Guide to British Music of the 1960s

March 2020

CD Review: A Slight Disturbance in My Mind - The British Proto-Psychedelic Sounds of 1966

1966 was a watershed year in music and the UK was at the forefront of this. LPs were gaining in importance, rock was starting to emerge and innovation and experimentation was everywhere. Heading this were the Beatles and, although not included on this compilation, their influence is clearly evident, not least in the two covers of tracks from Revolver.

This new 3CD compilation provides a mix of well-known artists, relative unknowns and some who would become household names in later years.

The Action and the Creation are represented by, arguably, their strongest and best-known tracks. Making Time has been high profile in recent years as it has been used as the theme tune for BBC's Great Pottery Throwdown. Not only does it have a stand-out riff but it highlights Eddie Phillips' innovative use of a violin bow on a guitar, ahead of Jimmy Page. The Creation are also represented with Painter Man, later covered by Boney M! This also features the bowed guitar. The Yardbirds are represented by Shapes of Things with its amazing Jeff Beck solo and superb Jim McCarty drums. A later track is Stroll On which is one of the three songs that featured both Beck and Jimmy Page on guitar. The band were not given permission to use Train Kept a Rollin' in the film Blow Up so a hasty lyric rewrite produced this classic.

Alongside the Yardbirds other bands evolved from the British R&B explosion of the mid-60s. The moved with the times and with varying degrees of success. The Pretty Things covered a Kinks song on their Emotions album. Even though the band disowned the production forced on them by the record company, A House in the Country does stand up well. However, the band's My Time shows just how good Emotions could have been without the embellishments forced on the track. The Animals' Outcast is one the the groups final tracks before splitting although Eric Burdon would return with the New Animals and a much more "Hippie" sound.

Artists destined to find mega success in later years were already producing music at this stage. David Bowie had been in several bands and took a few years to make a breakthrough. Marc Bolan had a more folky feel with Hippy Gumbo before joining a later incarnation of John's Children (post The Love I Though I'd Found). Tyrannosaurus Rex then released several folky albums before mega 70s success. The John's Children track included here was called Smashed Blocked but the name was title was changed so as not to upset the censors with drug references. Rod Stewart (Rod the Mod) was singing soul and R&B with The Steam Packet and Long John Baldry's Hoochie Cooche Men and released some singles under his own name before joining the Jeff Beck Group. The Spectres' Hurdy Gurdy Man was an original composition by bassist Alan Lancaster and should not be confused with the Donovan song. The Spectres would, of course, find later fame as Status Quo. The In Crowd recorded a theme tune for the swinging London film Blow Up although it was not featured and director opted for the Yardbirds. However, they changed their name to Tomorrow and had a brief flirtation with 1968 psychedelia and vocalist Keith West had a massive hit with Excerpt from a Teenage Opera. Guitarist Steve Howe would later ply his trade with Yes. The Move's closing track is one of their best. Disturbance was the b-side of debut single Night of Fear and highlights great vocal interplay between Carl Wayne and Roy Wood.

Although many groups were writing original material there was still ample space for cover versions with some interesting inclusions here. From the Beatles' latest album there are pretty decent versions of Tomorrow Never Knows by the Mirage and Tax Man (note the space) from Loose Ends. The Score's attempt at a much earlier Beatles track is also worthy of note. I'm Not Your Steppin; Stone was the Flies' version of a Paul Revere & the Raiders track but the Monkees' version edges it. Another Paul Revere & the Raiders track is a Mann/Weil song Kicks brought here by The Wheels. Even the songwriters at the Brill Building were brining in drug references by 1966. Amongst the other cover versions one of particular note is Al Stewart's Turn Into Earth. Although Stewart made his name more in the folk genre, he tackles a track from the the recent Yardbirds LP generally referred to as Roger the Engineer.

A theme that emerges across several tracks is that of the danger of nuclear war. CND and anti-war protests were at their height and this was reflected in the contemporary music. The Uglys' Quiet Explosion features Steve Gibbons while the following track Thirteen Women takes a rather different approach to what might happen after a nuclear explosion.

This is an excellent compilation and virtually a British answer to Nuggets. There is an excellent mix of tracks from those that are well-known, artists that would later become well-established and "unknowns" who surely deserve a much wider audience.

CD Release: 31 January 2020

Grapefruit

Essential Tracks

  • Making Time
  • Shapes of Things
  • Disturbance

Track Listing: 

Disc One

  1. The Creation - Making Time
  2. The Yardbirds - Shapes of Things
  3. The Action - I'll Keep on Holding On
  4. Fleurs de Lys - Mud in Your Eye
  5. The Koobas - Sweet Music
  6. The Hollies - Oriental Sadness
  7. The Bee Gees - Play Down
  8. Mick Softly & the Summer Suns - Am I the Red One
  9. The Misunderstood - I Unseen
  10. The N Betweens - Security
  11. The Attraction - She's a Girl
  12. David Bowie - I Dig Everything
  13. The Pretty Things - A House in the Country
  14. Lindsay Muir's Untamed - Daddy Long Legs
  15. Outrage - Man With Money
  16. The Uglys - The Quiet Explosion
  17. The Renegades - Thirteen Women
  18. The Riot Squad - I Take It That We're Through
  19. Katch 22 - Major Catastrophe
  20. Marc Bolan - Hippy Gumbo (demo)
  21. Just Five - I Will Have You
  22. The Times - Tomorrow Night
  23. The In Crowd - Blow Up
  24. The Majority - Simplified
  25. The Ministry of Sound - Back Seat Driver
  26. The Truth - Baby You've Got It
  27. Rod Stewart - I Just Got Some
  28. The Luvin' Kind - Answers Please

Disc Two

  1. The Smoke - My Friend Jack (demo)
  2. The Score - Please Please Me
  3. The Creation - Painter Man
  4. Downliners Sect - Why Don't You Smile Now
  5. Graham Bond Organisation - You Gotta Have Love Babe
  6. The Animals - Outcast
  7. The Moody Blues - We're Broken
  8. Tony Cotton - I've Laid Some Down in my Time
  9. The People - Well All Right
  10. Keith Relf - Shapes in my Mind
  11. The Pretty Things - My Time
  12. The Kinks - Fancy
  13. Manfred Mann - You're My Girl
  14. The Tremeloes - What a State I'm In
  15. Al Stewart - Turn Into Earth
  16. The Mindbenders - The Morning After
  17. The Favourite Sons - Walkin' Walkin' Walkin'
  18. The Searchers - Have You Ever Loved Somebody
  19. The 5am Event - Hungry
  20. The Artwoods - Molly Anderson's Cookery Book
  21. Loose Ends - Tax Man
  22. Deep Feeling - The Ruin
  23. The Wheels - Kicks
  24. The Kingpins - You're My Girl
  25. The Tomcats - Paint it Black
  26. The Cortinas - Sagittarius
  27. The Broad - Wrong Way
  28. The Key - Holidaymaker

Disc Three

  1. John's Children - The Love I Thought I'd Found
  2. The Wimple Winch - Save My Soul
  3. The Yardbirds - Stroll On
  4. Downliners Sect - Glendora
  5. The Flies - I'm Not Your Steppin' Stone (demo)
  6. The Kirkbys - It's a Crime
  7. The Sorrows - Let the Live Live
  8. The Fingers - I Go To Sleep
  9. Arthur Brown - Don't Tell Me
  10. Beverley - Happy New Year
  11. The Bee Gees - I Am The World
  12. The Hollies - Clown
  13. The Zombies - Indication
  14. The Rocking Vickers - Little Rosy
  15. Sounds Around - What Does She Do
  16. Episode Six - My Little Red Book
  17. The Tornados 66 - No More You and Me
  18. The N Betweens - Girl Child, I Am An Evil Witchman
  19. The Spectres - Hurdy Gurdy Man
  20. Tuesday's Children - Summer Leaves Me With a Sigh
  21. The Reaction - Advertising Man
  22. The Ivy League - My World Fell Down
  23. The Silence - Hey, You Lolita
  24. The Secrets - I Suppose
  25. Outrage - Different Kind of Love Song
  26. The Mirage - Tomorrow Never Knows
  27. The Misunderstood - My Mind
  28. The Move - Disturbance

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