Monday, April 16, 2012

Pretty Trippy!

THE PRETTY THINGS-Talkin' About The Good Times/Walking Through My Dreams U.K. Columbia DB 8353 1968
Scan c/o

By 1968 The Pretty Things were starting to run out of steam. This was their 11th single, and their second for EMI's Columbia offshoot having left Fontana records in mid 1967. Like it's trippy predecessor "Mr. Evasion"/"Defecting Grey" (Columbia DB 8300) both sides were band originals and were produced by The Pink Floyd's producer Norman Smith and sadly, like it's predecessor put them no closer to the hit parade despite a very "with it" sound.  This single would be the last one featuring drummer Skip Allen who would soon be replaced by ex-Tomorrow wild man John "Twink" Alder.  At this point in their career the only original members were Phil May (lead vocals) and Dick Taylor (lead guitar) with ex-Fenmen John Povey (keyboards) and Wally Waller (bass) who'd been around since the tail end of their Fontana stint still hanging in there.

And we're so pretty oh so pretty......

I had forgotten all about this 45 until I was meeting my friend Rhea from L.A. in Brit's Pub in Minneapolis back in January and "Talkin'..." came on the P.A. there.  Maybe it was the numerous imperial pints of Fuller's E.S.B. and maybe it was catching up with an old friend quite literally "talking about the good times" but it all seemed to work perfectly, like we had our own theme music. I'd immediately remembered how cool this 45 was and made a mental note to blog about it.  All to often I forget about groovy 45's I once had and this was sadly, one of them.  I had a standard stock copy, black label, that I think came from Craig Morer and went to one of you, possibly, at one of the WFMU record Fairs.

"Talkin' About The Good Times" is a perfect hybrid of all things English, 1967(even though it's from 1968!) and psychedelic.  Awash in Mellotron and bombastic guitar overdubs it blends some brilliant West Coast styled harmonies with plinking sitars behind storming drums pounding around a beat not unlike 100's of marching footsteps, very trippy.  To say that the Mellotron makes this track would be an understatement, instead of the typical Moody Blues orchestral style this is more akin to the spooky "We Love You"/"2,000 Light Years From Home".  The best part is the ending where the whole thing winds down and these perfect sunshiney pop voices croon "good times" in a "Pet Sounds" friendly kinda way before a guitar starts playing a jangly little riff and the psychedelic symphony of madness Mellotron weaves its web again.

"Walking Through My Dreams" is altogether a different fish in a different kettle.  It sounds more like a lost track from their third LP "Emotions" (my fave Pretties album actually). No Mellotron, just some faint organ but once again carried by some very strong harmony vocals (the ex-Fenmen members brought their harmonic skills honed in their previous act to the Pretties and were put to good use).  There's some backwards guitar to remind us it's still psychedelic and a groovy little guitar solo that's a taste for their next long player, the opus "S.F. Sorrow".

Both sides have been comped on a bunch of places, most recently a double CD of The Prettie's called "The Psychedelic Years 1966-1970" or my fave EMI's "Psychedelia At Abbey Road" CD. "Walking Through My Dreams" was issued on Bam Caruso's "Rubble Volume Two:Pop Psych Dreams" (my first hearing of it) and "Talking About The Good Times" was on "Rubble Volume  Three: Nightmares In Wonderland" (ditto).

Messrs Povey, May, Waller, Allen and Taylor, respectively.

Hear "Talkin' About The Good Times":

Hear "Walking Through My Dreams":

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