down the oily way…

Gong, the anarchic multi-dimensional jazz/pop/rock ensemble somehow labelled as a Canterbury band. Yes Hillage and Allen started out in various bands from that area but Gong are really so much more European than that. I know in the age of Brexit such a thought may be untenable.

Those wacky Gongsters sang about the dreaded weed and pixies and teapots and pussies and all sorts of other subversive things. They managed to be counter to the counter culture and make some amusing, fun and bewildering albums along the way. Here we have a reunion of some sort in 1977, at a 24 hour show were several incarnations of Gong performed along with some solos spots from Daevid Allen, Steve Hillage and Tim Blake, the whole shebang ended with several hours of the “classic” or most famous version of the band.

There are some strange edits, mid song and it sounds like it was recorded by some stoned European, which it probably was. The music is as ever for Gong as bewildering mix of psychedelia, jazz and slightly naughty at times in-jokes. It does however manage to capture the essence of what is a unique band, yes they are annoying at times but they make such a joyous noise that you can forgive the dodgy lyrics.

If ever you have the need to truly confuse the people you live with Gong will do that for you pretty simply. They could lead to separation, divorce or if you are lucky your children striking out on their own to leave you with space to spread out.

In other news it is day two of don’t buy any records may. This is caused by the rash decision to buy a tractor.

Here is Ben giving it a shot, who knew that it would have a cell phone charging socket, the world has surely lost its head.

I scoff multifarious breakfasts with a sneer…

Well I missed breakfast.

It’s Sunday and today’s soundtrack was the wonderful Banana Moon album that only makes sense on certain Sundays when you have driven for six hours with no music and only one cup of coffee and then are sitting at the end of the day wondering if you should go to bed.moon But then take a look around and find that the 22 year old who just moved home, “just for awhile to get my head together.” has found something wonderful. I guess I did some things right as a Dad.

In all honesty this is the album that came home the other day with me but missed out on the picture for some reason. It sat leaning against the other records in a pile of fun waiting to happen, or until someone discovered it and placed it on the turntable thereby allowing the fun to happen.

This is one of the most confusing, chARLYenjoyable, strange, fun weird and wacky albums you will ever take the time to listen to. It’s a sort of Gong/Soft Machine/Ayers experience. It is also always a good thing when the record label makes you smile as well.

Almost impossible to explain, psychedelic, poppy and out there in a laid back gentle way. I really have no idea how to explain this album apart from it makes me smile.

Oh mother don’t do it again…

Some jokes/albums you just get the very first time and sometimes they are the same thing the joke and the album. I have loved Camembert Electrique since the first time I heard it.

I was on the fence about Gong after Angels Egg and The Flying Teapot album but the cheese factor took me over the edge. It is lunatic brilliance and a strange jazz anarcho hippy dippy wacky love fest in two sides of inspired stupidity. cheeseDynamite, I Am Your Animal may have been the scariest thing I ever heard one odd Saturday afternoon and may have caused me to hide my head under a pillow for at least three of it’s four and a half minutes. Only Fohat Digs Holes In Space and Tried So Hard could calm me eventually once I made it to side 2.

Yes it predates the famous trilogy and has more in common with Floating Anarchy than the cuteness of Flying Teapot’s and Pixies and Hillage’s sophisticated guitar. Punk jazz as Galvin said in his weird whisper, come listen to this.

In 1974 you could have bought it for 59p and may have felt ripped off. So for the 6th time  I went out on a safe limb and bought Camembert Electrique again. I think this is now three L.P.’s a cassette and two C.D.’s and this is the first time it was new and has the word audiophile on it which I think is ironic. The only common denominator is that it has never failed to amuse, bemuse and keep me enthralled. The downside is it drove my wife from the room muttering and shaking her head.

You have to love an album with an infinite loop at the end of each side.

What you see is what you are…

In the distant past before family there were those halcyon days of the early 80’s that in memory seem to be some sort of constant bacchanalian adventure. The soundtrack to that experience was a band who originally swore never to record their music as it was spontaneous and for the moment. Then some members moved on, they met Daevid Allen and became Planet Gong, went on tour and were recorded on Live Floating Anarchy. They then recorded an album as Here and Now that was of it’s time but manages at the same time to be timeless with ex Amon Duul and Hawkwind bassist Dave Anderson.

Imagine a band that was part punk, part reggae, part prog-rock and could improvise for the whole night. You then get Here and Now. Over the years and albums their music became more refined but they always managed to keep that improvisation and humorous core to music. I have fond memories of spinning around for hours seemingly to their strange swirling spiky music in fields and Liverpool clubs. The unique feature of their gigs was that you either made a donation or brought a can of beans to pay. They also seemed to be at every festival usually right before Hawkwind and really living what they preached about Floating Anarchy.

Give and Take is an album that takes me back in time to a pleasant place. Hanging our with friends at a time when “If you want a little bit of Heaven that’s alright with me.” seemed oh so deep. It is an album that’s sound is hard to describe, analog synths, glissando guitar, slightly dodgy lyrics and a label that is either offensive or hilarious.





Really it was another time and another place but it sure is nice to revisit every now and then. Apparently they are still going if you live in the UK  so go see them.