Group 1850 singles / Mother No-Head. 1966-1975 Netherlands

Group 1850 were always ahead of their time by at least 2 years. Peter Sjardin is no doubt one of the creative geniuses of our era, a man with no commercial ambition whatsoever, but one who never lost his mojo. The fact 'Misty Night' came out in 1966 demonstrates the point at hand. This track could have easily fit on the Agemo's opus that was to arrive 2 years later, and it too is a pioneering effort. This is prog psych, before the former term existed and the latter term was just entering the lexicon in regards to music. 'Look Around' is a bit more typical for the era, in a punk garage sort of way. It's still very good for the style.

I'll mention this once for all the Group 1850 singles (and note exceptions on their individual entry if applicable): There's a few good ways to obtain these, without having to buy each 45 individually (and expensive at that).

The first to market was Pseudonym's fantastic CD reissue of Agemo's Trip to Mother Earth (1997) - which contained no less than 13 bonus tracks. You even get the 3-D cover and glasses!

Second was the individual CD/LP release of the singles (plus demo varieties) known as Mother No-Head (2012)

Third, and the most inconspicuous, is a double CD release called The Golden Years Of Dutch Pop Music (A&B Sides And More) (2017). Not only does this CD contain all their released singles, but it also has reissues of Paradise Now (which already had multiple releases) as well as the very first legit CD reissue of Polyandri! It was the latter that compelled me to buy this, but it also reminded me to revisit these great singles.

Worth noting that the tracks '1000 Years Before' and 'Dream of the Future' were left off the Golden Years CD. These two songs (both excellent) were never released originally, and first appeared as bonus tracks on the Agemo's reissue. I'm not sure of their provenance honestly. Perhaps it's discussed on the Mother No-Head reissue, which I've never owned.

I'm not quite sure why the psychedelic era had so much infatuation with the French nursery rhyme Frere Jacques*, but Mother No-Head is Group 1850's interpretation. Apparently the name is a bastardization of the Dutch "Vader Jacob" with some free association to English. OOKAAY then. Uncut drugs I presume. In any case, from what I understand this was Group 1850's most successful single. It definitely is a unique variation of the jingle and is quite good. 'Ever, Ever Green' is the most normal song Group 1850 ever did, and the only one I'd probably skip over in their entire ouevre.

* The German psych band Bokaj Retsiem dedicated their name (Meister Jakob spelled backwards) and their one album to the rhyme.

Another brilliant pair of tracks from these Dutch cosmic travelers.

The pinnacle of Group 1850's singles. 'Little Fly' is the same version as on Agemo's Trip to Mother Earth, and is brilliant. And 'We Love Life' is the perfect encapsulation of Group 1850's ability to consolidate many psychedelic ideas into 4 and a half minutes.

The second best of Group 1850's singles (after Little Fly/We Love Life), this captures the band at their peak (and probably peak experience if you know what I mean).

This is the only single left off the Agemo's Trip to Mother Earth CD reissue. And they are not to be missed either. Two more great tracks (especially 'Don't Let it Be') from an otherwise silent year in Group 1850's discography.

I think there can be no doubt Arthur Brown was on their mind when they did 'Fire'. It's not just the song title, but also the style. A surprising copycat move from a band who were always innovators. It's still a great track despite this. The highlight here though is 'Have You Ever Heard', which basically consolidated the "?!" track from Paradise Now into a song with lyrics. Of course it doesn't have the long trippy organ and guitar parts, but it's great to hear how they recycled some of the themes.

The only single from Group 1850 than can be ignored, if you already have these two tracks from earlier releases (1967/1971 respectively). This appears to be a cash-in job recycling their most known hit 'Mother No-Head', but this time sung in half-French, which is where this single was released. 'Fire' is the exact same as the '71 single. By 1975, Group 1850 was barely a cohesive entity anyway, and their brilliant Polyandri album had absolutely zero commercial potential, especially for 1975!

Personal collection
CD: 1997 Pseudonym (reissue of Agemo's Trip to Mother Earth)
CD: 2017 Universal (2 CD reissue known as The Golden Years of Dutch Pop Music)

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