Friday, May 27, 2005

Lying On Your Back!

"Count the days into years
His eighty two brings many fears"

This particular excerpt being Grocer Jack (what's with British groups and songs about men named Jack?), sung by Tomorrow's vocalist Keith West and a precocious child chorus, and penned and produced by Mark Wirtz, who also produced Tomorrow's ode to the free ride, My White Bicycle. Named in homage to a habit of uber-creepy Kim Fowley, it's one of those lost psych-pop classic, and despite rocketing to the top of the charts, the recording session was so extraordinarily expensive, even in the context of Swingin' Sixties Spector-like vanity projects, that the label's enthusiasm quickly fizzled out (never there to begin with, a certain amount of hoodwinking was necessary to get the start-up money anyway) and decided not to fund the completion of the album. (Cherry Red issued an somewhat ramshackle compilation of related material from the Teenage Opera a couple of years back.) Those "lush" strings, choir, timpany, brass cost more money than EMI was willing to shell out. The introduction , the more sophisticated arrangements and changes, the tale of an unappreciated grocer stumbling and dying, a town only appreciating him in his passing, all of this places Excerpt in the same league as The Pretty Things' S.F. Sorrow album (clandestinely recorded at Abbey Road Studios during the night, after The Beatles were done their White Album sessions for the day, pinching George Harrison's sitar, or so the legend goes). Like its title character, Grocer Jack, Excerpt From A Teenage Opera is honoured and beloved post-humously, and it's a shame that Wirtz was never even given a fair chance to at least fail.

Keith West - Excerpt From A Teenage Opera.mp3

"It's a rainy Day, Sunshine Baby
It's a rainy day, Sunshine Girl!"

Beloved by Julian Cope, collaborators with Tony Conrad, and German. A great song despite feeling too topical (Montreal's sadly not rushing into summer), this song is from Faust's second album Faust So Far. It builds with a great guitar bit (the tone sounds similar to the guitar used in OMD's The New Stone Age), 4/4 tom beat and piano repetition, adds Schulz-ian synths and a harmonica, before a superb saxophone bit carries us into the fade-out. Someone was taking note, perhaps? Faust also did a number of seperate versions of this song, some titled Stretch Over All Times and Ice Rain.

Faust - It's A Rainy Day, Sunshine Girl.mp3


: Sandie Shaw, rare Can!

1 comment:

Rosemarie said...

Find out what Mark Wirtz is doing now and read his new comedy blog