Psychsploitation

Three Kandy-Kolored Klassics from the golden age of the psychedelic exploitation cash-in. Psychedelia was in full, gaudy blossom in 1967, and Los Angeles, entertainment engine of the solar system, was right there to capitalize. These particular instrumentals weren’t made for movie soundtracks, but they could have been; any of them would have made comfortable additions to fare like The Acid Eaters or The Love-Ins and those moments when you needed a panning shot of longhairs frugging on the Strip and some stern narrator intoning about bad trips and The Scene.

While Los Angeles may have been pop culture ground zero, there just wasn’t much commercial precedent for psychedelic instrumentals in the late ‘60s. Perhaps their existence owes more to the fact that a 45 rpm release was a low overhead investment in 1967, and that there were reserves of session musicians ready to grind out this sort of thing on a moment’s notice.

I tend to go on and on about Los Angeles and the crass commercialism of the ‘60s; to describe my relationship with the history of pop culture opportunism as love/hate is misleading, though, as it’s mostly love.

1. Peter Pan & the Good Fairies, Kaleidoscope (Challenge)
There’s no oxygen in chilly, rarified reaches of the stratosphere, just the shimmering cosmos and harpsichords and fuzzboxes criss-crossing like satellites.

No guitars here, either. A a pure studio concoction, the futuristic “Kaleidoscope” was in reality the brainchild of Jim “Jimmy” Gordon, a session bassist who recorded a few other ‘60s instrumental freakouts on the Challenge label.

This gem was released in 1967.

2. The Electric Tomorrow, The Electric Tomorrow (World Pacific)
It’s almost too easy to poke fun at the florid excess of ‘60s psychedelic names. Still, it doesn’t get much better than “Electric Tomorrow.” Forecast for next week: Chocolate Whenever.

Co-writing credit here goes to Clem Floyd, a British guitarist who played with David Crosby in the early ‘60s as one half of Crosby & Floyd. Jack Millman, the producer, is perhaps better known as a jazz trumpet player; he mostly labored in anonymity as a capable Los Angeles jazz session musician in the ‘50s and ‘60s. How they wound up together for this for stroboscopic artifact is somewhat beyond me.  So much happened in the shared excitement of cashing in.

Either way, the addition of that funky electric piano was at Millman’s behest, I’d suspect. I suspect, too, that the queasy sound of “The Electric Tomorrow” is the “speed” knob on an early flange pedal turned up for maximum seizure-inducing effect.

The flip side of “The Electric Tomorrow,” by the way, is “Sugar Cube.”

3. The Relations, The Image (Reena)
A theme in search of a B movie, a post-“Out of Limits” instrumental for the Now Generation, “Image” is more from our friend Del Kacher, the Los Angeles inventor and guitar whiz (see Vox Wah Wah promo).

I imagine that there are other obsessive music fans out there with a favorite year when everything in music, if not popular culture, was golden. Mine would be the late 1960s.   If Del Kacher wanted to put out a record in 1967 with a riff he’d invented five minutes before recording, then, for better or for worse, I’ll want to own it, and sit down and write about it.

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9 Responses to Psychsploitation

  1. Anonymous says:

    3 authentic jewels! Thanks a lot!

    Cheers from Milano

  2. Anonymous says:

    The electric tomorrow? I was there yesterday.

  3. Anonymous says:

    enjoying all three – i happened to pick up the “the electric tomorrow” from one of my connections about three months ago.. something about the bridge on that just gets me going.. highway rolling – trucks and truckers. but as importantly – i just figured out you can open the same song up several times at once and listen to them chase each other and overlap – kind of fun..

    ok – taken up enuff space – off to see willie jones III bang the drums.. and he don’t “bang them slowly”

    slow poker

  4. Your blog is awesome. I’m checking out the psychedelic goodness now. Quick question: have you ever heard of a group called Jill Blue and the Field Hippies? I uncovered an old cassette that I recorded back in 1987 which has this really wicked song on it, alongside such other psychedelic freakout acts like It’s A Beautiful Day and the clasic track “Careful With That Axe, Eugene, of course from Pink Floyd. If you know or if you’re interested, I’d love some info on how to find more of their stuff.

  5. Thanks, Vincent. All I can possibly think of is Joseph Byrd and the Field Hippies, who had one album:

    http://www.allmusic.com/cg/amg.dll?p=amg&sql;=10:atkcikz6bbf9

    I’ve checked out that album before, though I don’t honestly recall what it sounded like. Definitely was psychedelic, though.

  6. b. brown says:

    The Electric Tomorrow has dizzied me! It’s just like doin’ the real thing!

    Great post, once again.

  7. O.W. says:

    Good stuff as always!

  8. Anonymous says:

    The Electric Tommorrow Tune was used for some of the background music in the 1970’s porno film “Around The World With Johnny Wad Holmes” No Joking!!!! Check out the scene with the redhead!!!

  9. * JUST THOUGHT I BETTER LET YOU KNOW OF THIS LIMITED RELEASE*
    IT'S A GREAT TRIP!

    Some blurb from their website:
    http://WWW.ACIDBEACHPARTY.COM

    You've heard the news reports and seen the shocking pictures,
    but have you ever been to an
    ACID BEACH PARTY?
    Now's your chance!

    ORIGINAL NOTION PICTURE SOUNDTRACK (GLP 333)
    Released by GINA RECORDINGS AVAILABLE NOW!

    After almost 3 years of behind the scenes negotiation, this garage-surfin' psychsploitation soundtrack is finally available on CD from the good folks at GINA recordings.

    The musical score takes in SURF, GARAGE, BEAT POETRY & B-MOVIE PSYCHEDELIA alongside dialogue excerpts and the original film trailer.

    The CD insert also features colour reproductions of the movie's promotional artwork.

    LIMITED RELEASE
    TO ONLY 500 COPIES WORLDWIDE
    For audio samples and album availability please go to:
    http://www.acidbeachparty.com

    Like Wow!
    Tony Rich(Gina Recordings)

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