Various Artists

Let’s Go Down and Blow Our Minds: The British Psychedelic Sounds of 1967

Grapefruit

Jan 11, 2017 Web Exclusive Bookmark and Share


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The year 1966 was a landmark one for music. That year alone spawned such albums as The Beatles' Revolver, The Rolling Stones' Aftermath, The Kinks' Face to Face, Cream's Fresh Cream, The Who's A Quick One, The Beach Boys' Pet Sounds, Bob Dylan's Blonde on Blonde, The Byrds' Fifth Dimension, Love's self-titled debut, and The Psychedelic Sounds of The 13th Floor Elevators. I could go on. It was, by any metric, a banner year.

As '66 turned to '67, the nascent psychedelic scene, foreshadowed by forward-thinking albums like those above, grew to a relative boom. Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band. The Piper at the Gates of Dawn. Surrealistic Pillow. All and more followed in 1967.

Let's Go Down and Blow Our Minds, subtitled The British Psychedelic Sounds of 1967, features lesser-known British music from 1967, all undoubtedly inspired, at least in part, by the changing musical winds of the time.

At three CDs, 80 tracks, and nearly four hours of music, Let's Go Down and Blow Our Minds proves that it was not only the touchstone albums above that featured inspired music of the day. Most of the songs on Let's Go Down are from artists even the most trenchant psych-o-phile will likely not recognize. Some would go on to become stars in other bands, but the lion's share of the tracks here are from groups that may have released only a single 7" or album, and a few that never even made it that far. But make no mistake, the music of Let's Go Down and Blow Our Minds is as exciting and artistically relevant as anything of the day.

Of those with pedigrees you might recognize, Episode Six features future Deep Purple singer and bassist Ian Gillan and Roger Glover. The Mirage was Reg Dwight (Elton John)'s backing band on his early demos. John's Children features a pre-Tyrannosaurus Rex Marc Bolan. Mick Ronson is a member of The Rats (its track "The Rise and Fall of Bernie Gripplestone" makes one realize how much better of a name "Ziggy Stardust" was). David Bowie is featured on The Riot Squad's unissued "Toy Soldier." The Artwoods features Ron Wood's brother, Art. It might seem of simply trivial interest that these future stars are featured in earlier, lesser known incarnations, but the true genius of Let's Go Down is that all these tracks are as captivating as those for which these artists are best known.

In fact, some of the best tracks included are by bands with no future stars, with names like The Attack, The Tickle, Hat & Tie, The Human Instinct, Felius Andromeda, or T.J. Assembly (the last track of which comes from an album of which only 25 total copies were pressed!). Many of the cuts are B-sides or unissued tracks and demos, making the music on Let's Go Down and Blow Our Minds even more obscure. Detailed liner notes explains the history of each band and every track.

It's hard to overstate how stellar Let's Go Down and Blow Our Minds truly is. While it documents a year that birthed some of the most interesting music in history, it clearly shows how deep the well really was. Even compared to similar Nuggets compilations of U.S. acts, Let's Go Down sounds revolutionary. Where Nuggets too often seems repetitive and aping of the British acts that ventured this side of the pond at the time, Let's Go Down sounds cutting edge. It is a window to a time ripe with musical ideas and inspiration. Finally, it is unearthed to give not only a glimpse at the past, but also to continue to inspire, one lonely forgotten 7" at a time. (www.cherryred.co.uk)

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