Wednesday, 2 January 2013

the pretty things

Those psyche retrievers Fruits De Merr records have recently released a rather splendid 'The White E.P.' redefining the Beatles classic White Album (see post). One of the groups guesting on the mix of reworkings is by one of the longest running groups from that 60's era.
We all here about the star names still around, Stones, Who, Macca etc. but there, always lurking in the shadows have been The Pretty Things.
Formed in 1963 as Little Boy Blue and The Blue Boys (who on earth came up with that name?) who then split with three of their members going to form a new band with a guy named Brian Jones. The three who split were Dick Taylor, Keith Richards and Mick Jagger.

Dick Taylor playing bass stayed with the newly formed Rolling Stones for several months before leaving to go the London Central School of Art, where he met fellow art student Phil May and started The Pretty Things, (the art college has always been a place that fed rock and roll from the 60's on and the big names that have gone through that grounding in the UK is long).

The Pretty Things over 40 years have released a dozen albums, and you know what none, yes none of them have achieved any great sales to boost their career. Sure, there were a string of singles in the 60's with one managing No.10 in the UK charts but as the years passed and several reforms later around the heart of the band, Taylor and May there sales figures just didn't figure. They beat Pete Townshend in being the first group to write a 'Rock Opera' and even that didn't get much recognition. But no matter what happened The Pretty Things came back again. Even last year in 2012 they performed for the first time in New Zealand since being banned in 1965! Now that's setting the record straight and they've waited 45 years to do it.

So kudos to Fruits De Merr for releasing a track by them on their latest record. And how could anyone doubt the sincerity of a couple of London guys who played their rock and roll for anything but big money. They survived and still tell the tale.
Here they are in 1965 with a now psychedelic classic 'LSD'.
And no it's not just about a mind bending drug.. here's why.
Back in the 1960's UK and preceding decimal currency the UK dealt in 'pounds, shillings and pence' , the term having been taken from the Latin words "librae, solidi, denarii". This was then abbreviated and represented by the letter L, S, D, and commonly used in the day with banking matters. Of course any young spacehopper of the psychedelic period immediately saw the laugh in that.
So here's The Pretty Things just having a bit of a pun. You don't believe that and thought the song was just about acid? Just take it from Mr Dick Taylor, he cleared the whole thing up on the YouTube comments to this video.
And just look at that video.. must be one of the first ever done of a band.
Then look at Phil May's hair length in 1966! Pretty things!!... band having another laugh you might think.