Various - Let’s Go Down And Blow Our Minds album review

Forty-nine years ago it wasn’t only Granny taking a trip

Various Let’s Go Down And Blow Our Minds album cover

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Anticipating the 50th anniversary of the bona fide Summer Of Love, this is a fascinating collection of the trippy, faintly bonkers psychedelic pop which briefly, brilliantly ruled Britannia.

If you think you know the genre’s essence from a few BBC4 stock images, free your brain. Everyone and his dog, from authentic UFO club-playing bands to wagon-jumping-chancer pop acts trying to get ‘with it’, was dropping acid and reservations while declaring that flowers were powerful and a revolution was in the air, or the sky, or the trees, or somewhere. Barely a track among the eighty over this four-hour, three-CD treasure chest is anything less than weird, wild and wonderful. The residue resonated through Bowie, prog, films and art.

Included are notable names with unfamiliar tracks (The Moody Blues, Procol Harum, The Move), renowned eccentrics (Arthur Brown, The Pretty Things) and stars finding their voice: Bowie gauchely mimicking The Velvets’ Venus In Furs with the Riot Squad on Toy Soldier, a short-haired Bolan warbling Desdemona with John’s Children. There are ghost stories, meditations, reflections and village greens peopled with madmen and dogs in baskets. It’s enough to make you want this England back. As Marc urged, lift up your skirt and fly.

Chris Roberts

Chris Roberts has written about music, films, and art for innumerable outlets. His new book The Velvet Underground is out April 4. He has also published books on Lou Reed, Elton John, the Gothic arts, Talk Talk, Kate Moss, Scarlett Johansson, Abba, Tom Jones and others. Among his interviewees over the years have been David Bowie, Iggy Pop, Patti Smith, Debbie Harry, Bryan Ferry, Al Green, Tom Waits & Lou Reed. Born in North Wales, he lives in London.