Graham Reid | | 2 min read
The first thing to acknowledge is the drumming genius of Hal Blaine, one of those extraordinary players who was a member of the famous and informal Wrecking Crew so played on Phil Spector productions and numerous sessions for Sinatra, Presley, the Beach Boys, Byrds and hundreds more.
He played on around 150 top 10 American singles and literally hundreds more which were top 40 chart hits.
When he died at 90 in 2019 the obituaries were long and tributes numerous.
And were much deserved.
His sound was something special and really made hits like Be My Baby, Monday Monday, Good Vibrations, the Beatlesque pop of This Diamond Ring and others.
As with his idols like Gene Krupa, Blaine wasn't averse to stepping out and tub-thumping under his own name.
But among his extensive catalogue was the day-glo oddity Psychedelic Percussion and you can probably guess the year.
Yep, it was that peace'n'love'flowers year of 1967 and Blaine rode in with an album of his drumming overlaid by trippy sounding effects by Paul Beaver (of Beaver and Krause), Emil Richards on electro-processed vibes and Mike Lang on keyboard effects.
Blaine played a veritable dictionary of percussion instruments – the back cover lists about 50 which includes bells, tambourines, harpsichord, bongos and so on.
In keeping with the “wow, maaan” nature of the album the pieces have titles like Love-in (December), Freaky (January), Hallucinations (April), Vibrations (August) . . .
Yes, a full calendar year of tuning in, turning on and dropping out in a really spacey way.
Is it any good?
Not really . . . unless you thought Vanilla Fudge's The Beat Goes On was a psyched-out masterpiece and Timothy Leary's You Can Be Anything This Time Around really, like, spoke to you.
It's as unusual and as unexpected as the Charlie Watts/Jim Keltner album of 2000.
What you get here are a series of short drum solos and fills (all fewer than three minutes) with lashings of electronic effects of no fixed direction.
No doubt a splendid time was had by all in the booth but it's hard to imagine anyone slipping this on the stereo and inviting guests to sit around and listen to it.
Unless they were all really really, like, out of it maaan.
But, and it is a very big and qualified but, you could certainly imagine a few of these pieces being placed in episodes of Lost in Space or Star Trek when things are going weirdly wrong after someone ate a piece of unusual fruit on a strange planet.
Are you hungry?
Ever tried one of these?
You can hear this album at Spotify here