Various - Beautiful Freaks: Waving Our Flag High, Wave On, Wave On

  by Keith How

published: 22 / 10 / 2019

Various - Beautiful Freaks: Waving Our Flag High, Wave On, Wave On

Label: Tad
Format: CD
Fabulous compilation from the TAD label which journeys back to the late 1960’s counterculture


TAD call this “a compilation for the heads” and “the sound of the Freak Left”. 'Beautiful Freaks' is certainly a strange collection but does give a snapshot to a long gone alternative community of rebellion and creativity. I guess you know you are in for a wild ride when the eighteen-track album opens up with Allen Ginsberg’s 'Footnote to Howl', his impassioned Beat_inspired spoken word plea for Buddhism, open hearts and freedom. From then on,in keeping with the spirit of those times, anything can happen. Naturally there is the Grateful Dead doing their thing and a strange offering from the Fool, a spacey trip called 'Fly' that swoops and swirls around your head. It’s here where things get slightly confusing as the compilers mix in the Bonzo Dog Doo Dah Band’s 'Music for a Head Ballet', a sly nod towards English chamber music, and follow that with a Third Ear Band track 'Earth' from their second album at a time when they were moving in a more progressive style. The set continues in this rather eclectic and rambling manner where the English whimsy of the Incredible String Band trade blows with Gong and Hawkwind before things get really “turned on”. The inclusion of Yoko Ono’s 'Why' is “difficult”. Instrumentally the pounding beat is fine but Yoko’s delivery is tiresome. From then on in we enter true Freak territory. The rap sounds on David Peel’s 'Up Against the Wall' seem dated as do the Holy Modal Rounders and Country Joe and the Fish's acid-fuelled folk mantras. No set from these times would be complete without some spoken word, so the inclusion of Timothy Leary calling for us to turn on, tune in and drop out is essential. The whole collection ends with a Fugs exorcism mantra from 1967. A historical snapshot from a time of political fear and unrest, times not dissimilar to today and although a powerful force among a young generation history has proved that 'Sticking It to the Man' did not change anything externally. 'Beautiful Freaks' comes with superbly researched booklet that gives newcomers a balanced insight into those interesting times. .

Track Listing:-

1 Footnote To Howl
2 That's It For The Other One (Pts I-IV)
3 Fly
4 Music For The Head Ballet
5 Earth
6 Le Goudron
7 Way Back In The 1960s
8 Nimm Einen Joint Mein Freund
9 Fohat Digs Holes In Space
10 A Mind Blown Is A Mind Shown
11 Be Yourself
12 Be Yourself
13 Up Against The Wall
14 The STP Song
15 The Fish Cheer / I Feel Like I'm Fixin' To Die Rag
16 That Cat Is High
17 Part II: One Final Word
18 Exorcising The Evil Spirits From The Pentagon, October 21, 1967

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