Reading Joe Boyd’s White Bicycles put me onto Nick Drake and early Fairport. I gradually collected most stuff with Joe’s prints on it and was never disappointed. But the Incredible String Band had a whiff of ordure about them so I kept away.
Then a month ago I stumbled across your brilliant Site and avidly trawled it for interesting stuff to augment my <<almost perfect>> CD collection.
Hangman’s Beautiful Daughter was duly added to the list (and any detail of the review quickly forgotten). Thrilled by Yeti and Camenbert Electrique, I went on to collect other neglected gems.
My only (slight) mistake was buying Armaggedon instead of Armageddon, but a German hippie take on Beck-Ola (plus dashes of Hendrix, Cream and the Floyd) has its amusements and repeated listenability.
So when on the day I bought Medulla, Blind Faith and an Elevators box set, Hangman’s was obviously going to be worth my standard £5 punt.
This screams “1968” at you from the start. Doped-up hippies melding the obligatory heavy Indian vibe with off-key folk and general derangement. I give credit to a comic number that pre-figure’s Monty Python’s “Lumberjack Song” but feel it won’t really bear repeated listening. But as the record grinds on, the jokey concept wears too thin. These guys are off their heads on acid and think everything they do is hilarious. The nonsense lyrics and the out-of-tune violin become tedious. Then you realise they can’t sing in tune to save their lives, and the guitar playing’s hopeless too. All those overdubbed instruments and extraneous tinkles that distracted and got in the way at the start now seem like lovely water lilies floating on a sea of crud. 7 songs in I gave up and pressed EJECT.
Checking back with White Bicycles this was the first time Boyd got to twiddle with a new-fangled 8-track studio and, boy, does it show!
Also Joni Mitchell, the general folk crowd and record-buying with-it groovers all loved these guys. So maybe I’ve missed something.
Koeeaddi There has a touch of Syd Barrett about it, only crazier. A promising start.
The Minotaur definitely got a job chopping down trees and picking wild flowers.
Witches Hat is another silly song with an annoying penny whistle at extreme right.
A Very Cellular Song yet again serves up randomised lyrics but the lengthy multi-section structure points the way for brighter lights to shine. Eventually the violin, kazoo and other “deliberately wrong” instruments begin to pall. Otherwise those 13 minutes just fly by.
Mercy I Cry City is a Dylan pastiche “lemon song”. Ha ha bloody ha. I nearly fell out of bed.
Waltz of the New Moon is where the tuneless singing emerges stark in its sheer goddamn awfulness. Fire King’s daughter may possibly have caught Sinfield’s huge pink and blue ear, together with the reed organ on the Water Song.
Three is a Green Crown is where all the dissonant elements come together in a heap of steaming dung.
Swift as the Wind seems to have a proper singer for almost the first 2 minutes. Allah be praised! But then he reaches for a marginally higher note and misses by a mile. Then his mate dives in, on disharmony and general cack-ophony. Yeeucchhh.
Nightfall is drek with a balalaika.
Poor man’s Trout Mask Replica? I can see where you got that one, George, but Beefheart and his band had undoubted talent, humour and shining intelligence. These guys are deadly serious dunces, sadly lacking that vital Magic.
Innovatory pioneering stuff? Certainly. Like they invented the wheels on Barney Rubble’s car.
Frisbee into the Karn Evil 9th circle of Hell. Or at least the Church of Scientology.
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