Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Big Boy Pete - Homage To Catatonia (1966-69)

Pete Miller is yet another fascinating figure from the underexpiored recesses of the British '60s beat under-world. He released two tremendous, utterly twisted singles: "Baby I Got News For You" (as Miller) in 1965, and "Cold Turkey" as (Big Boy Pete) in 1968. Prior to this, he had been lead guitarist for Peter Jay & the Jaywalkers, whose output included several singles produced by Joe Meek. Judging by some of the quirky, inventive and just plain WEIRD sounds on this collection, Miller had been watching Meek closely during his Jaywalkers days, (though he'd have to have been doing so furtively as Joe was secretive to the point of paranoia about his sound techniques). In his home studio in Norwich -"sur-rounded by lava lamps and Hindi visuals" - Miller and his musician friends spent most of 1966-69 conjur-ing up bizarre feats of pop and psychedelia, utilizing some of the echo and compression techniques he'd observed at Meek's studio along with many of his own electronic innovations. Fourteen of these songs make their first public showing on Homage To Catatonia, amply displayed in a magnificent gatefold sleeve complete with lyrics and all-telling liner notes. Combine a razor-sharp studio instinct, simple but superior '60s recording technology, madcap psycho-pop songsmithing ala (maybe) Roy Wood/Jeff Lynne with p'raps a little Edward Lear-esque nonsensical wordplay thrown in, and you may - just may - have same idea what you'll find on songs like "Knit Me A Kiss" or "A Dog Called Doug"-but it still won't begin to explain the impossible-to-pigeonhole (and amazing) "I Am Seldom 21", "Chinaman" or 'The Procession." Miller's tapes truly are a very unique secret horde of English psychedelia, and, incredibly, several of these recordings pre-date even the Beatles "Revolver", let alone the subsequent psychedelic stampede. Perhaps the strangest but most strangely satisfying set since I Hear A New World. A grower. I recommended.
(Mike Stax in "Ugly Things")

This album was released on the Tenth Planet label (Tenth Planet TP 026 / 1996). There's nothing much to say against his pop-psych tunes but he polished his old tapes a bit too much. So I've got the feeling that it sounds more like the '90s than the '60s. But I'm nagging and nagging and nagging... In fact it's a good album with some great songs like "Knit Me A Kiss", "Paranoia" or "The Procession". More info about his music on his website

- Sheer Lunacy
- Crocogators
- I Am Seldom Twenty One
- Knit Me A Kiss
- 1,500,000 Volts
- Captain Of My Toy Balloon
- John Celery
- Paranoia
- Chinaman
- Music Created By Dust
- A Dog Called Doug
- The Procession
- The Candleman
- The Treacle Dance

Personnel incl.:
Peter Miller (gtr, bs, sitar, vcls)

Norwich (Norfolk/UK)

1. Cold Turkey/My Love Is Like A Spaceship
   (Camp 602005) 1968

Get it here (Artwork included / vinyl rip)

Listen to The Procession


Anonymous said...

this is an amazing collection of the great pete miller's work.
probably his very best.

cool post as usual!

Anonymous said...

Fantastic. I like the song "I am Seldom Twenty One". Great record. Thankx.

Anonymous said...

Thankx for this incredible psychedelic pop sounds.

This record is very good.