Archive for the ‘Pink Floyd’ Category

Pink Floyd

Monday, December 19th, 2011

Listen: Julia Dream (Mono) / Pink Floyd

Here’s how I remember it, and believe me, this is accurate.

Pink Floyd, or The Pink Floyd as they were initially known, took several years to get noticed by many in the US other than hardcore Anglophiles. Their first two American singles, ‘Arnold Layne’ and ‘See Emily Play’, were impossible to find at retail. In fact, the only stock copy of ‘Arnold Layne’ I’ve ever seen is the one I own, a special order via Smith’s Records in Oneida, NY. ‘See Emily Play’…I’ve seen three stock copies. Mrs. Smith managed to get me this also, plus two others for the shop. I believe these qualify as a few miracles on Phelps Street, where her store was located.

Their debut full length, PIPER AT THE GATES OF DAWN sold a bit, but the followup, A SAUCERFUL OF SECRETS, never charted, never got played, hardly got distributed. The album was so good, in ways my all time favorite by Pink Floyd. How could this have happened? Not forgetting, they lost Syd Barrett around this period as well. Most bands wouldn’t have recovered.

Now to the point. If getting the aforementioned singles when current sounded, and certainly were, a challenge, imagine the next few.

US only single, ‘The Gnome’, invented the process of sinking without trace. In some ways, it’s the least common. In some ways.

By their fourth, ‘Apples And Oranges’, the 45′s weren’t even charting in the UK. Despite a second appearance on AMERICAN BANDSTAND miming it pitifully, or maybe because of, nobody cared. Not true for this little kid at 334 Roberts Street. I was hyperventilating at the mere mention of it, and found a promo copy amongst a small pile of giveaways reserved for the dance competition winner at the Purple Haze club in Canastota, NY during a WNDR record hop. Basically, I stole it. Seriously, just shop lifted it into my winter jacket. I had no other choice.

By the time of fifth single, ‘It Would Be So Nice’ / ‘Julia Dream’, panic had enveloped. The struggle for US Pink Floyd singles was worsening exponentially. How was I ever to get this one? It had become completely pointless to put in special orders. By now, Tower’s parent company, Capitol, were useless filling my local’s requests for their product. All those little shops bought from the one stops anyway, and if the distributor didn’t agree to order at least a box lot, they weren’t getting the record. As a result, there’d be no way for the mom and pops to get these obscure releases. Radio were typically dismissive of Pink Floyd despite having re-written history on the subject since, and unfortunately my one open source, WMCR (the story of their donations to my record collecting causes are chronicled elsewhere on the blog) didn’t get Capitol service.

Around this time, the bell in my head to call home offices of record companies requesting copies for airplay suddenly chimed off. Problem wasn’t a receiving address, WMCR were cool about that. But the Music Director hated me by this time, complaining constantly about the scrounging. I mean, I was really obsessed and even I became uncomfortable with myself. Enter the station owner, Mrs. Warner, who was forever kind. Not only did she put in the call, she was generous enough to give me my own little inbox on the mail slot rack.

Whoever worked at Tower Records in Los Angeles must have been looking to clear out the cupboards. The resulting package included releases by The Chocolate Watch Band, The Standells, The E Types, Eternity’s Children and some disposable country singles. As a whole, a serious high, but nothing topped ‘Julia Dream’, in mono.

Now knowing how history unfolded meant there was one more Tower single to come: “Let There Be More Light’ / ‘Remember A Day’. I’m leaving that accomplishment for another post.

King Crimson

Thursday, August 18th, 2011

Listen: Cat Food / King Crimson
Cat Food / King Crimson

They’d probably cringe, but even the most hardened album acts like King Crimson made a decent single from time to time. Or the labels, back before creative control was bestowed on the artist, may have heard a hook in the thick of an opus, thereby being able to edit/rearrange a twelve minute album piece into three and change for a 7″ single.

Not sure if that’s the case with ‘Cat Food’. King Crimson’s albums never did hold my attention through a whole side, so I’m not positive if this is the full version. But I sure did love this song when it got some concentrated play from the local college station, WAER. What a surprise to walk into Discount Records, on the Syracuse University campus, and find a few copies of the single in their racks.

That store was a shrine in the late 60′s, when record buying was in full, and I do mean full swing. A beehive of white drugged up students with money to spend on white drugged up rock music made for the ultimate market. Box lots of all the latest releases by Ten Years After, The Nice, Spirit, Pink Floyd and whatnot seemingly evaporated into thin air.

I’d bet the stunning cover art on those King Crimson albums drew in more than one spontaneous purchase. So too did this 7″ picture sleeve, in those days unheard of, particularly from the UK. Between both it’s mini album construction, and the pink inner sleeve housing a matching pink labelled pressing, I found myself committing an exorbitant $1.98 to the cause. Excellent investment, as it turned out.

The Accent

Wednesday, February 17th, 2010

AccentRed, The Accent, Parrot, Decca, Mike Vernon

Listen: Red Sky At Night / The Accent AccentRedSky.mp3

Taking the ‘p’ out of psychedelic – maybe. There has always been some debate about The Accent’s authenticity. Summer ’67 had many happenings, some were intentional imitations. Bands appeared from nowhere with songs that were almost formula, simply by adding fuzz, backwards guitars, phasing, you name it.

Fact: The Accent issued but one single, ‘Red Sky At Night’. Not much of their history survived, they were from Yorkshire and landed a residency at Billy Walker’s Upper Cut Club in 1967, which, as a side note, had a legendary opening week (see below).

The single’s wild start/stop LSD wrenched production rivals some of that day’s best: Pink Floyd, The Smoke, Tomorrow etc.
Produced by the usually blues strict Mike Vernon, he showed his competitive strength to the Norman Smiths and certainly validates the band’s credibility.

The flanged vocal effect on the lyric ‘shaking’ at 2:22 always made me laugh and wonder too, is this one of Blue Horizon’s serious blues worshipping bands, say Fleetwood Mac or Chicken Shack, just taking the piss?

No, instead they and their single are a classic piece of history.

uppercut1, Upper Cut Club London