“I remember taping this song from the radio one night, early teens, maybe 1973. But I didn’t catch who it was, so for some reason I just assumed it was Donovan. Which threw things off for a good twenty years. I’d describe it to people as the one where he says, if I was a soldier, and they’d say, Universal Soldier, and I’d say, no, his other soldier song. Anyway, I finally got it figured about twenty-five years later. Special thanks to Rena, an ex-punk I used to know, who had a hate on for Jeff Buckley, because she thought he was an over-hyped shadow of his dad, the then long gone but not forgotten (by Rena anyway) Tim Buckley. Anyway, I asked her to make me a tape, and there it was, Once I Was, precious evidence of a time (1967) when a young man could just pick up a guitar, sing his deceptively simple song, put poetic truth to the brutality and chaos of the world, maybe change everything forever. At least, that’s what it must’ve felt like, I guess. I was just a little kid then, not allowed anywhere near the fun part of the party.” (Philip Random)
“With a small handful of exceptions, the very best Bob Marley is the very early Bob Marley, the stuff he recorded long before we, the godless multitudes of greater Babylon, had a clue that he even existed, when he was still just some struggling Jamaican local trying to believe in his soul. In particular, you’ve gotta love what he did with the singularly unsane Lee Scratch Perry in the producer’s chair. I do anyway, the two of them (and the band, of course) exploring far darker, edgier realms of soul and rebellion than what would eventually come to hog all the space on the Greatest Hits albums, get hippies dancing around bonfires, pretending they’re little birds.” (Philip Random)
“Barabajagal (the album) is not Donovan‘s strongest effort. Call it inconsistent, I guess, a hodge podge of hippie-dippy mucking around that may have nailed the zeitgeist had it been released two years earlier, but come 1969, well let’s just say, something harder, more fierce was required. Like Barabajagal (the song). Truth is molten indeed. It helped that Jeff Beck and band were on hand, not so much backing things up as kicking them forward. Also Madeline Bell, Lesley Duncan and Suzi Quatro! As for who or what a barabajagal is, apparently it’s just a made up word, but it’s a good one.” (Philip Random)
(Art: Victor Atkins)
“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 being your mind. It’s funny because it’s true.” (Philip Random)
“More proof that when it came to a certain 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 darned hard to argue with the mystical magical stuff of Sunshine Superman (the album) and 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.