Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Marble Sheep-OLD FROM NEW HEADS CD (Captain Trip, Japan)

Back when Eddie Flowers sent me a free copy of this one (in order to spur movement of a sagging back catalog I originally mused) I really didn't get as hopped up about the Marble Sheep even with their hefty references to 1968 Amon Duul (of both the I and II varieties) communal riffing. In fact, after reviewing the bastid for one of those blursville mid/late-nineties editions of my own fanzine I filed my copy away if only because the '87 date was way outside the scope of my own sense of post-psychedelic mayhem. I mean, I actually lived through 1987 and let me tell you it was the least psychedelic year in memory that I can think of so how mind-expanding could this Cee-Dee be anyway? However with the relatively recent (at least within the decade) interest in high-powered Japanese psychedelic groups overtaking the hearts and minds of anal-retentive rock fandomites the same way krautrock was the hipster retromovement of the nineties and sixties garage bands of the eighties I found myself digging this recording from the earliest incarnation of the Sheep and as usual this sounds a lot better now than it did in the bleak realm of the mid/late-nineties!

Of course there are a number of reasons as to why this should be. For one, time has softened this old turd and for another, I am not being inundated with recordings of a variety of styles, shapes and sizes like I was then meaning I can certainly schmooze more with this in the here and now without having to worry about the ten cartloads of subpar amerindie sputum that I was receiving back in the day! But whatever, OLD FROM NEW HEADS is a classic psychedelic album no matter what year it was recorded, and for being an offering of Japanese heritage these guys sure knew how to kraut it up to the point where if somebody told me these were actual recordings made by either the legendary Amon Duuls III or IV I would certainly believe the charlatan who would perpetrate such lies!

Most of HEADS is good teutonic retro rock sorta sounding like the early Amon Duuls coming to an understanding in '69 or so, that is before Marble Sheep begin to sound like they're refurbishing Mirrors' "She Smiled Wild" or the Deviants on a bum trip. But mostly HEADS has that great Japanese sense of 1967-vintage psychedelic pride that thankfully lasted there a lot longer than it did in the US or England (DOA '69) or even Germany, which kept the psyche spirit alive for a long longer period than anyone could imagine. Feedback screeching and tribal pounding certainly do make for good recordings, and frankly I can't think of a better zone back to better times'n slapping something like this on the ol' laser launch pad along with other choice sockodelic platters for a tussle that'll make you wish the world had ended by '80 like it shoulda!

Dunno if Captain Trip still has this one available...Slippytown don't have 'em no more which is a bad sign, but I'm sure that with the proper digging and a good ebay bid you too can become the proud owner of this Japanese rock classic. But whatever you do, in the sage words of Bela Lugosi "bevare", for I understand that later Marble Sheep recordings might steer a little too close to the more hippified Grateful Dead style which might suit you, but frankly I have better ways to lose my braincells. Whatever you do please do a little more researching before you decide to delve further out from the safe confines of this surprisingly consciousness-razing disc.

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