Nashville Teens’ Tobacco Road kicks off an mp3 collection of the finest, if a bit kitsch, psychedelic pop from. the sixties & seventies. The Teens were a bluesy more garage-band version of the Dave Clark 5. This is a compilation of their hits, singles & album tracks. Some originals plus lots of covers like All Along The Watchtower, How Deep Is The Ocean. Tobacco Road was their big hit. Members of the band ended up in Dantalion’s Chariot, The New Animals.
Reading a reference to Dantalion’s Chariot in a book about the Animals lead me to an iTunes search for some of their music. I find it hard to resist 60’s obscurity. It lead me to a completion called Psychedelic 60’s: Rare Tracks. The 80+ collection included a track by Chariot as well recordings by the like of Danny McCulloch, Keith Reif & the like. An excellent sampling of radio hits that bubbled under the top twenty & vanished. Many clearly inspired by Pink Floyd, Yardbirds & The Beatles.
Another Chariot track turned up on a compilation called Electric Psychedelic Sitar Headswirlers. Thanks to George Harrison the sitar became the ‘flavour’ of choice, much the wha-wha did for awhile, & every band had at least one track with a sitar solo. This batch includes Canada’s Ugly Duckings! The Lemon Pipers & Kuni Kawachi. I eventually download Kuni’s lp (not on this CD) & it is excellent.
A cover of 8 Miles High by The Folkwsingers lead me to their excellent, trippy lp Raga Rock. There has always a niche market for instrumental versions of pop music – try the Vitamin String Quartet’s Lady Gaga works. Though the sixties there were countless jazz takes – try Wes Montgomery’s astounding Day In The Life. Many of them were banal, some took fads & incorporated them – so you get lps of moog, fuzz guitar, surf versions of top ten. Sitar had its day too. The Folkswingers are better than average & worth hunting down. Groovy.
Someone needs to start a group called ‘Psychedelic Sitar Teens’
flash fiction from mid70’s
“There are something I quite firmly refuse to believer in,” Josh said pouring himself another Scotch. “Mortality just happens to be one of them.” This drink was a bit thicker than the last, the next would be thicker again until he couldn’t see through the bottom of a bottle even if it was empty.
“I suppose,” I replied, “there is something to be said for making plans to break them for fun but …” I paused to match him, drink for drink, “One of these days you’ll find yourself actually living up to a promise. Just think of the precedent you’ll have set yourself. “
“Bullshit,” he swayed to his feet. “You know damned well there’s no hope of that.”
“Let’s talk about something else. We’ve drank our way through to the end of this morality, I mean, mort-totality, conversation before.”
“Ah, yes. Another dangerous precedent we set & will never approach again. They meet our death on the way to an icy top.”
“Lost in the clouds, as it were.”
We laugh that boozy guffaw that falls so frantically after an inane comment falls after another inane comment. The circular laugh of frustration. The caged lion’s snicker of hopelessness at seeing how afraid people are of him, yet he is powerless to inflict more than awe in their un-paw-able faces.
“You’re doing it again.” Josh snarled, pushing me gruffly. “Slipping into the logic of lines. Hopelessness is as hopelessness thinks it does. Drink up. The moon is full.”
“Cheers,” I raise my glass. “To motherhood.”
“To death,” Josh drank & dropped this glass to the floor. A carpeted thud. “Christ.”
“Yes, let’s bitch about Christ for awhile.”
“Let’s talk about fucking nothing for awhile” He replied with a foggy look that blocked response. “Give me a real drink. Then let’s go for a walk.”
“Let’s finish this off first.” I held up the last fluid ounces of the forty. “Can’t be much left here. Might as well go all the way.”
Pouring the remains evenly between the two glasses on the table, I looked up. A reflection in the window, a cat of reflected light slipping across the curtains up one wall then down the other. The slip was the stream, a suddenly dizzy reptile.
“I think I’m going blind.” I said.
“Well, that should resolve a lot of things for you. Oh yes. What a tragedy! The blind poet.”
“No. No. The blind pianist.”
“The blind penis?”
“Oh, fuck off. Here!” I slopped his drink in his direction. “I’m hallucinating cats.”
“Really? How odd.”
“Terrible, small cats. Miniature lions growling & prowling across motion pictures. You see?”
“Right. Right. I saw it last week. The Late Snow on Channel 5. The Cat People. Peter Lorre & …” snapping his fingers. “Oh shit! What’s her name with one eye & vamp walk.”
“This is hopeless.”
“I’m sorry. It’s just too early in the day for anything else. I know how important this seems to you but even importance fades with education.”
“Something along those lines without those rocket thruster fins.”
“Snow what Josh.”
“It’s starting,” gesturing to the window with my drink. “To snow cats.”
“No. No. Pers-pity-ative.”
“Oh, very good.” Josh slurs over the end of his readily tilting glass. “I must remember that for the girls at the office. They like a good laugh every now & then.”
Giving him my ‘aren’t-you-enough’ look, I toss back the burning embers of my drink. “Any more of this fine foreword play?”
“Do eggs have heartbeats?”
The first laugh climax of the evening. One of those red-face-sputtering choking-on-a-swallow laughs.