The Electric Banana - The Complete de Wolfe Sessions.

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The Electric Banana

The Complete de Wolfe Sessions

(Cherry Red)

8/10

Peel back the layers on the frontage of this box set and revealed inside is the undeniable musical swagger of the original bad boys of British R’n’B The Pretty Things during a commercial break from their unpredictable 24/7 day job as the wild men at the frontier of the burgeoning rock scene.

Banned by concert venues and radio stations for their outrageous behaviour and controversial single releases - psych song LSD didn’t drop on any jobsworth 1960s radio DJs playlist platter - the band resorted to creating ‘library music’ for de Wolfe for use in celluloid soundtracks, commercials, skin flicks and, much later, Dr Who, The Sweeney and Minder to keep the butter on their bread before they became toast.

Whereas their contemporaries and mostly fellow white working-class kids The Who and The Stones were feted and sensationalised for their onstage wild and destructive ways, aided by astute management, The Pretty Things were considered too dangerous to toy with. Being mismanaged and misrepresented eventually conspired to propel the band into writing a slew of astounding, prescient and boundary warping music before, during and following the inception of psychedelia all of which is finally and comprehensively collected here in its totality.

Appearing in and contributing music to the 1969 Norman Wisdom starred film What’s Good For The Goose didn’t quite match up to, or have the cachet, of the Blow Up cameo by the short-lived Beck/Page Yardbirds line-up three years earlier. Nevertheless, the music still stands up to scrutiny and grooves along very nicely.

The de Wolfe sessions is a compelling time capsule documenting the development of modern music from pop-infused R'n'B into Psychedelia then onto Hard Rock. From swinging London freak-beat raver Walking Down The Street to the maximum head-charge psych-out bangers Alexander and Eagle's Son to the heavy rock ear melt of Sweet Orphan Lady and Hendrix tribute James Marshall, The Pretty Things, as The Electric Banana, pushed forward the nascent, experimental boundaries of the evolutionary gene pool of rock music's DNA.

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Taken from the original master tapes, this is the first time that this complete collection of work has been gathered together and presented in a 3 CD set including a cache of unreleased instrumental backing tapes.

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Paul Davies