***health warning – we never had time to scan this to see if it made sense, so typos and grammatics allowing****
Those early birds among you exchanging prized hard earned tender of the realm for copies of Cranium Pie’s weird haired opus ‘mechanisms (part 2)’ may well have found tucked inside your parcel a freebie copy of ‘strange fruit and veg’. Typified by the kind of bespoke care and attention we’ve come to expect and adore from fruits de mer, ‘strange fruit and veg’ is a gathering of 18 specially selected covers re-tweaked, rebranded and reframed, a host of forgotten nuggets affectionately reclaimed and rescued from pop’s lost corners by the celebrated mass ranks of FdM regulars along with some recent adoptees to the imprints ever growing extended family. The CD, as ever with these freebie adventures is ultra-limited and comes with its own table menu, the sounds within as always – guaranteed to flip wigs and redecorate your listening space in all manner of kaleidoscopically progressiveness that may depending on the serving induce beard growth or skinny jeaned floppy fringeness or both should the fancy take it. Now elsewhere in these hastily scribbled wordy things you might recall us having previously paid special attention to Schizo Fun Addict’s re-take of the Sorrows’ ‘take a heart’ (incidentally as cool as **** and sexy with it) – therefore one down seventeen to go. Crystal Jacqueline open matters with the vibrantly effervescent ‘all over the world’ – originally by Strange Fruit and here found shimmered in all manner mystical mirages and head spinning cosmicalic jubilance while topos locos opt for a spot of late 60’s strut grooved uber psych grooving for their re-enactment of big bird and the steam shovel’s wiry ‘what’s happening at the psychiatrist’. I’m certain we’ve mentioned Claudio Cataldi’s smoking cool bliss kissed cover of ‘here she comes now’ – this ‘un hazily glazed in fuzzed arabesque snake charms which in truth aren’t a million miles from the kind of mellowed mirages crafted by Cheval Sombre. Next up to the plate Trojan Horse’s utterly adorable lolloping lilt parading through ‘Ohio’ really has to be heard to be appreciated distilled as it in the finest prairie reclined moonshine mosaics whilst somewhere else we must admit to being mildly fond of ZX+ and their tripped out version of ‘she’s a rainbow’ here radiating a frazzled and acid fried intoxica fused with the finest essences of grade A English psychedelia. And so to the curiously named mauve la biche featuring Cary Grace who if I recall rightly last appeared in these pages courtesy of an appearance on that pre Xmas Floyd freak out – enough of that here they are doing all manner of woozily cosmic freakiness to Amon Duul II’s ‘archangel thunderbird’ and emerging out of the other side like an astral riding Rush – which before you all start issuing forth letters of complaint threatening various offers to remove limbs – is no bad thing. Now among the rock / pop great pantheon there are cornerstones – which – well how can I put this bluntly – are untouchable and are always guaranteed to end in tears if you fail to heed the warning. Bo Diddley’s ‘who do you love’ is one such ground zero moment, Juicy Lucy got away with it, so when the Crawlin Hex reared their collective heads above the parapet there was a momentary intake of breath and a slight feeling of unease. Needn’t have worried for these dudes apply some nifty voodoo grooving to their treatment which the dearly departed Lux Interior would have purred not least because it swamp drags the kind of mutant blues rock-a-hula that was the trademark of the Cramps though here found casting bad juju spells in an after-hours studio soiree with Mojo Nixon. Much admired around these here parts Jay Tausig goes all interstellar cosmic overlord for his version of Motorhead’s landmark ‘ace of spades’ and emerges t’other side of the lunar eclipse equipping it with a what if imagining of how it would sound in the hands of Lemmy’s former charges Hawkwind. And talking of Hawkwind….ah aural alchemists Vert:x have upon previous visitations to these pages been known to trip minds with their brand of musical hallucinogenia and ‘circles’ proves no exception, a krautian white out rippled in reality altering swirls which frankly in short all you need to know is that it has the head expanding side effects of a cosmic chemistry set. Now who would have thought 25 years ago that the purveyors of shroomed out weird ear chemical trance would later in life be mainlining t-rex into their shape shifting sonic tapestry, long adored around here Magic Mushroom Band go all prog majestic for what can only be described as a totally unexpected growl gouged big boots and big hair stomper surfacing as their brief but blistered groove call ‘kings of the rumbling spires’ while Todd Dillingham does a pretty out there and shit faced take of ‘hey Joe’ which ought to send re-collective tremors among those around first time of asking when the Butthole Surfers went rummaging through Donovan’s back catalogue. Not being the greatest fans of the Beatles, there’s always an air of ‘must we’ when one of their sort makes the occasional appearance on a compilation, and so on this occasion the honour goes to Rob Gould, stand up take a bow why don’t you sir for his version of ‘tomorrow never knows’ – admittedly one of the better moments from the mop top musical carousel – is a gloriously bonged out happening replete with hazy haloes of hypno grooved eastern drones which unless our ears do deceive slyly circle the kind of way out wooziness that a certain Mr Boom encapsulated in his Spectrum guise. We suggest you kick back a spell, clear your headspace of all the to do jumble of modern day life and simply let yourself go for the sumptuous six minute astral ride that is Vostok’s ‘Drome’ – one of three cuts on this compilation that are not covers at all, this babe in particular imagining some blissed out studio campfire summit visited upon by a seriously mellowed flying saucer attack and roy Montgomery. Award for best moment of the set skinning both the Schizo’s and Cataldi just is the green telescope’s frazzled freakbeat re-reading of ‘I’m a living sickness’ a darkly haunting slab of sparsely gouged groove dragged from the shadowy recesses of a mind warped by loss and rejection and no doubt copious amount of chemical additives the type of which you’d be hard pushed to find readily available at the local pharmacy counter, anyhow this cool dude comes curdled in a primitive framing of shimmering reverbs and a vintage garage beat hollowing. Now for the obligatory apologies corner, this time it’s the turn of the blue giant zeta puppies who a little while back sent over a physical copy of a download only EP that they are currently collectively sporting and which will be getting due care and attention in a day or two – so sorry lads for the oversight. For now here they appear here doing a pretty neat and smoking Link-esque slab of twanged out psychotropic futurama grooved in all manner of TV21 styled sci-fi-riffic swirls and mind warps which all said should appeal to those much missing of Man…or Astro Man. Wrapping up the set something a little schizoid and special with it. There’s always been a keenly tuned affection here for the squillions of cover versions of Barrett’s ‘vegetable man’ that have come our way over the years, of course the most noted being the Soft Boys, however that said the previously unknown to us mystery crystals come close to stealing the vote for their perilous step in to the light sucking psychosis cloud amasses and descends overloading the senses to fracture your headspace in the kind nightmarish trip from reality that one fears many space cadets will not return and if they do they’ll be frazzled imitations of their former selves. It’s no wonder that the other track featured on the set that isn’t a cover at all but the A side to an ultra-limited 7 inch by the Telephones, their debut as it happens which those of you who keep abreast of Keith FdM’s facebook postings will be all too aware he’s been raving about and no wonder because this sly eyed mellow toned gem stone is succulently dimpled in the kind of laid back groove that attached to the Soft Parade’s ‘nobody told you anything’ albeit as though here impishly recalibrated by a gathering ensemble made up of members of Stairs and the Wicked Whispers and then smokily draped upon a deliriously chilled and hypnotic Eastern piping. Drop dead gorgeous if you ask me which reminds me we’ve happened across a moving picture show of it – anyhow its out via heavy soul and backed by the spiffing ‘Amsterdam’.