Various Artists

Think I'm Going Weird: Original Artefacts from the British Psychedelic Scene 1966-1968

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Think I'm Going Weird: Original Artefacts from the British Psychedelic Scene 1966-1968 Review

by Tim Sendra

To celebrate its 100th release, reissue label Grapefruit released its most impressively deluxe set to date. Compiling over 120 songs spread across five discs, Think I'm Going Weird: Original Artefacts from the British Psychedelic Scene 1966-68 is a trove of treasures by the biggest names of the era like Traffic and the Kinks, cult heroes like Nirvana and the Creation, and a multitude of acts so obscure that only the most dedicated follower of psychedelic fashion might recognize them. Grapefruit has made a career out of digging up these kinds of gems, and the label does a knockout job here, not only showcasing unheard bands but also songs that had never seen the light of day. What that means is that a trawl through the set list will get you choice psychedelic cuts like the Yardbirds' "Happenings Ten Years Time Ago" or the Pretty Things' "Walking Through My Dreams," but also previously unheard tracks like Eyes of Blond's rampaging cover of the Byrds' "Why" or Tinsel Arcade's brilliant freakbeat rocker "Life Does Not Seem What It Seems" In between these two poles are an almost breathtaking amount of wonders that span the range of psych made during those three years. A quick spin will uncover twee toytown pop (the Picadilly Line's "I Know She Believes"), rippling hard psych (Dantalian's Chariot's doomy "World War III"), trippy ballads ("Vamp's "Floating"), proto-bubblegum (Turquoise's "Flying Machine"), and songs that range from happily weird ("Jabberwock" by Boeing Duveen & the Beautiful Soup) to achingly pretty ("Green" by the Lion & the Fish). The choices are stellar with nary a duff track in sight. It feels like the brains behind the label did everything right. The bigger-name bands are represented by lesser-known tracks that fit the bill perfectly -- the Who's "Armenia City in the Sky'' is an inspired pick, as is "That Man" by the Small Faces. The midrange bands are represented by deeper cuts -- the Smoke's "Have Some More Tea" proves they have more up their sleeve than "My Friend Jack." The inclusion of acts not often thought of as psychedelic like the Nashville Teens or the Merseys shows just how far the sound spread; in fact, the Downliners Sect's "Spider" is one of the set's oddball highlights. Add to these impressive feats of compilation a feeling that this isn't a rehash of any of the hundreds of other collections like it that have sprung up since the early '80s. It feels so perfectly researched and presented that it's as close to definitive as one could hope. Indeed, any student of the era, whether advanced or a beginner, will get lost listening to the music and admiring the exhaustively researched liner notes. Anywhere one might drop in, there's going to be a song that's a total jam, a weird delight, or a welcome discovery. Sometimes all three at once, like Caleb's "A Woman of Distinction" or "World in My Head" by Mike Stuart Span. The listing could go on, the extolling of virtues could continue, but the proof is in the pudding and Think I'm Going Weird is without a doubt top tier from conception to execution.

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