Psychedelic Schlemiels 2 (WHCD020)

 

1. Morning Dew - Cellophane Cloud

2. Childplay - Sweet Marriage

3. Gypsy Girl - Varsity Rag

4. She's A Winner (demo version) - The Loot

5. Desiree - Sweet Marriage

6. Sitting In The Sun - Cellophane Cloud

7. Pink Eyes - Forever Changes

8. New New Minglewood Blues - Cellophane Cloud

9. Wind-Up Toys - Opal Butterfly

10. Bitter Wind - Sweet Marriage

11. As He Sees Them - The Intruders

12. Save Me (demo version) - The Loot

13. Soda Water Party - Young Blood

14. Death Of Elizabeth - Sweet Marriage

15. Love Me (Tonight) - Cellophane Cloud

16. I Had Too Much To Dream Last Night - Opal Butterfly

17. Out Of My Mind - Forever Changes

18. I Can Hear The Grass Grow - The Intruders

19. Who Is The Man (Death) - Cellophane Cloud

20. Live And Let Live - Sweet Marriage

 

The second volume in Wooden Hill's ongoing series of unreleased-at-the-time late Sixties British psychedelic pop artefacts, Psychedelic Schlemiels 2 assembles twenty acetates, demos and private recordings from the local group scenes that thrived up and down the country. Runners'n'riders this time around include the Manchester-based Sweet Marriage, who never quite made it despite the patronage of John Peel and Radio One, Westminster College students Cellophane Cloud, Forever Changes ("Bedfordshire's only West Coast-style band") and West Midlands quartet Varsity Rag. With the addition of hitherto-unissued demos by major label signings Young Blood (Birmingham), Opal Butterfly (Oxfordshire) and the Loot (Hampshire), Psychedelic Schlemiels 2 fearlessly explores the fascinating soft white underbelly of the provincial British psychedelic pop scene.

"It's often worth it to check out the Lost & Found department. Wooden Hill has - again - dug up 21 hardly ever heard sides from provincial UK, all unissued, apart from one obscure German 45. Lovers of late '60s British sounds should swallow this silver disc without pain. The fact that almost half the tracks are covers needn't be seen as a problem, as they're often not the obvious kind, like the Electric Prunes' 'Wind-Up Toys' (done crudely but finely by Opal Butterfly, who give the same garage-y treatment to 'Too Much To Dream'), Buffalo Springfield's 'Out Of My Mind' or Love's 'Live & Let Live' (Sweet Marriage doing it with a bit of a Move power touch, while also doing a rough though neat cover of the Left Banke's Desiree). Speaking of the Move, their 'I Can Hear The Grass Grow' is unfortunately not so well performed by the Intruders, but Cellophane Cloud delivers a cool cover of the classic 'Morning Dew' on the freakier side of the beat. These lads are my favourite discovery of the bunch, with more goodies like a punky Yardbirds-fuelled version of 'New New Minglewood Blues' and especially 'Sitting In The Sun', a playful bubblegum number with a proto-Undertones style punk pop/DIY touch (I could've done without the kazoo break, but my fun ain't spoilt nonetheless). The most 'famous' act here is the Loot, with two earlier versions of their classic freak beat 'She's A Winner' (plus a less exciting early take on their 'Save Me')." (Ugly Things)

"At the risk of ignoring some of the fellow travellers on this latest comp like Cellophane Cloud, The Loot and Opal Butterfly, forgive me for cutting to the chase and admitting that I hunted down a copy of this CD simply to hear more nuggets from long-lost Mancunian heroes, Sweet Marriage. Marriage consisted of singer Tony Merrick, drummer Tony MacDonald, bassist Keith Lawless and guitarists Alan Doyle and Ron Walker - mining that rich psychedelic heavy pop vein that made Tomorrow and Wimple Winch so good, the combo delivered on all fronts rather similar to their contemporaries, the original Move - great singing, tons of energy and guitar drive, and capable of writing excellent original material. They also shared with the Move a predilection for the American West Coast bands, and regularly covered material by the Airplane, Love, the Doors and, fittingly, that super-charged super-talented Californian quintet Moby Grape. Sadly they were only around for a couple of years and, aside from the Peel tracks, only managed a single on the German Metronome label, both sides included here. 'Childplay' was their take on toy town pop, rather in the vein of Tomorrow's 'Auntie Mary's Dress Shop'. Tellingly, the flip of this 45 was their version of the Bob Mosley song, 'Bitter Wind' from Wow. They really nail this - perfect vocal harmonies! Hope it's not damning to say it sounds as good as the original. Their rendition of 'Live And Let Live', however, doesn't quite do the same for the song from Forever Changes - here the tune is let down by the rather primitively-recorded drum soundů Their covers were pretty strong and showed a lot of taste (Lawless particularly was a big devotee of Peel's BBC radio shows) and 'Desiree', originally done by the Left Banke, was no exception - though to my ears there are quite a few Move moves in there - no bad thing! The stand-out has to be the Merrick-Lawless tune 'Death Of Elizabeth' - a complex, lush piece of South Californian-style late 60s rock with echoes of the Grape, the Byrds and the quite wonderful West Coast Pop Art Experimental Bandů Track this set down. You won't be disappointed." (Ptolemaic Terrascope)

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