“It’s only 1968 and Frank Zappa and his Mothers have already had it with the hippies and their bullshit, but he hates the straights even more. And we get it all in the full-on technicolor onslaught of satirical genius that is We’re Only In It For The Money, all thirty-nine plus minutes of it. Technically, it’s nineteen separate tracks but they all flow together (sometimes smoothly, sometimes deliberately not), so I’ve always thought of it as one epic piece, or two in the case of the original vinyl. And I’d be lying if I said I didn’t prefer side one – if only for its inclusion of perhaps the single greatest minute of Mr. Zappa’s entire discography, What’s the Ugliest Part of Your Body? The answer, of course, is your mind. It’s funny because it’s true.” (Philip Random)
“More proof that when it came to a certain kind of sunlit psychedelic sweetness (which it seems was only ever achieved by anybody in and around 1966-67) the singer songwriter (some called him a poet) known as Donovan had no peer. Yes, Bob Dylan’s poetry went deeper and destroyed more fascists, and Donovan did on occasion get lost in hippy dippy wormholes, but its damned hard to argue with the mystical magical stuff of Sunshine Superman (the album) a song like Legend of a Girl Child Linda in particular … whatever it’s about. Because I never really seem to be able to track it all the way through, the trance takes me, like I’m stuck in someone else’s dream, and sumptuous it is, all cascading crystals, hillsides of velvet, valleys of flowers.” (Philip Random)
“I think of Bogus Man as where Roxy Music would have gone if Brian Eno had never left: to stranger, deeper, more evocative realms, while great hordes of confused hippies looked on from darkened streets, still coming down from that long strange trip known as the 1960s. Which is rather what was going on anyway with Roxy in their early years, strutting like peacocks through a world full of pigeons. As it was, Bryan Ferry had other ideas for his band, and it’s not as if Mr. Eno didn’t go off and invent the future anyway. Which he’d be the first to say the Germans were already doing. Can in particular without whom we would never have heard the likes of Bogus Man.” (Philip Random)
This one’s found toward the end of side one of the first Steve Miller Band album which sort of stumbled out of freak scene San Francisco at a time when nobody at the business end of things really knew how to handle all the psychedelic weirdness, so they just got out of the way. Thank all gods for that. Because there are few better examples anywhere of just how delirious things were in those days. Songs broke down, evaporated into seagulls and drones, found some bluesy B.B. King riff, evolved into profound and visionary choruses, ended up getting titles that had nothing to do with anything you’d actually heard. Maybe you had to be there, but maybe we all were, in our way, and still are, we children of that madly accelerated past’s glowing future.
“The Strawbs original recording of Where is This Dream of Your Youth? is nice enough, a nifty little bit of folk pop, but it’s Rick Wakeman‘s sustained live freakout on the Hammond organ (found on 1970’s Just a Collection of Antiques + Curios) that hooked me, and keeps on hooking me, just keeps going, going, going through the decades – peaks and valleys and all manner of long haired freaky looking people grooving along in smoke filled rooms, smelling of incense and wacky tabacky. Because groovy still meant something in those days, with a new decade dawning, the revolution at hand. Or so it must have seemed.” (Philip Random)
How do you tell if there’s a hippie in the room? Say, “Jesus was a Capricorn.” Hippies must immediately follow with, “He ate organic food“. It’s in their training. But that’s okay. It’s a solid tune – Kris Kristofferson likening our great lord and saviour ™ to the hippies of his day, and suggesting that were he to wander down Main Street, he’d likely suffer the same old brutal fate as 1,972 years previous. Because everybody’s gotta have somebody to look down on, someone to feel better than, any time they please.
“Dedicated to old friend James who got badly traumatized by all the hippies who dominated his camp the summer he spent tree planting. All they ever wanted to do after a long day’s work was smoke their brains and listen to Bob Marley, maybe bongo along, and urge him to chill whenever he wanted to hear some Clash or Sly and the Family Stone, or even the Beatles. So he ended up coming to hate all of the great man’s music. Except Midnight Ravers. For some reason, he could never quite give up on Midnight Ravers.” (Philip Random)
“Taproot Manuscript was the album where Neil Diamond made it clear he wasn’t going to be just some fresh-faced popster anymore. He was going to be going deeper now, and higher. Yeah, the hippies were sneering at him because his jeans weren’t torn or faded or crusty enough (and he probably used cologne), but who really cared if he could deliver a song as perfect as Coldwater Morning? Particularly that high note he hits in the chorus. That’s the kind of thing that stops time if you’re twelve or thirteen and just starting to figure out what passion really is. How deep it goes.” (Philip Random)
Hate on Chicago (the band) all you want, but you’d be a fool to write off their first couple or few albums, particularly the first one, when the band was still known as Chicago Transit Authority. 1969 was the year, and the smoke from the crash and burn from the so-called hippie revolution was still lingering in the near distance (at least that’s what the experts say). But the evolutionary energy was still percolating, such that a big fat double album from a big fat seven piece band could erupt from it all with equal parts power and precision. Just try to keep still for their take on I’m A Man.