DJ FORMAT’S PSYCH OUT.
DJ FORMAT’S PSYCH OUT.
Nowadays, compilations of psychedelia are commonplace. Indeed, hardly a week goes by without another compilation of psychedelia being released. Alas, these compilations vary in quality, and are best described as the good, the bad and ugly.
The best compilations of psychedelia are lovingly curated by knowledgeable and enthusiastic compilers. Others compilations fail to rise above mediocre. It’s definitely a case of could do better. Then there’s those that fall into the category of ‘ugly.’
These compilations recycle the same tired and third rate tracks and offer nothing new to the record buying public. So much so, that they’re enough to put record buyers off psychedelia for life. What these record buyers need, is a compilation of psychedelia that’s guaranteed to tantalise their jaded palette. Step forward DJ Format’s Psych Out, which will be released on BBE Records on 10th June 2016.
DJ Format’s Psych Out is unlike most psychedelia compilations. Rather than focus on just American or British psychedelia, DJ Format picks fourteen tracks from the four corners of the globe. So tracks that were originally released in America, Britain, Czechoslovakia, France, Germany, Hungary, Peru, Poland, Singapore, U.S.S.R. and Yugoslavia can be found on DJ Format’s Psych Out. These tracks come courtesy of The Quests, The Tijuana Brats, The CT Four Plus, 49th Blue Streak, Bana Pop Band, Friar Tuck and His Psychedelic Guitar, Sergio Ferraresi and Pro Arte. This is the type of music that DJ Format wishes he could spin at clubs each weekend. Essentially, DJ Format’s Psych Out features tracks that would be part of his dream set. However, DJ Format had never thought about releasing a compilation of tracks from his dream set. That was until fate intervened.
For a while, DJ Format had been searching for an elusive single. A DJ friend had played this funky slice of psychedelia, and DJ Psych knew he had to add a copy to his collection. That was easier said than done.
DJ Format hunted high and low in what became the great record hunt. However, the single was a real rarity. It wasn’t going to be easy to find a copy of the record. As the search began, days became weeks and eventually months. Having tried record dealers, record shops and searched online, DJ Format was about to retire defeated. Then he saw a copy for sale online. There was a problem though. The seller was looking for serious money.
Having come this far, and eventually found a copy of this particularly elusive record, DJ Format wasn’t going away empty handed. Incredibly when DJ Format contacted the seller, it turned out to be a friend of a friend. The seller was none other that Jake Holloway, record dealer and the man that designs BBE Records album covers. They agreed to meet and do the deal.
It was then that DJ Format began telling Jake about his love of psychedelia. Especially the funky psychedelia that he played live. DJ Format mentioned how often the singles that he bought were too “heavy” for his live sets. That was when Jake hit on the idea of DJ Format releasing a compilation of heavy, fuzzed-out psychedelia for BBE Records. The compilation became DJ Format’s Psych Out, a globe-trotting compilation from the sixties and seventies.
Opening DJ Format’s Psych Out is The Quests’ cover of the folk song Hava Nagila. The Quests were a Singapore band, whose recording career began in 1964. By 1967, The Quests had released a string of singles and two albums. Their second album was The 33rd Revolution, which was released in 1967 on Columbia. One of the songs The Quests decided to cover was Hava Nagila. They reinvented what was an oft-covered song, and take it in a totally unexpected direction. It takes on an über trippy, Eastern psychedelic sound, that’s far removed from any previous version of Hava Nagila.
In November 1968, The Tijuana Brats released Yakety Brats as a single on RCA Victor. Alas, the single disappeared without trace. Fast forward forty years, and curious DJs flipped over Yakety Brats to see what was on the B-Side. That was when they discovered Karate Chop. It was arranged by Bob Shemenek and produced by Joe René. It’s a funky, psychedelic and cinematic hidden gem that sounds as if it belongs in the soundtrack to a late sixties Kung Fu movie.
Rainbow Family only ever released the one single, a cover of Manfred Mann’s Travellin’ Lady. This was a track from the 1969 album Manfred Mann Chapter Three. Three years later, and Rainbow Family were about to record their debut single with producers David Kassner and Mickey Clarke. The song that they had chosen was Travellin’ Lady. It was released on President Records in 1972, and was very different from the original. In Rainbow Family’s hands, Travellin’ Lady takes on a glorious heavy psych rock sound. Never has Manfred Mann’s Travellin’ Lady sounded like this.
The CT Four Plus were a German band that featured five brothers; Brother Bodo, Brother Diether, Brother Fritz, Brother Karl and Brother Michael. They were part of a Christian order. This didn’t stop the releasing a trio of singles on MFB Productions, including Salz Sollt Ihr Sein. On the flip-side was Exodus II, another long forgotten hidden gem. It’s a mesmeric fusion of garage rock and psychedelia, that comes complete with blistering guitars. Exodus II is proof that devil doesn’t have all the best songs.
Covering a classic track is always risky. After all, the definitive version already exists. Despite this, 49th Blue Streak still decided to cover Jimi Hendrix’s Foxy Lady. It featured on the B-Side of 49th Blue Streak’s 1969 single Fire. Just like Foxy Lady, it’s a Jimi Hendrix track. When Fire was released on the MBM label, this single failed commercially. Since then, the single has become something of a rarity. That’s not surprising given the quality of both sides. Especially Foxy Lady, where 49th Blue Streak try to outdo the late, great Jimi Hendrix. While they don’y surpass the quality of the original, 49th Blue Streak’s cover is one of the heavy psych cover of Foxy Lady is one of the best I’ve heard.
Bana Pop Band were a French band from the late sixties. Their recording career amounted to just one single, Jet Pop. This was a Jack Arel and Pierre Dutour composition and production. Originally, the song was commissioned by an advertising company to promote a chocolate bar. The plan was to release Jet pop as a flexi-disc, which are collector’s items. Vinyl 45s were released on the Grand Volle label back in 1967. They’re also collectors item. That’s no surprise. Jet Pop is funky, jazz-tinged and psychedelic, and comes complete with searing rocky guitar solo. It’s a welcome addition to DJ Format’s Psych Out.
By 1970, Hungarian Chanson and pop singer Koncz Zsuzsa had forged her own style. Or so people thought. That was until Koncz Zsuzsa released her 1970 sop home album Szerelem on the Qualiton label. It featured the song Visz A Vonat, a feisty slice of psychedelic fusion of pop and rock. Szerelem was the last album Koncz Zsuzsa released on Qualiton. She briefly signed for United Artists Records, and went on to release over thirty albums.
La Logia Sarabanda were a Peruvian band, who covered Miguel Loubert’s Todos O Ninguno. It was released on the Lider label, and is an irresistible fusion of cumbia, funk and psychedelic rock. Quite simply, this long forgotten track is one of the highlights of DJ Format’s Psych Out.
Back in 1967, Los Angeles session guitarist Mike Deasy dawned the role of Friar Tuck and His Psychedelic Guitar. Later in 1967, Friar Tuck and His Psychedelic Guitar released their eponymous debut album. It’s essentially a Mike Deasy solo album. One of the tracks on the album was a cover of Richard Berry’s Louis, Louis. It’s laid-back, lysergic and dreamy, as elements of lounge and psychedelic rock are combined and breath new life into familiar song.
Next, DJ Format’s musical journey takes us to the Czech Republic, which back in 1971 was known as Czechoslovakia. That was home to Flamengo, who had been signed to the Supraphon label since 1967. By 1971, Flamengo’s music was changing, and they embraced progressive rock on what was their penultimate single, Každou Chvíli. On the flip-side was Tyden V Elektrickém Meste. It’s a jazz-tinged slice of musical theatre, where progressive rock and psychedelia combine to create a reminder of Flamengo, one of the best Czechoslovakian bands of the late-sixties and early seventies.
Krzysztof Klenczon was only twenty-nine when he released his eponymous debut album in 1971. It was released on the Pronit label, which was owned by the Polish state. One of the songs on the album was Nie Przejdziemy Do Historii (We’ll Never Make History). It’s a heavy, Hendrix inspired slice of fuzzy psych, where Krzysztof unleashes a virtuoso guitar solo. Despite his undoubted talent, Krzysztof Klenczon only ever released two further albums and died a car accident in Chicago in 1981. He was only thirty-nine. Since then, Krzysztof’s music has featured on a variety of compilations, and is a reminder of a truly talented musician.
Aleksandr Sergeyevich Zatsepin wrote and recorded The Shaman’s Dance for the soundtrack to the movie The Sannikov Land. It’s a Soviet film, that was released in 1974. The story is based on Vladimir Obruchev’s novel Sannikov Land. However, The Shaman’s Dance has a genre-hopping, cinematic sound. There’s everything from funk, jazz, lounge and even an excursion into psychedelia during this dramatic, cinematic and sometimes kitsch, but memorable track.
Closing DJ Format’s Psych Out is Pro Arte’s Stari Dvorac. This is a track from Pro Arte’s 1972 sophomore album Toplo Ljeto. It was released on the Yugoslavian label Jugoton. The label had been founded in 1947, but had been nationalised by 1972. Stari Dvorac was penned by Pro Art bassist Slobodan M. Kovačević. He’s responsible for a percussive slice of psychedelia rock that shows closes this globe-trotting musical journey.
DJ Format’s Psych Out, which will be released by BBE Records on 10th June 2016, featured fourteen tracks from eleven country. This globe-trotting musical journey begins in Singapore, and ends up behind the Iron Curtain in Yugoslavia. In between, DJ Format takes the listener to America via Britain, Czechoslovakia, France, Germany, Hungary, Peru, Poland, Singapore and U.S.S.R. Each of these countries contribute at least one memorable slice of heavy, fuzzed-out psychedelia. They feature on DJ Format’s Psych Out, which is one of the good guys, which it comes to compilations of psychedelia.
There are all kinds of compilations of psychedelia. They’re best described as the good, the bad and ugly. Thankfully, there are still knowledgeable and enthusiastic compilers, who are responsible for lovingly curated compilations. This includes DJ Format’s Psych Out, which is the perfect antidote to the third rate compilations of psychedelia that pollute the market.
If you’ve suffered at the hands of one of these compilations, then DJ Format’s Psych Out will sooth and tantalise your jaded musical palette, and restore your faith in psychedelia.
DJ FORMAT’S PSYCH OUT.