martedì 28 luglio 2015

John's Children - A Strange Affair (2CD 2013 Cherry Red Records) 1966 - 1970

Biography:John's Children were a 60's Pop-Art-Mod-Psyche influenced group from Leatherhead, England. The group consisted of Andy Ellison on lead vocals, John Hewlett on bass guitar, Geoff McClelland on guitar, who was later replaced by Marc Bolan, and Chris Townson on drums. This excellent 2cd collection consists of all of the band's singles, as well as solo singles by Andy Ellison, alternate versions & mixes, instrumental tracks, as well as their infamous, much maligned "The Legendary Orgasm Album". Disc one consists of 26 tracks with a duration of nearly 70 minutes, while Disc 2 offers up a generous 75 minutes. So, there is much to discover and savor here for any fan of 60's Mod-Psyche tunes. One effect of some 45 years looking back is putting all of these tunes offered here a more focused and insightful perspective. This package includes an excellent 24 page booklet written by Andy Ellison, which is adapted from his forthcoming autobiography. The notes reveal a track-by-track journey through each and every tune, as well as providing some absolutely astounding and insightful background and history of this infamous group. I must admit that the excellent booklet with it's excellent revelations definitely sealed the deal between grading this collection 5, rather than 4 stars. John's Children became infamous for their live shows which featured outrageous anarchy as they fought each other on stage, used fake blood and feathers for shock effect, trashed their instruments, and ultimately were banned and thrown off a tour in Germany when they incited the crowd to riot and trash the venue they were playing in. There are many accounts of how they actually upstaged The Who, themselves, during this German tour. Unfortunately, the riot police had to intervene and essentially all of their instruments and equipment were destroyed by the demented, frenzied, crowd. They even had to flea Germany with the riot police in close pursuit. Pete Townsend, himself, commented that they were "too loud and destructive". Well with that as poignant background, let us focus on the music on these 2 discs. The legendary manager Simon Napier-Bell took over as manager and wanted the group to take up a "Flower-Power_Psychedelic" identity. Disc 1 includes all of their singles & rarities, while disc 2 includes the "Legendary Orgasm Album", as well as bonus tracks that include said alternate versions, mixes, demos, and instrumentals. One major perk here are 3 different versions of the superb single, "A Midsummer Night's Dream", with it's dreamy refrain of "petals & flowers-petals & flowers". Napier-Bell was aiming for early "Flower-Power" with this single. What is even more interesting here is that the record label Track Records only made a box or 2 of only 25 copies of the single for the press and the band. Unfortunately, Chris threw most of his like Frisbees into the fields behind John's house in Leatherhead. It is now one of the most collectible singles of all time and changes hands for close to a fortune. Actually, a copy of the single was auctioned for 3,7000 pounds back in 2002! Would you care to bid for one now? Moving along to their very much maligned "Orgasm" L.P., which was their only studio Album, it was projected for release in March, 1967, but it's US release was blocked by The Daughters Of The American Revolution, who objected to its title! It was finally released in September, 1970, but did not sell well at that time. I remember buying the cd version which was put out by the British label Cherry Red in 1997 and being quite impressed by the tracks, which I thought were a live concert but was actually overdubbed screams taken from The Beatles Soundtrack of "A Hard Day's Night". I should mention that the 1997 release was a reissue of a 1982 release. I still find it very appropriate for parties, as the sound is not that good but the excitement somehow rings through quite well.I should mention that Marc Bolan replaced Geoff McClelland as the group's lead guitarist but was only with John's Children for a matter of 4-5 months. But Marc did manage to contribute some quality sides before he left to pursue his Tyrannosaurus Rex era, and then later his T. Rex glitter era. The group's 1st single, originally titled "Smashed! Blocked!", was re-titled "The Love I Thought I'd Found" because of its druggy connotations as the BBC were worried about the word "blocked", which was slang for being high on amphetamines. Their 2nd single, "Just What You Want-Just What You'll Get", includes a start/stop rhythm, manic backing vocals, and early, pioneering backwards guitar. "Desdemona" is a quality track, which was released just after Marc had just joined, but, unfortunately, it got banned in both the USA & the BBC, deemed unsuitable to play due to the line, "lift up your skirt and fly". At this point one could not help but wonder when, if ever, these guys could catch a break. Moving along to another strong track, which is often considered as Marc's finest moment lyrically, we get "Sara, Crazy Child". Listening to repeated plays of this track, one can almost sense the further development of Marc's Glitter Stage. Other strong tracks included are, "Come And Play with Me In The Garden", "Go-Go Girl", which was another tune penned by Bolan, "Jagged Time Lapse", and 2 versions of "Hippy Gumbo", one sung by Andy, as well as one sung by Marc. Ellison's fine liner notes proclaim "I once asked Marc what "Hippy Gumbo" was about but he just looked at me and said, "I don't know, man!". So I never asked him about his lyrics again". This collection also includes 3 rather rare demos from 1965, as done by an early incantation of the group by The Silence, "Down Down", Cold On Me", and "Forgive Me If I'm Wrong". All 3 tracks display a promising future sound for John's Children. The 2nd disc, which features "The Legendary Orgasm Album", also includes some very insightful alternate versions. Included in these are an alternate version of "Strange Affair", which includes backing vocals by none other than Dusty Springfield, Rod Stewart, and Madeline Bell! I've listened to this collection over 20 x over the past 3 weeks and I still find it very good to excellent. I always hear new sounds that add to each listening. I should stress that for this collection, for the most part, the producers have gone back to the original vinyl sources. Included in the booklet, there is an excellent quote by manager Simon Napier-Bell. It reads, "The group never quite achieved the success I thought they should, which may have been my fault, or perhaps theirs, or maybe just the way the record business always requires a bit of extra luck whoever you are, and not everyone gets it. Listening to these tracks confirms how good they could be musically, and it's great to hear them again after all this time. For me-a memory of very happy times" In summing up, A Strange Affair-Indeed! All fans of The Small Faces Decca-era, early Who, early Kinks, and The Misunderstood should appreciate this excellent release. Highly Recommended!

Tracklist CD1 Singles & Rarities:
*John's Children
01.The Love I Thought I'd Found 3:01)
02.Strange Affair 2:06
03.Just What You Want - Just What You'll Get 3:01
04.But She's Mine 1:59
05.Desdemona 2:24
06.Remember Thomas À Becket 2:20
07.Midsummer Night's Scene 2:35
08.Sara, Crazy Child 2:04
09.Come And Play With Me In The Garden 2:17
10.Go-Go Girl 2:09
11.Jagged Time Lapse 2:47
*Andy Ellison
12.Arthur Green 3:42
13.It's Been A Long Time 3:21
14.Fool From Upper Eden 2:54
15.Another Lucky Lie 1:57
16.You Can't Do That 2:48
17.Cornflake Zoo 2:03
18.Help! 2:29
19.Casbah Candy 2:02
20.Hippy Gumbo 2:08
*The Silence
21.Down Down 3:00
22.Cold On Me 3:04
23.Forgive Me If I'm Wrong 4:06
*John's Children
24.Mustang Ford 2:24
25.Not The Sort Of Girl You Take To Bed 2:27
26.Sally Was An Angel [Vocal] 3:11

Tracklist CD2 Orgasm & Bonus Tracks:
01.Killer Ben 2:29
02.Jagged Time Lapse 3:12
03.Smashed! Blocked! 3:19
04.You're A Nothing 3:33
05.Not The Sort Of Girl 2:07
06.Cold On Me 2:50
07.Leave Me Alone 3:11
08.Let Me Know 3:25
09.Just What You Want - Just What You'll Get 3:32
10.Why Do You Lie 5:06
Bonus Tracks:
11.Strange Affair (Alternate Mix) 2:02
12.But She's Mine (Alternate Mix) 2:00
13.The Love I Thought I'd Found (First Version) 3:09
14.Desdemona (''Why Do You Have To Lie'' Version) 2:24
15.Remember Thomas À Becket (Alternate Version) 2:36
16.Midsummer Night's Scene (Alternate Version) 2:37
17.Sara, Crazy Child (German Single) 2:28
18.Jagged Time Lapse (Alternate Version) 2:48
19.It's Been A Long Time (Stereo Mix) 3:10
20.You Can't Do That (Acetate Version) 2:59
21.Hippy Gumbo (Marc Bolan Vocal) 2:36
22.Not The Sort Of Girl You Take To Bed (Alternate Version) 2:41
23.Sally Was An Angel (Instrumental) 3:11
24.Come And Play With Me In The Garden (Instrumental) 2:10
25.The Perfumed Garden Of Gulliver Smith (Instrumental) 2:41
26.Midsummer Night's Scene (Alternate Mix) 2:37 

Line-up:
Andy Ellison - vocals
Geoff McClelland - guitar
Marc Bolan - guitar
John Hewlett - bass guitar
Chris Townson - drums, guitar

6 commenti:

Solidboy ha detto...

flac cue log scans

pompel ha detto...

Is it possible to download the file?

Anonimo ha detto...

download link is URL hijacker so beware and boycott

Solidboy ha detto...

Link is secure, downloaded 97 times.

William ha detto...

Buy the CD. The artist doesn't make any money from people illegally sharing and downloading.

Anonimo ha detto...

tried to visit this blog for music but the links require plug-ins to work (Music Library, Flash) and I won't change my security settings to allow them. Thanks it was a good read anyway. A lot of nice work and good taste here!

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