BY TIM HINELY
Depending on how deep your knowledge of late ‘60s British psych is, this stuff may be old hat to you but it surely wasn’t to me. On the contrary, I hadn’t heard of most of these artists but thanks to the folks at Cherry Red, more great songs pour into my brain courtesy of this compilation.
As it states, in the three years covered on this disc a label called Spark was releasing some of the best U.K. psych-pop singles and they cherry picked the best stuff for this compilation (the label itself was under the umbrella of the publishers, Southern Music). Even cooler is that these tracks were recorded in Spark’s basement studio on, you guessed it, Denmark Street (many tracks featuring the same group of musicians).
The comp is 27 songs on one disc and as it’s playing I keep thinking to myself, “Wow, this song is even better than the previous one.” The intriguing Sir Ching I lead off the disc with the swoopy “Hello Everyone” then Timothy Blue makes an appearance with “Room at the Top of the Stairs.” Elsewhere there’s some definite creepiness top the John Carter & Russ Alquist track “The Laughing Man” (complete with psychotic laughter in the background) and for some reason, even though I hadn’t heard them, I had a feeling I’d like the music by a band called The Fruit Machine (who offer four tracks on here) and sure enough, I do! Other bands offering up choice cuts include The Eggy, Icarus, Simon De Lacy, Heartbreaker, Eartha Kitt (!!!) and many others.
The booklet offers plenty of info and pics on this long-long era of U.K. music. Well-worth your hard-earned dough, that’s for sure.
DOWNLOAD: Sir Ching I – “Hello Everyone,” Heartbreaker- “The Baby,” The Fruit Machine- “The Wall,” Eartha Kitt- “Hurdy Gurdy Man,” Cherrywood Green- “Just William”