The Pretty Things – Live At The Paradiso, Amsterdam (1969)


Their final album for Fontana Records was a contractual obligation produced by Steve Rowland and the subject of controversy, since Emotions was laden with brass and string arrangements arranged by Reg Tilsley. EMI producer Norman Smith expressed interest in working with them and at the end of September 1967, the Pretty Things signed to EMI’s Columbia label. In November 1967 they released “Defecting Grey”, a psychedelic effort that failed to sell. This was followed three months later by a double A-side single, “Talking About the Good Times” / “Walking Through My Dreams”.

That single marked the beginning of sessions for the S.F. Sorrow album. Released in December 1968, it was the first rock opera, preceding the release of the Who’s Tommy in May 1969. It was recorded between December 1967 and September 1968 at the Abbey Road Studios, while Pink Floyd were working on A Saucerful of Secrets (also produced by Norman Smith) and the Beatles worked on the White Album. In March 1968, drummer Skip Alan left the group. Twink replaced him to help the band to complete the album.


In March 1969, the British music magazine NME reported that Motown Records vice-president Barney Ales had visited London to sign the Pretty Things as the U.S. label’s first British act. S.F. Sorrow was commercially unsuccessful, with no immediate release in the United States. The work received only modest support from EMI, and its depressing narrative probably did not help sales. The American release, on Motown’s Rare Earth Records label, came out more than a year late, leading to the impression that S.F. Sorrow was merely following the trend set by the Who’s Tommy.

1969 saw the band feeling disillusioned by the failure of S.F. Sorrow and that June, Taylor left the group. The Pretty Things borrowed guitarist Victor Unitt from the Edgar Broughton Band to replace Taylor. During the summer of 1969, they recorded an album for a young French millionaire Philippe DeBarge, which was intended only to be circulated among his social circle. The acetate has since been bootlegged.[citation needed] In 2010 it was picked up by Mike Stax, owner of 1960s music magazine Ugly Things. He unearthed one of the two acetates and had it mixed and mastered and then as a piece de resistance, had the classic Pretty Things line-up, which Dick Taylor had just left at the time of the recording of the tracks with DeBarge, record a song entitled “Monsieur Rock” (Ballad of Philippe) a bonus track for this release on Ugly Things UTCD-2207.


Twink left at the end of 1969 to form the Pink Fairies. Skip Alan returned to the drumstool in time for the band’s return to Abbey Road to start work on Parachute, which kept the psychedelic sound. Shortly before the release of Parachute, Unitt left to rejoin the Edgar Broughton Band and was replaced by Pete Tolson, former guitarist for Eire Apparent. Despite much stage work and acclaim, their records were still failing to sell at all well.[8] With Tolson, they released a few singles before disbanding in mid-1971.

During the late 1960s, the group made some extra money by recording for music library company DeWolfe. Some of these songs ended up in low-budget films including What’s Good for the Goose (1969), The Haunted House of Horror (1969), and a couple of softcore porn films. Not intended for official release, these songs were later compiled on a number of records and released under the alias Electric Banana: Electric Banana (1967), More Electric Banana (1968), Even More Electric Banana (1969), Hot Licks (1970), and Return of the Electric Banana (1978). The initial releases featured one side of vocal and one side of instrumental tracks. Subsequent releases of these albums generally keep the true identity of the band secret. (by wikipedia)

And here´s a pretty good bootleg (soundboard recording) from this period …  ejoy the psychedelic side of the Pretty Things!

Recorded live at the Paradiso, Amsterdam (NL) March 29, 1969


John ‘Twink’ Alder (drums)
Wally Allen (bass, vocals)
Phil May (vocals)
John Povey (keyboards, vocals)
Dick Taylor (guitar, vocals)

Pretty Things1969_01
01. Instro (fade in) (May) 6-43
02. Talking About The Good Times (Part 1) (May/Taylor/Waller) 4.55
03. Talking About The Good Times (Part 2) (May/Taylor/Waller) 6.45
04. Alexander (May/Taylor/Waller/Povey) 3.20
05. Renaissance Fair (Crosby/McGuinn) 2.13
06. SF Sorrow Is Born (May/Taylor/Waller/Povey) 4.28
07. She Says Good Morning (May/Taylor/Waller/Alder) 4.27
08. Mr. Evasion (cuts off) (May/Taylor/Waller/Alder) 1.20
09. Paradiso, Amsterdam (uncut version) 34.24



The Pretty Things – Live At the BBC (2018)

FrontCover1The Pretty Things are an English rock band, formed in 1963 in London. They took their name from Willie Dixon’s 1955 song “Pretty Thing”. A pure rhythm and blues band in their early years, with several singles charting in the United Kingdom, they later embraced other genres such as psychedelic rock in the late 1960s (with 1968 SF Sorrow being one of the first rock operas), hard rock in the early 1970s and new wave in the early 1980s. Despite this, they never managed to recapture the same level of commercial success of their very first releases.

In 2018, the band announced that they were retiring from electric performances at the end of the year. All current and forthcoming dates throughout 2018 are being billed as part of a farewell tour.

I guess it´s time so say goodbye … PRETTY THINGS  .. but they still play fucking good … Listen to “Mister Evasion” and of course “Midnight To Six Man” !!!

BBC Session (for Marc Riley show), Maida Vale Studios, London, UK; July 16 (?), 2018. Very good BBC broadcast.


Jack Greenwood (drums)
Frank Holland (guitar, vocals)
Phil May (vocals)
Dick Taylor (guitar)
George Woosey (bass)


01. Interview / The Same Sun (Taylor/St. John) 6.11
02. Interview / Can’t Judge A Book By Looking At The Cover (Dixon) 4.14
03. Interview 6.20
04. She Says Good Morning (May/Taylor) 3.48
05. Interview 5.48
06. Mister Evasion (May/Taylor/Waller) 3.22
07. Rosalyn (Duncan/Farley) 3.08
08. Closing comments 1.39
09. Midnight To Six Man (May/Taylor) 4.00



The Pretty Things – Get The Picture (1965)

LPFrontCover1.jpgGet the Picture? is the second album by the English rock group The Pretty Things, released in 1965.

Recording began on The Pretty Things’ second album in around September 1965, just months after the release of their debut. It ended up being a haphazard affair thanks to a growing problem with drummer Viv Prince whose behaviour was becoming ever more erratic and reckless. With Prince being unreliable, the band had help in the form of producer Bobby Graham who was a renowned drummer in his own right, playing on several tracks. John Stax’s flatmate John C. Alder helped out on at least two tracks, one of which was “You’ll Never Do It Baby” Jimmy Page also made a couple of cameos, receiving a partial writing credit on “You Don’t Believe Me.” The album did see the band starting to move away from the staunch R&B direction that dominated the first album, exploring more soulful areas as well as Freakbeat with much use of distortion on guitar and bass parts.

Recorded on three-track tape at Philips Studios in London, the album was only mixed in mono. By the time it was released, Viv Prince had been fired from the band. It left them without a drummer for a few weeks whilst the search was on for a replacement.

The liner notes were written by Bryan Morrison. (by wikipedia)


The Pretty Things’ second album, Get the Picture? (released December 1965), has not only been remastered from original session tapes so the group sounds like their amps are practically right in your lap, but it’s also been expanded to 18 songs with the addition of tracks cut for singles and EP releases from the same sessions. That’s enough to recommend it even to casual fans — this is now a record that’s just a few notches short of Rolling Stones level in the charisma department, and pretty tough any way you want to look at it. On “Rainin’ in My Heart,” they sound exactly like the Stones from the same era, missing only the little harmonica flourish that might have been added on the break. The liner notes go into the history of the group during this period in delightful detail, and the histories of various songs, most particularly “L.S.D.,” which, amazingly, was cut as a demo and never redone for release, but just put out the way it was. In their good moments here, the Pretty Things approach Rolling Stones’ territory, and even in their off moments, they’re flying at the same level as the Kinks’ album tracks. (by Bruce Eder)


The frontcover of a rare French cover from 1965

Bobby Graham (drums on a handful of tracks)
Phil May (vocals)
Brian Pendleton (guitar, background vocals)
Viv Prince (drums on a handful of tracks)
John Stax (bass, background vocals)

Dick Taylor (guitar)
Twink (drums on a handful of tracks)
Skip Alan (drums on 13. – 18.)

01. You Don’t Believe Me (May/Graham/Page/Morrell) 2.22
02. Buzz The Jerk (May/Taylor) 1.54
03. Get The Picture? (May/Taylor) 1.55
04. Can’t Stand The Pain (May/Taylor/Graham) 2.40
05. Rainin’ In My Heart (Moore/West) 2.31
06. We’ll Play House (May/Taylor) 2.32
07. You’ll Never Do It, Baby (Smith/Fox) 2.27
08. I Had A Dream (Witherspoon) 2.57
09. I Want Your Love (Dee/Tarr) 2.16
10. London Town (Hardin) 2.26
11. Cry To Me (Russell) 2.51
12. Gonna Find Me A Substitute (Turner) 2.57
13. Get A Buzz (May/Taylor/Pendleton/Stax/Alan) 4.00
14. Sittin’ All Alone (May/Taylor) 2.47
15. Midnight To Six Man (Taylor/May) 2.19
16. Me Needing You (May/Taylor) 1.57
17. Come See Me (Tubbs/Jackson/Barnes) 2.39
18. L.S.D. (May/Taylor) 2.25
Multimedia Bonus Track – The Pretty Things 1966 movie

(“Midnight To Six Man”, “Me Needing You”, “Come See Me” and “L.S.D.” were produced by Glyn Johns)



I never see
The people I know
In the bright light of day
So how can I say

That you’re any friend of mine
(See you anytime)
I’m feelin’ fine
(Midnight ’til six)
That’s my time
(That’s your time)

Midnight, midnight ’til six…

I sleep through the day
I wake around four
But I always feel down
Never get off the floor

‘Til the night comes around
(See you downtown)
Take in some sounds
(Maybe we’ll score)
Tell me some more
(Tell him some more)

(See you down town)
Take in some sounds
(Maybe we’ll score)
Tell me some more
(Tell him some more)

Midnight, midnight ’til six…


The Pretty Things – Balboa Island (2007)

3227 - CD Covers AWBalboa Island, released in 2007, is the eleventh studio album by the English rock band The Pretty Things.

A problem with bands that have been on the scene for over 40 years (count ’em) is that they can sometimes still write songs with titles like “The Beat Goes On” and “Buried Alive,” as if those tropes hadn’t lost their edge several decades ago. On the other hand, when a band has played together for four decades its members have often learned one of rock & roll’s great lessons: how to create maximum groove with minimal ingredients. So when the Pretty Things lay down a song as thunderous as “Livin’ in My Skin,” they do so with the ponderous grace and inexorable momentum of an elephant walking to water. They’ve also been around long enough to have heard some of their source material at the source, which means that they can deliver an ancient Delta blues like “Feel Like Going Home” with a certain arch authority.


(And if you want more cowbell, these guys can deliver that with authority as well — check out the raunchy period piece “Mimi.”) On the downside, they sometimes abuse their elder-statesmen status to impose eight minutes of two-chord vamp on their hapless listeners (“[Blues For] Robert Johnson”), and the title track, which closes the album, does so with much more of a whimper than a bang. Not bad at all, but unless you’re a die-hard fan you’ll want to be a little selective. (by Rick Anderson)


Skip Alan (drums, percussion)
Frank Holland (guitar, vocals)
Phil May (vocals)
Jon Povey (keyboards, vocals)
Dick Taylor (guitar)
Wally Waller (bass, guitar, vocals)
James Cheetham (keyboards)
Rupert Cobb (trumpet)
Mark St. John (drums, vocals)
Duncan Taylor-Jones (vocals on 11.)
Scarlett Wrench (vocals)


01. The Beat Goes On (May/St. John) 4.14
02. Livin’ In My Skin (May/Holland) 3.57
03. Buried Alive (May/Holland) 3.36
04. (Blues For) Robert Johnson (May/Holland) 8.00
05. Mimi (Taylor) 2.35
06. Pretty Beat (May/Taylor/St. John) 2.52
07. The Ballad Of Hollis Brown (Dylan) 6.30
08. In The Beginning (May/Holland) 4.42
09. Feel Like Goin’ Home (Morgenfield) 2.39
10. Freedom Song (Traditional) 4.46
11. Dearly Beloved (May/Povey) 4.59
12. All Light Up (May/Holland/St. John) 4.30
13. Balboa Island (Holland) 4.42






The Pretty Things – Same (1965)

FrontCover1The Pretty Things is the self-titled 1965 release by The Pretty Things, which features mostly R&B and rock and roll cover versions.
The liner notes were written by Jimmy Duncan and Bryan Morrison.
The Pretty Things’ debut LP was a legendary exercise in anarchy — 30 minutes into the two days’ worth of sessions, their original producer, Jack Baverstock (the head of the label, no less), walked out, and was eventually replaced by a slightly more sympathetic personality in the hopes of salvaging something from the efforts of the band, who, whatever their shortcomings in decorum or sobriety, were on their third successive charting single. The resulting album, made under the coordination (if not control) of drummer-turned-producer Bobby Graham, made the early work of the Rolling Stones — rivals and one-time bandmates to the Pretty Things’ Dick Taylor — sound more like the work of the Beatles: very calculated, lightweight, and…genteel. The Pretty Things is recorded with practically every song and instrument pushing the needle into the red (i.e., overload). Normally, that would be a problem, except for the fact that a third of the repertory was written by Bo Diddley and most of the other two-thirds was inspired by him (even their version of Chuck Berry’s “Oh Baby Doll” sounds like it was lifted from the Two Great Guitars sessions where the two legends crossed swords) — and Bo spent most of his career with his amplifiers set on “11” in a world where ten was the max.


“Roadrunner” is about as raw and loud as British rock & roll ever got up to that time, and it’s just the beginning — “Judgement Day” has a lead guitar buried somewhere in there, beneath rhythm instruments that sound like metal being ground up, and “13 Chester Street” is, strangely enough, an homage to the house the band once shared with the Stones’ Brian Jones; appropriately enough, it mixes the band’s crunchy rhythm guitar-centered sound with a Slim Harpo-style lead (all of the stuff that Jones was identified with musically), in a group “composition” that shimmers and pulses around Phil May’s dissolute vocals. “Big City” takes them back to Chess Records territory, from which they never stray — “Mama, Keep Your Big Mouth Shut” even sounds like a Chess outtake, what Leonard Chess would’ve said needed one more pass to get right (and he’d have been wrong). And just to show that there is some justice in the world,
The Pretty Things did reach number ten on the U.K. charts, bewildering all of the more “professional” hands at Fontana Records by grabbing the ears of that harder, more intense part of the Stones’ larger audience and throwing them the sonic equivalent of raw meat to chew on. Phil May reveals himself as a fairly powerful singer, though lacking some of the charisma that Mick Jagger projected, but the group’s own raw power made for quirky appeal all of its own that would carry them for many years beyond this roaring start. And in the meantime, records like this would point the way not only toward the work of such American garage band icons as the MC5, but blast a path through the wilderness that the likes of Billy Childish and his band the Milkshakes and their successors would traverse. (by Bruce Eder)
Phil May (vocals)
Brian Pendleton (guitar)
Viv Prince (drums)
Dick Taylor (guitar)
John Stax (bass)
Bobby Graham (drums)
01. Road Runner(McDaniel) 3.12
02. Judgement Day (Morrison) 2.47
03. 13 Chester Street (May/Taylor/Pendleton/Stax/Prince) 2.22
04. Big City (Duncan/Klein) 2.02
05. Unknown Blues (May/Taylor/Pendleton/Stax/Prince) 3.48
06. Mama, Keep Your Big Mouth Shut (McDaniel) 3.04
07. Honey, I Need (Taylor/Warburton/Smith/Stirling) 2.00
08. Oh, Baby Doll (Berry) 3.01
09. She’s Fine, She’s Mine (McDaniel) 4.24
10. Don’t Lie To Me (Red) 3.53
11. The Moon Is Rising (Reed) 2.33
12. Pretty Thing (Dixon) 1.39

Pretty Things – S.F. Sorrow (1968)

FrontCover1S.F. Sorrow is the fourth LP by the British rock group The Pretty Things, released in 1968.

One of the first rock concept albums, S.F. Sorrow was based on a short story by singer Phil May. The album is structured as a song cycle, telling the story of the main character, Sebastian F. Sorrow, from birth through love, war, tragedy, madness, and the disillusionment of old age.

Although the album is a rock opera, it has been stated by members of The Who that the record had no major influence on Pete Townshend and his writing of Tommy (1969). The Pretty Things, however, have suggested otherwise,[4] as have some critics over the years.

Recording began at Abbey Road Studios in November 1967 with work on “Bracelets of Fingers”. Two tracks that had been earmarked for the album, “Talking About the Good Times” and “Walking Through My Dreams”, were instead released as a single in February 1968. In March 1968, drummer Skip Alan suddenly quit the band thanks to a whirlwind romance, and Twink (born John Charles Alder), whose band Tomorrow had recently split up, took his place.

Working with noted EMI staff producer Norman “Hurricane” Smith (who had engineered the earlier Beatles recordings and produced Pink Floyd’s The Piper at the Gates of Dawn) and house engineer Peter Mew, the group experimented with the latest sound technology, including the Mellotron and early electronic tone generators, often employing gadgets and techniques devised on the spot by Abbey Road’s technicians.


Phil May has emphatically stated that Smith was the only person at EMI who was fully supportive of the project, and that his technical expertise was invaluable to the ambitious, experimental sound of the album; May once even referred to Smith as a “sixth member” of the band. This attitude was in marked contrast to Pink Floyd’s unhappiness with Smith.

Work on the album concluded in September 1968 with the recording of what would be its closing track, “Loneliest Person”. “Private Sorrow” and “Balloon Burning” were extracted for an October 1968 single, and the album was released the following month, in the same week as The Beatles’ White Album, and The Kinks’ The Kinks Are the Village Green Preservation Society. EMI did little to promote the album, and it was not released in the US by any EMI affiliate. Over six months later, Motown, of all labels, picked up the album for the US and issued it as part of the first batch of album on their newly created Rare Earth label, a label meant for rock music. The album was poorly mastered (with a one channel volume drop on “Baron Saturday” running over 30 seconds), coupled with no promotion, and Motown’s complete redesign of the album artwork guaranteed the album to sell very poorly.

S.F. Sorrow was released in mono and stereo; both have been rereleased on CD by Snapper Records. The band’s members have expressed a strong preference for the mono mix.

S.F. Sorrow’s narrative is different from others in the rock opera/concept album genre: while Tommy and Pink Floyd’s The Wall relay their concept through the lyrics of their songs, The Pretty Things tell the bulk of the story through small paragraph-like chapters which were printed between each song’s lyrics in the liner notes of the LP and the CD. These explanatory notes were read aloud between song performances by Arthur Brown during The Pretty Things’ first of two known live performances of the opera. The second occurred on 10 April 2009 at the 5th annual Le Beat Bespoke Weekender sponsored by Mojo magazine.

Like Tommy, S.F. Sorrow opens with the birth of the story’s protagonist at the turn of the 20th century. Sebastian F. Sorrow is born in a small nameless town to ordinary parents in a house called “Number Three”. The town is supported by a factory of some sort, referred to as the “Misery Factory”. (“S.F. Sorrow Is Born”) Sorrow, an imaginative boy, has a relatively normal childhood until it ends abruptly when he needs to get a job. He goes to work with his father at the Misery Factory, from which many men have been laid off. This might make S.F. the object of hate in a sense that he might be a scab in the story, or perhaps the young boy who is taking some older man’s job, and he comes into his sexual adolescence during this period (“Bracelets of Fingers”).

Sorrow’s life is not yet over, though. Joy still exists for him in the form of a pretty girl across the street. She says ‘Good morning’ to him every day, and he thinks about her constantly. This is the factor that keeps him going despite his childhood’s abrupt ending. The two fall in love and become engaged, but their marriage plans are cut short when Sorrow is drafted (“She Says Good Morning”).


John Charles Alder (aka Twink) of The Pretty Things performs on stage in 1968 in Copenhagen, Denmark.

Sorrow joins a light infantry (“Private Sorrow”) and goes off to fight in a war, possibly World War I. Sorrow sinks into a daze, living out the entire war in a funk. Soon the sounds of gunfire and artillery become the rhythm to his life in a daydream. He survives the war and settles down in a land called “Amerik” (obviously referring to the country America, because the first words of the song “Balloon Burning” are “New York”). Sorrow’s fiancée travels by a balloon, the Windenberg (Hindenburg) to join him, but it bursts into flame at arrival (“Balloon Burning”), killing all aboard. Sorrow is left alone, his beloved fiancée dead (“Death”).

Sorrow drifts into a state of depression that leads him on an epic journey to the centre of his subconscious. When wandering the streets, he encounters the mysterious Baron Saturday. (A character intended to represent Baron Samedi, a deity in Haitian Voodoo religion.) The black-cloaked Saturday invites Sorrow to take a journey and then, without waiting for a response, “borrows his eyes” and initiates a trip through the Underworld (“Baron Saturday”).

The trippish quest begins by taking flight into the air, where Sorrow is driven by a whip-cracking Baron Saturday. Sorrow thinks he is flying toward the moon, which would have been lovely as he always had a fascination with it, but instead he sees that it is instead his own face. The Baron pushes him through the mouth of the face and then down the throat where they find a set of oak doors. Saturday throws them open and prompts S.F. Sorrow inside where he finds a room full of mirrors (“The Journey”). Each one of them shows a memory from his childhood, which Baron Saturday suggests that he studies well. After the hall of mirrors comes a long winding staircase which brings him to two opaque mirrors that show him the horrible truths and revelations from his life (“I See You”).

Alternate US front + back cover

Sorrow is destroyed by his journey; it leads him to understand that no one can be trusted any longer, and that society will only do away with you when you become old and serve it no longer (“Trust”). He is driven into a dark mental seclusion where he suffers from eternal loneliness. Much like The Wall, S.F. Sorrow is the tale of a man who has endured hardships which he uses to build into a mental wall that cuts him off from the rest of the waking world, and leaves them without light (“Old Man Going”). At the end of the album he identifies himself as “the loneliest person in the world” (“Loneliest Person”).

A number of critics over the years have suggested that one reason for the album’s lack of success was the album’s very negative and sad storyline.

Shortly after the album’s release in 1968, the band attempted to perform the album onstage at Middle Earth Club in London. It was by all accounts a strange show which featured the band miming to the EMI backing tracks. Each member also played various characters and in the role of Sorrow was Twink, wearing a leotard, white face make up and indulging in his penchant for mime. After that, a handful of songs from the album became part of their typical live set notably “She Says Good Morning”, “Balloon Burning” and “Old Man Going”.

On 6 September 1998, the line up who recorded the original album – excepting Twink – returned to Abbey Road Studio 2 to perform a fully live version of the album for one of the first netcasts. Joining them were Arthur Brown who provided the narration, David Gilmour who added lead guitar parts on a handful of songs, Skip Alan’s son Dov on percussion, Frank Holland on guitar and vocals and manager Mark St. John on percussion. The ensemble performed to a specially invited audience of friends and family. The netcast server was quickly overloaded so barely anyone got to see it live as intended. The show was recorded on tape and video. Resurrection was released months later featuring the soundtrack, and a DVD of the show was finally released in 2003.

The same ensemble performed the show again this time to a paying public at The Royal Festival Hall in London on 19 October 2001. Plans to perform the show in Paris and America never came to fruition and neither did a short 40th anniversary tour slated for venues in the UK in January 2009. However, the 2009 incarnation of The Pretty Things featuring May, Taylor, Frank Holland, George Perez, Jack Greenwood and Mark St. John did perform the album onstage at Le Beat Bespoke, a weekend festival at The Venue in London on 10 April 2009. Arthur Brown was absent and Phil May chose to abbreviate the narration between the songs.

To this day, “SF Sorrow Is Born”, “Balloon Burning”, “Baron Saturday” and “Old Man Going” regularly appear in the band’s set list. (by wikipedia)


Who could ever have thought, going back to the Pretty Things’ first recording session in 1965 — which started out so disastrously that their original producer quit in frustration — that it would come to this? The Pretty Things’ early history in the studio featured the band with its amps seemingly turned up to 11, but for much of S.F. Sorrow the band is turned down to seven or four, or even two, or not amplified at all (except for Wally Allen’s bass — natch), and they’re doing all kinds of folkish things here that are still bluesy enough so you never forget who they are, amid weird little digressions on percussion and chorus; harmony vocals that are spooky, trippy, strange, and delightful; sitars included in the array of stringed instruments; and an organ trying hard to sound like a Mellotron. Sometimes one gets an echo of Pink Floyd’s Piper at the Gates of Dawn or A Saucerful of Secrets, and it all straddles the worlds of British blues and British psychedelia better than almost any record you can name. The album, for those unfamiliar, tells the story of “S.F. Sorrow,” a sort of British Everyman — think of a working-class, luckless equivalent to the Kinks’ Arthur, from cradle to grave. The tale and the songs are a bit downbeat and no amount of scrutiny can disguise the fact that the rock opera S.F. Sorrow is ultimately a bit of a confusing effort — these boys were musicians, not authors or dramatists. Although it may have helped inspire Tommy, it is, simply, not nearly as good. That said, it was first and has quite a few nifty ideas and production touches. And it does show a pathway between blues and psychedelia that the Rolling Stones, somewhere between Satanic Majesties, “We Love You,” “Child of the Moon,” and Beggars Banquet, missed entirely. [This CD reissue on Snapper adds four valuable songs from their 1967-1968 singles (“Defecting Grey,” “Mr. Evasion,” “Talkin’ About the Good Times,” and “Walking Through My Dreams”). This version of “Defecting Grey” is the original, long, uncut five-minute rendition, and not of trivial importance; it’s superior to the shorter one used on the official single.] (by Bruce Eder)


Skip Alan (drums)
Phil May (vocals)
Jon Povey (organ, sitar, mellotron, percussion, vocals)
Dick Taylor (guitar, vocals)
Wally Waller (bass, guitar, vocals, wind instruments, piano)
Twink (drums)


01, S.F. Sorrow Is Born (May/Taylor/Waller) 3.12
02. Bracelets of Fingers (May/Taylor/Waller) 3.41
03. She Says Good Morning (May/Taylor/Waller/Twink) 3.23
04. Private Sorrow (May/Taylor/Waller/Povey) 3.51
05. Balloon Burning (May/Taylor/Waller/Povey) 3.51
06. Death (May/Taylor/Waller/Povey/Twink) 3.05
07. Baron Saturday (May/Taylor/Waller) 4.01
08. The Journey (May/Taylor/Waller/Twink) 2.46
09. I See You (May/Taylor/Waller) 3.56
10. Well Of Destiny (Smith/May/Taylor/Waller/Povey/Twink/Smith) 1.46
11. Trust (May/Taylor/Waller) 2.49
12. Old Man Going (May/Taylor/Waller/Povey/Twink) 3.09
13. Loneliest Person (May/Taylor/Waller/Twink) 1.29
14. Defecting Grey (May/Taylor/Waller) 4.31
15. Mr. Evasion (May/Taylor/Waller) 3.31
16. Talkin’ About The Good Times (May/Taylor/Waller) 3.46
17. Walking Through My Dreams (May/Taylor/Waller/Povey) 3.47






Pretty Things – Acid Burns Live 1964 – 1969

FrontCover1Last thing I got for yas is some live cuts, “Acid Burns 1964-69″……..a hodgepodge of tracks from
various sources (TV, Radio, Concert), but really, it shows off that these guys were underappereciated and BAD ASS, and could bring the goods live as well……Slip this on and marvel at their live chops, sure as hell wish I could have been there…….these guys were badass…..if history had taken a fwe different turns they might have been the Rolling Stones……they weren’t, they were the Pretty Things, and that is that…..a  goddamn great band, blending (early-on) Stonesy-blues with (later-on) tripped out Nuggets-style psychedelia…..GREAT band, not to be overlooked…….I do not have all of their albums, this is my complete collection of their stuff…..but ya know what? They were a fucking GREAT singles band, and their psych shit stands on its own as well. A Fucking Great band that deserves more credit today than they seem to receive. Here’s to the Pretty Things, TRULY  a kickass rock n roll band! (by

What a great bootleg … including the monster “Midnight To Six Men”


Various Pretty Things line-ups



Beat Room, BBC Television, December 24, 1964:
01. Don’t Bring Me Down (Dee) 2.20
02. Mama, Keep Your Big Mouth Shut (McDaniel) 3.16
03. Johnny B. Goode (Berry) 1.50

Live on Danish Radio, Denmark, 1965:
04. Road Runner (McDaniel) 2.14
05. Big City (Duncan/Klein) 1.43
06. Sittin’ All Alone (Taylor/Stirling/May) 2.57
07. Buzz The Jerk (Taylor/May) 1.29
08. Rainin’ In My Heart (Moore/West) 2.30

Blokker, Dutch TV, April 16, 1965:
09. Introduction 1.02
10. Honey, I Need (Taylor/Warburton/Smith) 2.50
11. Big Boss Man (Smith/Dixon) 1.62
12. Midnight To Six Man (Taylor/May) 2.13

Palais des Sports, Paris, France, June 1, 1967:
13. Children (May/Taylor) 3.04
14. Road Runner (McDaniel) 3.23
15. Reincarnation (Taylor/May) 3.53

Paradiso, Amsterdam, Netherlands, March 29, 1969:
16. Renaissance Fair (Crosby/McGuinn) 2.41
17. S.F. Sorrow Is Born (May/Taylor/Waller) 3.30




The Pretty Things – Live At The Maxim – Stuttgart – Germany (1984)

FrontCover1This is another example of my very private tape collection of live recordings (“audience tape”) and this time I will present The Pretty Things !

The Pretty Things are an English rock band from London, who originally formed in 1963. They took their name from Willie Dixon’s 1955 song “Pretty Thing”. Their most commercially successful period was the mid-1960s, although they continue to perform to this day.

By late 1970, The Pretty Things had gone their separate ways due to commercial failures … Reforming for the 1980 … May and Taylor used various session musicians …

And this is an example of The Pretty Things, recorded live in the 80´s – a very bad decade for The Pretty Things … but if you listen to this tape … youl will understand, why I called The Pretty Things as one of the most important bands in the history of Rock !

And you will hear very rare vesions of great songs like “She Don´t”, “Shakin´All Over”, “Young Pretenders“, ” In The Midnight Hour” and  “Gimme Some Lovin´(Spencer Davis Group) … Enjoy this very rare tape !

John Clark (drums)
Kevin Flanigan (saxophone)
Phil May (vocals)
Joe Show (guitar)
David Wilkey (keyboards)
David Winter (bass)

01. Mercy Mercy Mercy (Zawinul) 7.05
02. Big Boss Man (Reed) 4.04
03. Midnight To Six Men (Taylor/May) 3.31
04. King Bee (Morganfield) 8.08
05. Around And Around (Berry) 3.13
06. Road Runner (McDaniel) 3.11
07. She Don´t (Taylor/May) 6.13
08. Shakin´All Over (Kidd/Robinson) 4.28
09. Mona (Part 1) (McDaniel) 4.35
10. Mona (Part 2) (McDaniel) 6.12
11. Route 66 (Troup) 7.39
12. Young Pretenders (May/Povey/Tolson) 5.13
13. In The Midnight Hour (Pickett/Cropper) 3.34
14. Gimme Some Lovin´(S.Winwood/Davis//M.Winwood) 7.32
15. Honey I Need.(Taylor/Button/Smithling) 3.01
16. Down So Long (Taylor/May) 6.32


Pretty Things – Emotions (1967)

FrontCover1Emotions is the third LP by the British rock group The Pretty Things, released in 1967.

The sessions for Emotions were spread across a few months during which there were major changes in the band’s line up. Their record company Fontana had not been happy with how their three 1966 singles “Midnight to Six Man”, “Come See Me” and “A House in the Country” had sold. For the latter single, Fontana assigned them producer Steve Rowland who was producing hits for Dave Dee, Dozy, Beaky, Mick & Tich hoping that Rowland would help the band regain a commercial sound to improve sales. The band were not pleased by this intervention and were keen to leave Fontana, so they simply went along with Fontana’s demands to fulfil the contract which included a third album.

Sessions for Emotions began towards the end of 1966. The first result, “Progress” was released as a single in December 1966. This featured the band with a brass section and though commercial, it failed to sell. Brian Pendleton was unhappy with the direction the band was heading in and with money being rather short, he quit the band that Christmas. A month later, bassist John Stax, similarly unhappy also quit the band. Phil May called upon a childhood friend Wally Waller whose band The Fenmen had recently split to help record the rest of the album. In the event, Waller took over the bass duties and brought in the Fenmens’ drummer, John Povey who was also a keyboardist. Waller and Povey were huge Beach Boys fans and between them had developed their own distinctive harmonies which when paired with Phil May’s vocals gave The Pretty Things a new dimension.

The band’s old R&B style was barely present as Phil May and Dick Taylor wrote songs of a more whimsical nature, going for a more adventurous pop style displaying a definite Ray Davies influence. Steve Rowland decided the new songs sounded rather empty so he enlisted arranger Reg Tilsley to write and conduct orchestral arrangements for most of the tracks. Again, the band were not pleased by this but to appease Fontana and be able to break free, they went along with the idea. Tilsley was given tapes of demos and work in progress of the songs and wrote the arrangements. Some were fairly simple, requiring a brass section, whilst others were more elaborate, bringing in strings.

Whilst some of these arrangements were overdubbed on what had already been recorded, Dick Taylor has recalled there were a couple of sessions where the band and Tilsley’s ensemble were together in the studio. Because the songs had mostly already been written, the new members Waller and Povey weren’t able to contribute much to the writing nor add their harmonies to most of the album. The new harmonies did make an appearance on “Children” which was chosen to be the single released in May 1967 on Fontana TF 829. The harmonies also appeared on “Out in the Night”, “Bright Lights of the City” and “My Time” where they were used in a more spareful ethereal manner.

PrettyThingsLive02Outside the studio, the band’s live sound had changed drastically as they became involved in the burgeoning psychedelic scene. By the time Emotions was released, the contrast between the band on the record and on stage was enormous. The band were not happy with the end result and did nothing to promote it. Once released, their obligations to Fontana had been fulfilled and they were free to seek a new record contract.

None of the songs from Emotions were played live preceding or following its release by the band. They simply ignored the album, but around the time of the single release of “Children” they did play the song live onstage in Paris which was broadcast live on French TV.

It would not be until the mid to late 1990s that The Pretty Things resurrected “Growing In My Mind” for occasional airings in live shows since that was the one song Phil May admitted liking and didn’t feel embarrassed by. When the album was remastered for the Snapper CD, manager Mark St.John went back to the original three track tapes to remix “There Will Never Be Another Day”, “The Sun”, “Photographer” and “My Time” as well as preceding single “Progress” minus Reg Tilsley’s embellishments. These were presented as bonus tracks on the remastered CD.

In December 2009, Wally Waller and John Povey released Sunstroke, a CD of rare unissued recordings from their days in The Fenmen. To fill in the CD, under the name of The Bexley Brothers, they recorded 8 new songs with a couple of guest appearances from Dick Taylor. Amongst them was a brand new recording of “The Sun” with Povey taking the lead vocal. (by wikipedia)

Skip Allen (drums)
Phil May (vocals)
Brian Pendleton (guitar)
John Povey (vocals, keyboards)
John Stax (bass)
Dick Taylor (guitar)
Wally Waller (bass, guitar, vocals)
G. Bowen (trumpet)
K. Christie (trombone)
J. Collier (bass)
J. Edwards (trombone)
B. Ezzard (trumpet)
Marie Goossens (harp)
J. Gray (saxophone)
A. Hall (trumpet)
R. Kok (violoncello)
W. de Mont (violoncello)
L. Ross (violincello)
J. Shinebourne (violoncello)
G. Wallace (trombone)

(Note – Pendleton and Stax were present when sessions began for the album, but it is still unknown precisely which tracks they played on.
Additional orchestra directed by Reg Tilsey)

01. Death Of A Socialite (May/Taylor/Stirling) 2.44
02. Children (May/Taylor/Waller) 3.05
03. The Sun (May/Waller) 3.06
04. There Will Never Be Another Day (May/Taylor/Waller) 2.22
05. House Of Ten (May/Taylor/Waller) 2.54
06. Out In The Night (Taylor/Stirling) 2.44
07. One Long Glance (May/Taylor/Waller) 2.54
08. Growing In My Mind (May/Taylor) 2.21
09. Photographer (May/Taylor/Stirling) 2.07
10. Bright Lights Of The City (May/Waller) 3.02
11. Tripping (May/Taylor) 3.26
12. My Time (May/Taylor/Waller) 3.09
13. A House In The Country (single version) (Davies) 2.58
14. Progress (single version) (Halley/Spencer) 2.40
15. Photographer (alternate mix) (May/Taylor/Stirling) 2.15
16. There Will Be Another Day (alternate mix) (May/Taylor/Waller) 2.25
17. My Time (alternate mix) (May/Taylor/Waller) 3.10
18. The Sun (alternate mix) (May/Waller) 3.09
19. Progress (alternate mix) (Halley/Spencer) 2.55
20. Children (alternate take) (May/Taylor/Waller) 3.00