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 The Pretty Things - The Psychedelic Years (1966-1970) (2CD Set)

The Pretty Things - The Psychedelic Years (1966-1970) (2CD Set) When people gather to talk about the 60’s and music invariably groups like The Beatles, The Rolling Stones, The Doors and Jimi Hendrixroll off their tongues naturally without even thinking about it. When do you ever here The Pretty Things mentioned? I for one include them amongst the greats of that era, beyond, and into present day. I did not always feel that way, I was like everyone else, until I started listening to their immense and outstanding catalog spanning from the early sixties until now.

“The Psychedelic Years” clearly illustrates how the Pretties changed completely from a rhythm and blues band to a full-blown psychedelic rock band and then gradually developed their sound into progressive rock. Unfortunately, as far as the music buying public could see, other British bands like Yes and Pink Floyd popularized prog-rock, although primarily this band was the original punk rock band or freakbeat as it generally was referred to when one was discussing nonconformist hippies playing rock ‘n’ roll. How could we have just skipped over these pioneers and just paid attention to the 70’s icons?

You will notice very quickly how a lot of this music sounds like “Sgt. Pepper” era Beatles, and that is because some of it was recorded at the same time and Pink Floyd was in the studio when the Pretties were recording the first ever rock opera “SF Sorrow.” You see, not of a lot credit was given to this band for their ever evolving sound and other bands got credit for being the first to start a trend when all along it was Phil May and his talented mates. They are immeasurably underrated and always have been, not until only recently have they started to receive their just due.

Even though their recorded works is vast and far reaching, these two disc really do a nice job highlighting one of their more, if not best, creative period over four years. And to make it all that much more impressive, included are cuts from their live webcast and subsequent CD “SF Sorrow” live (1998), proving 30 years on that they still had it all together and could play like few bands ever have or will.

I was delighted with the psychedelic saturated progressive direction of each track on this set. Mike Stax, the ultimate Pretties fan, while appropriately contributing loving liner notes to his heroes, had to set his words upon psychedelic colors, which makes it all very difficult to read. I somehow painfully made my way through it enjoying every word regardless of the strain upon my peepers. Stax emphasizes just how important these eternal punk rockers turned rhythm blues conquerors turned rock-psychedelic kings are and they how they should have a throne befitting their long and magical career. This is but one of many gifts that will be coming our way if we choose to pay attention to what is dangling right in front of our noses for the taking. It is never too late to look back at history to see who really made a difference. After all, if we cannot objectively look back at the past how can we look forward with a clear path to the future? From 1963-2002 is nearly 40 decades of music, and they are still rockin’ with no sign of slowly down, now that is incredible, and so are these two CDs.

© Keith "MuzikMan" Hannaleck
Posted By: Keith Hannaleck
Genre: Rock
Record Label: Snapper Records

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