There is a definite shortage of tangerine trees and marmalade skies at the moment. The summer is a long time coming around to these parts this year but I keep finding these shiny happy British pop-psych gems which are made for sunny daze, green fields, good company & perhaps (y’know, for the kids) something decent to smoke. This is the kind of music I mean.
What can I tell you about the Kinetic ? I could put names to faces but would that really help ? The lead guitarist Bob Weston made a couple of records with Fleetwood Mac in that period between blues busting & La-La Land lame. The other 4 Dapper Dans ? Well, I think that “Suddenly Tomorrow” was as good as it got & I think that it is pretty good. The nifty threads allow the musical paleontologist to place this absolutely nearer Mod than Hippie on the pop/rock continuum. It is early 1967 & just a year later the bass player would be picking brown rice out of his beard, the goofy singer tripping over his kaftan & that short, smart guitar solo would be twice as long. The Kinetic worked & recorded their only LP in France where every girl’s crazy ’bout a sharp dressed man. They certainly seem happy enough in this clip. “Suddenly Tomorrow”…cool song.
There are 2 clips on the Y-tube of World of Oz & this is the rare one, like less than 1500 views rare. “The Muffin Man”, that was their hit in Europe but not in the UK. Click on the link at your peril because it is a song of nursery rhyme simplicity that sticks in your head for a little too long. “Jack”, from the sole LP & a b-side on one of the 3 singles, is similarly facile. The lead singer called himself Christoper Robin…it’s a clue. World of Oz were a little too heavy on the pop & light on the psych for my taste but they loved it in Holland & Germany. The orchestral flourishes, by Mike Vickers off of Manfred Mann, are fine enough but a bit more guitar & more substance would help.
There were big plans for the Birmingham band. They shared management with the Foundations, a successful pop-soul unit. There was plenty of work but cracks showed before the LP was finished & half the group had left before its 1969 release. This is 1968, the singer’s trousers are a crime against humanity & the bow-tie a misdemeanour. The Mod haircuts are growing out but these guys have their eyes on being pop idols…will you tell them or shall I? Hey, I’m a nice guy…it’s a period piece.
Jeez…I find out about these almost-forgotten bands so that you don’t have to. I’m a geek, it’s my job. Rupert’s People are proper work, at first there was a 45 which was getting some attention but no actual band. Later there was less attention & a revolving door on the tour van as no-one stayed for long. The first single “Reflections of Charlie Brown” is a song by Sweet Feeling which was given an “Air On A G String”/Procol Harum revamp. “Reflections” is a minor British psychedelic classic, it’s on the “Nuggets” box set, it’s around. The record was made by Les Fleur de Lys, also in that box with “Circles”, a Who cover .FdL were there & abouts when so much of this freakbeat/psych scene was being made. The only live clip of them was filmed on a day that a member told the others he was leaving. It is desultory, they were a better band than that. When asked to be Rupert’s People they declined.
A new band was formed which did not record. Sweet Feeling, around from the beginning, took on the name & made 2 singles. So here is the last one “I Can Show You” from 1968 & here, amazingly, is a promo film for the record. I could try to name the band but I would be guessing. The boys, in their ritzy Carnaby clobber, visit that trendy thoroughfare, loon about on the Heath &, for little good reason, get muddy by the Thames. All with their best dolly bird by their side.It’s not as magical or as mysterious as some were at the time but the song has the Small Faces R&B vibe with a beefed up organ & it’s good. Man, the 1960s is the gift that keeps on giving & I am a little trapped in that decade. I do love these Brit pop-psych 45s that I can just about remember the first time around. To find actual video of these tunes…well one day I’ll just go Meh ! Not yet though.