Saturday, January 9, 2010

She Had Tears In Her Eyes

In 1968 The Pretty Things released a couple of singles that were totally out of left field. Their previous R&B incaranation was gone, never to return. In its place came a band totally immersed in the psychedelic movement, in no small part thanks to producer Norman Smith. Smith previously was the recording engineer for the Beatles up through Rubber Soul, and upon his promotion to producer he became the sound steward for the Syd Barrett era Pink Floyd.

The first of these singles, Defecting Grey b/w Mr. Evasion is a groovy trip through hallucinogenic fields. All sorts of odd instruments and sound were used, included phased vocals, early synthesizers, and tons of guitar feedback. As far as I can tell the single sold about five copies in the UK. Undaunted the band released another pair of gems in the same vein - Talkin' About the Good Times b/w Walking Through My Dreams. The A side kicks off with jangly guitar which is almost immediately overridden by an electric guitar riff that sounds almost like a rooster crowing. Then the chorus comes in - oddly before the verse - with all sorts of Beatle-ish goodness. Mellotron, lovely harmonies, crazy stilted martial drumming, I could go on forever. Yeah its just my opinion, but this is probably in the top five finest psychedelic 45s ever released. And of course it disappeared without a trace upon release.

She has sun in her face
Her lips kiss the sun, caress the sun, arrest the sun, fields of light we found the place
She has sun in her eyes
The clouds cross the sun, without the sun, the evening shadows in her eyes


Holly A Hughes said...

You know of course that the Pretty Things recorded Ray Davies' House in the Country? Nice little cover.

I'm ashamed to say I know nothing else by this band, and it looks as if I should. I love their sound. Maybe the problem is that I keep mixing them up with the Small Faces, though I have no idea why. I really must remedy this...

Mister Pleasant said...

Hey Holly, yes I came across the PT version of House in the Country and it really is pretty darn good. It was released as a single, coming at the end of their R&B period and just before they jumped down the psychedelic rabbit hole.

Definite would be worth checking out S. F. Sorrow and Parachute - both really fine late 60's albums. And the CD releases come with all of their great 45 singles from the same period.

Who Am Us Anyway? said...

Aw Mr. P this is great -- I love psych music & yet have never heard this band. Your terrific introduction & annotation made this one hit even harder -- easily in my Top 20 psychedelic songs just on very first listen. I'll be getting both their CDs now; many thanks.

Who Am Us Anyway? said...

Mr. P, I'm pleased to inform you that you have been awarded the prestigious Missed it by That Much Award over at the A Mythical Monkey Writes About the Movies blog. This is a great honor, Mr. Pleasant!