Monday, July 6, 2009

God Bless The Great British Psychedelic Trip

ICE-Ice Man/Whisper Her Name (Maria Lane) U.K. Decca F12479 1968

No foray into the realm of British 60's psychedelia would be complete without a brief nod to the strains of Procol Harum's "A Whiter Shade of Pale" which is somewhat influenced by Bach (ah Bach!). One could easily spend an entire blog mentioning all the British psych bands who crafted songs in this vein. It would be derogatory to claim this one was merely that, but one would have to be blind(or deaf?) to overlook that fact upon hearing this tune's A-side!

Released in the spring of '68 this is the second, and sadly final, 45 by Ice, a five piece from the U.K. (Sussex I'm told?!)  comprised of  Glyn James (vocals), Steve Turner (guitar), Lynton Naiff (organ), John Carter (bass, not the John Carter of "Carter/Lewis" song writing fame) and Grant Serpell (drums).  Their previous single was "Anniversary (Of Love)"/"So Many Times (Decca F 12680 October 1967).  This one is another beautifully crafted Decca pop-psych single. "Ice Man" is a wonderfully produced paean to, of all things, the ice cream man and Jack Frost, depending on which verse you center on! It has those classical key changes and structure so beloved of "A Whiter Shade Of Pale" underneath some dreamy/airy vocals, with some trippy piano noodling(that makes me think of Virgin Sleep's Deram psych classic "Beeside"), Bach-ish organ and a host of wonderful "psychedelic" effects. The lyrics are so observant it's obvious someone got "turned on" and wrote a song about the arrival of the ice cream ("ice cream...breathes confusion in the younger set..") and morning frost ("seems while I've been dreaming haven't had the time to look and see the changes that winter brings ice man has caught up with me.."). Good stuff. "Whisper Her Name (Maria Lane)" is a Left Bank-ish (the band, not the Paris neighborhood) number, with lots of beautifully arranged harmonies, not as "mind altering" as the A-side but still brilliant.

Both sides were unearthed in the 80's on the See For Miles LP series "The Great British Psychedelic Trip" (and on their subsequent CD versions as well). And I've just been able to find them on YouTube for you to hear ......

Hear "Whisper Her Name Maria Lane":

Hear "Ice Man":

POSTSCRIPT: iTunes has an amazing 19 song Ice compliation available for download titled "Ice Man" bearing all of their 45 tracks as well as unreleased material and B.B.C. sessions!!!

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