måndag 19 september 2016

JOHNS CHILDREN/IN A MIDSUMMER NIGHT SCENE KIRI 095 (-88) UK MONO

Though only existing one year around 1967, during which they recorded seven singles and one album, Johns Children remains as probably one of the most notorious acts ever. It's hard to chose between all rumours and stories. Apparently records were withdrawn and partly remade because of controversial lyrics and titles and members sometimes posed naked for the press. Their show included mock fights on stage, whipping instruments with chains, knifing pillows and throwing themselves out in the audience (first ever stagediving?). They were even sacked mid-tour as support act for The Who as Pete Townshend thought they were "too loud and violent". Rumour also has they weren't very good at playing, the recordings were backed by studio musicians and the raging stage act was there just to hide the musical incompetence. Clearly one of those bands where the context is so flamboyant it becomes part of the music itself, impossible not to consider while listening. But let's try anyway. This compilation has their complete 45 discography - seven A:s and six B:s (one used for two flips). Marc Bolan, in the band between March and July 1967, participated on guitars and/or vocals on four of the singles - among them "Go Go Girl" which later would be reworked as the Tyrannosaurus Rex song "Mustang Ford". The most famous backing musician would be Jeff Beck guesting on "But She's Mine" with a smashing solo. The singles themselves may have been odd and non-selling at the time, yet put together like this in retrospective the result becomes a very good psych garage album. Labels say "stereo", but all cuts are original mono. Carefully enhanced and clarifyed providing very good listening. Favorite tracks - "Desdemona" with Bolan's vibrato saving the refrain, "Arthur Green" sounding British punk/new wave ten years too early, "Come And Play With Me In The Garden" has a lovely drive with some high pitched vocals (maiden glam rock?) and "It's Been A Long Time" towards baroque pop with loony lyrics. This was the first legal 45 compilation by the band. Strange it took twenty years, but maybe they didn't think it would sell too close to the dodgy source. It still shows up in the bins now and then and never too dear, so if you want a good psych/garage album combined with a big chunk of rock history it's recommended. To my knowledge only released in UK, also as Bam Caruso CD (MARI 095 CD). Vinyl had label as shown here, fully laminated cover and inner with pictures, discography and the band's full story. (RÄX*) (ÖGÄ*) (PÖP*)

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