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Hapshash and the Coloured Coat


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Hapshash and the Coloured Coat Featuring the Human Host and the Heavy Metal Kids album cover
2.74 | 14 ratings | 4 reviews | 0% 5 stars

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Studio Album, released in 1967

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. H-O-P-P-Why? (7:36)
2. A Mind Blown Is a Mind Shown (2:26)
3. The New Messiah Coming 1985 (7:08)
4. Aoum (3:26)
5. Empires of the Sun (15:52)

Total Time: 36:28

Line-up / Musicians

- Hapshash and the Coloured Coat (performers)'
- Art (performers)

Releases information

LP Minit/Liberty Records
LP Repertoire Records (REP 4404-WY) UK
CD Akarma

Thanks to ClemofNazareth for the addition
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HAPSHASH AND THE COLOURED COAT Featuring the Human Host and the Heavy Metal Kids ratings distribution

(14 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of rock music(0%)
Excellent addition to any rock music collection(21%)
Good, but non-essential (43%)
Collectors/fans only (21%)
Poor. Only for completionists (14%)

HAPSHASH AND THE COLOURED COAT Featuring the Human Host and the Heavy Metal Kids reviews

Showing all collaborators reviews and last reviews preview | Show all reviews/ratings

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by Sean Trane
3 stars Strange team that managed to release this very whacked out debut album that was quite ahead of its time, musically speaking. This group was a trio, and by hearing the album and its out-of-this-world psych, you'd guess they'd be at least a quintet. These guys were first and foremost counterculture multi-talented artistes, creating clothes and poster and album artworks in the heydays of the counter culture. Of the three "musicians", only one had any prior experience before recording this record, Guy Stevens, an Island record producer; the other two being just shop owners, returning to their shop activities after this freak out. Self-produced (by Guy Stevens) and "self-artworked" (meaning the decorated their sleeves themselves), this album is one of the stranger psychedelic albums of the British Isles, and given the un-experience of two of its members, this album is worthy of inclusion for that fact alone.

If you can picture Captain Beefheart's long musical delirium and add some of Can's lengthy groovy lunacy, you got a good idea of what this band's like. There is an acoustic side to the band that may induce into thinking of folk, but I tend to think of blues or even slightly country music (Dylan had released his John Wesley Harding album). The idea was to create an LSD trip opera (well it was certainly not higher culture results) including female orgasmic jolts on the 16-mins Empire Of The Sun.

Some claim the album has not aged well, as it seems like it was only hippy-dippy mumbo-jumbo, but inn regards with future albums to come this album has some prophetic qualities, announcing Can. While not exactly essential, this is the type of album that was extremely constructive to the scene, even if most music critics discarded it as junk, back then as they still do nowadays. I beg to differ, but it still won't make this album essential.

Review by ClemofNazareth
3 stars If nothing else one can at least get a sense of how far music has progressed in the forty years since a couple of psychedelically-bent poster artists decided to pretend they could play music and put together this weird thing. Needless to say this isn’t what you’d consider very high-brow music, but at least the ‘high’ part applies. Fortunately the studio backing band (referred to on the album as “The Heavy Metal Kids”) were a fledging band of journeymen who for the most part were the same guys who would end up becoming the more legitimate rock band known as Spooky Tooth. One of them (Luther Grosvenor) would also end up for a time in Mott the Hoople while Greg Ridley would land a gig with Humble Pie. One of the fun things about proto-prog bands is playing the ‘Six Degrees’ game with the various musicians. The connections are just remarkable sometimes.

As for the music here, like I said it’s not exactly memorable stuff, but that doesn’t mean this isn’t kind of a fun album in a novelty kind of way. Neither Michael English nor Nigel Waymouth had a musical background before they decided to undertake this project, and as far as I know neither of them did much musically after Hapshash. This is basically a forty-minute freak-out of the psych variety that is supposedly vaguely centered on a concept of an acid-trip operetta. That’s not what it ended up sounding like, but the players clearly had some fun in the process regardless.

Most of the rhythms are repetitive and fairly basic, particularly on the opening track and the way-too- long and rather catatonic “Empire of the Sun”. “Aoum” on the other hand is a weird Spock’s Beard’s “June”-meets-Gregorian chanting a capella only with some wraith-like female chanting in the background. Totally self-amusing indulgence, and completely sixties. I’m not panning it, but you should know what you’re getting in to if you pick this one up.

The Nostradamus-like prophecy in “The New Messiah Coming 1985” clearly missed the mark, unless it turns out Corey Hart was the messiah. More ad nausea chanting and tribal-like rhythms on this one too, by the way.

Probably the most creative and interesting track here is the two-minute “A Mind Blown is a Mind Shown”, a brief bongo-driven ditty that gets points more for a cool title than anything else.

So this isn’t a classic for sure, and not even particularly good. But if you’re reading this review and got this far then it’s safe to assume you’re the kind of person who’s a bit of a musical anthropologist, and if so then you may actually find this record mildly interesting. I’ve also had the privilege of hearing the second and final recording under the ‘Hapshash’ name and it isn’t as amusing as this one, so if you have to pick go with this one. Just don’t expect to be blown away – take it for what it is and you’ll have some fun. Three stars, although only recommended if you get off on old bands whose biography has outlived their music.


Review by Certif1ed
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Spooky

Possibly the earliest use of the term Heavy Metal in reference to rock music, predating Steppenwolf by a good year, this album contains little that resembles Metal music - although it does contain musicians who went on to form Spooky Tooth, one of the earliest Heavy bands, and a notable influence on bands such as Deep Purple, Led Zeppelin, Black Sabbath and Judas Priest - so there is a link.

Musically, the most interesting thing about this album, apart from the name, the so-called band (who were (in)famous poster designers by trade that corrobrated with one of the best heavy underground bands of the time, namely Art) and the Heavy Metal reference is the somewhat naive and enticing vibe they manage to create.

The opening track, H.O.P.P.Why seems to predict the more minimal Kosmiche acts - Can spring to mind immediately, and it's not just because this is a simple jam around one chord, as there are lost of little bits floating around in here above the solid, growly bass.

A Mind Blown is a Mind Shown seems to predict Amon Duul in its many incarnations - it may be a jam, but it's organised chaos with a distincly lysergic overtone or three.

This really builds the picture for the rest of the album - a cosmic freakout session that's actually more cohesive than some of the more meandering Kosmiche releases available, and also has a friendly Englishness all of its own - most of this, presumably, due to the distinctive musicianship of the band Art, who more than keep control of the proceedings.

The New Messiah Coming 1985 features enthusiastic shouts of Higher!!!, as bongos are beaten and various other deep percussion instruments make for a quite heavy freakout session with plenty of banged gongs, chiming xylophones and general chaos threatening to overtake and crumble the whole edifice - but never quite managing it. An enjoyable sonic soundscape, even if it doesn't quite warrant the full 7 minutes.

Aoum was the buzzword of many of the hippy communities getting into transcendental meditation - and it's probably Alan Watts fault, among others. This, again, is not the complete chaos it could have been, and puts me in mind of some Gong moments - while, of course, predating that illustrious band. This is a really fun and sensual track.

To round things off, we have the 16-minute superjam, Empires of the Sun, which begins a bit of a rocker (with gongs and soft chanting, naturally!). A wonderful groove emerges before a minute is even up - but due to the freeform nature of the album, this soon gives way to meandering and general acidic silliness - as you would hope, really. Maybe 16 minutes is pushing it a bit - depends on your state of mind, I guess...

As a stepping stone from the underground scene to truly progressive music, this is an intriguing document that proves that not all hippy music is boring meandering nonsense - this is actually very enjoyable (and silly) meandering nonsense, and all good because of it.

Unlike many of the obscure albums from this time (and some of the less obscure albums in following years), this one really is a true gem - when taken for what it is.

Because of the time of its release and the vital link it provides, I'm going to say that this is an Excellent addition to any Prog Music collection - not quite essential, as it'll hardly have you excercising the intellectual muscles - but it does predate and form the foundation of an entire Teutonic genre of Progressive Rock, and you'd be well advised to follow up a listen of this by checking out Supernatural Fairytales by Art, and Spooky Tooth's first 4 or 5 LPs to see how this all ties into heavy metal music.

Hence 3.5 stars, erring on 4.

Review by Easy Livin
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin
1 stars Very nice album cover of course

This is without doubt the most bizarre entry in our ever growing database. Hapshad and the Coloured Coat are not in fact a band, but a couple of talented artists/designers called Michael English (sadly no longer with us) and Nigel Waymouth. Their posters and album covers are now collectors items, with examples of the former being displayed in the Victoria and Albert museum in London and the latter including Cream's "Disraeli Gears".

When they turned their attention to recording an album, they brought in Guy Stevens (Procol Harum) and several members of Island records band Art (credited in the album title as the Heavy Metal Kids, but not the later glam band of that name) who would later mutate into Spooky Tooth (also listed on this site). The album was released in 1967, hence its proto prog categorisation, during the evolution of the psychedelic era but well before the arrival of prog. The original LP release is now a highly prized rarity, but Repertoire records have re-released the album on CD and LP for the 21st century masses.

Given the background to the album, it should be obvious that we should not come to it expecting a masterpiece of compositional excellent, and such an approach is fully justified. This is too all intents and purposes a collection of 5 improvisations which are not intended to be taken too seriously.

The opening "H-O-P-P-Why?" has an eastern style repeating rhythm with occasional harmonica bursts, lead guitar intrusions and an incessant chanting of the title. It conjures up a picture of a party which has lasted over long, with people sitting around in a semi-conscious state while one long haired freak suddenly finds a last burst of energy and dances around in a mad frenzy. And so it goes on on subsequent tracks for the full 36 minutes or so of the album.

Very much of the 60's then, this is one of those albums to listen to and wonder how it ever saw the light of day. It's not that it is bad, with the performers clearly having so much fun who could deny them their 40 minutes or so on vinyl. This is though one of those projects all us non-musicians have indulged in at some stage, when we found it was so easy to lay down a basic rhythm and lay random instruments on top of it. In fairness, some of the material here is well up to the standard of some of the avant-garde artists who took themselves far more seriously in the 1970's, but whose output was equally devoid of genuine music.

Call me old fashioned, but while this album may be fun and it may pre-date most of the music on this site, it is not by any means part of the foundations on which prog was built.

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