# A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z

Various - I’m A Freak Baby

  by Kimberly Bright

published: 29 / 7 / 2016

Various - I’m A Freak Baby
Label: Cherry Red Records
Format: CD Box


Fantastic 3-CD Cherry Red Records’ box set which traces the history of the darker side of psychedelia from 1966-1972

During the four hours of music contained in the new 'I’m A Freak, Baby' compilation listeners can experience the flipside of peace and love: the evolution of Summer of Love psychedelia to a darker, harder genre. This eclectic underground scene journeyed down a few different forks in the road in the late ‘60s and early ‘70s, veering off into hard blues, hard rock, the genesis of heavy metal, and prog rock. The first CD starts with Stray’s upbeat 'All in Your Mind,' and the last CD ends with a serious downer: Fusion Farm’s sped-up version of Bob Dylan’s despair-laden murder-suicide ballad, 'The Ballad of Hollis Brown.' That disparity really says it all. 'I’m A Freak, Baby' is a good companion to an earlier Cherry Red (via Grapefruit Records) British psych box set, 'Love, Poetry and Revolution'. The collection’s title comes from the song 'I’m A Freak' (I’m a freak, baby / On a losing streak / And I’m coming after you) by Wicked Lady, but it also differentiates the countercultural “freak” scene from the more benign “hippie” variety. In southern California at the time Frank Zappa was quick to distance himself from the hippie movement but wholeheartedly embraced freakdom, a flamboyant but antisocial, musically expressive subculture with more gravitas and harder guitar riffs. The British version of this menacing musical style had its unlikely roots in mod culture, R&B, and blues. In David Wells’ opening essay in an accompanying 32-page booklet, he traces the lineage of hard psych bands to the power trio line-up of Cream and the Jimi Hendrix Experience: “With live music boasting increased power and volume (aided greatly by the marketing in 1965 of Marshall stacks), many of the original mod bands – brand leaders The Small Faces, but also more obscure acts like The Open Mind and The Attack/Andromeda – emerged from the short-lived fripperies of psychedelia with a sound that was harder, leaner, heavier, louder.” The Midlands, generally thought to be the cradle of hard rock and heavy metal, is not represented as heavily in this collection as one might assume. In fact, there are a surprising number of bands from the southeast of England. Regardless of their geographical roots, these bands’ shouting, working-class take on psych, despite similarities like exotic instruments, extensive experimentation, trippy effects, and droning vocals, is worlds away from a rural hippie idyll. Instead of visions of young people dancing in fields of wildflowers in the sun-dappled countryside, many of these bands sound like harbingers of Black Sabbath. The rougher variations of the British scene include Lemmy Kilmister’s pre-Hawkwind band Sam Gopal, the Move, the Yardbirds, London’s Ladbroke Grove scene stalwarts the Deviants – headed by anarchic icon Mick Farren, whose 'I’m Coming Home' presages Patti Smith’s version of Gloria a few years later, the Pink Fairies (formed after the Deviants fired Farren), Hawkwind Zoo, and the Edgar Broughton Band. Hawkwind Zoo’s 'Sweet Mistress of Pain,' also known as 'Kiss of the Velvet Whip,' followed the Velvet Underground’s BDSM-themed 'Venus in Furs' by only two years and was left off their debut album. Also featured are blues boom bands that went interestingly astray, like Peter Green’s Fleetwood Mac and the incomparable 'The Green Manalishi' ('With the Two Prong Crown'), as well as the Groundhogs and Chicken Shack. Factory’s 'Time Machine' is a thrilling bit of early sci-fi in music. Prog titans Deep Purple and Uriah Heap make an appearance, along with a fantastic glimpse of Rory Gallagher’s teen-age band the Taste’s 'Born on the Wrong Side of Time.' The curators have gone to great lengths to acquire previously unreleased rarities by obscure provincial bands and clean them up as much as technology permits, allowing us to be reacquainted with Egor or the Velvet Frogs. In the case of Iron Claw’s 'Skullcrusher,' the acetate never saw the light of day, partially due to legal threats from Black Sabbath for appropriating Sabbath’s sound too closely. The lesser-known bands with limited output or who went unsigned during their existence are an exciting find – the Phoenix ('Street Walking Woman'), Hellmet ('Trust'), Jesse Hector’s early garage band Crushed Butler ('My Son’s Alive'), and the Kult ('Occult') – but do suffer somewhat by proximity and comparison to acts like the Move, Mickey Finn, and Peter Green. These three CDs and well-researched booklet, with quite the cache of photos of dour, hairy, darkly clad male musicians, finally do justice to an overlooked and previously woefully undocumented British music scene.

Track Listing:-
1 All in Your Mind
2 Cast a Spell
3 Hot Smoke and Sassafras
4 My Son's Alive
5 Going Down
6 Father of Time
7 I'm Coming Home
8 Do It
9 Time Machine
10 Cherry Red
11 I'm a Freak
12 Rock My Soul
13 Sweet Mistress of Pain
14 Nightmare
15 Falling
16 Apocalypse
17 Bogeyman
18 Fireball
19 Primitive Man
20 Love in the Rain
21 Trust
22 Rhubarb
23 Dream
24 Skullcrusher
25 Zero Time
26 Jehovah
27 Brontasaurus
28 Bring It to Jerome
29 Mr Make Believe
30 Flash
31 Street Walking Woman
32 I'm Never Gonna Let You
33 Race With the Devil
34 Heart Without a Home
35 Ascension Day
36 Street
37 Escalator
38 Gypsy
39 Garden of My Mind
40 Think About It
41 Trying to Find My Way Back Home
42 Yellow Cave Woman
43 Too Old
44 The Green Manalishi (With a Two Prong Crown)
45 Twisted Trip Woman
46 Occult
47 Born on the Wrong Side of Time
48 Hollis Brown

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