Graham Reid | | 2 min read
As with the second volume in this excellent on-going and budget-priced series, I wrote the liner notes to this album and -- with the invaluable research and help of Grant Gillanders who once again chose the tracks and must be on the shortlist of an honour's list for services to Kiwi music -- I also wrote the profiles on the bands who feature.
Again rather than me itemise the trippy music and strangeness, here are the album's introductory notes for your consideration and amusement. . . . .
The curious thing about the early days of New Zealand psychedelic music -- the period until late '68 -- was that it largely took place in the absence of the perspective-altering drugs which drove it internationally.
In late '67 as we approached our own southern hemisphere Summer of Love -- six months after Europe and the States -- there was very little marijuana around in the wider community, and LSD was something we read about in Time magazine.
We knew what psychedelic music was: albums by Jefferson Airplane, the Grateful Dead, Jimi Hendrix and all the rest were widely listened to, and the Beatles Sgt Pepper's from June 67 was of course huge.
But for most people "psychedelic" meant a strange and innovative post-pop sound -- or weird posters from San Francisco at the Psychedelic Shop in Auckland's middle-class suburb of Mt Eden -- rather than pot-smoking parties or tripping out.
In a sense that made Kiwi psychedelic rock unique: it was driven by listening to and learning from the music out of San Francisco, Los Angeles and London rather than being fuelled by local indulgences.
And perhaps that also allows us at this distance to listen to this music much as we did at the time: simply as a sonic adventure.
This on-going series of Kiwi psychedelic music illustrates how some former r'n'b or Beat-boom bands moved into the new possibilities the era offered, notably Larry's Rebels who had made their name with tough pop-rock but are here represented by the effects-laden opening track Halloween from '68.
It is the original material and arrangements on these songs which seem so strong even today: there had been nothing in New Zealand rock quite as dramatic as Timberjack's sole hit Come to the Sabbat; the cheerfully menacing Love, Hate, Revenge by the Avengers propelled by stinging guitar and horns; the orchestration on Bruno's quirky and rhythmically sidestepping Mandy Jones co-written by future film-maker Geoff Murphy . . .
These were songs of musical daring of the kind we hadn't heard previously from hometown bands.
Some groups still followed the traditional path of Kiwi pop acts: they found international tracks to cover. Here are Dedikation with their take on a little-known Cryan' Shames' single; Salvation picking off an album track by Fat Mattress, the band lead by Hendrix's bassist Noel Redding; Troubled Mind reworking the Stones' controversial Under My Thumb; and Simple Image scoring a local number one with their treatment of Spinning, Spinning Spinning formerly by the unknown American group Ballroom.
Oh, and Tom Thumb turning Tim Hardin's folksy If I Were A Carpenter into something much heavier and more intimidating.
Many of the groups here have been represented by equally innovative tracks on previous albums in this series, among them the remarkable Music Convention with two standouts on Volume Two; Ray Columbus with Kick Me on Volume One and Polka Dot Resistance on Volume Two; and Timberjack Donaghue's weird Dali Mohammed on Volume Two.
So this volume of A Day in My Mind's Mind offers yet another a snapshot of the thrilling diversity of music from a small country which, by any measure, was a very long way away from those axes of psychedelic rock, San Francisco, Los Angeles and London.
And, for the most part, the consciousness-changing catalysts which accounted for it.