Lost Classics of the 1960s, Vol. 7

A carefully curated selection of obscure musical wonders from an ex-disc jockey with a specialization in the U.S. and British psychedelia recorded between 1965 and 1972.

{Note: This series features ten lost sixties classics at a time, offered in no particular order but intended to be approximately the length of an LP. Among the genres and subgenres included in the series are rock, pop, folk, soul, funk, reggae, psychedelic pop-rock, psychedelic folk, folk-rock, folk-pop, proto-electronica, proto-punk, early prog, early glam, early trance, garage rock, art rock, and instrumentals. The reading of “60s” used here is what collectors call the “long 60s,” which ends in 1972. Dates are—to the best of my ability—recording, not release dates.}

This Playlist on Spotify

This week the “Lost Classics of the 1960s” series welcomes, for the first time, a track off what I consider the greatest album of the decade—yes, better than any Beatles LP—the 1967 classic Forever Changes, by Love. I’ve been listening and re-listening to this endlessly dynamic and deep album since I found it at the now-shuttered Dartmouth Bookstore (at the time, I believe, the largest family-owned bookstore in the country by square footage, with around 45,000 square feet). That Love was a multiracial band—less common at the time than one might think—and that its lead singer Arthur Lee was a profoundly enigmatic man only added to its allure. It veers between nonsense and sublimity, is polytonal, uses the studio trickery of its age, is alternately sweet and soft and paranoid and jagged—it’s just incredible. More cuts from the album will appear in the series in the future.

But what I’m even more excited about in this entry in the series is the range it features, as it underscores that the Long Sixties more or less had everything music has to offer in some fashion, even if—sometimes—in a “proto-” format. Roxy Music’s 1972 debut LP presaged New Wave music, punk, and post-Velvet Underground art-rock; Tranquility confirms that the best British folk music ever made was made in the late sixties and early seventies, as even completely obscure albums like Tranquility (1972) are rife with genius (and listen, below, to Roy Harper’s “She’s the One”, and you’ll wonder why he too remains obscure, especially given that he was such a bizarre character); Andwellas Dream—an oddity, in that it was an Irish psychedelic band—managed to marry folkish instincts with hard-rocking, epic psychedelia. We also have songs from two landmark psychedelic albums: We Are Ever So Clean, by Blossom Toes, one of the few ‘67 albums justly compared to the Beatles’ Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band (and containing many different styles, the one below—classic British whimsy—being just one) and Side Trips by The Kaleidoscope, later just Kaleidoscope, who in ‘66 began putting together perhaps the first psychedelic album to work as an album, Side Trips. Shortly after, in late 1968, the Cherry People were in D.C. working through a short-lived sixties subgenre, “bubblegum psych”, which one could argue was the Americans’ echoing of the British take on psychedelia seen and heard (particularly in London) in 1967 and early 1968.

And of course John Cale is John Cale—a genius who hailed from (to take us back full circle) The Velvet Underground, the art-rock band that seems to have given birth to basically everyone via the audacity and cool and lyricism of the late iconic Lou Reed.

In any case, I hope you enjoy all this music! I truly believe this series offers as much of interest as any section of Proof—a claim confirmed, I think, by my recent discovery that the Music section of this publication is the most-subscribed section of all of them, even more than the section dealing with current political events in the United States.

1. Love, “Alone Again Or” (1967)

2. Tranquility, “Oyster Catcher” (1971)

3. Andwellas Dream, “The Days Grew Longer for Love” (1968)

4. John Cale, “Paris 1919” (1972)

5. The Arbors, “Okolona River Bottom Band” (1969)

6. Roy Harper, “She’s the One” (1969)

7. Blossom Toes, “Mrs. Murphy’s Budgerigar” (1967)

8. The Kaleidoscope, “Pulsating Dream” (1967)

9. Roxy Music, “Virginia Plain” (1972)

10. Cherry People, “Mr. Hyde” (1968)