Grupa West Coast Pop Art Experimental Band była już prezentowana na łamach bloga dlatego tylko z czysto formalnego obowiązku powiem, że na niniejsze wydawnictwo składają się nagrania grup i solowych projektów, które były powiązane z członkami WCPAEB.
Releasing four, increasingly creepy albums between 1967 and 1969, the band has its place cemented in the annals of psychedelic folklore, via the personal tragedies of its individual members and the sleazy predilections of its vaguely sinister frontman, Bob Markley.
Nevertheless, those four albums live on as a testament to what was going on in the sun-soaked Californian psychedelic pop/folk scene of the late 60s, which beggars the question, what does one buy the WCPAEB fan who has it all? Well, you could do worse than Companion, a compilation of rare recordings made by the band members before, during and after the WCPAEB’s moment in the spotlight.
One for the completist, Companion pulls together 29 tracks of varying quality – and occasional tenuity in their association to WCPAEB – which stretch back as early as 1960 and culminate in 1971. The solo Markley stuff is largely forgettable, reflecting the yearning for stardom that drove the heir to an oil tycoon’s fortune to latch onto any trend that would have him during the early 60s.
It isn’t until the other band members enter the picture that things become interesting. For instance, ‘Wanted: Dead or Alive’ by The Rogues, featuring guitarist Michael Lloyd and bassist Shaun Harris, is a scorching medley of electric fuzz that predates the psychedelic distortion soon to become vogue. The Laughing Wind, where Lloyd and Harris were joined by the latter’s younger sibling Danny, serves as an embryonic forerunner to the WCPAEB; lighter in tone than The Rogues and featuring the hippy sunshine harmonies that would become a bedrock of the later band’s sound. The four tracks included here prove to be inoffensive slices of West Coast flower pop, with 1966's folky ‘Good to Be Around’, in particular, evoking a tranquil prelude to the following year’s summer of love
The WCPAEB themselves are represented by the refreshing ‘Sassafras’ and ‘I Won’t Hurt You’, the former recorded prior to Markley’s arrival and the latter a different version to that which appears on the band’s Reprise debut Part One, featuring Lloyd on lead vocals. A cover version of ‘I Won’t Hurt You’, by Brits Neo Maya (also known as Episode Six and featuring a pre-Purple Ian Gillan), is also included, providing a darker-in-tone take on the song.
Various other incarnations of musical collaborations between Michael Lloyd and the Harris brothers also feature, including California Spectrum, Rockit (with a version of ‘Blame it on the Pony Express’ that sounds uncannily similar to the Scooby Doo, Where Are You! theme) and most interestingly Brigadune, with three fine songs from 1971. The emotional ‘I’ll Cry Out From My Grave (God I’m Sorry)’ provides a particularly grim highlight, with its suicidal unburdening of a catalogue of regret to a dead lover, along with the redolent ‘Misty Mornin”.
The West Coast Pop Art Experimental Band Companion is a decent collection, made all the better by concentrating on the talent behind the band (Lloyd and the Harris brothers), while sidelining the odious chancer that is Markley and keeping his solo material to a bare minimum. (source)