Tuesday, September 24, 2019

TCCDM Pulls One Out..."The Soft Machine" (1968)

"The Soft Machine" - Soft Machine (1968)

Psychedelic prog is the point of order here.  This was Soft Machine's debut album and is an example of psychedelic ideas drifting into early prog-rock.  Very avant-garde.  And it's really good for not having any guitar spankage thrown in the pot.  I wasn’t aware until later that Soft Machine was a three-man band.  The drumming of Robert Wyatt is entertaining as fawk.  And bassist Kevin Ayers' presence is strong...sometimes making his bass sound like a guitar amped.  Very cool.  They both sing...Wyatt, being the main vocalist.  But it's the trippy and experimental organ burns from Mike Ratledge that really gives the songs their psych stamp.  However, there's plenty of ideas to go around from everyone.  “The Soft Machine” is a mind-flip and demands repeat listens.  It's an essential album and I especially enjoyed side two.

Honestly, it was the gimmix pinwheel gatefold that put this on my want list.  I'm a sucker for such shenanigans.  And it's amazing that a gimmix sleeve like this survived in one piece...what with playing with the spinner and passing it all around the lava lamp room.  But somehow it did.  This is the uncensored version before the record company airbrushed a bikini on the model and removed the spinner completely.  And now I have one.  Plus, it beat the "Zeppelin III" pinwheel by two years.

"The Soft Machine" (back)

"The Soft Machine" (inside)

Command ABC / Probe label

"Lullabye Letter" - Soft Machine / "The Soft Machine" (1968)

A1  "Hope For Happiness" 4:22
A2  "Joy Of A Toy" 2:56
A3  "Hope For Happiness (Reprise)" 1:31
A4  "Why Am I So Short?" 2:33
A5  "So Boot If At All" 7:25
A6  "A Certain Kind" 4:06
B1  "Save Yourself" 2:26
B2  "Priscilla" 1:05
B3  "Lullabye Letter" 4:26
B4  "We Did It Again" 3:40
B5  "Plus Belle qu'une Poubelle" 1:05
B6  "Why Are We Sleeping?" 5:26
B7  "Box 25/4 Lid" 0:48

Robert Wyatt – vocals, drums
Mike Ratledge – Lowrey Holiday DeLuxe organ, piano
Kevin Ayers – bass, vocals (10, 12), b-vocals (7, 9), piano
Hugh Hopper – bass (13)
The Cake – b-vocals (12)

Good stuff.

Casey Chambers

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