When I was a youth I had the door to my bedroom painted with all psychedelic patterns, dragons, mushrooms and the like. Somewhere on the door I also had a poem that started “I am Bufo bufo, not yet rested from the great work” and on the frame over the door I had “It’s an ill wind that blows no minds”. I’m sure my parents must have been very proud, if not a little concerned about my mental wellbeing.  The year the tunes on this collection came out I was born, but I’ve always been drawn to the whole hippy vibe…man, and love the music of this era; mostly it has to be said the music that came out of the US scene.

We all know the story of Haight Ashbury, the acid tests and the bands that came out of that Summer Of Love but this side of the Atlantic also had its scene, though not quite as extreme and somewhat diluted and very British. So it was that psychedelic pop moved out of the hip and underground joints and into the mainstream consciousness and everyone was jumping on the paisley painted bandwagon. And this is where Let’s Go Down and Blow Our Minds comes in. let's go down revised front cover

There’s three CDs, four hours and eight tracks crammed into this collection and everything comes from that one year of 1967 where I was no doubt even more of a dribbling mess than I would later become and every one of the tunes comes from the British Isles.

Yes you’ve got the names you’ll be well aware of on the track list; The Crazy World Of Arthur Brown, Procul Harum, Spencer Davis Group and John’s Children, but then there’s a whole load more that are new to this cat. (See I’m even picking up the groovy lingo). Geranium Pond, Crocheted Doughnut Ring and the Riot Squad featuring David Bowie anyone…. though that last one rings a bell for some reason.

The titles of many of the tracks sort of give you an idea of what to expect: Eiderdown Clown, A Day In My Minds Eye and Granny Takes a Trip. This is not, in the main, the harder edged electronic psychedelia of Hendrix, rather it is a little more genteel and, as I said, really very British, you know, stiff upper lip and all that, although by 1967 the stiff upper lip no doubt had a Lord Kitchener ‘tache over the top of it. That’s not to suggest that the music on here isn’t often very good indeed, it’s more of a suggestion that the people involved in making the majority of it weren’t really living the life of full time acid-heads and perhaps thought the epitome of getting turned on and being a groovy hipster was to sit in a darkened room in front of a lava lamp smoking dried banana skins, though Donovan’s Mellow Yellow (also from 1967) is absent. Let’s face it, the words psychedelic and pop are two words that just don’t seem to gel very well for me. Yes, there are some folk on here who are clearly aware of what five hundred mics of high quality Owsley feels like and you can hear it in the music… Arthur Brown’s “Give Him A Flower” being a case in point, though this is still a very English tune. The most “English” tune on the whole album is The Uglys’ The Squire Blew His Horn which is a brilliantly kitsch tune.
Louise’s Look At The Sun is another stand out track with fabulously distorted guitar and these guys clearly know where it’s at and what’s what and the tune itself is an absolute gem. It’s moments like this that this kind of compilation really come into their own! Yes there is the clearly cashing in on a scene stuff to listen to and it stands out a mile that these guys weren’t kosher and only in it for the money, but who cares. Most folk who make records and join bands do so not for some higher cause but to get rich, lay groupies and generally avoid real work at all costs.  That said Cliff Ward and his path Through The Forest is most definitely the product of a mind that has been thoroughly tuned in and turned on. Really, another brilliant, imaginative and very psychedelic tune. Elmer Gantry’s Velvet Opera’s Flames is another tune that stands out from the crowd as does The Pretty Things’  Defecting Grey. Big Jim Sullivan’s Flower Power is another song I’ve never come across before despite him having played on over 750 charting singles and 54 UK number one hits – this track is taken from his own Sitar Beat album – think Ravi Shankar but from Uxbridge.

I’ve read that lot back and it comes across that I don’t really like this record but that’s really not the case at all. I love it. It’s of its time and there is perhaps more pop than acid soaked psych in evidence but it’s all pretty damned enjoyable if it is taken in context. Then of course you get those tunes that shine out from the crowd like a freak at a straights convention. We’re coming up for fifty years since that first great Summer Of Love, a year that changed music and a whole lot more and it’s rather fitting to have an album from that one year and showcasing what the British take on it all was.

Released September 30th

  1. Disc 1
  2. THE ALAN BOWN! Toyland
  3. THE ATTACK Magic In The Air
  4. THE TICKLE Subway (Smokey Pokey World)
  5. EPISODE SIX I Can See Through You
  6. DANTALIAN’S CHARIOT The Madman Running Through The Fields
  7. GERANIUM POND Dogs In Baskets
  8. THE SCOTS OF ST. JAMES Eiderdown Clown
  9. GEORGE ALEXANDER Dear Delilah
  10. THE SORROWS Pink Purple Yellow And Red
  11. THE MIRAGE Lazy Man (alt version)
  14. FLEUR-DE-LYS Prodigal Son
  15. THE LOMAX ALLIANCE See The People
  16. MICKEY FINN Time To Start Loving You
  17. THE FINGERS I Hear The Sun
  19. GOOD THING BRIGADE My House Is Burning
  20. THE MOTIVES Ice Woman
  21. LOUISE Look At The Sun
  22. NEO MAYA I Won’t Hurt You
  23. CLIFF WARD Path Through The Forest
  24. THE SPENCER DAVIS GROUP Sanity Inspector
  25. THE SUMMER SET ‘Cos It’s Over
  26. THE FADIN’ COLOURS Try Me On For Size
  27. THE SLENDER PLENTY Silver Tree Top School For Boys Disc 2
  29. ONE IN A MILLION Double Sight
  30. PAUL & BARRY RYAN Keep It Out Of Sight
  31. THE PRETTY THINGS Defecting Grey (extended version)
  32. JOHN’S CHILDREN Desdemona
  33. THE DOVES Smokeytime Springtime
  34. JOHN WILLIAMS Flowers In Your Hair
  35. SWEET FEELING All So Long Ago
  36. RUPERT’S PEOPLE Reflections Of Charles Brown
  37. THE RIOT SQUAD featuring DAVID BOWIE Toy Soldier
  38. THE RATS The Rise And Fall Of Bernie Gripplestone
  39. CIRCUS Something To Write About
  40. DAVE DAVIES Funny Face
  41. THE BROOD Village Green
  43. THE PEEP SHOW Your Servant, Stephen
  44. THE UGLYS And The Squire Blew His Horn
  45. THE MOVE Vote For Me
  46. HUMAN INSTINCT A Day In My Mind’s Mind
  47. MURRAY HEAD She Was Perfection
  48. PETER & THE WOLVES Little Girl Lost And Found
  49. THE BUNCH Spare A Shilling Disc 3
  50. OUR PLASTIC DREAM Someone Turned The Light Out
  51. HAT & TIE Finding It Rough
  52. THE FRESH WINDOWS Fashion Conscious
  53. THE GAME The Addicted Man
  54. FELIUS ANDROMEDA Meditations
  55. THE HONEYBUS Delighted To See You (demo version)
  56. ICE So Many Times
  57. THE FLOWER POT MEN A Walk In The Sky
  58. FIVE’S COMPANY Friends And Mirrors
  59. THE LATE Family Tree
  60. THE SECRETS I Think I Need The Cash
  61. SKIP BIFFERTY Schizoid Revolution
  62. THE PURPLE GANG Granny Takes A Trip
  63. THE PICADILLY LINE Emily Small
  64. THE OUTER LIMITS Help Me Please
  65. FOCAL POINT ‘Cept Me
  66. JADE HEXAGRAM Great Shadowy Strange
  67. THE TRUTH Busker Bill
  68. THE MOODY BLUES Life’s Not Life
  70. THE SYMBOLS Again

Stuart Smith

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