Monday, June 23, 2014

So much cooler than the slippers, pipe and TV

Today's tune is sometimes referred to as a great lost psych single, but to me this is one of the first and greatest examples of pure Power Pop.   One has to wonder if Nick Lowe ever heard this song, because it sure has the look and feel of his late 70s work.  God only knows why the record company put Continental Hesitation on the B-side, for if there ever was a coulda-shoulda been hit single, it would be this song.  

Four seconds in, a killer acoustic guitar riff drops in and drives the song forward.   The bass leaps and bounds in all the right spots.  The second stanza sets the scene for the songwriter's views on alternative spirituality - "Ali Taj Mahashish Yogi Bear promised me.  He will open up your mind to truth and you'll see. No need for lucky charms to hang on your doors.  Continental Hesitation makes you feel free."  I am never one to ridicule someone for their beliefs, but there certainly were some odd directions for seeking enlightenment back in the late 60s, and the Eastern mysticism and mind altering drugs get the full send up here.

The story behind Rifkin is copied verbatim from a website for Mr. Ed Furst, the man behind the band.

Rifkin was the invention of a fan of the Ingoes.  She suggested the name, going solo, composing all my own songs, playing guitar & harmonica simultaneously ('Oh, what, like Dylovan?' - 'No, not your drippy voice, use your ballsy voice, and keep your home made solid guitar with the holes in, etc, etc.')  Pity she fancied Brian Godding, but then they all did.  Anyway, two years later I realised I had spontaneously done everything she suggested except call myself Rifkin, so I gave it a go.  Page One released 'We're Not Those People Any More' (drippy voice) b/w 'Continental Hesitation' (ballsy voice), and Radio Luxembourg guaranteed 50 plays a week, but Page One forgot to get it printed because their staff were all concentrating their energy on somebody called Reg, with a song (which I must admit I almost forgot to hate) called 'Don't Let The Sun Go Down On Me'.  Wonder what happened to him.
The session band was:
Ed Furst as Rifkin (vocals/gtr/sitar), Colin Frechter (harpsichord/vocals), Dee Murray (bass/vocals) and, I'm told, Dave Mattacks (drs/vocals); plus Colin Frechter again (producer/MD/logistics/tea lady).

The full lyrics can be found here.


Who Am Us Anyway? said...

This great song is like Firesign Theater in scholarly and otherwise English & pop culture references, in't? Leyton Oriental = a soccer team! Acme catapaults: Ha! I saw that Road Runner cartoon! Beep beep! Even more fun, sometimes the send ups feel like a double reverse send up of a send up -- e.g. "So much hipper than the Acid" -- I'm like, sure. That claim hits one with all the comic force of the chipper stop-smoking advice pamphlets the govt. use to put out: "Still feel the craving for a cigarette? Nosh on a raw carrot instead!" etc. So I've now listened to this 4 times throught back to back to back to back, ladies & gennelmen. If I was Dylan or Hendrix that would mean I could now dust off the guitar & play it myself, but alas! And what a great song.

Mister Pleasant said...

Love the "in't" Mr. Anyway. Do you say that with an upper Midwest accent? Yes indeed those lyrics go a couple of levels deep. Too bad Mr. Furst did not write more songs because I really appreciate his sense of humor. Thanks for stopping by, and really glad you like this one. We've been listening to it over and over here at the Pleasant Valley estate.