“The Grateful Dead at their most American and beautiful. It says so on the album cover (if you look closely). It’s 1970 and the drugs aren’t so much wearing off in the land of the Dead as imposing a desire for something a little more grounded, relevant to the reality of things like gravity, the ground itself, the stuff we’re standing on (unless there’s concrete in the way). Anyway, Box Of Rain is just a beautiful song. Even my mom likes it. Don’t know what it’s about and I don’t really care. The sun is shining and the dark star has crashed. What more do you need?” (Philip Random)
It’s 1966 and it seems only Frank Zappa and his Mothers realize just how freaky and weird things are about to get, and Frank never even did drugs (beyond cigarettes and coffee). Nevertheless he could see them — the Brain Police. Or more to the point, he felt them, because you can’t see the brain police, can you? They’re within you, hiding behind your devices of oracular perception. Recording things. Seriously, they are there, implanted at birth.
By the time When Tomorrow Hits hit, Spacemen 3 had already broken up for all the regular reasons that drug addled, pioneering psychedelic outfits break up, and then some. A cover of a Mudhoney original, it was supposed to be part of a double-A split single which would also feature Mudhoney’s version of Spacemen 3’s Revolution, but for whatever hazy reason, that didn’t happen. What does happen is Spacemen 3’s equal parts smoother and sharper take on When Tomorrow Hits, particularly that part toward the end, when it hits!
“Second of two in a row from Gilded Palace of Sin, the Flying Burrito Brothers’ debut masterpiece of countrified rock. Because you can’t really hear one Burrito without the other, both apparently concerning the same girl, the same tormented relationship, which of course only makes the country stylings more relevant. Or as Motron puts it, ‘the country stuff set the drugged out hippie rock stars free to mix whiskey and heroin and broken hearts – a terrible way to live, but it sure made for some kickass and essential music.” (Philip Random)
“In which the Spacemen 3 sing the somnambulant praises of being so f***ing high, you may as well be hanging with God’s own son. Found on their first album and a bunch of other places, it’s rumoured to be completely concerned with heroin. But don’t be fooled, kids. Heroin’s a liar. Ain’t no heaven on earth.” (Philip Random)
Two Stone Roses tracks presented as one because they really are – just played in different directions. Or as some genius put it at the time, “You know the drugs are good when songs are changing direction and you don’t really notice.” And the drugs were very good in Manchester at the time of that first (and only really) Stone Roses album.
You didn’t get to hear much of Sly and Family Stone’s There’s A Riot Goin’ On when the album was new in 1971-72, certainly not if you were stuck out in suburbia. But what little you did hear was enough to make it clear: the 1960s were over, with only crushed and dying flowers left in their wake. A darker, meaner time was on us, even if many were still pursuing deep and personal extraterrestrial explorations.
Quoting Lester Bangs: “The Guess Who have absolutely no taste at all, they don’t even mind embarrassing everybody in the audience, they’re real punks without ever working too hard at it […] In case you wondered about the drug commercial, it’s in a song called Truckin Off Across The Sky, the main character of which is the Grim Reaper. There he is … grinning, outstretched arms holding bags of you-know-what. Positively the best drug song of 1972. And this may well be the best live album. F*** all them old dudes wearing their hip tastes on their sleeves: get this and play it loud and be first on your block to become a public nuisance.”