Philippe De Barge Acetate
Bit rate 256 kps
02. You Might Even
04. Send You With Lovin'
05. Running You And Me
07. Eagle's Son
08. A New Day
09. It'll Never Be Me
10. Check Out
11. They're All Gone Now
Sound quality rating: B+, mono, SBD
Notes: This is a rather odd chapter in the history of the Pretties: a psych LP recorded by the Pretty Things as backing band and song writers, featuring one Philippe de Barge on vocals. I'll leave it to others to tell you the story...
An excerpt from Sweet Floral Albion, issue 5 (by Barrington Phillips):
"London, 1968: A hip and very wealthy French aristocrat, by the name of Philippe de Barge, has one of his reps make enquiries among London's Underground scenesters, to find a band willing to travel to his chateau and record his own Personal "psych LP". The Pretties (as anyone familiar with the whole Electric Banana episode will know, were strapped for cash but brimful of great musical ideas) took up the offer, lodged with Philippe at his posh gaff, had a whale of a time, recorded the LP and then split. Soon after this, de Barge died in "extremely suspicious circumstances" (he alledgedly had ties to French mafiosi/drug barons...) and went the same way as Bobby Fuller."
Read the whole feature here: http://homepage.ntlworld.com/marmaladeskies/sweetfloralalbion5.htm
The following is an excerpt from an interview with singer Phil May, conducted by Richie Unterberger:
"[...] it was another moneymaking job. Wally and I just wrote a bunch of songs for this French guy, who was a millionaire, and he flew us down to his villa in St. Tropez. It was really bizarre, because what we'd do is, I would sing a song for him on the backing track. He would go back to the Hilton, and lie on his pillow with a Walkman, learning how to sing the song, and the phrasing. And then he'd come back to the studio the next day to sing it, having learned how to sing it. No kind of falseness about [him being] a musician. He just wanted to make a record with the Pretty Things. And he was prepared to pay. So it was like, we led him through it completely. And it was an interesting experience.
But I think, you know, because of the sort of people involved, it could only be, certainly, limited. Because there was restrictions in the fact that the guy who was Phillipe DeBarge, he had minimal talent. We'd play the backing track loud, and I'd sing into his Dictaphone so he could hear how to phrase it. There's some music on it, but it goes far because it didn't have a lead vocal delivery, because he'd never sung before. He had no way... he still was learning.
It was a learning curve thing. His English wasn't that good, so [he] had to paraphrase my English phrases."
The Pretty Things
|The Pretty Things|
|Also known as||Electric Banana|
|Genres||British Invasion, Garage Rock, rhythm and blues, beat|
Warner Bros. Records
|Phil May |
|Brian Pendleton |
John C. Alder
Roelf ter Velt
The Pretty Things are an English rock and roll band from London. They pioneered a raw approach to rhythm and blues that influenced a number of key bands of the 1960s British invasion, including The Rolling Stones. David Bowie covered two of their songs on his album Pin Ups.
The Pretty Things were preceded by Little Boy Blue and the Blue Boys, which consisted of Dick Taylor, fellow Sidcup Art College student Keith Richards, and Mick Jagger. When Brian Jones joined the band on guitar, Taylor was pushed from guitar to bass and the band changed its name to the Rollin' Stones.
Taylor (born Richard Clifford Taylor, 28 January 1943, in Dartford, Kent) quit the Stones several months later when he was accepted at the London Central School of Art, where he met Phil May (born Phillip Arthur Dennis Wadey, on 9 November 1944, in Dartford, Kent) and they formed The Pretty Things.
Taylor was once again playing guitar, with May singing and playing harmonica. They recruited Brian Pendleton (born 13 April 1944 in Wolverhampton – died 16 May 2001 in Maidstone, Kent) on rhythm guitar; John Stax (born John Edward Lee Fullegar, 6 April 1944 in Crayford, Kent) on bass; and Pete Kitley, replaced by Viv Broughton (on drums) and then by Viv Prince (born Vivian St John Prince, 9 August 1941, in Loughborough, Leicestershire) on drums. Viv Prince made his first set of drums himself while a student at Loughborough Grammar School.
The Pretty Things caused a sensation in England, and their first three singles — "Rosalyn" #41, "Don't Bring Me Down" #10, and the self-penned "Honey I Need" at #13 — appeared in the UK singles chart in 1964-1965. They never had a hit in the United States, but had considerable success in their native United KingdomAustralia, New Zealand, Germany, and the Netherlands in the middle of the decade. However, in the U.S. they, along with The Yardbirds and Van Morrison's Them, were a huge influence on hundreds of garage bands, including the MC5 and The Seeds. and in
Their early material consisted of hard-edged blues-rock influenced by Bo DiddleyJimmy Reed. They were known for wild stage behaviour and edgy lyrical content; their song "Midnight to Six Man" defined the mod lifestyle. Around this time, the first of what would be many personnel changes over the years also began, with Prince the first to go late in 1965. He was replaced by Skip Alan (born 11 June 1948 in London). Brian Pendleton left late in 1966, and was not initially replaced. Stax quit early in 1967. Jon Povey and Wally Waller (both former Fenmen from Bern Elliott and the Fenmen) joined to make the band a five piece once again. (they took their name from Diddley's 1955 song "Pretty Thing") and
After a flirtation with mainstream pop on the Emotions album in 1967, they embraced psychedelia, producing the concept album S.F. Sorrow during 1967-68. This album, released in late 1968, is one of the first rock operas, preceding the release of The Who's Tommy in April 1969 by a few months. It was recorded over several months during 1967 at EMI's famous Abbey Road Studios in London, during the same period when The Beatles and Pink Floyd were recording Sgt Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band and The Piper at the Gates of Dawnpsychedelic sound, and the Floyd and Pretty Things albums were both produced by the late Norman Smith, who had engineered most of the Beatles' recordings until 1966. respectively. These albums share a similar late-1960s
S.F. Sorrow was commercially unsuccessful, with no immediate release in the US. The album was subsequently picked up by Motown Records and issued with a different cover on its Rare Earth label. The work received only modest support from EMI, and its depressing narrative probably did not help sales.
S.F. Sorrow was followed by the highly-acclaimed album Parachute, which kept the psychedelic sound and was named "Album of the Year" in 1970 by Rolling Stone. During this period they also 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.
During the late 1960s, the band made some extra money by recording a number of songs for low-budget films including What's Good For the Goose (1969), Haunted House of Horror (1969),The Monster Club(1981) and even 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 BananaMore 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. An episode of ITV's "Minder" titled "A Star is Gorn" featured the track "Take Me Home" by Zac Zolar and The Electric Banana. (1967),
By late 1970, the group had gone their separate ways due to commercial failures, and Skip Alan was in a group called Sunshine. In 1971, Alan was driving with manager Bill Shepherd when he put on a tape of Parachute; Shepherd loved it, and asked who the band was. When Alan told him it was his last group, Shepherd asked what had happened to them and vowed to get them back together. Within three months, Shepherd had assembled May, Povey, Alan, Peter Tolson, and Stuart Brooks, and the group signed with Warner Bros. Records.
From this point on, the group enjoyed little commercial success, but won the devotion of a strong cult following, especially with critics and other rock musicians. Their material in the early 1970s tended towards blues, hard rock and early heavy metal, as for example the album Silk Torpedo, released in 1974. By this time they were being managed by Led Zeppelin's Peter Grant. In fact Silk Torpedo was the first album release on Zeppelin's own label Swan Song, which Grant and the band set up to release their own pet projects. Silk Torpedo also earned the band their first US album chart entry. 1980s Cross Talk saw them incorporating influences of punk and new wave into their hard rock sound; like most of their records during this period, it was not a commercial success.
With a new manager, Mark St. John, they performed sporadically during the 1980s. By the end of the decade their profile had almost disappeared. May and Taylor reformed the band for a successful European blues tour in late 1990 with Stan Webb's Chicken Shack and Luther Allison. This outfit included drummer Hans Waterman (formerly of Dutch rock group Solution), bassist Roelf ter Velt and guitarist/keyboardist Barkley McKay (Waco Brothers and Pine Valley Cosmonauts with Jon Langford of Mekons fame). This line up regularly toured the European mainland, playing a revitalised set that showcased their earlier, rootsy blues and R&B material, until late 1994. Phil May and Dick Taylor, together with former Yardbirds drummer Jim McCarty, recorded two albums in Chicago as The Pretty Things Yardbirds Blues Band "The Chicago Blues Tapes 1991" and "Wine, Women, Whiskey", both produced by George Paulus. By 1995, they reformed the Cross Talk line-up and added Frank Holland on guitar in place of Peter Tolson. Their label, Snapper Music, issued remastered CDs with many bonus tracks, plus a DVD of a live netcast re-recording of S.F. Sorrow at Abbey Road Studios (with David Gilmour and Arthur Brown as guest players). They played a tour of the U.S. for the first time in decades.
In 1999 they released the studio album Rage Before Beauty and in the early 2000s, they released several compilation albums, a live album and a live DVD.
In 2003, Alan Lakey's biography of the band, Growing Old Disgracefully, was published by Firefly. The book dealt with the long and involved history of the band, and paid special attention to the legal proceedings issued against EMI in the 1990s. An extensively re-written version is to be published at the end of 2009 with, on this occasion, the full co-operation of May and manager Mark St John.
In mid 2007, The Pretty Things released their eleventh studio album Balboa Island on Côte Basque record label. The album contains a number of Pretty Things originals, as well as paying homage to their R & B roots. Illness has caused the band to restrict live appearances with Jack Greenwood replacing Skip Allan on drums in 2008, a year which also saw the death of former producer, Norman Smith.
The band has now decided that it should proceed as a touring band without Wally Waller, Jon Povey and Skip Allan. Malchicks guitarist George Perez fills in on bass and harmonies with manager Mark St John adding percussion and vocals. This touring band is not dissimilar to the Euro-band of the 1990s which kept the PT name alive and the members active and financially rewarded. Interestingly, Manager Mark St John hated the Euro band which he christened "bolt-ons", stating they had no soul.
June 2009 saw them receive the 'Heroes' award at the annual Mojo Awards ceremony.
- The Pretty Things (1965) - UK Number 6
- Get the Picture (1965)
- Emotions (1967)
- S.F. Sorrow (1968)
- Parachute (1970) - UK Number 43
- Freeway Madness (1972)
- Silk Torpedo (1974)
- Savage Eye (1975)
- Cross Talk (1980)
- Out of the Island (1987)
- Unrepentant (1995)
- Resurrection (1999)
- Rage... Before Beauty (1999)
- Balboa Island (2007)
|Release Date||Title||Chart positions|
|UK Singles Chart||Australia||Canada |
|1964||"Rosalyn"||#41||#67||Released in Australia after "Don't Bring Me Down", in 1965.|
|1964||"Don't Bring Me Down"||#10||#65||#34|
|1965||"Honey I Need"||#13||#54|
|1965||"Cry To Me"||#28|
|1966||"Midnight To Six Man"||#46||#62|
|1966||"Come See Me"||#43||#92|
|1966||"A House In The Country"||#50||#63|
Electric Banana was a pseudonymous 1967 album of the band. The band recorded this album and two subsequent ones for the De Wolfe Music Library. De Wolfe provided stock music for film soundtracks. The Electric Banana music wound up on various horror and soft-porn films of the late 1960s, such as What's Good for the Goose (1969). When the album was released, the stage name The Electric Banana was used to hide the band's identity.
- As Electric Banana (Music for Films)
- Electric Banana (1967)
- More Electric Banana (1968)
- Even More Electric Banana (1969)
- The Electric Banana: Live at the Grand (1969)
- Hot Licks (1970)
- The Return Of The Electric Banana (1978)
- The Chicago Blues Tapes 1991 (1991)
- Wine Women Whiskey (1992).
- The Singles A's & B's
- Unrepentant-The Anthology
- Latest Writs, Greatest Hits
- The Psychedelic Years