Mixed Mead-Ear


Fifth Estate # 59, August 1-14, 1968

In this fortnight past of sparse record releases we were given new albums by the Doors, Ten Years After, Buffalo Springfield, Pink Floyd and Jeff Beck, along with Phil Ochs’ tape from California and Paul Butterfield’s latest massacre.

Each of these albums I heard several times with the exception of Buffalo Springfield and Phil Ochs, as these two albums arrived too late for me to hear to -any great extent.

The Doors I have no time for. Ex-underground though they may be, and though I’m sure their friends and parents look upon them as the greatest thing since sunshine, as musicians-singers-songwriters-poets-artists and personalities they just don’t make it. Doors fans, I’m sorry but top forty groups with no talent deserve no place at all in my appreciation. A very good friend of mine told me when I first arrived that the Doors were too bad to hate. Having now heard their albums and seen their act I have to agree with him.

Contrary to popular belief I do not enjoy putting groups down, and I do not only like blues. But I feel a sense of deep regret that there are people in the world who know little about music, promoting the Doors to the position of one of America’s top groups; and so little about blues referring to Paul Butterfield as a blues player.

Nowadays, as his new album aptly demonstrates, Butterfield has a very tight soul band and if he changed his name giving a hint that he is a soul band, I would like him much better.

Ten Years After is another supposed blues group who never played a note of blues in their career. I guess from their stage appearances and albums that they will eventually disband leaving their guitarist, Alvin Lee, to progress into a jazz guitarist. The new album called “Undead,” from this group is the usual combination of slow blues with incredibly fast, jazzy leads and shows no great display of instrumental or vocal virtuosity.

Pink Floyd is a very weird group. I know that they were unbelievably bad at the Grande and I’m not about to try and excuse them other than to say that in every other performance in this country and in England they ably demonstrated that they are the best psychedelic group in the world. They have never claimed to be the world’s best musicians, and they are really seen at their best with their own light show, so unless you have a light show of your own—just close your eyes and turn your amplifier fully on, and your parents fully off by putting “Saucerful of Secrets” on. Although the album is by no means indicative of what the group is really—oh well, there is absolutely no point in my saying this.

Either you dig the Floyd or you don’t. I do.

I also dig Jeff Beck, Rod Stewart, Mickey Waller and Ron Woods, so obviously the only bad thing I can say concerning “Truth” is that the production is really bad; and the inclusion of two “B” sides, one of which was not even re-performed but just taped straight from the single. I think that much more credit could- have gone to Rod for the singing’ and I would have liked “Ol’ Man River” more had the tympani been better arranged.

But of all the albums I have heard these last two weeks, “Truth” is the only one that makes it, other than “Nightmare”, by Arthur Brown, which I shall describe in detail next issue.