Island Records: Further Listening

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Our picks from Island Records.

Strangely Strange But Oddly Normal

An Island Records Anthology 1967-1972

Taking its title from the quintessential track by experimental Irish folk group Dr Strangely Strange, this three-disc overview of the progressive side of Island Records also brings together the label’s licensed material.

Rainbow Chaser

Nirvana

(All Of Us, 1968)

Launched with a live show at London’s Saville Theatre with Traffic and Spooky Tooth supporting, Nirvana provided a high-art, super-literate version of psychedelia. In 1967 they released The Story Of Simon Simopath, arguably the first narrative concept album. From the following year, their UK Top 40 hit Rainbow Chaser finds them at their poppiest.

Black Mass (An Electric Storm In Hell)

White Noise

(White Noise, 1969)

A collaboration between American experimentalist David Vorhaus and BBC Radiophonic Workshop members Brian Hodgson and Delia Derbyshire, the often terrifying recordings on the White Noise album became the discerning head’s disquieting bedtime listen.

Notting Hill Gate

Quintessence

(In Blissful Company, 1969)

Quintessence espoused the ethos of eschewing drugs and reaching a higher state of consciousness through meditation and yoga. After rehearsing at Notting Hill’s hippie haven All Saints Hall, they created this anthem for the West London freak scene.

A Sailor’s Life

Fairport Convention

(Unhalfbricking, 1969)

The breathtaking moment when English folk rock was created. Exhilarating, extended and still sounding like 100 years back into the past and into the future, A Sailor’s Life is the trailer for the main feature of Fairport’s next album, Liege & Lief.

John Barleycorn

Traffic

(John Barleycorn Must Die, 1970)

Traffic already had a turbulent existence. By 1969, Steve Winwood had left to become part of the ill-starred Blind Faith, then after their demise began work on a solo album. Soon, Chris Wood and Jim Capaldi were back, and Traffic made this pastoral prog classic.

Pink Moon

Nick Drake

(Pink Moon, 1972)

Virtually unknown in his short lifetime, and gone by the middle of the 1970s, the cult of Nick Drake began roughly 10 years later. The Warwickshire-born singer songwriter is now prescribed listening to any teenager getting into music. The beguiling nature of his final album’s title track is a lasting reminder of why his work is so revered.