David Chestnutt’s psychedelic fairy tales

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A post for Record Store Day. “Psychedelic” is stretching things here but it’s a word that always grabs the attention. Let’s Pretend was a series of fairy tale recordings released in the US in 1970 on the Stereo Dimension Records label. Each of the 25 recordings employs a radio show format, possibly because these were all radio recordings originally (there’s an older series of Let’s Pretend radio shows at the Internet Archive). Anyone desperate to experience one of them can listen to The Little Mermaid here. The sleeves are all illustrated by David Chestnutt in that post-Heinz Edelmann style that really ought to have a name of its own. Nice to see The Tinderbox turn up again, Chestnutt’s magical hound is a distinctly benevolent creature.

These sleeves were hoovered up from Discogs.com where some of them are only available in small images. If anyone finds a gallery of all 25 designs in decent quality then please leave a comment.

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Continue reading “David Chestnutt’s psychedelic fairy tales”

Weekend links 22

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Planet of the Apes Magazine #15 (1975), art by Bob Larkin.

I never read any of Marvel Comics’ Planet of the Apes titles but the painted covers of the American editions are evidence of a distinctly lurid imagination. An excess of drugs—this was the Seventies, after all—or mere enthusiasm? You decide. Related: “The Soft Intelligence”: 5 Underrated Literary Cephalopods by China Miéville. Kudos to him for mentioning The Sea Raiders (1896) by HG Wells, a favourite story of mine when I was 12.

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My ever-lovin’ octopussy (1970) by Jackie Black.

A Journey Round My Skull chooses selections from Ang Wyman’s flickr group Eye Candy (above), psychedelic illustration for children’s books by Nicole Claveloux, Peter Max, Heinz Edelmann and others.

• Watch out, there are “fancy gentlemen” about. It’s The Homosexual Menace!

• Design in opposition: Neville Brody announces the Anti-Design Festival.

• The Almias Rural Psychogeography Walk takes place on July 25th.

• Steven Heller on The Incredible Posters of Tadanori Yokoo.

Hipster Priest: Alan Moore interviewed at The Stool Pigeon.

FACT mix 167, a great selection by These New Puritans.

• The Orion Galaxy is a beautiful bespoke synthesizer.

• A radio portrait of Moondog at Speechification.

• RIP: Sugar Minott. RIP Tuli Kupferberg.

• Introducing Wizard’s Tower Press.

Octopus (1970) by Syd Barrett.

Yellow Submarine comic books

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By the time Yellow Submarine appeared on TV in the early Seventies I was already a keen viewer of anything showing the groovier side of the late Sixties. What I recall of that decade is resolutely unspectacular—I was only 7 in 1969, after all—but Swinging London as seen in the lighter films of the period, or via trace elements in TV series such as The Avengers, always looked like a fun place to be. Yellow Submarine was a concentrated dose of all the gaudiest elements of the era and immediately became one of my favourite films, probably the favourite psychedelic film until I finally got to see Performance in 1983.

This comic strip adaptation of the film is a curious cash-in from 1968 which is nonetheless better, and longer, than I expected. The writer and artist go uncredited but whoever they were they manage to flesh out the admittedly sketchy storyline and still retain the atmosphere of the film. One significant change may be the result of the timidity of the time with John Lennon’s lysergic muse, Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds being downgraded to Paul McCartney’s rather more mundane Rita the Meter Maid.

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The comic came with this poster and the whole package is now highly-sought by Beatles collectors with near mint copies going for $300. Naturally there are various copies circulating in the digital world and I shouldn’t have to tell you how to find them.

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There were plans by Dark Horse in the 1990s to produce a more faithful adaptation of the film in comic form. Bill Morrison was the artist and this would have tied-in with the film’s release on DVD in 1999. He managed 26 pages before Apple Records pulled the plug on the project which seems a shame going by the completed work. The Beatles’ back catalogue is due to be reissued soon in CD editions which will replace the shoddy 1987 versions. Expect to hear more about Yellow Submarine before the year is out.

Previously on { feuilleton }
The Sonic Assassins
A splendid time is guaranteed for all
Heinz Edelmann
Please Mr. Postman
All you need is…

The Strawberry Alarm Clock

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I’m on a total psychedelia groove at the moment—again—so expect more posts like this. The iTunes playlist is stuck in 1965–69 and doesn’t exclude moments of kitsch psych such as Incense and Peppermints by the Strawberry Alarm Clock, their debut single and a big hit from 1967. Thoroughly infectious and redolent enough of the era to feature in the first Austin Powers film, nothing else they produced came close. There were other soundtrack moments, a track called Pretty Song was featured in Psych-Out (1968) and the band themselves appear in Beyond the Valley of the Dolls (1970), one of many reasons to watch that lunatic movie. I always liked this sleeve design—printed in a number of variations—but even that pales next to their surfboard-shaped guitars, created specially for the band. Read more about them here.

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Elsewhere on { feuilleton }
The album covers archive

Previously on { feuilleton }
Exotica!
The art of Bob Pepper
A splendid time is guaranteed for all
Heinz Edelmann
The L.S. Bumble Bee