“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)
“Evol (the name of the album in question) is love spelled backward, which is pretty much what was going on in 1991, Vancouver’s Pacific Coliseum, as Sonic Youth warmed up Neil Young + Crazy Horse, choosing not to pander even slightly to all the aging hippies in the house, but rather to deliver unto them a profound and beautiful and sustained NOISE. The climax came with Expressway to Yr Skull, which actually starts out kind of nice, but then ‘We’re Gonna Kill – The California Girls – We’re gonna fire the exploding load in the milkmaid maidenhead.’ The hippies were very confused, angry even, but I just laughed. The times, they just kept a-changing.” (Philip Random)
“I found this Buck Owens cover of a Simon + Garfunkel nugget in Cache Creek, British Columbia, I think, thrift store, mid-90s sometime. An entire album of electrified countrified takes on some of that hippie sh** the kids were so into at the time (1971). And delivered with all due sincerity, because don’t fool yourself. Nobody knows lonely like a one man island, or a Country + Western superstar.” (Philip Random)
It’s 1980 and even for the hippest of hippies, the 1960s are long over. And Daevid Allen was definitely one of those: founding member of both Gong and Soft Machine and before that, beat collaborator with the likes of William Burroughs and Terry Riley. And oh yeah, he was in Paris in May 1968, threw his hand in with the insurrection that almost brought the whole of Western Europe to the ground. But jump ahead twelve years and it wasn’t about big movements anymore, it was just you and me, eye to eye, and “… when we have killed each other, then we can the subject.”
In which Joe Cocker and crowd unleash the other Give Peace A Chance – the one that brings down the house toward the end of maybe the greatest hippie movie ever made. No, not Woodstock. There was too much mud, way too many people. Mad Dogs + Englishmen had a tighter focus, which was a useful thing in those rather wasted days. Just one hot band (a big one mind you) and the wild and colourful tale of their one and only tour together. That’s Leon Russell in the top hat by the way, the maestro holding it all together.
Apparently this is the first time Marc Bolan really rocked out on record. The band was still called Tyrannosaurus Rex at the time, and despite the name, a comparatively lightweight outfit – too much flowers and fine herbs, not enough thunder and rumbling. But that had to change. The 1970s were looming, the acid was wearing off, the hippie dream was much further away than it had previously seemed. Maybe it had never been there at all. Just another storybook fantasy.
It’s 1979. The 1960s are over already. Long gone. Get over it. Unless you’re Embryo (German hippies with hot musical chops), in which case, you pile into a bus with a film crew and a load of recording gear and go further, go east, across Persia, Afghanistan, down the sub-continent into India, mix it up with masters and untouchables, deliver the ancient news. There’s even a movie about it.
“Speaking of the Brave Generation (ie: those of us who were still little kids as the 1960s flipped over into the 1970s), pretty much everybody had a half-cool older brother or sister or cousin that had a copy of the Guess Who‘s Share The Land lying around – the one with the wise Indian on the cover. Which was rather the hippie teenage dream at the time. Smoke a little maryjane and get some mystical magical guidance from somebody/anybody who wasn’t your dad or your grand dad or your hockey coach, or anyone even remotely connected with your suburban whitebread, soulless culture. Or as the lyrics go in Three More Days (Burton Cummings channeling his inner Jim Morrison) ‘Freedom – paint me a picture – show it to me right now’. And then the band got busy tearing things up. Epic indeed.” (Philip Random)
“Green on Red are yet another of those bands that never got the notice they deserved. Folk, rock, country, maybe a little psychedelic – they had a sound that was hard to get tired of, and, every now and then, a song like 1983’s Brave Generation (found on their first album) that just cut through all the cocaine banality of the time. At least, it did for me, probably because I’d never really thought much about my particular generation – the ones who were little kids when all the bigger kids (aka the hippies) were running wild, storming heaven, doing more than just talk about revolution. But that was all pretty much over by the time our puberty hit. The Beatles had broken up, Flower Power had wilted, Richard Nixon was getting re-elected, the Vietnam War still wasn’t over. I guess that made us brave more or less by default.” (Philip Random)