Faust

The story goes something like this:

In the very early 1970s, the German record label Polydor wanted a new band to rival The Beatles. What they got was Faust, definitely not German Beatles. Faust were one of the leaders of Krautrock, along with Tangerine Dream, Kraftwerk and many others.

Faust’s first album (1971) had three tracks, Why Don’t You Eat Carrots?, Meadow Meal and Miss Fortune. The first track begins with clips of The Beatles and The Rolling Stones. John Peel loved this album, especially for the see through record, cover and lyric inserts.

We have this disc. It plays well, though the plastic sleeve has had more than fifty years of love.

How do we classify Faust’s music? Well, it is dissonant, often tuneless, rather episodic with sound effects, extracts from the radio… a huge patchwork. That’s not totally fair. On the second album, So Far, there were genuine tunes and the whole thing was more accessible.

But Polydor hated it. Faust signed to Virgin, Richard Branson’s label. They often recorded snippets of songs and bits of noise, and Branson ordered a budget priced compilation of some of these bits and pieces, The Faust Tapes (1973).

This sold very well. Perhaps it was the budget price (49p).

The next album, Faust IV (1973) was recorded relatively conventionally and had some success, but the band split and that was that.

The unusual

If you talk to piercers, they will tell you that a lot of their trade is doing ‘normal’ piercings. I mean nostrils, ears and so forth. I would hesitate to use the word ‘boring’, or even acceptable.

You can look for more unusual things. You can do a quick search on the Web and find all sorts of extreme piercings, but you don’t have to go that far.

You can find that your piercer is extra enthusiastic about your choice. I had a rhino piercing and my piercer was so thrilled to do it and so pleased with the result, because it’s rare. But it will get you attention, and, if you don’t want that… well, of course you do, that’s why you are having the piercing in the first place.

One of my easiest piercings was the nape of my neck. It entertains people behind me on the bus.

Nice nape piercing

Twelve British Songsā€¦ IX

…that defined the 60s and are not The Beatles.

David McWilliams

The Days of Pearly Spencer

1967

This is one of the absolute great tracks from the 1960s. Look, this is one of THE great songs of any era and it has been covered many times. This is, though, the original.

There’s a lot of clever violin work, a good, memorable tune and the catchy chorus.

Fantastic.

Eek…

Someone asked me very recently if there are any records I hate.

Hate is a strong word and the question is unanswerable. There must be hundreds of tracks I have heard once, or twice, disliked and forgotten about.

There are plenty of performers I do like, and collect their records, but all at some point have produced something I either did not get or did not like. And that is my personal opinion only.

A couple of things spring to mind though.

Little Arrows by Leapy Lee.

Anything country and western.

Silence is Golden by The Tremeloes:

Mull Of Kintyre by Wings:

Some big hits there, but if I never hear them again that will be fine…

Oh, and anything by Tom Jones.

Gracious!

Gracious, maybe Gracious!, are one of the most forgotten and neglected of bands.

They were formed in and around Esher in Surrey in the late 1960s, and were definitely a prog rock band. The classic line up included guitar, drums, vocals (plus guitar and percussion), bass and keyboards, including Mellotron.

They had a time supporting bands like The Who and King Crimson, then recorded an album with Tim Rice as producer. I am not aware that this ever reached the world or if it still exists.

They moved to Vertigo, the legendary prog rock label owned by Philips, and this album is a classic. Good vinyl copies go for hundreds of pounds.

There are five tracks, three on side one forming a kind of introduction/concept of heaven and hell, side two has a fugue with two guitars and harpsichord, and the last 15 minute track, The Dream, tells a tale of… OK, no spoilers.

It was not a big hit, and already the wheels had started to come off. Members left, there were tours but it wasn’t the same and the band, er disbanded.

The second album had been recorded, and included a five track concept piece about an astronaut returning to a dead Earth and well, no spoilers. The length of the piece meant a part of it had to be split onto the other side of the LP. The whole was released as the budget This Is Gracious! (1971).

There’s plenty of good playing on this album, on both albums actually, loads of Mellotron and some fine singing. But it marked the end of the group and it fizzled out. By 1971 they were gone.