2016 three CD collection. As that noted hipster Plato once observed, when the mode of the music changes, the walls of the city shake. And there was certainly a whole lotta shakin' goin' on in 1967. A distended Summer of Love saw psychedelic pop emerging from the underground clubs to infiltrate the home-grown music scene mainstream, with the vast majority following in the footsteps of perennial market leaders The Beatles in surrendering to the new genre. As the year progressed, it seemed that more or less every element of the British pop world had been swept up in the blissed-out UFOria. Beat boom survivors, R&B stalwarts, sharp-suited mods, Swinging London soul revues, earnest acoustic folkies, Denmark Street hustlers, traditional pop acts… all abandoned or refined their previous identities to make music that reflected the ubiquitous influence of psychedelia in it's myriad paisley-patterned guises. Across four hours and eighty tracks, the all-singing, not-much-dancing Let's Go Down And Blow Our Minds anticipates the 50th anniversary of the Summer of Love to chronicle a tumultuous twelve-month period of music-making within the British Isles.
With a band patched together from the remnants of Mott the Hoople, British Lions is all swagger and little substance; music performed as though it's very important and vital, but with little in the way of memorable tunes or attitude. That's the late-'70s hard rock mainstream for you, and it's easy to imagine these guys slogging it out in arenas as a support act, which in fact they did for Blue Oyster Cult and UFO. Really, it's hard to hear this without sniggering a little. Worse, it sort of recalls the pathetic fictional '70s band featured in the British movie Still Crazy that was posited as a group once very popular and meaningful, but played songs so shallow and derivative that any viewer with a reasonably deep background in music appreciation would fail to be convinced.
Most of Mel's recordings have come out on CD, but not these! In fact, most of these (recorded in London while he was on tour in the UK) were never issued at all in the U.S.: Limehouse Blues; Time Was; Hooray for Love; Let There Be Love; These Foolish Things; Danny Boy; Greensleeves, and more. The twenty tracks on this CD sound as fresh now as it was when it was first created over fifty years ago and serve as a wonderful tribute to the great musicians and singer who recorded them.