Keys And Chords
As that noted hipster Plato once observed, when the mode of the music changes, the walls of the city shake. And there was certainly a whole lotta shakin’ goin’ on in 1967. A distended Summer of Love saw psychedelic pop emerging from the underground clubs to infiltrate the home-grown music scene mainstream, with the vast majority following in the footsteps of perennial market leaders The Beatles in surrendering to the new genre.
As the year progressed, it seemed that more or less every element of the British pop world had been swept up in the blissed-out UFOria. Beat boom survivors, R&B stalwarts, sharp-suited mods, Swinging London soul revues, earnest acoustic folkies, Denmark Street hustlers, traditional pop acts… all abandoned or refined their previous identities to make music that reflected the ubiquitous influence of psychedelia in its myriad paisley-patterned guises.
Across four hours and eighty tracks, the all-singing, not-much-dancing Let’s Go Down And Blow Our Minds anticipates the fiftieth anniversary of the Summer of Love to chronicle a tumultuous twelve-month period of music-making within the British Isles. The dizzying breadth of the set incorporates everything from key names such as The Move and Procol Harum, both represented with less obvious choices (surely nobody needs to hear ‘I Can Hear The Grass Grow’ or ‘A Whiter Shade Of Pale’ yet again?!), to the likes of mondo obscuro West Country quintet T. J. Assembly, who pressed a mere 25 copies of their self-penned November 1967 album as a strictly personal memento of their time together.
Along the way, we encounter all aspects of the scene, from the first generation psychedelic bands that took part in subterranean London ‘happenings’ to the shameless bandwagon-jumpers who were nevertheless an integral part of psychedelic pop’s rich and varied tapestry. We also feature a clutch of previously unreleased nuggets, alternative versions, pseudonymous releases, first-ever CD appearances, a couple of inspired novelty discs and even a football supporters freak-out.
Housed in a clambox that includes a lavishly annotated and illustrated 40-page booklet, Let’s Go Down And Blow Our Minds is nothing less than the story of the British rock and pop scene of 1967: music made half-a-century ago that, as can be seen from the number of hitherto unknown recordings featured, is still slowly revealing its secrets. As some righteously obscure band confidently promised during that epochal year, a splendid time is guaranteed for all...