Sunday, November 12, 2023

VA - Lullabies for Catatonics, A Journey Through the British Avant-Pop Art Rock Scene 1967-74 [2019] (3 x CD's)

Previously posted June 4, 2020

VA - Lullabies for Catatonics, A Journey Through the British Avant-Pop Art Rock Scene 1967-74 [2019] (3 x CD's)

Lullabies For Catatonics charts the journey without maps that was fearlessly undertaken in the late '60s and early '70s by the more cerebral elements of the underground, inspired by everyone from Bartok, Bach and The Beatles to Dada, Dali and the Pop Art movement. Suddenly pop music was no longer restricted to moon-in-June lyrics and traditional song structures. Instead, it embraced the abstract, the discordant and the surreal as pop became rock, and rock became Art. A new, post-Dylan emphasis on lyrics led to self-proclaimed poets like Keith Reid, Pete Brown, Pete Sinfield and Adrian Henri aligning themselves with rock bands, while the free jazz and classical influences embraced by the underground scene resulted in a new musical hybrid. While Soft Machine's mordant wit and musical complexity established them as progenitors of the so-called Canterbury Scene, the likes of Procol Harum instigated a more portentous, symphonic style that was subsequently classified as art rock, a sub-division of a wide-ranging scene that would be codified by the one-size-fits-all term Progressive Rock. Those two complementary strands are at the heart of Lullabies For Catatonics, with the more challenging American bands of the era also an influence: The Velvet Underground impacted on everyone from a young David Bowie to teenage ingénues The Velvet Frogs, while Captain Beefheart's Magic Band would inform Arthur Brown's equally uncompromising playmates Rustic Hinge. A fascinating window on a movement that stands as one of the most creative, challenging and esoteric in British music history, Lullabies For Catatonics incorporates the hugely successful (Yes, Genesis, 10cc) cheek-by-jowl alongside the unsigned (both Gnome Sweet Gnome and As You Like It now gain their first-ever commercial release), together with the art-rock collectables (Gnidrolog, Spring) and the unclassifiable avant-garde iconoclasts (Third Ear Band, Pink Floyd collaborator Ron Geesin).  (Amazon)

This is one of the more interesting clam shell box sets released by the great grapefruit label in the UK. I guess pop art & art rock is a good word for a lot of these bands but a lot of what you get here is prog rock & a bit of folk as well as Canterbury sounds. Like most releases on this label the remastering sound is fantastic. Another job well done and another great collection and assortment of tracks from one of the UK's great eras in rock n roll.






Track lists

CD1    Spontaneous Underground

01    Soft Machine    I Should've Known    7:31
02    Riot Squad With David Bowi    I'm Waiting for My Man    4:05
03    Procol Harum    Conquistador    2:40
04    End    Bypass the By-Pass    2:46
05    Dantalian's Chariot    World War Three    4:10
06    Zombies    Butcher's Tale (Western Front    2:49
07    Giles, Giles and Fripp    I Talk to the Wind    3:16
08    Liverpool Scene    TraMcAr to Frankenstein    7:46
09    Strawbs    The Battle    6:10
10    Woody Kern    Xoanan Bay    4:33
11    Genesis    In the Beginning    3:47
12    Velvet Frogs    Wasted Ground (Memento Mori)    4:46
13    Yes    Beyond and Before    4:54
14    Third Ear Band    Druid One    3:47
15    Bachdenkel    Through the Eyes of a Child    4:02
16    Crazy World of Arthur Brow    All Over the Country    2:27
17    Eyes of Blue    Merry Go Round    9:11

CD2     Tea On The Lawn

01    Mighty Baby    Egyptian Tomb    5:31
02    Audience    Banquet    3:35
03    Cressida    To Play Your Little Game    3:18
04    Pretty Things    Parachute    3:51
05    Rustic Hinge    Crystallised Petard    6:55
06    Curved Air    Vivaldi    7:32
07    Sweet Slag    World of Ice    7:39
08    Barclay James Harvest    Mockingbird    6:39
09    Comus    The Prisoner    6:17
10    Nirvana    Home (Reconstruction)    3:27
11    Second Hand    Death May Be Your Santa Claus    2:38
12    Spring    The Prisoner (Eight By Ten)    5:34
13    Coxhill-Bedford Duo    Don Alfonso    3:15
14    Stackridge    Grande Piano    3:21
15    Samurai    Saving it Up for So Long    3:46
16    Blonde on Blonde    No. 2 Psychological Decontamin    3:04
17    Fuchsia    Me and My Kite    2:32

CD3     The Wind Sings Winter Songs

01    Deep Feeling    Welcome for a Soldier    5:59
02    Open Road    Can I See You?    3:47
03    Matching Mole    O Caroline    5:02
04    9.30 Fly    Unhinged    6:30
05    Gnome Sweet Gnome    The Machine Grinds On    4:01
06    As You Like It    No More Sunshine Till May    5:17
07    Jade Warrior    A Winter's Tale    5:14
08    Bond + Brown    C.F.D.T. (Colonel Frights' Dan    5:52
09    Gnidrolog    Ship    6:43
10    Rupert Hine    Anvils in Five    5:47
11    Ron Geesin    Upon Composition    2:59
12    Mick Ronson    Growing Up and I'm Fine    3:10
13    Be Bop Deluxe    Adventures in a Yorkshire Land    3:24
14    10cc    Somewhere in Hollywood    6:38
15    Renaissance    Mother Russia    9:21


  1. Thanks BB Lots of new (to me) music to enjoy.

    1. Thanks, lemonflag.
      There is a good mix on this set. Enjoy!

    2. Thanks, lemonflag.
      There is a good mix on this set. Enjoy!