of cabbages and kings, of arks and attics – the pseudo-psychedelic sound of chad & jeremy 1967-1968 (part 3)

Estimated reading time is 8 minutes.THIS IS THE THIRD of five articles devoted to the trio of albums and their related singles that Chad & Jeremy released in 1967-1968. OF CABBAGES AND KINGS and THE ARK and the soundtrack to 3 IN THE ATTIC reflect the more ‘pop’-oriented psychedelicism of the English musicians at the time and have long been held in a bit of contempt by older aficionados and collectors of Sixties psych. Too bad, as they are almost uniformly fine recordings!

There were no singles issued from OF CABBAGES AND KINGS as A-sides. In November 1967, the track titled Editorial—a piece from The Progress Suite—was released as the B-side of Chad & Jeremy’s new single, Painted Dayglow Smile (Columbia 4-44379). It is more than obviously McCartneyesque and would not have been out of place on SGT. PEPPER. Unfortunately, this record also went nowhere. Painted Dayglow Smile was remixed and extended by one minute for inclusion of the duo’s next album, THE ARK (1968).

Chad & Jeremy followed OF CABBAGES AND KINGS with another album of similar sound and intent, THE ARK. Released in August 1968,it avoided the experimentalism of the previous album and was instead a reasonably solid collection of twelve (possibly) lysergic-tainted pop songs—closely related to the songs on the first side of OF CABBAGES AND KINGS. But prior to its release, a new single was issued . . .


ChadJ Cabbages CS

ChadJ Ark CS

ChadJ Attic ST

Almost the entirety of Chad Stuart and Jeremy Clyde’s excursions into psychedelic pop-rock music can be found on three albums: OF CABBAGES AND KINGS and THE ARK (Columbia CS-9471 and 9699) and the soundtrack to 3 IN THE ATTIC (Sidewalk (ST-5198). As these records so very little, few people aside from the duo’s diehard fans heard any of these albums during the Psychedelic Sixties. If we did, we tended to laugh at them—unfortunately.

It would be nice to have someone to care for

In April/May 1968, Columbia issued Sister Marie / Rest In Peace (Columbia 4-44525). The A-side was specifically recorded as a single in hopes of a hit. The B-side was one of the stronger tracks from OF CABBAGES AND KINGS—and one that I suggested in my previous post would have made a fine single by itself.

Sister Marie is a fine track—for an album track. It most certainly does not have “hit single” writ large upon it. The verses are too gentile, too mannered. The choruses work much better, but the whole sounds a bit like Paul needing a John middle-eight. The flip-side would have made a stronger impression to the few people who ever got to hear a Chad & Jeremy single in 1968.

Like the other singles associated with the three psych-pop albums, this record sold slightly more than nothing at all. Needless to say, it is rather rare. Needless to say, no one cares very much.

Should you want to compare both sides, I included a video of Rest In Peace in the second part of this essay.


Look, the Ark—it is bearing down

Indulging Mr. Stuart and Mr. Clyde’s every whim, THE ARK cost $75,000 to record and produce—a small fortune at the time—yet sold so few copies that many people didn’t even know it had been released! In fact, Usher had gone so far over budget to produce this stiff of a record that Columbia terminated his employment as a staff producer!

“This album was to be our swan song, although we didn’t know it at the time. (Or did we? Jeremy was hell bent on an acting career, so all the signs were there.) This LP marked the end of Jeremy’s lyric writing as well.” (Chad Stuart)

While the album was still basically a Chad & Jeremy album (soft songs, gently sung, strummed guitars), the production was fantastic lush excessive bold silly and included everything under the sun but the proverbial kitchen sink! (And you’ve just beed double-clichéd . . .) It overlaid the songs with a sense of drama and lysergia-driven creativity that the actual performances of the duo and the lyrics belied.

Plus there was too much of the then au currant fascination with old English music hall sounds that had begun to plague British bands in the wake of When I’m 64—and clashed sillily (sic) with the otherwise tasteful use of sitar and tabla. My old Goldmine compatriot William Ruhlmann reviewed the album for AllMusic:

“[THE ARK is] another psychedelic mishmash of styles—Indian one minute, music hall the next—of a kind so many popular performers had been indulging in at the time in hopes of making the next SGT. PEPPER. The difference was that most of Chad & Jeremy’s peers had gotten it out of their systems the year before. But C&J were upper-class types who took naturally to the pretensions of the form—they thought they were making Art.”

The title song is by Mr. Clyde is a rather awkward attempt at pop poetry with an allusion to the ark of the Old Testament mythology.

 

Sidewalk Requiem was one of the first pop songs written about the assassination of Senator (and Presidential hopeful) Robert F. Kennedy earlier that year in June. Sidewalk Requiem was a plainly folk-based pop song with no attempts at lysergicism. It is very serious song about a very painful horror—one that its composer experienced and felt more personally than most Americans.

Sidewalk Requiem marked a low point for me and thousands of others. I had been working in Robert Kennedy’s presidential campaign and the events that transpired at the Ambassador hotel were a crushing defeat for all of us. Perhaps it’s appropriate to reveal a historical footnote here: the day after the assassination, I and several people who were working in the campaign, received a picture postcard from Hong Kong with the cryptic message, ‘The same goes for you.’ This was mailed before the assassination and the writer obviously knew what was about to happen. Needless to say, that was my first and last brush with American politics.” (Chad Stuart)

On the other hand, the title of Painted Dayglow Smile borders on self-parody. The song itself is another track that nods rather obviously towards SGT. PEPPER—and I am not saying that as a complaint. It is a lovely track, up to a point. Midway through (at 2:00 minutes), the track abruptly segues into something that sounds like Chad and Jeremy had been paying too much attention to the New Vaudeville Band—and I am saying that as a complaint. The track is a perfect example of the good and not-so-good aspects of the album in 3:29.

 

The video above presents us with the album version of Painted Dayglow Smile. It is apparently a remixed version of the original recording from whence the single was mastered and is also one minute longer.

A kind of pacific stoned wistfulness

A reasonably lengthy and entirely glowing review of THE ARK titled “Hidden treasures: Chad and Jeremy – The Ark” by Alexis Petridis can be read on the Music Blog site. And please note that Mr. Petridis’ use of the uncapitalized “pacific” here means “calm and peaceful; loving peace; not wanting war or conflict.” 

“Chad and Jeremy are remembered for little more than being posh—a shame because their sunny, gently psychedelic final album was genuinely amazing. You could argue that THE ARK is a record very much of its era but that’s not quite true. One of the umpteen reasons for its failure was probably that THE ARK arrived out of time. Its emotional tone is a kind of pacific stoned wistfulness—as you might expect from a duo who must have realised in their heart of hearts that their 15 minutes of fame was up . . .”

In October 1968, Columbia issued Paxton Quigley’s Had the Course / You Need Feet (You Need Hands) (Columbia 4-44660), hoping that the the new film Three In The Attic, featuring a score written by Chad and jeremy and featuring the A-side, would be a bit of hit you see and some of the attention would find its way to the Columbia records then on sale. Paxton Quigley is certainly one of the more upbeat numbers on the album, its insistent rhythm moving the track along at a nice pace.

 

The song’s arrangement is ultimately a bit too complex—unnecessarily so, in my opinion—for many AM radio stations at the time. And you will have to trust me that few, if any, oh-so-hip FM “underground” stations would touch a Chad & Jeremy record, regardless of its psychedelic leanings.

Maybe it was the sunshine or the windowpane

While researching this piece, I stumbled over an article titled “Chad & Jeremy & LSD” by Kim Cooper originally published in Scram magazine #9 (“a journal of unpopular culture”). Cooper sees Stuart and Clyde’s “perverse world-view” expressed through the songs on OF CABBAGES AND KINGS. Anyway, I enjoyed her overwhelmingly—and no doubt excessively—positive review so much that I thought I would allow her the last few words on the record here on my blog:

THE ARK is poppier than OF CABBAGES AND KINGS, but less cohesive, and the plethora of guest-writers suggests that the boys were having some difficulty coming up with a full set of tunes. Maybe it was the sunshine, or the windowpane, or Gary Usher’s golden touch. Whatever independent forces conspired to work their wiles upon Chad & Jeremy, the fact remains: OF CABBAGES AND KINGS exists and it is perfect. Call it one of the gems of the psychedelic era, and marvel at the improbability of it all. And maybe wonder, just in passing, what Peter & Gordon might have lurking in the vaults.”

Ms. Cooper’s combined review of OF CABBAGES AND KINGS and THE ARK is just over 1,950 words in length. From these, I pinched 426, so there’s lot’s more to read on her site. So click on over to the scrammagazine.com and read Kim Cooper’s writing as Kim Cooper intended it to be read . . .

In 2006, Sundazed reissued THE ARK on compact disc with three bonus tracks, including two previously unreleased outtakes, Letter To A London Girl and Pipe Dream. In 2009, it was reissued by Rev-Ola with the same bonus tracks.

 



 
 

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