Hapshash & The Coloured Coat: Featuring The Human Host/ Western Flier

High times for the poster boys of British psychedelia.

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Graphic designers Michael English and Nigel Waymouth were go-to guys of the UK’s psychedelic underground, devising posters for Hendrix, Cream, Floyd, and clubs like Middle Earth and UFO. In 1967 they passed into the musical realm with debut Featuring The Human Host, recorded by producer Guy Stevens in one session with members of Art (later Spooky Tooth) and an attendant gaggle of freaks.

This brain-frying overload of avant-garde textures was marked by ruptured guitar riffs, chanting voices, chimes and bells. A Mind Blown Is A Mind Shown feels like an hallucinatory prayer meeting; Empires Of The Sun could be The Holy Modal Rounders getting busy with bongs‘n’gongs.

By ’69 they’d fallen out, and Waymouth hooked up with Mike Batt and a bunch of sessioneers that included The Groundhogs’ Tony McPhee. Western Flier sounds altogether less cohesive, if more conventional, with various flavours of Zydeco, prog and folk, plus a bizarre snippet of an old Cajun comedian on Telephone Budreaux.

Neither album sold in any quantity, but both remain fascinating documents of the times.

Rob Hughes

Freelance writer for Classic Rock since 2008, and sister title Prog since its inception in 2009. Regular contributor to Uncut magazine for over 20 years. Other clients include Word magazine, Record Collector, The Guardian, Sunday Times, The Telegraph and When Saturday Comes. Alongside Marc Riley, co-presenter of long-running A-Z Of David Bowie podcast. Also appears twice a week on Riley’s BBC6 radio show, rifling through old copies of the NME and Melody Maker in the Parallel Universe slot. Designed Aston Villa’s kit during a previous life as a sportswear designer. Geezer Butler told him he loved the all-black away strip.