VARIOUS ARTISTS – Taking Some Time On: Underground Sounds Of 1970

As a contrast to the ‘Progessive Pop Sounds’ sets from Cherry Red Records subsidary label, Grapefruit, this anthology from sister outlet Esoteric opts for something far more rock oriented, and although the four disc delve into 1970 doesn’t necessary dig too deep for obscurities, it still plays very well as a compilation in its own right. In a little over four hours, it serves up nostalgia, unfamiliar curiosities and enough genuine classics to give a solid overview of the year’s prog-leaning and guitar heavy sounds.

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neil’s Heavy Concept Album

You’re probably thinking something along the lines of “isn’t this album a bit novelty for Real Gone?” and on the surface you might be right…but this album offers so much more than novelty quirks.

For those of you who don’t know, neil (often written in lower case) was a hippie character, played by Nigel Planer in the alternative comedy series The Young Ones. After that programme came to an end, Planer reprised the character and recorded this album, full of late 60s/early 70s hippie classics, interspersed with spoken word comedy pieces. What’s of greatest interest here though are the musicians involved – the cast list (in addition to a few of Planer’s comedy chums) features a handful of musicians from the early 70s Canterbury Scene. Dave Stewart (the Hatfield and the North man, not to be confused with the beardy one from the Eurythmics) has the greatest impact, playing lots of instruments as well as handling production duties. The first big question which needs asking is exactly how did Planer get these musicians involved? Did he know them personally?  Planer, unfortunately, has never gone on record to discuss the roll-call of famous faces and they almost certainly never met him at the recording sessions, but there they are.  It almost seems like a minor miracle.

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