Friday, November 21, 2008

Of Fashion Conscious Long Haired Girls

THE FRESH WINDOWS-Summer Sun Shines/Fashion Conscious U.K. Fontana TF 839 1967

Back in the 80's there weren't very many "legit" compilation Lp's other than the "Rubble" series that focused on U.K. 60's psych and freakbeat. There were many that were of sometimes dubious source quality ("The Perfumed Garden"), prone to skipping or mastered from records that skipped ("Electric Sugarcube Flashbacks") or wrong speeds ("Chocolate Soup For Diabetics Volume Two") . Fortunately the first and third volumes of "Chocolate Soup for Diabetics" were mastered at the right speed (or so I believe, I've long since sold all three of the first volumes) . Volume One featured an intriguing little ditty called "Fashion Conscious" by The Fresh Windows, a number I'd first heard on a cassette comp made by a generous older local hipster/legend named Ron Rimsite ( of "99th Floor' fanzine fame) . Many years later I was able to score an actual copy at the WFMU record show (back when they were at the Elks in Hoboken, NJ to give you an idea of how long ago). But like a buffoon I sold it before I could scan the label so I've been forced to nick a photo from the net.

"Fashion Conscious" is actually the B-side, but since it's certainly the most popular I'll discuss it first. Lyrically it's what I'd like to refer to as a "Dollybird social commentary" track (see The Syn or The Attack's "Created By Clive" for further looks into this scenario) about a "short skirted fashion conscious long haired girl". It's delivered at a moderate pace, nothing flashy or heavy or even bearing a freaky bit of guitar, just a repetitive riff played a mid-tempo like The Trogg's "Our Love Will Still Be There" or The Kinks ""You Can't Win". It's catchy though and the lyrics are sung by a bored, ambivalent sounding guy which makes them all the more delightful. The A-side, "Summer Sun Shines" is far more uptempo with what my pal Tom would call some "skronky" distorted guitar. It's got a sing-song singalong feel to it like The Human Instinct's "Death Of The Seaside" that has a happy quality about it that's distinctly "English '67" with it's chorus punctuated by some softly blowing horns that add a regal air to it. Who they were and what became of them I'll never know. Both sides a credited to a person named "Barrett" leading less informed (read "idiots") to claim a Pink Floyd connection. Anyone who has heard either sides will know better instantly.
Strangely to my knowledge neither side has seen a legitimate reissue and CD versions of "Chocolate Soup For Diabetics Volume One" did not include the "Fashion Conscious" .