Thursday, October 09, 2008
Electric Prunes - Long Day's Flight
Μετά από καιρό καταπιάνομαι ξανά με τους αγαπημένους μου Prunes. Ουσιαστικά όσα χρόνια με «θυμάμαι» να ακούω μουσική ακούω και Prunes. Υπάρχει κόλλημα με μερικά κομμάτια όπως με το I Happen To Love You που θεωρώ ένα από τα κορυφαία τους….ύμνος. Η συλλογή που ανέβασα έχει μερικά κλασικά κομμάτια τους από τα singles τους μαζί με μερικά B-sides. Έτσι απλά…απολαύστε τους.
JIM LOWE vcls, gtr, auto harp, perc A B C
PRESTON RITTER drms, perc A
'WEASEL' SPAGNOLA vcls, gtr A B
MARK TULIN bs, keyb'ds A B C
KEN WILLIAMS gtr A B C
MIKE WEAKLEY ("QUINT") drms B C
MIKE GANNON gtr C
JOHN HERREN keyb'ds D
MARK KINCAID gtr, vcls D
RON MORGAN gtr D
BRETT WADE bs, vcls, flute D
RICHARD WHETSTONE drms, gtr, vcls D
1(A) ELECTRIC PRUNES (I HAD TOO MUCH TO DREAM LAST NIGHT) (Reprise RLP 6248) 1967 113
2(A/B) UNDERGROUND (Reprise RLP 6262) 1967 172
3(C) MASS IN F MINOR (Reprise RLP 6275) 1967 135
4(C) RELEASE OF AN OATH (Reprise RLP 6316) 1968 -
5(D) JUST GOOD OLD ROCK AND ROLL (Reprise RSLP 6347) 1968
NB: (1) and (2) reissued on one CD (Head 3397) 1997. (1) and (2) have also been issued individually on pirate CD's with inferior quality live tracks, from the Stockholm '67 show. (3) and (4) also released in France (Vogue/Reprise CRV 6078 and CRV 6099 respectively) 1968. (3) Later reissued by Midi. (3) also reissued on CD. (4) & (5) issued on one CD. There have also been a number of worthwhile retrospective releases. Long Days Flight (Edsel ED 179) 1986, is a 'best of', later reissued on CD; Stockholm '67 (Heartbeat (CD)HB67) 1997, is an official reissue of a live performance from Swedish Radio, released on vinyl and CD; The Sanctions/Jim And The Lords: The Came The Electric Prunes (Heartbeat (CD)HB65) 2000 is an official reissue of pre-Electric Prunes material; Lost Dreams (Heartbeat (CD)HB68) 2001 is a superb compilation including many rare tracks; and The Singles (Gone Beat EP CD 77013) 1995 is a pirate CD containing 18 singles tracks.
1 Ain't It Hard/Little Olive (Reprise 0473) 1966
2 I Had Too Much To Dream (Last Night)/Luvin' (Reprise 0532) 1966 11
3 Get MeTo The World On Time/Are You Lovin' Me More (But Enjoying It Less) (Reprise 0564) 1967 27
4 Dr Do Good/Hideaway (Reprise 0594) 1967 128
5 The Great Banana Hoax/Wind-Up Toys (Reprise 0607) 1967 -
6 Sanctus/Credo (Reprise PRO 277) 1967
7 Everybody Knows You're Not In Love/You Never Had It Better (Reprise 0652) 1968
8 I Had Too Much To Dream Last Night/Get Me To The World On Time (double A re-release) (Reprise 0704) 1968
9 Help Us/The Adoration (Reprise PRO 305) 1968
10 Shadows (one-sided promo) (Reprise PRO 287) 1968
11 Hey Mr President/Flowing Smoothly (Reprise 0756) 1969
12 Sell/Violent Rose (Reprise 0833) 1969
13 Finders, Keepers, Losers, Weepers/Love Grows (Reprise 0858) 1969
14 Vox Wah-Wah Ad (Thomas 08-0001 32-0) 1966/1967
NB: (6), (9), (10), (12), (13), (14) Promo only releases. (7) and (11) also released in France with PS. There are also two rare French EPs with PS.
The Electric Prunes originated from the San Fernando Valley, a suburb of Los Angeles, although many bio's mistakenly claim that they came from Seattle, since I Had Too Much Too Dream (Last Night) first broke in Seattle and then Boston. In fact their very first live concert to promote the record was in Seattle, and according to their drummer Preston Ritter, a DJ there started the mis-information, by claiming that the band were from that area.
More commercially successful and classier than the average punk bands, they experimented with different types of music. Their first single Ain't It Hard was a brash punk number written by Roger and Terrye Tillson, members of folk-rock duo, Gypsy Trips. It was not a hit and was not issued in the U.K. but, along with the flip side, Little Olive and both sides of their next single (I Had Too Much To Dream Last Night/Luvin), it appeared on a French EP (Reprise RVEP 60098) which is the rarest 'Prunes item. Their debut album provided two U.S. hit singles: I Had Too Much To Dream (Last Night) and Get Me To The World On Time. Both also attracted airplay in the U.K. reaching Nos 49 and 42 respectively. The former, starts with a freaky fuzz- box intro - the brain child of their producer, Dave Hassinger. The lyrics and their sound were tailor-made for the druggy days of 1967. Get Me To The World On Time was a driving, urgent rocker, superimposed on top of a culminating whistle sound. Also on the album and the B side to their second single, was Are You Lovin' Me More (But Enjoying It Less) which used echo-drumming techniques to good effect. Some of the other numbers like Onie and Train For Tomorrow, were a little more laid back, but still featured acid guitar work. The album peaked at No 113 in the charts.
The second album, which was not issued in the UK, developed their psychedelic experience further. Recorded for the most part by line-up (A), drummer Preston Ritter recalls that he was given the choice between credited on the cover or being given royalties... In fact his replacement, Quint, only played on five tracks, Children of Rain, Antique Doll, I, Capt. Glory and Long Day's Flight. Despite the line-up changes, the album is more consistent than their debut with fine acid guitar work and effective drumming. Sadly, however, it failed to maintain their stream of hits. Of particular note are the psychedelic rockers The Great Banana Hoax, Long Day's Flight (both unsuccessful singles), - the latter a U.K. only issue, Children of Rain and strange, more subtle tracks like Wind-up Toys, Antique Doll and I Happen To Love You. This was a fine album, and it is a pity the group didn't pursue this direction further. It made No 172 in the U.S. charts. Also of note around this time is a non-LP single Everybody Knows You're Not In Love/You've Never Had It Better. This was also issued in the U.K. and in France. The B side is a fine dance number with a great psychedelic intro.
Another recording of note from 1968 is a second French EP (Reprise RVEP 601 10) consisting of Long Days Flight, Dr. Do Good, The Great Banana Hoax, and Captain Glory.
Towards the end of '67 the band embarked on a European Tour, and for many years a short poor quality tape circulated of a recording from Swedish Radio. Intrigued by the performance, 'Prunes fan Simon Edwards spent years tracking down the master-tapes, and clearing the rights to the material. In 1997 his efforts were rewarded with the release of Stockholm '67 in a lavish gatefold sleeve, with booklet of Gered Mankowitz photographs, and tour reminicences from 'Prunes' James Lowe and Mark Tulin. The album, which was also released on CD, is on a par with the excellent H.P. Lovecraft and Shadows of Knight live albums that have recently resurfaced, and captures the band in full flight - It also includes about 45 minutes of material, approx 20 mins more than was originally broadcast.
Their next album Mass In F Minor was backed by an additional orchestra of studio musicians and as the group's identity started to be swamped by Hassinger and Axelrod's grandiose concepts, members of the original outfit started to drop out of the project. Canadian band The Collectors, then based in L.A. and whose two album's were also produced by Hassinger, were brought in to plug the gaps. Mass... is regarded as one of the first rock operas, a mix of gregorian music and psychedelic pop with vocals in Latin, which was written, arranged and conducted by David Axelrod - a neoclassical musician. The opening track Kyrie Eleison is widely known and backed the acid trip in the cemetery scene of Easy Rider. The album climbed to No 135 and was re-released by Midi in 1974. They made a further album in a similar vein that may have also included members of The Collectors, before breaking up, although Dave Hassinger later attempted an unsuccessful comeback with the LP, Good Old Rock And Roll, which contained none of the band's original members. Recent interviews of some original members, notably in Record Collector and Jeff Jarema's Here 'Tis #8, reveal that they were unaware of subsequent machinations by Hassinger so it seems unlikely that the whole truth of the post-Mass period will ever fully emerge.
The Shadows promo is horrendously rare. Shadows was also included in a little-known movie 'The Name Of The Game Is Kill'. It sounds like the song was originally intended for The Doors. A 'Record Collector' article also revealed that different mixes of their 45s were made for the European and American markets. 'For England, they felt that the music ought to be a little more up, peppier. So we would put the material on the capstan and make the songs faster', James Lowe told journalist Mark Paytress.
In July 2000 Heartbeat have released Then Came The Electric Prunes which unearths pre-Prunes Audiodisc acetates recorded chez Russ Bottomley - twelve tracks from 27th March 1965 by the Sanctions (Jim Lowe, Ken Williams, Mark Tulin and Mike Weakley) and four tracks from 29th September 1965 by Jim And The Lords (with Dave Hargrave added to the previous line-up). The Sanctions' sound is of a garage band with surf roots performing popular covers including Long Tall Sally, Money, Moon Dog, Love Potion Number Nine, What'd I Say, Jack The Ripper and of course Louie Louie. With the Jim and The Lords tracks - Little Olive, I'm Free, I'm Down and Too Many People - the surf influences are replaced by raw harmonica and a raucous punk style ala Stones and Seeds. A folk-rock lilt on I'm Free marks another development since the March sessions. The sound quality is surprisingly good considering the source. With previously unseen photos this is a must-have for any Prunes fan.
In 2001, the retrospective Lost Dreams CD/Dble LP compilation appeared. Produced by Jim Lowe, it contains their debut 45, the Vox wah-wah ad, a selection of the strongest tracks from the first two albums (many in unreleased studio 4-track form) plus three never-released tracks: the mythical Shadows, a demo of the Hollies' I've Got A Way Of My Own and World Of Darkness. The fab double-LP package comes in a gatefold adorned with numerous band photos and a coloured insert sheet depicting 45 labels and pic sleeves from around the world.
The Electric Prunes were undoubtedly pioneers in experimentation with psychedelic and quasi-religious music. They certainly made some fine singles and had they not been overshadowed by San Francisco's own psychedelic sound may well have achieved wider recognition. Their first two albums, both reissued a few years ago, or alternatively the Edsel compilation are highly recommended.
(Vernon Joynson/Max Waller/Stephane Rebeschini)
1. Ain't It Hard
2. Little Olive
3. I Had Too Much To Dream (Last Night)
5. Get Me To The World On Time
6. Are You Lovin' Me More (But Enjoying It Less)
8. Train For Tomorrow
9. Sold To The Highest Bidder
10. Try Me On For Size
11. Dr Do-Good
13. The Great Banana Hoax
14. Children Of Rain
15. Antique Doll
16. I Happen To Love You
17. Long Day's Flight (Til Tomorrow)
18. You Never Had It Better