Monday, 30 June 2008

Fender Bass V - the original 5 string bass

Fender Bass V from 1970
Here's one of the lesser known Fenders, the Fender Bass V, sister model to the better-known Bass VI. As far as I am aware (feel free to correct me if I am wrong) this was the first production model 5-string bass. This particular example dates from 1970.

It's a funny looking little bass with its elongated body and short neck. Unlike the later 5-strings that emerged from various manufacturers from the late 80s onwards, the extra string isn't a low B, it's a high C. The Bass VI didn't actually offer an extended range to that offered by Fender's existing Precision and Jazz Basses, it simply offered an alternative way of playing, possibly more suited to those of a smaller stature who might find those other Fender Basses more unwieldy. Instead of playing up and down the neck as much, you could play across it instead.

The auction for this one ends later tonight. It's going to go for a few thousand dollars, that's for certain. These basses weren't a resounding success sales-wise and as such this is a very rare Fender.

Edit: Sold for $3,795.

Sunday, 29 June 2008

Jimmie Driftwood and his fantastic rustic guitar

Check out this video in which the late Jimmie Driftwood shows off his guitar. According to his Wikipedia entry, "Driftwood learned to play guitar at a young age on his grandfather's homemade instrument. Driftwood used the unique guitar throughout his career and noted that its neck was made from a fence rail, its sides from an old ox yoke, and the head and bottom from the headboard of his grandmother's bed. This homemade instrument produced a pleasant distinctive resonant sound."

Thanks to Karl for bringing this unique guitar to my attention.

Friday, 27 June 2008

When Relics Go Bad

When relics go badWhen relics go bad
The creator of this sorry-looking Telecaster ("I got the parts for it and put it together") claims that it plays better than a $3,500 Fender Custom Shop Relic Telecaster. I'm sure the Fender wouldn't look as much of a dog's dinner as this mess.

This is the problem with DIY "relic" guitars. The creator usually goes too far. This just doesn't look like genuine wear and tear. It looks like exactly what it is - a guitar that someone has deliberately knocked about and taken a sander to.

The seller also informs us that "The guitar's neck was sanded down and has a relic coloring from actual sweat." How, I wonder, did he collect the sweat? Did he carry a bottle and a tube around with him and somehow syphon the sweat into the bottle when working out? Actually, don't answer that. I don't want to know.

For a much more tastefully-realised relic job on a Telecaster, keep checking Cary's Electric Guitar Review.

Wednesday, 25 June 2008

Hippie "Jesus Loves You" Guitar

Hippie Jesus GuitarI thought at first that this acoustic with home-made body might have been inspired by Bo Diddley's rectangular guitars, but it's far more likely that a basic box was just the simplest and easiest shape to construct.

Obviously the flowers and the "Jesus Loves You" artwork is not going to appeal to everyone's taste, but the guitar is not without its rustic charm.

Tuesday, 24 June 2008

Musicvox Spaceranger

Musicvox Space Ranger
Here's a shame... until reading the listing for this Musicvox Spaceranger on eBay, I hadn't realised that these guitars were no longer being made. I guess the company went under. They still have a website and the beginings of a blog that never got off the ground, the first and only entry being from 2006. Obviously their bizarre looking guitars were never going to be to everyone's taste, but I liked their quirkiness and eccentricity. Perhaps these guitars will become future collectables? I'd like to think so.

Monday, 23 June 2008

Espana "Winged" Guitar

Espana SL-107 Winged guitarI've never seen anything quite like this Espana SL-107 winged guitar, although it is reminiscent of some of the wilder harp guitar designs without the additional strings.

It is quite a perplexing instrument. What, I wonder, was the point of those wings? Do they add anything to the tonality of the instrument?

Mosrite Doubleneck on eBay

Mosrite doubleneck
Now here's something you DON'T see very often on eBay. It's a rare - very possible one-off - Mosrite doubleneck 12-string guitar/mandolin circa 1970. It looks to be in very nice condition too. The starting bid is at $2,000 - I'll be interested to see what this fetches.

Silvertone amp in guitar

Silvertone amp guitarThe Silvertone brand were famous for their amp in case models back in the 60s (actually re-badge Danelectro guitars) and here they went one further with this re-badged Teisco guitar which has the amp and speaker in the guitar body itself. Dating from late 60s/early 70s, this may well have been one of the first guitars to sport this feature. Does anyone know of any earlier examples?

Speaking of Teisco guitars, does anyone know what became of the Teisco Twangers website, a very useful resource, which seems to have unceremoniously vanished from the world wide web. I hope someone has mirrored it somewhere, or at least backed it up.

Sunday, 22 June 2008

Whose Guitar Is This?... Neil Diamond

Neil DiamondThe answer to Friday's Quick Quiz is that the guitar pictured is Neil Diamond's signature series Epiphone SQ-180.

Thursday night I took my parents to see Neil Diamond at the Millenium Stadium, Cardiff, as a 70th birthday present for my father. I grew up listening to Neil Diamond. My father was always playing his records. He espeically liked the start of the "Hot August Night" album and would play it over and over. He confessed to me after the show that he had been worried that Diamond wouldn't be able to cut it any more in a live situation seeing as he is no spring chicken at 67 years old, but he (my father, that is) was very pleasantly proved wrong. Diamond and his band performed for a solid two and a quarter hours and played all the hits and crowd pleasers with gusto (I Am I Said, Play Me, Crunchy Granola, Cherry Cherry, Solitary Man, Sweet Caroline, Song Sung Blue, I'm A Believer, Cracklin' Rosie, etc...). The man can still belt out a tune and what amazed us was that right up until the encore he kept his jacket on; he didn't even break out into a sweat. He's one cool customer, that's for sure.

In the middle of the set he announced he wanted to play a few songs from his current album, and played "Don't Go There", a spellbinding rendition of the title track "Home Before Dark", followed by a Latin-flavoured version of "Pretty Amazing Grace" and then it was back to the hits again. I don't think anyone could have gone away disappointed.

Scary Snake Guitar

Snake Guitar
I can't decide whether this hand-carved Snake Guitar is cool or hideous. It's certainly not in the same league of ghastliness as the abomination I linked to on Wednesday; in fact I think you have to applaud the inventiveness of the maker. Still, I doubt anyone will be willing to shell out $2,500 for it.

I'm also reminded of those extended cutaways that went up and under the strings that Aria (I think) featured on their guitars a decade or so ago. Whatever happened to them, I wonder? I've not seen one since. [EDIT: I was thinking of the Alvarez Dana Scoop... Oh well, I got the initial letter of the brand name correct at least].

Friday, 20 June 2008

Quick Quiz - Whose Guitar Is This?

Epiphone Neil Diamond
The answer will explain, partly, where I was yesterday, and why I was not able to blog.

Wednesday, 18 June 2008

A hand-carved nightmare!

What an eyesore!
It may be beautifully carved, and the inlay work may well be exquisite; it could be that it's a beautiful player and sounds absolutely fantastic, but for me this guitar checks all the tickboxes on what makes for a Certified Hideous Guitar. Never mind that it was "an award winning guitar at the 2008 Smoky Mountain Jubilee in Gatlinburg, TN" (award winning in what category, I have to ask?), it's absolutely ghastly.

Tuesday, 17 June 2008

Book Review: "GUITARS - A Celebration of Pure Mojo" by David Schiller

Guitars - A Celebration of Pure Mojo by David Schiller(Workman Publishing, ISBN 978-0-7611-3800-6)
Now I've noticed that a number of the other Guitar Blogs have been reviewing this small tome, but here is my take on it. I've not read any of the other reviews so as not to be influenced.

Anyway, let's begin. This small but perfectly formed book is laid out in a landscape orientation, and the dimensions are postcard size by approx 3 cm thick (520 pages), so it's pocket-sized so long as you have reasonably large pockets.

Now, this book works on a couple of levels. You can, as is the traditional way, start at the beginning and read right through to the end, or - if you are like me - you can dip in and out at various pages at random. The book is absolutely full of full colour pictures of guitars, all beautifully photographed, so it'll even appeal to the lazy amongst you who can't be bothered to read the text, but to do so would be doing the book a disservice as the text is well thought out and informative.

If you are a regular reader of my blog or one or more of the other guitar blogs listed on my blog-roll, then you will love this book as it essentially covers much of the same ground featuring classic guitars, vintage guitars, weird guitars, bizarre guitars, wonderful guitars, etc. Possibly the more rabid shredders may think there are too many acoustics featured, but to get it in perspective the acoustic guitar does have a lot more history than the electric. And anyway, it's all interesting stuff. You may not be into baroque, classical or jazz guitar, but it's all part of the bigger picture, so any prejudices need to be forgotten.

Without wanting to sound arrogant, I thought I was quite well up on all things guitar and had more or less seen it all, but there were plenty of instruments featured in here that were new to me such as the Vivi-Tone electric guitar from 1933, Gibson's sheet metal experimental electric guitar from 1935, the Gretsch Rumba round-bodied acoustic from 1933 (made to appeal to banjo players), among others.

There's plenty in here to fascinate: I particularly like the Stroh guitar with a megaphone horn in place of its body, and the various different styles of harp guitar which never fail to captivate my interest. Willie Nelson's legendary guitar "Trigger" is also a sight to behold!

My only gripe with the book is that some photos are printed over two facing pages - which may look great in the galleys when proofing the book in the production stages - but seeing as the finished book is perfect-bound and about an inch and a quarter thick, you cannot lay the pages flat to view these pictures properly. Not without destroying the book in the process. A whole area in the middle gets lost in the inner curvature of the pages. For example, what would have been a very attractive picture of a 1968 vintage paisley Fender Telecaster (pp. 344-345) is spoilt in this manner.

But that's a minor complaint. This is a perfect book for anyone who loves guitars. I can't praise it any more than that.

One other point, and this isn't a complaint, but merely an observation: there are no bass guitars featured. Could this mean another bass-specific volume will be forthcoming? (I hope so!)

On a final note, I must add that the book comes with the warning that the book may cause G.A.S. (Guitar Acquisition Syndrome). I think I was afflicted before anyway, so I can't blame David Schiller, or Workman Publishing of New York for that.

Sunday, 15 June 2008

London Guitar Show 2008

[Warning: Longest Guitarz post EVER! (Don't worry, it's mostly photos). You might want to get yourself a drink or something before continuing.]

This weekend has seen London's ExCel Centre host the London Guitar Show 2008, now part of a bigger event, the London International Music Show. I nipped along to see what, if anything, was new and to take some pictures for you guys.

Vigier fretless guitar
The first thing to grab my attention was this incandescent Vigier Excaliber fretless guitar with Delta metal fingerboard. (Delta metal is, I believe, an alloy of Vigier's own recipe!) These sound fantastic, the metal fingerboard creates excellent sustain - even on the unwound strings. But, yeah, I know this guitar is nothing new - they've been around for a fair while now. So, moving on...

Rainsong graphite acoustic guitarPosh Voxes
The next guitar to capture my attention was this Rainsong acoustic (above left) made completely out of graphite. Picking it up, it was as light as a feather, and it played pretty nicely too with a very bright sound which would be perfect for fingerpicking. The weave in the graphite gives the guitar a gorgeous finish too. A lovely guitar, for sure, but I was quite alarmed when I saw the price. The new Vox Virage guitars (above right) also looked very sexy and had an equally scary price tag.

The Vox Scooter!
Vox also had this scooter on display, which was nice. I resisted the urge to take her for a spin and instead tried out some of the cheaper end of their product line: the amPlug range. I was impressed! These little headphone amps actually sound great - my favourite was the Classic Rock model. I'm definitely buying one or more of these.

Indie Ricky-a-likesIndie Rastafarian acoustic
Indie Guitars had a handsome pair of Ricky-a-likes on display (above left... Did someone say "lawsuit"?), and also some oddly coloured guitars such as this Rasta acoustic (above right).

Ibanez acoustics
I preferred the finish on these Ibanez acoustics. Check out the bookmatched tops on this pair.

Ibanez web guitarJoe Satriani guitar
Also on the Ibanez stand was this "web" guitar (above left), with the web design cut into the face of the guitar itself. The body material for this guitar was most unusual. It felt like some kind of solidified expanded polystytrene, and was very light and plasticky. Too plasticky for my tastes. The Surfing With The Alien guitar (above right) reminded us that Joe Satriani was somewhere in the building. Not that I was bothered, if I am honest.

Billy Sheehan
We didn't see Mr Santriani, but we did see this guy, Billy Sheehan, putting a Yamaha Attitude bass through its paces.

Fender Andy Summers TelecasterFender Stevie Ray Vaughan Lenny Stratocaster
Over on the Fender stand were loads of relics and custom shop jobbies including this Andy Summers Telecaster and Stevie Ray Vaughan "Lenny" Stratocaster. I have to say I felt quite underwhelmed seeing them in the flesh.

Also on the Fender stand were...
Fender J Mascis JazzmasterFender J5 Triple Tele Deluxe
...this sparkly purple J Mascis Jazzmaster and this difficult to photograph black and chrome beauty, the J5 Triple Tele Deluxe.

Not to mention...
Some pointy JacksonsCharvel and Jackson guitars
...lots of pointy pointy Jacksons, the odd Charvel...

A gathering of Gretsches
...and a whole gathering of Gretsches!

Warwick headless bassWarwick Star fretless bass
There were plenty of basses and amps on the Warwick stand. Those that caught my attention were this familiar looking Steinberger-esque headless bass (above left) and this quite eyecatching fretless semi-acoustic Star Bass (above right).

Wilson Ventures guitars
Of the many retro guitars on display, these Mosrite-inspired Wilson Brothers Ventures guitars certainly grabbed my attention.

Eko 700 seriesEko Ranger XII
Speaking of retro guitars, Italy's Eko guitars are back with several funky re-issues including the 700 series (above left). Personally, I'd have liked to have seen these complete with the banks of push buttons that adorned the originals, but I suppose they felt they ought to feature more contemporary hardware so as not to totally freak out the modern guitarist. On the Eko stand, I also met up with an old friend, the Eko Ranger XII bolt-on neck 12-string acoustic. I had one of these for many many years and it was one of the best sounding 12 strings I ever played. (It kept its value too! I bought it new circa 1984 for £120 and sold it just a couple of years ago for £160). This new Eko Ranger XII - actually a prototype, but expect them to hit the market in the Autumn - played just as nicely as I remembered. Expected retail price is around the £200 mark.

Paul plays the Ashbury acoustic fretless bass
My friend Paul was quite taken by this fretless acoustic bass from Ashbury guitars on the Gremlin Music stand. The bass had a solid spruce top, a low action and very nice tone, no doubt helped by its larger sized body. (Some acoustic basses feature bodies that are basically too small to project enough bass, and hence are usually very quiet). This bass also had a very attractive price at £279. On the same stand were some Blue Moon brand guitars, of which I tried out a parlour guitar, retailing at just £79, and very nice and very playable it was too! I was quite impressed. It would make a great instrument for having around the house to grab and play a few licks as the fancy takes you. I hate to say it, but it was a nicer player than my Ovation.

Electric ukes
We were also quite interested in these solid body electric ukuleles, each of which had a built-in headphone amp. The two at the bottom of the picture (which unfortunately is a little out of focus) were made from solid rosewood. Alas, I do not remember the brand name of these little Tele-shaped ukes. [Edit: I've been told they are Eleukes, which seems to ring a bell.]

Vintage brand Clapton's Fool
On the stand for the Vintage guitar brand we spied this quite accurate replica of Eric Clapton's psychedelic "Fool" SG, amongst other budget-priced but nice quality "relic" guitars. Much better than buying one painted by some dodgy artist on eBay.

The biggest Orange stack you ever did see
Now isn't this the biggest Orange stack you ever did see?

Boss effects pedals
Speaking of big, I'm sure Boss effects pedals used to be a lot smaller than this. It was like being on the set of Irwin Allen's "Land of the Giants".

Brian May guitarBrian May guitar
Brian May Guitars had Red Specials in a whole bunch of colours, plus a mini Red Special, acoustic Red Specials, and this rather bizarre example bearing a likeness of the man himself. Given his interest in astronomy, it's appropriate that Mr May seems to be suspended in space in the portrait.

What the...?
Of course, there were some hideous guitars to be seen. I mean, check out this OTT Telecaster with glitter and silver skulls and flashing lights everywhere. Behind that is a Strat-styled doubleneck with a Vigier-like fretless metal fingerboard on the lower neck, and which also has a Fernandes sustainer fitted, which makes some sense on a fretless. It doesn't stop the instrument looking hugely cumbersome.

Spinal Tap Global Warming guitar
And what guitar show would be complete without the odd Music Man Spinal Tap guitar or two over at the Ernie Ball stand? (I think it's a tradition or an old charter or something.)

Strangely missing in action were the likes of Gibson, Rickenbacker, and C.F. Martin & Co. I was also sorry to see there weren't many UK-based luthiers present. Black Machine and Feline Guitars, both of whom have appeared at the show in prevous years were nowhere to be seen. Perhaps it's simply not profitable for them? Also where were all the parts manufacturers and the pickup companies? It was a bit disappointing in that respect. I really wanted to try out the Lace Alumitone pickups.

And where was the Moog guitar?

It was entertaining, sure, but it was mostly same old same old.

Friday, 13 June 2008

Martin electric guitar

Martin SemiHere's one you don't see too often. It's an electric guitar, albeit a semi-acoustic, from C.F. Martin & Co.

This particular model is a 1965 Martin F-65 and is described as having "survived 40 years in an outback Australian farming shed".

The seller says that "it looks like a dog, but plays really well...", and I think it looks absolutely fantastic, but unfortunately can only imagine how it would play. In this day and age of artifically reliced guitars - new guitars made to look like old and battered vintage guitars - it's great to see an instrument like this bearing the marks of genuine usage and aging.

Thursday, 12 June 2008

Martin guitars still acoustic king at 175 years old: "I'm an abysmal guitar player" says Chris Martin (C.F. Martin VI), sixth-generation CEO of C.F. Martin & Co.

Ural Russian Bass

Ural Russian BassBack in the realm of cheesy guitars, here we have another Russian bass, this one being a Ural Bass model 510.

People seem to be buying these old Russian guitars and basses for their quirkiness and cheesiness alone. This example has been listed as having "a bowed neck with lots of fret buzz as it has some high frets" and "lots of nicks + dings and cosmetic wear as well as a few missing screws", yet it still has a Buy It Now price of $540. I'm guessing this is one for the collectors rather than the players.

Tuesday, 10 June 2008

Killer Pegasus guitar

Killer Pegasus
I'm not quite sure why this horrible looking white thing should be named after a fantastic flying horse from Greek mythology, but apparently this Killer Pegasus mini guitar is a rare discontinued model. I wonder why they discontinued it. I mean, everyone must have been clamouring to get themselves one of these, surely?

By the way, it's actually only got a single pickup. What appears to be the front "pickup" is not a pickup - it's a mini speaker set into a pickup surround, so presumably there's a small on-board amp too. As if this thing was not ugly enough to start with, they're trying to encourage you to take this thing out and about! I'm of the opinion that it's one for locking up in a darkened room.

The seller says it is a "Perfect gift for your kids, girlfriend or wife!", so reading between the lines this is not a guitar for real men. Women and children only, eh? Well, if I was on a sinking ship with this I'd quite happily bung it overboard to make room in the lifeboat.

Monday, 9 June 2008

Electro Artist lap steel

Electro Artist Double Lap Steel

Now here's a whole area of the guitar world about which I know very little: lap steel guitars. Before we go any further, I must stress that I'm not talking about pedal steel guitars - that's a whole other field and a very complicated one with all their pedals and knee levers and so forth. It's a different instrument really.

The lap steel, however, most of us guitarists can relate to, even if it is foreign territory to many of us. It's still usually recognisably a guitar, albeit one that you play in a weird way. Occasionally I find myself looking at lap steels on eBay and thinking, "Yeah, I could play one of those. One of these days, I'll get one..."

I did experiment a while back with an old Teisco guitar on which I raised the nut, tuned to an open chord (D, I think, if I remember) and tried playing it lapstyle with a slide. It sounded interesting, but was much harder to play that I imagined it would be.

This Elektro Artist looks like a bit of a lapfull! I think I'd want to put legs on that, it's quite a behemoth! It's the lap steel equivalent of the doubleneck guitar, even though it doesn't have "necks" as such. But look at all that mother of toilet seat and 14 strings. Outrageous! The headstock (do they call them "headstocks" on lap steels?) is enormous.

I love looking at pictures of such guitars. They do not all look alike and there are some very interesting and original designs to be seen. Quite a few have an art deco feel to them and look like forgotten relics from the 1940s.

One of these days...

Saturday, 7 June 2008

Love Forever Changes

CD Review: Love - Forever Changes (2 Disc Collector's Edition)

I've been meaning to review this CD for about a month or so now, but somehow procrastination has been getting the better of me. It shouldn't be a difficult CD for me to review because it is one of my very favourite albums of all time, albeit it in a sumptuous new Collector's Edition with bonus tracks and alternate mixes. As this album has been around since 1967, I guess that me being slightly late in reviewing this edition doesn't really matter that much. It's one of those records that's just not going to go away and be forgotten in five minutes.

Of all the fantastic albums to have come out of the 1960s, you can forget The Beatles, The Stones, The Who, Hendrix, The Kinks and everyone else. My absolute favourite is "Forever Changes" by Love, the band fronted by the now legendary Arthur Lee. Love were not only contemporaries and label mates of The Doors, but they were also the ones who introduced Jim Morrison et al to the Elektra Records founder Jaz Holzman. The cruel irony was, of course, that The Doors surpassed Love in terms of both record company support and commercial success. Personally, I'd take Love over The Doors any day of the week.

I'm not going to do a track by track breakdown of this album. It's actually one of those records where I don't even know the titles of each and every track without looking at the sleeve, but I do know every note of it because the record is so ingrained into my consciousness. For me, it works beautifully as a whole, and in a way this release is an improvement on the 2001's Remastered and Expanded edition because the eleven songs making up the original album are kept intact on one disc of their own, whilst all the extraneous alternate stuff, studio outtakes, bonus tracks and the like are on a second disc rather than being tacked on the end and so spoiling the integrity of the album proper.

The songs are a glorious mix of acoustic psychedelia, garage rock, baroque pop and poetry. The song arrangements are adventurous, not following any predictable verse, chorus, verse, chorus, middle eight, verse, chorus structure. They twist and turn and sometimes shoot off into unexpected directions. These are intelligent, grown-up compositions, and could go some way to explaining "Forever Changes"' enduring longevity. It still sounds as fresh as ever, as anyone who caught Arthur Lee's Love (a new line-up of the band which he toured with before his sad death in 2006) performing the album in its entirety a few years back should be able to atest.

Lyrically, it's very interesting too, but I'm not going to pretend that I know what the songs are about. The liner notes, among other sources that you may care to seek out, give some insights into the lyrics but ultimately it doesn't matter. In some ways not knowing what it's all about make these songs all the more fascinating and magical. Where else would you hear a song that begins with such surreal imagery as "Oh, the snot has caked against my pants / It's turned into Crystal / There's a bluebird sitting on a branch / I guess I'll take my pistol..." ("Live and Let Live")?

Love group shotI also love that this is an album absolutely drenched in acoustic guitars, without being - horror of horrors - a folk album. There's the odd electric for solo work, but the acoustic is the workhorse here. Nowhere does it sound better to my ears, than on the opening cut, the very beautiful "Alone Again Or" - one of only two songs on the album penned by Love guitarist Bryan MacLean, the other nine being Arthur Lee's. That song is a favourite of mine and one that I personally toiled over for many hours trying to learn to play (I actually found the basic chord structure in a book of songs by The Damned, who covered the song in the mid 1980s. I had to work out the more intricate intro part by ear. Here's a tip, folks, this song sounds amazing played on baritone ukulele). It's still a song that I often play through to myself on picking up a guitar. Any guitar. I just love it.

The album closer, "You Set The Scene", couldn't be more perfect. It's a complete symphony inside a pop song and proof that complex but exquisite song arrangements did not start with Queen's "Bohemian Rhapsody" in 1975.

Disc 2 of this Collector's Edition contains the whole album, again, but here in an alternate mix that was, I suppose, rejected for release way back. To be honest, for the average listener, these bonus tracks are superfluous and won't really add anything to your enjoyment of the record. To the fanatic, they are intriguing, but you'll need to listen closely to detect differences in the mix. The most obvious give-aways that it isn't the regular edition are that a couple of the songs start or finish slightly differently. ("Old Man" has a spoken count-in, for instance. So what?) In the album notes Arthur Lee is quoted saying how he hadn't remembered doing a rap at the end of the alternate take of "You Set The Scene". I have to confess that I didn't even notice it, despite having read the sleeve notes before listening for the first time.

The other bonus material is nearly almost the same as that that appeared on the previously issued single disc Remastered and Expanded edition of "Forever Changes", so if you've already got that CD then probably you won't benefit a great deal from this latest reissue. There are a couple of outtakes, an instrumental demo called "Hummingbirds" (which later, with lyrics, became "The Good Humor Man He Sees Everything Like This"), a mono mix of "Alone Again Or" (so that song, as good as it is, appears three times on this release), and also - as on the previous release - we have the both sides of a single not included on the original album, "Your Mind And We Belong Together" and "Laughter Stock" both of which are pretty damn good. For the former, we are first of all treated to "Tracking Sessions Highlights", which give a fly-on-the-wall insight into the recording process, before hearing the result on the following track (listen out for a fantastic guitar solo, guitar fans!). The tracking sessions are definitely something that is far better off being placed on a second disc and not grouped together with the album proper, because despite it being very interesting and entertaining listening, it doesn't really bear very many repeated listenings. It is very funny, however, especially when Arthur Lee chides lead guitarist Johnny Echols about his guitar solo, "Echols, maaaan, I don't understand your trip, man... You stay in one range of the guitar throughout the whole thing, man. You're the one who says you can blow in the studio; nobody to bug you. You gotta blow, man!".

To summarize, I love - no pun intended - this album. It's definitely one to take to the desert island (although I think we're only allowed to take one-sided singles, if I remember the rules of the game). However, if you already have a copy of 2001's single disc Remastered and Expanded edition, you might not want to bother with this unless you are really desperate to hear the alternate mixes and a bizarre studio outtake of "Woolly Bully". For anyone who doesn't already have this in their collection, and thinks they may enjoy some 1967 era psychedelic garage rock baroque pop protopunk, then go for it. It's a glorious album!

Disc: 1
1. Alone Again Or
2. A House Is Not A Motel
3. Andmoreagain
4. Daily Planet
5. Old Man
6. The Red Telephone
7. Maybe The People Would Be The Times Or Between Clark And Hilldale
8. Live And Let Live
9. The Good Humor Man He Sees Everything Like This
10. Bummer In The Summer
11. You Set The Scene

Disc: 2
1. Alone Again Or (Alternate Mix)
2. A House Is Not A Motel (Alternate Mix)
3. Andmoreagain (Alternate Mix)
4. Daily Planet (Alternate Mix)
5. Old Man (Alternate Mix)
6. The Red Telephone (Alternate Mix)
7. Maybe The People Would Be The Times Or Between Clark And Hilldale (Alternate Mix)
8. Live And Let Live (Alternate Mix)
9. The Good Humor Man He Sees Everything Like This (Alternate Mix)
10. Bummer In The Summer (Alternate Mix)
11. You Set The Scene (Altenate Mix)
12. Wonder People (I Do Wonder) (Outtake - Original Mix)
13. Hummingbirds (Demo)
14. A House Is Not A Motel (Backing Track)
15. Andmoreagain (Alternate Electric Backing Track)
16. The Red Telephone (Tracking Sessions Highlights)
17. Woolly Bully (Outtake)
18. Alone Again Or (Mono Single Remix)
19. Your Mind And We Belong Together (Tracking Session highlights)
20. Your Mind And We Belong Together
21. Laughing Stock

Buy it here!


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