Pussy - Plays. 1969 England

Did you ever think there should have been another album between Pink Floyd's Saucerful of Secrets and Atom Heart Mother, and not named Ummagumma? I love the latter album, with its frenzied and psychotic live takes on album 1, though album 2 does reek a bit of unhinged experimentalism without focus. Which was the point of course. But what if it wasn't? One answer to this quiz is Group 1850's Paradise Now, an album I've frothed about much in the past. And another is... ("oh the foreshadowing Tom, you're killing us!")

Seriously,when I started collecting music the term "psych prog" was thrown out for just about every album on the planet. Do you know how few true examples there are of this sound? Pussy Plays is the pure embodiment of it. In a perfect world, Pussy Plays would have been played incessantly on classic rock stations, and we'd all be more civilized because of it. But of course, we know how it all turned out, and the only people who care about this now are crazies like yours truly... it didn't even catch on with the hipsters! #233 on RYM as I write this in May 2016. C'mon. Really? No "Comus factor" here apparently.

Side 1 is filled with catchy melodies in that Swingin' London sort of way, with plenty of effects, period instrumentation, creative ideas, and... completely zonked out of their friggin' minds, making Syd Barrett look sober as a judge by comparison. 'All of My Life' is the highlight of a stellar set of tunes. The weakest track, is also its most famous due to it supposedly being the "weirdest" (I guess - it has theremin - whoopdee-doo), and that's 'Comets'. It is a great song... that gets annoying in places unfortunately.

The wheels come completely off on Side 2. My goodness. It is hard to find a better side of music on any album of the 1960s. Period. Progressive, melodic, psychedelic, intense, serene, insane, psychotic, beautiful.

Personal collection
CD: 2006 Air Mail (Japan)

Originals have been a steady 4 figure album since I started collecting in the 1980s (check popsike.com if you don't believe me - and I still have catalogs from the early 90s asking for well over $1k too). One of the best 60's/70's albums in my collection that I don't have the original LP of. And perhaps it does deserve the asking price... I'll look under every rock until I find an affordable (and nice) copy.

Until then, the Japanese Air Mail mini will have to do (officially licensed from the UK and mastered in Japan for this release only - and the mini textured flap back cover is replicated to the last detail). I've had this album for over 20 years (starting with the Background CD), and it just continues to improve to my ears.

There's a lot of shady reissue action with this album, especially on the LP front. The only one that looks completely above board (other than the 1969 Italian licensed one) is the 2009 reissue from Record Collector, which was mastered straight from the original tapes, and is quite hard to source in its own right. I would be leery of any other LP reissues out there.

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