Guide to British Music of the 1960s

May 2017

CD Review: The Creation - Creation Theory

 

Two Creation collections in a matter of weeks. For a band that only had a couple of minor hits in their own country during the 1960s this may seem somewhat surprising. However, their legacy is very strong and many now recognise the important part played by the Creation in the development of music. The band had a very innovative guitarist in Eddie Phillips while the Phillips/Pickett songwriting team produced some epic tracks.

This compilation includes just about everything done by the Creation and, in its inclusive state, may be viewed as somewhat warts and all. The story begins with the Mark Four. Their four singles included with their b-sides show a very clear progression from a good but unspectacular group that played the London and Hertfordshire circuit. However, things changed. They started to undertake extended tours of Germany where like many others they honed their act in the clubs. Secondly, Eddie Phillips joined on guitar and, even in these early days, he was showing that he had a very innovative guitar style. When Phillips and Kenny Pickett started writing their own songs this was a step-change. There was a huge difference between the first and fourth singles with singes three and four Hurt Me If You Will and Work All Day Sleep All Night and their respective b-sides giving a very clear indication of what was to come.

Enter a new manager, Tony Stratton-Smith, a new bass player in Bob Garner, a new image with purple shirts and a name change to the Creation. The next single and the first for the new line-up was the incredible Making Time. Now recognised as a "mod-freakbeat" classic the punchy song introduced the Creation trademarks of guitar power chords, controlled feedback, bowed guitar long before Jimmy Page and excitement from beginning to end. Not only is Making Time a great name for a 1960s music Web site but the was also used as the opening music for 2017's Great Pottery Throwdown on BBC. The formula continued with the second single Painter Man. Again, there as the violin bow used on the guitar and ample use of controlled feedback by Phillips. The track also linked the band to pop at and during live shows Pickett would paint giant canvasses. The b-side Biff Bang Pow continues the pop art theme. Although it may seem on first listen like a version of My Generation this may be more due to the use of Nicky Hopkins' piano with its instantly recognisable style. Both tracks were produced by Shel Talmy too. However, the Creation track certainly stands up on its own merits as a powerful piece of mid-sixties pop art rock.

At home the chart success, well lower reaches, dried up but the band continued to build on the Mark Four's popularity in Germany and the band built up a strong following, appearing on the TV shows Beat Beat Beat and Beat Club. A stream of superb singles followed as well as tracks on an LP We Are Paintermen that was issued in Germany but not at home. The band embraced the psychedelic feel of the time with tracks such as How Does It Feel to Feel and Life is Just Beginning. The quality of the music was consistent despite personnel changes. Phillips was struggling juggling married life with constant touring. When Pickett left temporarily he was replaced on vocals by Bob Garner while the bass duties were taken by former Bird Kim Gardner. Garner is seen taking lead vocals on the June 1967 Beat Beat Beat versions of Try and Stop Me and Painter Man. On record his vocals include If I Stay Too Long, Life is Just Beginning, Through My Eyes and Cool Jerk. An unusual track is the instrumental Sylvette which to even an untrained ear sounds remarkably like the Holland Dozier Holland standard Leaving Here.

Jack Jones was temporarily sacked from the band at the end of 1966 but there were relationship issues within the band as well as some alleged problems with Stratton-Smith. The second line-up with Garner and Gardner recorded the German LP which included Eddie Phillips singing Hey Joe as well as covers of Like a Rolling Stone and Cool Jerk. The inclusion of three cover versions may suggest that the Creation were missing the Pickett/Phillips songwriting team. When Phillips left the band in late 1967 he was replaced by Tony Ollard. However, he could not compete with the legacy of Eddie Phillips and he left along with Bob Garner. Kenny Pickett was asked to rejoin while Gardner suggested his former colleague from the Birds, Ronnie Wood, on guitar. Midway Down and For All That I Am are certainly great Creation tracks. However, when Wood was called up to play bass on the Jeff Beck Group's tour of the US the Creation came to a halt.

During the 1970s there was revived interest in the Creation and, by 1982, the band's material was being made available again. A Mark Four reunion followed in 1985 with the gig recorded and some tracks available here on CD 3. Albums were mooted and tracks recorded but nothing was released until Psychedelic Rose was released on Cherry Red in 2004. Still keen to make mileage out of the Creation the band reformed the original line-up for a one-off show at London's Mean Fiddler in 1993. Phillips was reluctant to devote too much time to touring but the band did release an album on Creation Records headed by long-time fan Alan McGhee. Power Surge is a good album that does include the Creation's trademark elements but it failed, unsurprisingly, to live up to the spirit of the band's known 1960s sound. There were tensions in the band still and the album was promoted at a gig without Phillips. This did highlight the importance of Eddie Phillips to the distinctive sound of the Creation.

All in all Creation Theory is a great listen (and watch) in bringing together all the recorded tracks of the Creation and the Mark Four along with later collaborations and solo efforts. This may make it seem patchy at times but it is completist and the key tracks are all there as well as the wonderful live clips from Beat Beat Beat.

Esoteric ECLEC 22554

Released: 5 May 2017

Essential Tracks

  • Making Time
  • Painter Man
  • How Does It Feel to Feel?

Track Listing

Disc One

  1. Rock Around the Clock (The Mark Four)
  2. Slow Down (The Mark Four)
  3. Try It Baby (The Mark Four)
  4. Crazy Country Hop (The Mark Four)
  5. Hurt Me If You Will (The Mark Four)
  6. I'm Leaving (The Mark Four)
  7. Work All Day Sleep All Night (The Mark Four)
  8. Going Down Fast (The Mark Four)
  9. Making Time
  10. Try and Stop Me
  11. Painter Man
  12. Biff Bang Pow
  13. Sylvette
  14. If I Stay Too Long
  15. Nightmares
  16. Cool Jerk
  17. Like a Rolling Stone
  18. Can I Join Your Band
  19. Hey Joe
  20. Life is Just Beginning
  21. Through My Eyes
  22. How Does it Feel to Feel (UK version)
  23. Tom Tom
  24. How Does it Feel to Feel (US version)
  25. I Am the Walker
  26. Ostrich Man
  27. Sweet Helen

Disc Two

  1. Midway Down
  2. The Girls Are Naked
  3. Bony Moronie
  4. Mercy, Mercy, Mercy
  5. For All That I Am
  6. Uncle Bert
  7. Making Time (instrumental) (Stereo Mix 2016)
  8. Painter Man (Stereo Mix 2016)
  9. Biff Bang Pow (Stereo Mix 2016)
  10. Sylvette (full length) (Stereo Mix 2016)
  11. If I Stay Too Long (Stereo Mix 2016)
  12. Nightmares (Stereo Mix 2016)
  13. Cool Jerk (Stereo Mix 2016)
  14. Like a Rolling Stone (Stereo Mix 2016)
  15. Can I Join Your Band? (Stereo Mix 2016)
  16. Hey Joe (Stereo Mix 2016)
  17. Life is Just Beginning (Stereo Mix 2016)
  18. Through My Eyes (Stereo Mix 2016)
  19. How Does It Feel to Feel (UK version) (Stereo Mix 2016)
  20. Tom Tom (Stereo Mix 2016)
  21. How Does it Feel to Feel (US version) (Stereo Mix 2016)
  22. Midway Down (Stereo Mix 2016)
  23. For All That I Am (Stereo Mix 2016)
  24. Instrumental #1 (Stereo Mix 2016)
  25. How Does It Feel to Feel (instrumental)

Disc Three

  1. Hurt Me If You Will (The Mark Four Beat Scene Club 1985)
  2. Got My Mojo Working (Eddie Phillips 2011)
  3. That's How Strong My Love Is (Eddie Phillips 2011)
  4. Lay the Ghost (Psychedelic Rose CD 1987)
  5. Psychedelic Rose (Psychedelic Rose CD 1987)
  6. Radio Beautiful (Psychedelic Rose CD 1987)
  7. United (Psychedelic Rose CD 1987)
  8. Doing it My Way (Psychedelic Rose CD 1987)
  9. Making Time (new version) (Psychedelic Rose CD 1987)
  10. White Night (Psychedelic Rose CD 1987)
  11. Spirit Called Love (Psychedelic Rose CD 1987)
  12. The Jimi Hendrix Trilogy (Eddie Phillips 1990 Riffmaster of the Western World)

Disc Four (Power Surge CD 1996)

  1. Creation
  2. Power Surge
  3. Someone's Gonna Bleed
  4. Shock Horror
  5. That's How I Found Love
  6. Killing Song
  7. Nobody Wants To Know
  8. Killing Life
  9. English Life
  10. Free Men Live Forever
  11. Ghost Division
  12. O + N
  13. Woodstock Daze (Eddie Phillips 2011)
  14. Good Times (Eddie Phillips 2011)

Disc Five (DVD)

  1. Eddie Phillips Interview
  2. Making Time (live on Beat Beat Beat)
  3. I'm a Man (live on Beat Beat Beat)
  4. That's How Strong My Love Is (live on Beat Beat Beat)
  5. Try and Stop Me (live on Beat Beat Beat)
  6. Painter Man (live on Beat Beat Beat)
  7. Try and Stop Me (live at the Mean Fiddler 1993)
  8. Life is Just Beginning (live at the Mean Fiddler 1993)
  9. I'm a Man (live at the Mean Fiddler 1993)
  10. Nightmares (live at the Mean Fiddler 1993)
  11. It I Stay Too Long (live at the Mean Fiddler 1993)
  12. Batman (live at the Mean Fiddler 1995)
  13. Biff Bang Pow (live at the Mean Fiddler 1995)
  14. Try and Stop Me (live at the Mean Fiddler 1995)
  15. Life is Just Beginning (live at the Mean Fiddler 1995)
  16. I'm a Man (live at the Mean Fiddler 1995)
  17. Nightmares (live at the Mean Fiddler 1995)
  18. If I Stay Too Long (live at the Mean Fiddler 1995)
  19. Hey Joe (live at the Mean Fiddler 1995)
  20. Making Time (live at the Mean Fiddler 1995)
  21. Creation (live at the Mean Fiddler 1995)
  22. Power Surge (live at the Mean Fiddler 1995)
  23. Tom Tom (live at the Mean Fiddler 1995)
  24. That's How Strong My Love Is (live at the Mean Fiddler 1995)
  25. How Does it Feel to Feel (live at the Mean Fiddler 1995)
  26. Painter Man (live at the Mean Fiddler 1995)
  27. Biff Bang Pow (live at the Mean Fiddler 1995)

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