Monday, March 15, 2010
Typer At The Gates Of Dawn
Far better late than never at all, our good friend & fellow music/psych' obsessive Sean K. gives us one to heed:
The Love Cycle (1969)
There’s a tangible aura about “lost albums”, something that draws you into their parallel universe.
Beyond high-profile items such as the Beach Boys'"SMiLE" are a wealth of “private pressings” issued in tiny quantities by local bands; almost all are half-baked, classics only to the socially challenged obsessive.
Forever Amber’s "The Love Cycle", though, bursts with unfettered melodic glee and the pop experimentation that could only have been recorded in 1968.
Originally called the Country Cousins, they were driving to gigs in a psychedelically painted ambulance – the new moniker was an abbreviation of Forever Ambulance.
Meanwhile, 18-year-old John Hudson was spending his lunchtimes writing songs for the group’s sole album in a rehearsal room above a shop in Cambridge.
The album was recorded in a marathon 19-hour session on a Sunday in September 1968, and the band made great use of the profusion of riches upstairs; glockenspiel, penny whistle, a wah-wah pedal, and plenty of harpsichord- all at the astounding cost of about £200.
"The Love Cycle"’s 16 songs, much like "Pet Sounds", cover a relationship sequentially from first meeting to grim denouement.
Years of harmonising had created a group with five strong lead singers, though Mick Richardson’s woody, middle-class delivery stands out.
English as tuppence, The Love Cycle has a distinctly Grantchester Baroque atmosphere – the nearest comparisons are the Zombies and neighbours Pink Floyd, though the naive yearning of songs such as "Bits of Your Life" and "Going Away Again" are pretty much their own.
Only 99 copies were pressed.
Drummer Barry Broad sold his only copy and recarpeted his entire house with the proceeds. John Hudson went on to run his own accountancy firm. Of the band, only Chris Parren turned pro, ending up as the keyboard player on George Michael’s "Careless Whisper", which outsold "The Love Cycle" by roughly three million copies.