Friday, 27 June 2014

The Birth of the British Voice in Rock. British Psychedelia 1967 to 1974 - A Radio Kras podcast (in Spanish)

Last Friday I had the pleasure of appearing again on Gimi's show "In Campo Aperto" on Gijon's Radio Kras in Spain.

We decided to put together a program about British late 60s / early 70s psychedelia and the birth of the "British voice" in rock music.

One of the notable things about late 60s British psychedelia is that for the first time British rock bands stopped the pretense of singing in American accents and started to sing about more homegrown themes in an English accent - albeit quite a middle class one. British psychedelia gave the Brits a chance to take American music and really make it their own.

© D.Mainwood
It should be remembered that right up until the mid 60s everyone, including the Beatles, was singing American inspired pop and R'n'B in their best fake American accents. The true "British voice" in rock was born with Ray Davies and the Kinks singing about London's dedicated followers of fashion and well-respected men but then, around 1967, under the stewardship of Syd Barrett, Pink Floyd, Traffic, Caravan and quite a few others, it emigrates from the city to "get it together in the country" and explore the idyllic sultry summer afternoons of hazy childhood reminiscence in a manner that seemed quite heavily influenced by Lewis Caroll. British pop music of this period seems to take on a much hazier and greener hue as if to reflect the countryside itself. As I have observed elsewhere I can't help but think Jonathan Miller's (somewhat psychedelic) 1966 film interpretation of Alice In Wonderland may have had an influence on this new exploration of the pastoral but anyway, by the summer of 1967, a new interest in all things arcadian in British pop can plainly be heard in the addition of a new palate of instruments, such as flutes, mellotrons, harpsichords and horns, to create a kind of bucolic English baroque 'n' roll. Traffic and the Pink Floyd may have led the way but even the Rolling Stones sidestepped their usual R'n'B to make Ruby Tuesday and Dandelion - two of the finest examples of the new sound. The Beatles, as usual, topped everyone with Strawberry Fields Forever - a song and production which, in my opinion, is a kind of impressionist pop classic. In fact, considering its themes, perhaps this period can even be seen as a kind of British musical version of 19th Century French impressionism.

It has been criticized as an ephemeral and rather naive stage in British rock but some glorious music came out of it. So here is the show we put together as a kind of celebration of British pop's impressionist psychedelic baroque'n'roll period and its first attempt at a uniquely "British" sound. It is a mixture of the popular and well-known with a few unreleased rare things like the Traffic and Pink Floyd BBC concerts from 1970 and 1971 respectively.

Enjoy. The commentary is in Spanish.

Pink Floyd - See Emily Play / Paintbox / Kinks – See My Friends /  Victoria  / Shangri-la / Beatles – Strawberry Fields Forever / Rolling Stones - Goodbye Ruby Tuesday / She’s a Rainbow / Traffic – Paper Sun /  40 Thousand Headmen  / Traffic BBC in Concert (April 1970) - Who Knows What Tomorrow May Bring? / Every Mother's Son / Medicated Goo / John Barleycorn Must Die / Pink Floyd BBC Concert (September 1971) – Fat Old Sun / One of These Days / Yardbirds – Happenings 10 Years Time Ago / Tomorrow – My White Bicycle / Pretty Things – Defecting Grey / Zombies - Beechwood Park / Hung Up On A Dream / Caravan - And I Wish I Were Stoned / Don't Worry / Robert Wyatt – A Last Straw / Little Red Riding Hood Hits The Road / Kevin Ayers – Stop This Train /  Religious Experience / Rolling Stones - Dandelion

Download here

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