Tell Me When It's Over
From "Holding Together" issue 35 August 2006 :-
With the perspective of twenty years - can it really be that long? - our good friend Clive has put together this splendid conpendium of reviews, features and interviews of nine leading bands from that second wave of US psychedelia which so captivated us in the early to mid eighties. Crucially, he has invited nine writers to pen their thoughts today on the respective bands, which saves the book from being a mere compilation - though, having said that, the writing being complied is of a very high order, and must have persuaded many "Unhinged", "Bucketfull" and "BOB" readers to investigate the music at the time. In addition, the excellent Pat Thomas has contributed a Foreward, and the other esteemed scribblers include Nigel Cross, Jon Storey, Paul Ricketts and Jud Cost.
Naturally, definitions may differ on which bands actually comprised the "Paisley Underground", a phrase coined by Michael Quercio of the Three O'Clock, but this is Clive's book, and his judgment is the arbiter here. So those included are the Dream Syndicate, Three O'Clock, True West, the Long Ryders, Green On Red, Wednesday Week, 28th Day, the Rain Parade and the Clay Allison family of bands; excluded are the Bangles, Alternate Learning / Game Theory, the Eyes of Mind, the Things and everybody else - but that's okay. Pat even quotes the chorus of "Garden Party" in his intro by way of acceptance ...
As a reader who digested most of the original articles when they were first published, this reviewer is reminded of how the vibrancy of the prose captured his imagination and made him hungry to hear any music not yet in his collection. Indeed, the capacity of the best rock writing to inspire its readership to investigate the subject matter was the main spur behind both TAR and HT, so Steve and I are both indebted to these fine penmen in any number of ways. Particularly exciting were Pat and Nigel's urgent notes on the Syndicate, Colin Hill's dynamic essay on True West and Nigel's brilliant work in communicating the essence of the Rain Parade, but it's all terrific stuff which has - despite the reservations expressed in some of the updates - stood the test of time exceptionally well.
Amongst those specially commissioned pieces, Paul's overview of Wednesday Week is spectacularly good - a superb effort to really get to grips with both the mechanics and the emotional resonance of the music. As it happens, this band is one your scribe never truly cracked at the time - but Mr Ricketts' incredibly honest evaluation has made Eddie desperate to catch up. In fact, a forty pound box set would be a snip on the strength of the article, though the immediate chance of this would seem remote. Elsewhere, Clive has produced an atmospheric introduction to the highly underrated 28th Day, which is followed by an agonisingly naked letter (to Paul R) from Barbara Manning dated 1989. In fact, so visceral did it seem to her when she re-read it last year - presumably to authorise its republishing - that she insisted on an update to add the balm of hindsight. Riveting stuff.
Sadly, there isn't space to praise all the articles in the book, so we'll just conclude with the heartiest recommendations for the whole thing, which runs in total to 289 pages with eight full page b&w photos. The front cover is a delightful pastiche of the artwork for "Loaded", and there are more great bandshots on the reverse. Get your ticket now and ride that emergency third rail all over again!