Saturday, June 08, 2024

Various Artist - A Pot of Flowers (Great Garagerock & Psychedelic Rock US 1967)

Size: 161 MB
Bitrate: 320
Ripped by: ChrisGoesRock
Artwork Included

When it first appeared in 1967, With Love: A Pot of Flowers was an enigmatic relic of the early San Francisco psychedelic rock scene, comprised of a dozen tracks by groups that never made a national impact. The 2010 CD reissue on Chiswick does much to make its place in the history of San Francisco rock more comprehensible, due both to the addition of 14 bonus tracks (more tracks, in fact, than were on the original LP itself) and compiler Alec Palao's customarily thorough and lengthy historical liner notes. These explain how the Mainstream label made a concerted effort to get into the action of the early San Francisco Bay Area rock scene in the mid-'60s, resulting in the numerous recordings by the obscure bands on this CD, though none of the groups they signed would make it big save one (Big Brother & the Holding Company, who are not represented on the compilation). While the hope was, of course, to have hits, viewed from a distance it's almost like a documentary snapshot of some of the more notable bands that never made it, and indeed might have rarely or never gotten inside a recording studio if not for Mainstream's interest.

All that noted, the dozen songs on the original LP (presented as the first 12 tracks on this CD) are more typical early San Francisco rock than they are brilliant, often showing more of a garage rock influence than a psychedelic one. There's also a folk-rock feel, especially in the tracks by Wildflower, with some echoes of the Byrds and the Beau Brummels, though the trademark bittersweetness of the San Francisco sound is part of the mix too. 

The Harbinger Complex's "My Kind and Dear Sir," in contrast, sounds something like a mid-‘60s, country-rock Kinks, and is a standout in both its quality and its relatively unusual approach in these surroundings. The 14 bonus tracks are a mixture of rare singles on the Mainstream label and its Brent subsidiary, along with some unissued cuts and mono single versions of songs from the original LP. While these generally aren't up to the level of the cuts on the original album, they have their moments, especially the New Dawn's "Slave of Desire," one of the most accurate Animals imitations ever (though it borrows quite liberally from the Animals' "Inside Looking Out"). Other sides among the bonus material are yet even more raw and more undeveloped than those in the main program, with future Big Brother & the Holding Company singer Kathi McDonald taking lead vocals on Thee Unusuals' "I Could Go On." [AMG]

“With Love: A Pot Of Flowers” was originally issued in late 1967 by Mainstream Records. It is testament to the quality of the groups and songs included, not to mention the A&R proclivities of Mainstream head honcho Bob Shad – as irascibly indefatigable as anyone you might choose in the hothouse atmosphere of the independent record business of that era – that the album plays so well and, if you’ll pardon the pun, really grows on you. That in hindsight it also plucked four bands from within the vortex of 1966 nascent psychedelia and places them in a historically fascinating context, is equally remarkable. This expanded version of “A Pot Of Flowers” includes additional material by other relevant groups released on Brent or Mainstream from 1965 to 1967, as well as the mono single mixes of selected tracks from the album and some unreleased cuts.

The collection was amongst the first of a swathe of rock albums that Mainstream issued towards the end of the 1960s, the result of a remarkable A&R odyssey conducted by Shad across the United States, in much the same fashion as the location recording expeditions the producer had made to the south in the late 1940s in search of blues and R&B acts. Whether by luck or design, Shad decided to make one of his first ports of call San Francisco, which in early 1966 was well into the honeymoon period of its own socio-cultural renaissance, with the entire Bay Area awash with rock’n’rollers of all shapes and sizes. 

As our extensive liner note details, he had initially issued several unsuccessful singles by Bay Area groups on both Mainstream and Brent, but by subsequently collecting the best of these together on “A Pot Of Flowers” he unwittingly created one of the more satisfying surveys of the scene at the time. The acts in question were the Wildflower, pioneering folk-rockers who were an early fixture at the Fillmore and Avalon; San Jose’s popular garage band the Otherside; legendary East Bay punks the Harbinger Complex; and, from southern California via Texas, the idiosyncratic Euphoria, whose pathfinding, off-beat take on psychedelia has given the group a cult reputation. 

The bonus material included on this Big Beat reissue doubles the track list of “A Pot Of Flowers” y adding appropriate folk-rock and proto-psych sides from other West Coast acts on Mainstream such as the New Dawn, the Word, the Ariel and Thee Unusuals, the latter a Northwest group featuring blue-eyed chanteuse Kathi McDonald, who would later to take Janis’ spot in Big Brother & the Holding Company (who were also signed by Bob Shad during his California sorties). We are also proud to include several stellar unissued garage rockers from the Ban and the Montells, as well as the original mono singles mixes of selected tunes. 

Mainstream has a particular cachet with aficionados of late 1960s psych, and thanks to assiduous research conducted in the label’s vaults, we are proud to announce an exhaustive Mainstream pop-psych anthology forthcoming on Big Beat. Stay tuned. [Ace Records]

Album Tracks 1967:
01. The Wildflower - Baby Dear   02:21 
02. The Wildflower - Wind Dream   02:16 
03. Euphoria - Hungry Women   03:18 
04. The Other Side - Streetcar   02:17 
05. The Wildflower - Coffee Cup   02:16 
06. The Harbinger Complex - I Think I'm Down   02:24 
07. The Wildflower - Jump In   02:45 
08. The Other Side - Walking Down the Road   02:21 
09. The Harbinger Complex - When You Know You're in Love   02:11 
10. Euphoria - No Me Tomorrow   03:09 
11. The Harbinger Complex - Time to Kill   02:08 
12. The Harbinger Complex - My Dear and Kind Sir   02:24
Bonus Tracks:     
13. The New Dawn - Slave of Desire   02:31 
14. The Word - Now It's Over   02:45 
15. The Ban - Thinking of Your Fate   02:16 
16. The Montells - I'm Lonely   02:54 
17. Thee Unusuals - I Could Go On   02:01 
18. The Ban - Bye Bye   02:48 
19. The Ariel - It Feels Like I'm Crying   02:02 
20. The Word - So Little Time   02:40 
21. The Montells - You're Wrong to Think It   01:52 
22. The Ban - Place of Sin   02:38 
23. The Wildflower - Wind Dream (Mono Single Version)   02:16 
24. The Other Side - Streetcar (Mono Single Version)   02:19 
25. Euphoria - Hungry Women (Mono Single Version)   03:01 
26. The Harbinger Complex - I Think I'm Down (Mono Single Version)   02:26 



mister shabbadoo said...

The reviewer seems unaware that the Amboy Dukes were on the Mainstream label. Or maybe they're one of those purple haired obscurely-gendered Ted Nugent haters trying to erase musical history.

It's funny how they inserted the word "Pot" into the title of this compilation in a way that wouldn't cause an uproar at the time. Groovy compilation!

Timmy said...

Great stuff. Thanx!

The Hound said...

Thank you Nice Comp. Rocking Eddie

David said...

Hi Chris, Can you add my blog? thanks man!

Karl AceModrules Decaux said...

I have this onr on cd and vinyl. Nice comp theat brings you back in 1967. Thanks for sharing , Chris