It’s the endless long drawn out decline.
Phil May died the other day, he fell of his bike and never recovered from the hip surgery. It all sounds a bit mundane as the globe is gripped with a pandemic but sometimes it’s the mundane that affects me. Phil was of course the singer for the Pretty Things, the original and long standing bad boys of rock music, creators of loud raucous blues based rock rowdiness and perhaps popularizers of the rock opera or concept album. Causing the world all sorts of pain and happiness over the years depending on your tolerance for the concept.
Without SF Sorrow it may have taken longer for pretentious rock poseurs to decide to have aspirations beyond their R&B backgrounds. Maybe it was the fact this most working class of bands had managed to outwit the others with their conceptual album. It was inevitable though it seems the others would catch up as the drugs got better the ego’s would require a more grandiose backdrop for the music and possibly capes. Can there ever be enough capes in music?
The beauty of S.F. Sorrow is its lack of pretension. Its brilliance is its dependance on songs to push the written story along, that way if you are lazy like me you can just enjoy the album without ever worrying about the story. It’s full of good songs without an overture, underture to any other type of ‘ture for that matter. There are odd psychedelic sounds and quirkily charming and oddball lyrics. If you ever read the story it makes little sense which may be its saving grace, it is also not necessary to the listening enjoyment of the album. At the end of the day its just a great rock record, Old Man Going is worth the price of admission alone.
The album was so confusing to the record company they put no money into the artwork, Phil May drew the picture on the front, they took there own band pictures and managed to make a halfway decent stab at it.
Maybe this is the secret to a good concept album, keep it amateurish.
So R.I.P Phil May, leader of the roughest of rock bands, conceptual artist and storyteller, and I believe him Tommy was influenced by S.F.Sorrow.