Monday, July 30, 2012

Beyond the Canyons of the Valleys of Your Mind

So the other day, over at the forever estimable Burning Wood blog, the proprietor (our chum Sal Nunziato) posted an intriguing playlist of (mostly obscure) pop psychedelia from the late 60s, and with it the following intriguing paragraph as part of his liner notes:

I wish I could find the interview, but I am pretty sure when [XTC's] Andy Partridge was asked if there were any songs he wished he had written, he said, "Autumn Almanac" by Ray Davies and "I Can't Let Maggie Go" by The Honeybus. Trust me.

This took me aback, frankly. "Autumn Almanac" is one of my all-time favorite singles, and if pressed I might even call it Ray's masterpiece, but The Honeybus song? I'm sure I must have heard that one on some Nuggets collection at some point, but I have absolutely no memory of it. Or as they used to say at the NY Times TV listings page, "not reviewed by us."

Anyway, here it is for your listening pleasure.

A very nice song and a charming period production and performance, but "Autumn Almanac" class? I don't think so. And I'll say it to Partridge straight up if I ever encounter that whey-faced git in person.

Okay, kidding aside, I should add that another song in the playlist with which I was heretofore unfamiliar -- by the enigmatically monikered Caleb -- had one of the best song titles ever. "Baby, Your Phrasing is Bad." Enjoy.


I should also add that -- as I should have guessed -- said Caleb turned out to be Caleb Quaye, a subsequently very successful and well known session guitarist who is perhaps most familiar from a long and profitable stint as a member of Elton John's touring and recording band in the 70s.

In the meantime to download Sal's complete playlist, click here and then scroll down to the word PSYCH.


Sal Nunziato said...

You know, I had no idea it was Caleb Quaye and I've been listening to Hookfoot (the Elton band without Elton) ever since Mojo called it a lost classic. (It isn't.)

Anonymous said...

Didn't the Elton band (maybe a later version) also go by China? I'll have to go over to youtube to see if they how they've dated. I can vouch for Davey Johnston's "Smiling Face" lp, however - really good folk rock.

iirc, Partridge was also a big fan of Judee Sill's "The Kiss."

FD13NYC said...

I only knew of Caleb Quaye when Elton John adopted a new line up for his Rock Of The Westies LP back in 1975. Also, Roger Pope on drums and Kenny Passarelli on bass. Just guys from other bands hangin' around, so Elton threw them a bone to put some shekels in their pockets for a while. A solid album, with Grow Some Funk Of Your Own, a standout classic.

The posted song is a bit too spacey psych for me. The Honeybus is great.

JZ said...

"I Can't Let Maggie Go" is good, but The Honeybus' previous 45, "Do I Still Figure In Your Life" is a genuine masterpiece. As the topic was divorce, the record got very little airplay at the time (The Easybeats would also come up against this issue with their fine "Falling Off The Edge of The World").

cthulhu said...

Kudos to FD13NYC for his mention of Elton's Rock of the Westies and standout track "Grow Some Funk of Your Own". Great marimba in the fadeout. Consistenly good bass from Kenny Passarelli (a couple of years post-Barnstorm), and much better drums from Roger Pope than on previous albums from the much-overrated Nigel Olson. About the only Elton John album I still listen to (was force-fed a diet of them for a while because my sister was obsessed...)