Psychedelic Schlemiels 3 (WHCD025)

1. Round And Around - Serendipity

2. Music Ground - The Mirror

3. Crushed Purple - Jade Hexagram

4. Sunshine Help Me - Carley Hill Blues Band

5. I Got A Line On You - The Outside Toilet

6. Alias Oliver Dream - Airbus

7. Together - The Montanas

8. Sunshine Train - The Mirror

9. Phantom Eye - Jade Hexagram

10. Shadow Man - Schadel

11. I'm About To Lose My Mind - Airbus

12. Someone - Warm Sounds

13. Little Games - Des James

14. Come On Up - Carley Hill Blues Band

15. Mr Papermaker - The Mirror

16. Legend Of A Mind - The Outside Toilet

17. I Think I'll Stay - Airbus

18. Summertime - Carley Hill Blues Band

19. Pretty Patterns - The Mirror

20. Castles (full-length version) - Serendipity

 

The third volume of Wooden Hill's acclaimed series of unreleased-at-the-time British psychedelic pop artefacts, Psychedelic Schlemiels 3 painstakingly assembles another twenty acetates, demos and private recordings from the soft white underbelly of the late 60s group scene. In addition to featuring the first-ever demos to surface from legendary London underground club band Jade Hexagram, there's first-time exposure for psych-era unknowns the Outside Toilet, the Carley Hill Blues Band and studio project Airbus. Also including demos from such major label acts as Serendipity, the Mirror, Warm Sounds, Schadel, the Montanas and Des James (the original, hitherto unknown to exist, acetate-only version of 'Little Games', subsequently recorded by the Yardbirds), Psychedelic Schlemiels 3 is an essential purchase for anyone with more than a passing interest in vintage British psych-pop.

This latest volume in the Psychedelic Schlemiels series offers another thoroughly annotated selection of previously unexcavated specimens of harmony pop and psychedelia, and among the demos and acetates collected here are some genuinely exciting finds. For more than a few, the wow factor discovery will be the first appearance of two 1968 studio demos by Jade Hexagram, a group who’ve attained something of a legendary status through their appearances on adverts for happening venues like Middle Earth and the Marquee. Both ‘Crushed Purple’ and ‘Phantom Eye’ display a West Coast-inspired, shape-shifting lysergic sound, by turns moody and gentle, emotive and heavy. From the poppier end of the psychedelic spectrum comes the Mirror, represented by four tracks from a cancelled 1969 EP (previously issued as a Bam Caruso 12” in 1986, they make their CD debut here), of which the catchy ‘Mr. Papermaker’ and the dreamy ‘Pretty Patterns’ are particularly noteworthy. Psych of a decidedly more progressive bent is delivered on Serendipity’s storming, harpsichord-driven 1969 CBS B-side, ‘Castles’, heard here for the first time in unedited form. And of historical interest, certainly, is singer Des James’ orchestrated demo version of ‘Little Games’. Classy period vocal pop is served up by the Montanas (‘Together’), Schadel (‘Shadow Man’) and ‘Warm Sounds (‘Someone’), but these are perhaps eclipsed by three sublime demos from Airbus, a studio project involving Geoff Simpson, late of West Coast Colosseum, and brothers Ron and Martin Jay. Safe to say, anyone with a fondness for the Hollies or Badfinger will be knocked out by ‘Alias Oliver Dream’ and ‘I Think I’ll Stay’, while ‘I’m About To Lose My Mind’ continues Simpson’s infatuation with the Beach Boys – indeed, it’s no stretch to imagine Carl Wilson taking the lead vocal on it. As usual with the Schlemiels series, outfits that never managed to break out of their local scenes, let alone release anything, are also featured. The Oxford-based Carley Hill Blues Band contribute an aggressive take on ‘Sunshine Help Me’ (apparently inspired by the Move’s version) and Harrow’s the Outside Toilet deliver a spirited performance of the Moody Blues’ ‘Legend Of A Mind’. According to their guitarist, Hokey, the Toilet paid a lot of attention to their stage shows, which sometimes ended “with puffs of flash powder, destruction of cardboard amps, explosions and a reworking of Rachmaninov’s ‘Piano Study in C Minor’, complete with early synthesiser sounds”. (Ugly Things)

 

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