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TOMORROW

Tomorrow

 

Proto-Prog

2.81 | 46 ratings

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3 stars If you're a rabid fan of Steve Howe, and must own everything he played on, then this is is must-have. Otherwise, it's a fine collection of 1960s psychedelia, that will help your Swingin' Sixties party along - although I would highly recommend albums by The Shocking Blue, Chrysalis and Clear Light above this.

The album itself is basically a collection of unrelated short songs along the lines of "Listen To The Flower People" by Spinal Tap.

However, the version I'm reviewing has bonus tracks, which are far more interesting than the Tomorrow album itself from a Prog perspective - particularly 3 tracks by an offshoot project called "The Aquarian Age" led by John "Twink" Alder - a phenomenal visionary, and participant in many of the most influential bands in the Psychedelic scene, including The Pretty Things, Tomorrow themselves and the Pink Faries (and by implication, Hawkwind).

Otherwise, the album as a whole does not really live up to the experimental promise of the best-known (and opening) track "My White Bicycle". There's a good reason why this was covered in the late 1980s by Nigel Planer, AKA Neil of the BBC TV series "The Young Ones", as it's an archetypical "psychedelic" track, laced with backwards guitar a la "Tomorrow Never Knows", and insane stereo panning guaranteed to have you reaching for the Aspirin.

Nevertheless, although the overall construction is a pop song, it's an interesting curio, and worth obtaining as part of a compilation (there are a fair few 1960s, "old" rock and even prog albums that contain this).

The heavy Beatles influence in "Real Life Permanent Dream" is highly amusing - Tablas and Sitars produce a swrling entry to a song which sounds like it came from half a decade previously. The bass line is notably McCartney in style too - in all, a great example of how progressive the Beatles were, for any doubters. The lyrics seem to be a slight side-swipe at people like Syd Barrett...

One of the buzz words of the swinging sixties was "Revolution", and Tomorrow cram even more psychedelic nonsense in here, with possibly the most expermental track on the album. I use the word "nonsense" fondly here, as although it's clearly gibberish, with the constant references to flower children and such like, this is Steve Howe's major contribution to the album, and the most inventive by several miles. If you can get over the naivety of most of it, it's a highly entertaining piece.

"The Incredible Journey of Timothy Chase" is musically based on "Lovely Rita" and "Hey Joe", with some quite bizarre and often interesting tangential changes and a highly promising guitar solo that is cut off in its prime.

The quintessentially English sound conveyed by "Auntie Mary's Dress Shop" is highly reminiscent of Kaleidoscope, but comes in halfway between some of the quirkier Syd Barrett/Floyd songs and the more humourous Beatles numbers. Kudos to the keyboard player for recreating the sound that the Fab 4 used in "Piggies".

A passable and precise - if inferior cover of "Strawberry Fields" is followed by one of the most horrible songs I've ever heard. Yes, it was fashionable to sing about Gnomes and suchlike, but a few seconds of this is enough to clear an entire roomful of happy party- goers.

Steve Howe fans have one more treat in "Now Your Time Has Come", where Steve attempts to imitate a sitar, and also plays some good stuff with a real hippy flavour.

The album ends with an odd song called "Hallucinations" which is notable in it's blandness - although I may have been disappointed in my expectations of some more psychedelic studio jiggery pokery and some of the other awesome experimental music of the time.

THE BONUS TRACKS:

The first is a boring little song called "Claramount Lake", the next is a heavier version of "Real Life Permanent Dream", then a cover of the Byrd's "Why", which Tomorrow used to open their live sets (note, the sleeve notes credit also confusingly credit this song to the earlier Tomorrow incarnation The In Crowd as well as the Byrds), next a "phased MONO version" of "Revolution", and finally a "Long-lost" recording of "Now Your Time Has Come", which doesn't include the line "Now Your Time Has Come" at all... spooky!

After these bonus Tomorrow tracks are 3 songs that make it worth hunting out this version of the CD for any fan of early progressive music - 3 tracks from a John Alder and John Wood (Twink and Junior) project called "The Aquarian Age";

"10,000 words in a Cardboard Box", which is a fabulous song later re-recorded by Twink and his band on the legendary and frankly amazing album "Think Pink".

"Good Wizzard Meets Naughty Wizzard", suffers from far too many hallucinogens, but nevertheless features some really neat playing.

Better examples of this kind of spoken drama over music are to be found on Kaleidoscope's "Tangerine Dream" and the Small Faces "Ogden's Nut Gone". It's deeply silly, and will raise a laugh in some people on the first listen - but the music is great, and more progressive than any of the Tomorrow music.

Not to be heard under the influence of illegal drugs... although I'm sure you're not the type anyway...

"Me" rounds off this trio of triptastic tranciness with harpsichord driven wierdness remarkably sane lyrics and some quite amazing music.

The bonus tracks go on (and on!) with 4 additional tracks from Keith West which are good, but nothing can really follow The Aquarian Age songs - I'd suggest programming your CD player so that the latter come on last.

In short, the version of the CD I'm reviewing from (with the bonus tracks) is of great interest to Prog Historians and those interested in early progressive music - and great psychedelic music. As a result, the most I can give it is 3 stars.

Certif1ed | 3/5 |

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