And then something changed in the early to mid '80s, and 'old' became new - at least new to my ears. A chance encounter with a various artists cassette, 'My Generation' introduced me to an alternative way of hearing things.
Still got it!
Tracks by the Yardbirds, Action and Tomorrow, for example, songs which wouldn't have registered with me before, started to sound exciting and different. At the same time it seemed as if a new level (depth?) of bland had come to mainstream music - e.g in 1984 I was working in a record shop and the chart albums we had to play each Saturday were just getting more and more insipid (Paul Young: No Parlez / Lionel Richie: Can't Slow Down...ugh!); even the sharp edges of a lot of indie seemed softened compared to the punk and post-punk that I'd been so immersed in previously. Yet now music from 15, maybe even 20, years earlier stood up well in the wake of such mediocrity. Old was the new new - especially if it was relatively obscure. There was a whole world of lesser known '60s psych, garage, beat and inventive pop being unearthed and it was so interesting and imaginative that it was as if a new scene was actually developing in real time (in a way it was, and had been for a couple of years, but that's for others to write about!)
Even better, working in the shop meant I was able to order, from the comfort of its back-room, albums full of '60s underground gems being put out by labels such as Psycho, See For Miles and Bam Caruso, as well as imports of the US Pebbles and Nuggets series. These compilations included so many songs that were unlike anything I'd heard before and I was utterly captivated. One of the earliest of my new purchases at the time of its release in 1984 was 'The Psychedelic Snarl', a compilation from Bam Caruso. Hearing the tracks on this for the first time was just completely enthralling, everything sounded so good. Oh I could go on but I'll stop now - this long ramble is really just to explain a little background to the discovery of one of my all-time favourite tracks, as I first heard it on that album: the Open Mind's 'Magic Potion'. It's the b-side to their second single 'Cast A Spell' (also included on 'The Psychedelic Snarl'), originally released in 1969. It licks along right from the off... I love that guitar, those drums... here it is:
The Open Mind: Magic Potion
By the way, according to Discogs, a copy of this single sold last November for £850. I do not own a copy!
That My Generation album, ahhhh! The record (yes, I have it on vinyl still) that seriously changed my life - I chanced upon a copy when I was still listening to The Jam and The Purple Hearts and the cover with its very non revival mods jeering at rockers took me in. But into a world where I fell in love with the Action and The Gods and so much more, suddenly even Rod Stewart had a place in the story.... That must have been about 1980, never looked back since ! And as for Magic Potion....its about as perfect as a song can get.ReplyDelete
Ah, funny how these chance encounters can have such lasting impact! What a great world of good music it opened up for you too. I really didn't know what to make of much of the stuff on My Generation on first hearing - unlike you, I was a bit of a latecomer.... but so glad at least to have discovered those great tracks when I did.Delete
Yes, Magic Potion - three and a half minutes of perfection!
Hi C...been a bit busy recently doing what you should do. I compiled all my stories/poetry/songs into book form and sent part to a Publishing Company, just to see. They liked and asked for the rest. Not holding too much hope. After all I can't spell.ReplyDelete
Nice that you got back to the sixties, I lived it and it still probably is my fav period. Just.
Hi Old Pa, I know what it's like. Oh great about the publishers, fingers crossed! - and please keep us posted. I can understand your love for the 60s as you were enjoying the music and the times first hand.Delete
My childhood memories of it too are pretty colourful, even tho our telly was still black and white ;-)
Love discovering these lesser known gems. Thanks for making me aware of Magic Potion.ReplyDelete
In his defense, Lionel Richie's 1983 album may lack rough edges, but still considered a classic, and far superior to the mainstream pop albums of today surely. I suppose his album just isn't for you and that's fair enough.
Thanks Chris. I'm afraid I just couldn't, and still can't, listen to Lionel, but it would be dull if we all had the same tastes! I'm sure it is superior to some current mainstream pop as you say, although for me it might be a hard call :-)Delete
Do you know that it is interesting that I still listen to the new and future stuff more but I would struggle to name any artists (other than those even on the mainstream news media) let alone any tracks that have graced the top 10 in the last 10 years probably.ReplyDelete
But it is like I still buy the latest Marillion, Uriah Heep etc. Latest purchases have been Newton Faulkner, Queenscrych, City and Colour etc.
I didn't realise that Marillion, Uriah Heep et al were still going - that's the difference too, I think: so many bands that were once 'current' still are in a way, ha!Delete
'Diamond Life', 'Alf', 'Human Racing', Human's Lib'.........halcyon days:-) 'Magic Potion' is utterly fab.ReplyDelete
Haha, good times, eh! And let's not forget Make It Big and Thriller...Delete
MP - fab, yes.
Nice choice, C. I first heard Magic Potion played by a band from Bristol I used to know called The Seers and it was only later that I realised it was a cover version. Whilst their version was very good (particularly when played live) the original is much better, I feel. Following your post, I've just played the Open Mind version and I'm going to play it again in a moment and give it another listen. Always a good sign of a good song. Thanks, c.ReplyDelete
Thanks John. Oh I'm glad you mentioned the Seers, because I saw them live too and yes I do now remember them playing their version (for some reason they came to Essex, I didn't know they were from Bristol) but had forgotten. I must go and listen to their cover of it again now, it's been some time! I'm glad you like the original.Delete
Sorry it's taken some time to get to this. Can't recall hearing this before (even by The Seers) but this is brilliant. Message complete.ReplyDelete
Please don't worry about time, always lovely to see you!Delete
So glad you like Magic Potion too.