SMART SOUNDS by Colin Bell reviewing Too Much Sun Will Burn: The British Psychedelic Sounds of 1967 Volume 2, 3CD Box Set Various Artists

TOO MUCH SUN WILL BURN (The British Psychedelic Sounds of 1967 Volume Two) Various 

I could complete this review in 3 words…just buy it! But that won’t do will it.. That’s just the view of this reviewer who has been in love with psychedelia since it’s apogee in 1967, as any regular reader of my reviews, columns, or listeners to my specialist radio shows will know. Back in 2016, Cherry Red’s psyche label Grapefruit Records released the glorious 3CD set ‘Let’s Go Down And Blow Our Minds’ which was hugely well received ( & reviewed in these pages) now after a long anticipated wait, here 7 years later is its companion piece. Once again the whole 3CD set has been given all the love and attention it deserves. 3 Discs each housed in separate sleeves sporting their own cover designs (& disc designs) housed in a beautiful sturdy clamshell box, accompanied by a lavish 48 page booklet annotated by label boss David Wells, a guy for whom my admiration grows with each release he oversees. The booklet contains many rare photo’s together with sleeve covers & fascinating facts on each track to introduce the reader to the collection, & it kicks off with a quote from John Peel. Which could not be more apt, a) given his well known love of the genre & b) on a personal note, he was to become an early mentor & friend to me back in those halcyon days. So let’s get into all the delights on offer for your ears & senses to revel in. We kick off our lysergic drenched journey on Disc1 with what is probably most people’s’s idea of a classic piece of psychedelia in Traffic’s ‘Paper Sun’ which perfectly sets the scene for the 78 tracks to follow in its wake, over what will be a 4 hour journey down the rabbit hole. Immediately following Traffic is one of my all time favourite psyche bands Tomorrow, with ‘Revolution’ (no not The Beatles track!), the band comprised of several luminaries including Twink (Pink Fairies) & Keith West (of ‘Grocer Jack’ fame). ‘Revolution’ was the follow up to their near hit earlier that year with a cover of Nazareth’s arrangement of ‘My White Bicycle’ awash with ‘phasing’ & backward tape loops & all manner of effects so redolent of the whole scene Tomorrow for me have always been a major favourite & the version of ‘Revolution’ included here arrives in an alternate mix which is a bonus. I should add that many alternate takes, debut appearances & rare nuggets surface throughout the collection, to mine & I’m sure over aficionados delight.  Tomorrow are followed by Caleb ( who will be known to those aforementioned aficionados) an early bandmate along with a certain Reg Dwight in Bluesology, prior to releasing such nuggets as ‘Baby Your Phasing is Bad’ included here, the i think the title says it all! As ever it’s the obscure that delights me, but here Grapefruit Records have done a great job balancing this box set with its plethora of the little known, with the big names such as The Troggs, Elton John, The Strawbs (with Sandy Denny), Eric Burdon & the Animals, The Marmalade, The Flower Pot Men etc. Highlights for me on Disc1 come with some favourite tracks from excellent acts Tintern Abbey, The Syn, The Alan Bown! Johns Children & Hastings Pier stalwarts Episode 6 with ‘Love, Hate & Revenge’ bringing back some happy memories for me of working with the latter many times. And so onto Disc2 which opens with the piercing vibe of ‘Dive Into Yesterday’ by the criminally underrated & largely forgotten band Kaleidoscope, who like so many bands that surfaced at the time didn’t quite make it, but thoroughly deserved to. The Move put in an appearance with one of my favourite ‘B’ sides they ever made, in ‘Wave The Flag And Stop The Train’, which was originally coupled with ‘I Can Hear The Grass Grow’. The Move are joined on Disc2 by other big names The Who, Simon Dupree (& it’s not ‘Kites’!), Procol Harum. The Bonzo’s, DD,DBM&T, Nirvana, The Spencer Davis Group etc Some of the most interesting, & greatest psyche bands put in stellar appearances such as The Attack, The Virgin Sleep, The Mirage & The Artwoods with a special mention to another band i had the pleasure of working with on several occasions, in the shape of Orange Bicycle with ‘Hyacinth Threads’. They were a great band who combined vocal harmony work on par with The Beach Boys combined with intoxicating melodic psyche, a band i could listen to happily all day. As usual when writing about music i love I’m conscious i don’t have the space to discuss EVERY track! (as much as I’d like to), so we must move on to the final disc in the set Disc3. Starting with The Hollies and their foray into psychedelia (headed by Graham Nash) with Top 20 hit ‘King Midas In Reverse’. a great classic, but unfortunately it would also turn out to be the record that would cause the split within the band, that broke them apart with Nash leaving to form CS&N, but that’s a whole other story. Of all 3 discs this one serves up the greatest number of recognisable names with David Bowie, The Idle Race, The Pretty Things, The Small Faces. The Herd The Zombies etc, although you won’t find the ‘usual suspects’ tracks that most compilers put together, another plaudit to David Wells. Amongst the obscure & delightful are contributions from The Creation, The Tickle, Norma Rowe, The Action & Circle Plantagenet. Also, great to see the inclusion of Dave Davies with his second hit follow up to ‘Death Of A Clown’ with, to my mind an equally great record ‘Susannah’s Still Alive’ which sounds better in quality here (it usually sounds muddy) so thanks to whoever cleaned it up. New to me was The Bystanders track ‘Royal Blue Summer Sunshine Day’ a band that usually covered American harmony hits, they later morphed into Man the rock band. I never cease to marvel at all the tracks that surface after all these years that even die hard fans of the genre like me can still be surprised by. The whole collection comes to a close with the wisdom of Pete & Dud & ‘Bedazzled’ which to those of us of a ‘certain age’ brings a warm nostalgic smile. As the compilation alludes to with its title ‘Too Much Sun’. There were many bands in that wonderful ‘summer of love; in 1967 that took flight, some soared to happy heights and were rewarded with fame and glory and some, like Icarus, (the legend, not the band!) flew too close to the sun and crashed and burned to be forgotten. However like the man said, better to crash and burn than slowly fade away….enjoy

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Til next time….stay safe……Colin

Alan Esdaile… Great sleeve Colin and some interesting tracks. 1967 a Great year for music!

Mick O’Dowd… Even me who as you know wasn’t aware of what psych was i’ve actually heard a lot of these bands and hadn’t put them it that pigeonhole! Some great tracks on here

Claire Lonsdale… Lots of my favourite tracks and many more that I have to discover it seems

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