tiptoe On The Highest Hill‘ – the wonderful ‘Think Pink‘ album was born, with the help of Mick Farren (The Deviants) and close pal, Steve Peregrine Took (ex- Tyrannosaurus Rex.)

In fact, those three were the early incarnation of The Pink Fairies, though after a disastrous start to their gigging career, Twink dispensed with his two friends’ services and hired the remaining Deviants players: Paul Rudolph (guitar); Russell Hunter (drums) and Duncan Sanderson (bass.)

And the rest, as they say, is history – I’m sure I’ll come back to The Pink Fairies somewhere down the line, here on Loud Horizon!

Although Twink released only one solo album, it’s an absolute belter! My copy of ‘Think Pink‘ is actually a Limited Edition repressing on the Akarma label and includes a second LP, ‘Sound of Silk: Demos & Rarities’ which is also on pink vinyl,

The two albums are an amazing mix of psychedelia, poetry and tales of fairies and Gandalf! The musical experimentation includes; tortured wailing; hypnotic drumming; scratchy guitar; chanting; conventional rock music and just about everything early Seventies, tripped out hippy culture could throw at it!

It truly is glorious – not a duff track in sight. Or sound.

Definitely a favourite in my collection.

RELEASES BY TWINK.

TITLEFORMATLABELRELEASE YEARNOTES
Think PinkLPPolydor1970Original copies of first pressing have sold for up to £600.