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CD Review Much sought-after psyche masterpiece finally re-enters the groovy sunlight.

Mighty Baby - A Jug Of Love

By: Scott Homewood

 

Sunbeam Records

Thanks to the great, great Sunbeam label we can again enjoy the thrilling psychedelic sounds of one of the most overlooked psychedelic bands ever to arise out of England. I, for one, have been waiting for this album to be reissued for a mighty (baby) long time! This reissue of the underrated band's second album from 1972 is like manna from the heavens for those searching for long-lost psyche.\par For those looking for a little backstory, Mighty Baby rose from the ashes of another great overlooked British band, The Action. For a while The Action had been tagged as the band most ready to take over from The Beatles, and unlikely as it seems today, if you listen to The Action's recordings you will wonder why they didn't do just that. No less than Fab Four producer George Martin thought so as well, as he signed them to their recording contract. Come to think of it, he signed wimp-rock band America too so maybe ol' Georgy's taste is suspect. But that's another story. To Martin's credit, The Action really did kick some major ass. Mixing equal parts of the Beatles' (and the other Merseybeat bands) melodic savvy with the pure rock power of the Who and Kinks, The Action were a powerhouse band that nonetheless didn't quite get the breaks necessary to really hit it big.

After a couple of personnel, managerial, label, and even name changes, the remnants of The Action signed with the same management team as Pink Floyd and T-Rex and started experimenting in the studio. Unlike most hard R&B bands who attempted to keep up with the times by embracing the mind-bending sounds of psychedelic rock, the sound seemed natural and not forced and the current line-up seemed adept at playing the new, groundbreaking sub-genre of rock music. Christened Mighty Baby by the band's new label in an attempt for a new start, the former Action came up with one of the stronger psychedelic albums of the period, an album that stands up with the Beatles' Sgt. Pepper and the Pretty Things'   S.F. Sorrow as psychedelic rock blueprints.

Sadly, it went mostly unheard.

Dropped from their label, the band managed to hook up with Blue Horizon Records, for this, their second and final album. As good as their first record, at the time it unfortunately succumbed to the same fate: little airplay and hardly any sales. The times had changed and most succesful bands were either playing soft rock like Crosby, Stills and Nash or a simpler form of boogie/blues-based hard rock like Led Zeppelin which would later sadly evolve into the ear-wrecking sounds of heavy metal. For a band more interested in melody, extended fluid guitar lines and thriling vocal harmonies, the time had definitely passed. But that doesn't mean this album isn't bliss personified. A psychedelic fan's dream with exquisite melodic playing and guitar work to make your heart soar to the heavens, this album makes me wish we could return to the '60's for just a little while. Energetic with none of the excessive noodling marring most psyche albums, it's a perfect meld of garage and psyche that will stay on your turntable for weeks.

Fans of psyche will wet their pants over this one. Pick it up, turn on and tune out, babies. Get some of whatever stuff you smoke when your parents aren't around and start a-hootin' because this shit is THE shit.

 

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