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2023/4 Albums Thing 248 - Various Artists “Eddie Piller Presents British Mod Sounds Volume 2 (The Freakbeat & Psych Years)”

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Mr Piller’s 2nd Volume of “Mod Sounds” from the Sixties. I don’t own the first volume as, after reading the track list, and with all due deference to Eddie and his impeccable Mod credentials, it struck me as a collection of stuff that someone looking back from the 2020's imagines as Mod sounds of the period rather than it being what London’s 60’s Mods we’re actually listening to back then (I’m pretty damned certain there was no Tom Jones, David Bowie, The Hollies, Dusty Springfield or Manfred Mann getting spun by DJ Guy Stevens at the Scene Club in Ham Yard). Now I understand that when you are compiling huge collections like this you can't get everything you want and have to fill the gaps, but still I gave Volume 1 a miss.

Eddie Piller is a broadcaster, DJ, compilation compiler and the head honcho at Acid Jazz Records. As I said earlier his Mod credentials are impeccable (his Mom ran the Small Faces Fanclub !) so I expected better of Volume 1 but thankfully he redeemed himself with this one. We all know what is meant by Psych, right ? But Freakbeat is a somewhat more esoteric genre to nail down, we talked about it a little back in July when we were looking at Les Fleur De Lys (https://www.whiterabbitrecords.co.uk/blog/read_204279/2023-albums-thing-140-fleur-de-lys-circles-the-ultimate-fleur-de-lys.html). It’s a term coined in the 1980’s to describe records made by exclusively British (I think I’m right there, I can’t think of any US records described as Freakbeat) Beat combos who had discovered the fuzz pedal and were transitioning between R&B rooted beat music and Pysychedelia/Prog between 1965 and 1967. A perfect example of Freakbeat would be Les Fleur De Lys “Mud In Your Eye” which appears on this comp and you can listen to at that link just a couple of sentences back.

This is a huge 91 track collection across 6 LP’s pressed on (deep) Purple vinyl with an extensive booklet filled with notes and pictures (of record sleeves and labels mostly which I find fascinating). I do own many of the tracks included already on CD box sets like “Nuggets” and “Acid Drops, Spacedust And Flying Saucers” but the chance to get some of these on (purple) vinyl was too tempting to resist. Of the Psych tracks some to look out for would be Dantalion’s Chariot “Madman Running Through The Fields” (featuring a pre-Police Andy Summers), Kaleidoscope “Flight From Ashiya” and “Rainbow Chaser” by Nirvana (no, not them !).

If you’re looking for further examples of Freakbeat then look no further than Wimple Winch and the raucous “Save My Soul” 7” copies of which start at around £1000 theses days, Tintern Abbey’s “Vacuum Cleaner” (the B-side of their only single whose A-side was titled “Beeside”), the John Peel endorsed Misunderstood and their “Children Of The Sun”, The Mickey Finn’s rollicking “Garden Of My Mind” and the Apostolic Intervention with “Tell Me (Have You Ever Seen Me)” including a not at all disguised Steve Marriott on backing vocals.

The songs by The Action, with the superb “In My Dream”, Timebox and “Gone Is The Sad Man” plus The Move with “Disturbance” are all great 60’s pop songs with a sprinkle of the flower power that was heading this way. Times were changing, music was changing and it’s all charted in these songs. It’s been said that you can chart the changes in British music by which drugs were popular at the time and the amphetamine rush of the Mod days is definitely ceding ground to the psychedelics of the later 60’s and you can hear it in these records. 

There are things here you’ll all know too, The Who “I Can See For Miles”, Keith West “Excerpt From A Teenage Opera” and Staus Quo “Pictures Of Matchstick Men”. There are bands here containing names we’ll get to know better in a few years time, we’ve already mentioned Dantalion’s Chariot, John’s Children “Midsummer Night Scene” features the unmistakable vocal stylings of Marc Bolan, Sam Gopal (formerly Sam Gopal’s Dream) had a singer name of Ian Willis aka Ian Fraser Kilmister who became better known as Lemmy when he joined Hawkwind, Tomorrow’s guitarist Steve Howe would go on to find fame with Yes, the guitarist in The Birds was one Ronnie Wood, The Idle Race was Jeff Lynne’s home before he skipped across town to join The Move and we have a solo Alex Harvey before he hooked up with his Sensational band. I’m sure there are others. 

It’s a huge collection, beautifully compiled and presented marking a changing time in 60’s music. Good work Mr. Piller. 

Wimple Winch “Save My Soul” - https://youtu.be/gi9GXxVDJQg?si=RwLQrTxi11xBTn6T

The Action “In My Dream” - https://youtu.be/pFm2wyGQWgY?si=0_a37MDZhI_h8AUZ

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