Craft Recordings has revealed the full details of the forthcoming Poppies: Assorted Finery from the First Psychedelic Age: a compilation of 1960s-era psychedelic rock featuring cult-classic artists such as Buffy Sainte-Marie, Circus Maximus and Southwest F.O.B.
The album will be available on translucent-red vinyl as a 2019 Record Store Day exclusive on 13 April, while CD and digital wide release of the collection is slated for 19 April. The set curates an eclectic selection of songs from the Vanguard, Stax and Original Sound catalogues, and also offers detailed liner notes from five-time Grammy-nominated writer and producer Alec Palao. All versions will include the previously unreleased track ‘When Will You Happen to Me’ by The Human Jungle.
As the liner notes point out, the psychedelic genre has come a long way since the early 1970s when it had a negative reception, particularly when it came to pop and rock music. “A half-century later, the vintage clichés of mind expansion are less of an issue, and psychedelic influences are widely identified in most aspects of culture: film, television, literature, the visual arts and beyond. In much the same way, musically, psychedelia is also no longer considered the sole province of rock, although that is where it perhaps remains most firmly rooted.”
The artists and songs selected to appear on Poppies: Assorted Finery from the First Psychedelic Age come with histories as interesting as that of the genre itself. The notes tell the story of how a cross-country journey taken by Jerry Jeff Walker included a chance meeting with Bob Bruno that eventually led to the creation of Circus Maximus.
“First operating as The Lost Sea Dreamers (thereby providing a useful acronym for the times), (Circus Maximus) signed to Vanguard on the heels of a residency at the city’s fashionable Electric Circus,” Palao recounts. ‘Bright Light Lover,’ here heard in its powerful mono incarnation, is but one of many highlights on both the band’s eponymous debut (released in the fall of 1967) and the follow-up Neverland Revisited from six months later.”
Other insights appearing in the liner notes include the manner in which The Honey Jug created the crusty intro to its 1967 single ‘In 1582 We,’ how Southwest F.O.B.’s ‘Smell of Incense’ became one of Stax Records’ most successful purchases and how The Sot Weed Factor rose to prominence from its early days as a house band at a coffee house in Tucson, Arizona. Fans will also learn how Buffy Sainte-Marie’s ‘Poppies’ resulted in her Illuminations album being heralded as one of the first true “acid folk” masterpieces and how producer Sam Charters quickly signed The Serpent Power after seeing the band perform in San Francisco.
Poppies: Assorted Finery from the First Psychedelic showcases the diversity of influences that permeated psychedelic rock during the 1960s, including rock, pop and folk. Per the album notes, “it’s precisely because of the shape-shifting, amoeba-like parameters to which the genre pushes out, that psychedelic music requires an open mind.” This release kicks off a series exploring the rich variety of music that comprises the revolutionary sound of the ’60s, from garage rock to sunshine pop, and more.
Poppies: Assorted Finery from the First Psychedelic Age is out on 19 April. Scroll down to read the full tracklist and buy it here.
Poppies: Assorted Finery From The First Psychedelic Age:
Buffy Sainte-Marie – ‘Poppies’
Southwest F.O.B. – ‘Smell Of Incense’
Jefferson Lee – ‘Sorcerella’
The Gospel – ‘Redeemer’
The Frost – ‘Stand In The Shadows’
The Sot Weed Factor –‘Say It Isn’t So’
The Honey Jug – ‘In 1582 We’
The Paternak Progress – ‘Flower Eyes’
Circus Maximus – ‘Bright Light Lover’
The Serpent Power – ‘Open House’
The Human Jungle – ‘When Will You Happen To Me’
Chapter VI – ‘Oracle’
Erik – ‘Why Come Another Day’