I'll be honest and say I'm not exactly a fan of psychedelic music - I'm pretty much the antithesis of a hippie and its culture (I'm far too cynical to think "All You Need is Love" is the solution to the world's problems, and I'm probably more apt to think the world's problems can't be ameliorated at all...to me, imperfect humans = imperfect world); however, there are some places where I enjoy a bit of the fantastical element of some psychedelica. I quite like the idea of hedgehogs singing, people riding white swans, and statues leaving their pedestals and heading to the beach. To this day, I like imagining tiny Marc Bolan riding a giant white swan through the forests like a king of the pixies. My daydream world can be a colourful place to live. I can also hear those links between psychedelic bands and the later twee genre of which I'm a big fan. Because my knowledge and/or collection of psychedelic music is a bit spotty, I'm going to round out this mix with music which is more generally in a fantasy vein, so once again, there will be many notable absences, including Cream, The Byrds, The Grateful Dead and Jefferson Airplane. After all, this mix is of the songs I like and/or listen to.
Out of all the characters in the genre, I still find Syd Barrett to be particularly fascinating. He has all those myth-making features: huge creative talent, incredible physical attractiveness, unfulfilled potential, and the fact he went completely bonkers. Arnold Layne, which is included in this mix, is a brilliant off-the-wall story of a transvestite who steals women's clothing, and ranks up there with the storytelling of See Emily Play - both of which are my favourite Pink Floyd tracks. I, myself, can't be bothered with the prog rock of post-Barrett Pink Floyd, but the sheer craziness of Barrett's psychedelic vision put The Piper at the Gates of Dawn in my record collection. When Barrett passed away a couple of years ago, many people praised his short-lived career, albeit his death had that way of solidifying his talent all over again, a talent which wouldn't likely have been mentioned all that much while he still lived in his mother's house painting abstracts. It took his death to make the cover of the NME.
A close second for psychedelic heroes is Arthur Brown and his legendary fire helmet - anyone who deliberately sets his/her head on fire and dances around scaring the crap out of Health and Safety people is a hero to me. He's not allowed into the sacred Marc Bolan pixie forest, mind.
Aside from songs from Syd Barrett in both Pink Floyd and as a solo artist, and Fire by Mr. Brown, the god of hell-fire, I've included several other fantastical tracks. Among them are tracks from Captain Beefheart (a Mighty Boosh favourite), Ariel Pink (lo-fi surrealism), Donovan (famous Scottish psychedelic folk), Devendra Banhart (I want to be a little seahorse, too), The Beatles (as indifferent as I generally am towards the Fab Four, Penny Lane captured my imagination ever since my dad first gave it to me on a cassette tape when I was young - it's a piece of nostalgia, if you will), and even an earlier track from Queen (who needs Bohemian Rhapsody when you have a song called The Fairy Feller's Master-Stroke?). To finish the whole thing off, is a little piece of self-indulgent nostalgia (of course, what is a blog, if not self-indulgent): the theme song for one of my favourite films The Princess Bride, A Storybook Love, sung by Willy DeVille of Mink DeVille fame. I restrained myself from adding a track from the Labyrinth soundtrack, but believe me, I'll find a way of working one in on another week. And you were all also in danger of Limahl's Neverending Story, but I judiciously refrained. I'm going to call this mix Take Up Thy Stethoscope and Walk. Go ahead. Lose your mind.
Fire - Arthur Brown
Run-Away - Super Furry Animals
Higher and Higher - Ariel Pink's Haunted Graffiti
Underwater Moonlight - The Soft Boys
Lichtenstein Painting - Television Personalities
The Village Green Preservation Society - The Kinks
Penny Lane - The Beatles
Arnold Layne - Pink Floyd
Ride a White Swan - Tyrannosaurus Rex
Sunshine Superman - Donovan
Zig Zag Wanderer - Captain Beefheart and The Magic Band
You're Gonna Miss Me - 13th Floor Elevators
The Hedgehog Song - The Incredible String Band
The Fairy Feller's Master-Stroke - Queen
Baby Lemonade - Syd Barrett
Seahorse - Devendra Banhart
Loch Na Fooey - Fern Knight
Storybook Love - Willy DeVille