Friday, November 8, 2019

The Pretty Things - BBC Sessions, 1964-1967

I've posted a bunch of stray tracks albums by the Pretty Things. In short, this band is way underappreciated, in part because so much of their best music didn't make it onto their albums. There's no live album or even concert bootleg from their 1960s prime. But luckily, they did leave behind a lot of BBC recordings. So here's the first of three albums of their BBC material from the 1960s and early 1970s.

There have been a few good official BBC collections released over the years. The most recent one is four discs long. So most of the songs here come from such official sources. That said, my version differs in two important respects. For one, if a song wasn't officially released at all and the best known version comes from a BBC performance, I put that on one of my stray tracks albums, and not here. I generally try to avoid duplication like that. Secondly, I've added some live versions of songs that weren't performed on the BBC. There aren't a lot of good live recordings of the band in the 1960s, but there are a few.

I've included five live songs on this album. I have to admit that the sound quality of all five is a notch below the BBC recordings. But they're still more than worthy of inclusion.  All five come from TV performances, so these are hardly dodgy audience recorded bootlegs.

By the way, fun fact: two songs here, "The Moon Is Rising" and "You Don't Love Me" come from a festival that was shown live on Dutch TV. The Pretty Things looked and behaved so outrageously that the TV station was deluged by people phoning in complaints, causing the station to cut away from the performance. By today's standards, it's hard to see what the problem was. But in 1964 and 1965, the Pretty Things looked and sounded more outrageous than virtually any other band, such as the Rolling Stones. For instance, look at the 1964 cover art and note how long lead singer Phil May's hair was, even compared to the Beatles' "mop tops" and the hair of other such bands.

I don't know why I included "Edit" in the title for the song "L.S.D." It's been a while since I edited these songs, so I don't remember. But since they're BBC recordings, I'm guessing I edited that song and some others in order to cut out the annoying BBC DJs talking over the starts and ends of songs.

01. Big Boss Man (Pretty Things)
02. Don't Bring Me Down (Pretty Things)
03. Mama Keep Your Big Mouth Shut (Pretty Things)
04. Roadrunner (Pretty Things)
05. Big City (Pretty Things)
06. The Moon Is Rising (Pretty Things)
07. You Don't Love Me (Pretty Things)
08. Raining in My Heart (Pretty Things)
09. Sitting All Alone (Pretty Things)
10. Midnight to Six Man (Pretty Things)
11. Buzz the Jerk (Pretty Things)
12. L.S.D. [Edit] (Pretty Things)
13. Children (Pretty Things)
14. Reincarnation (Pretty Things)
15. Defecting Grey (Pretty Things)
16. Walking through My Dreams (Pretty Things)

The cover art dates from 1964. Obviously, the band must have been making a TV appearance, but I don't know which show they were on.


  1. I guess the Dutch TV Show you used is 1965-04-19 BLOKKKER & I hope you have seen the video. Its one of the most exciting films ever made in the rock & roll era. And there is a final cut which few versions of the show contain & Im sure would have found the way to your set " Young Lovers, Young Care". It was never played anywhere else or recorded for a studio album. Let me know if you cant find it. As you say other than a cut here & there on a few tv appearances- -there are no live shows but there are demos of "Down Bring Me Down" & "I Can Never Say". & Lastly for all that true lack of archival material from their 1st era. I hope you have heard the incredible show "1969 - Pretty Things Paradisio"- another all time classic recording.......

    My PTs back Story-
    at the beginning of the public internet circa 1992 (I worked at Bell Labs) I made several band websites. One was for the Pretty Things- a band I loved from the time I bought Rosalyn as a UK 45 via snail mail (you couldnt get it in the U.S.). So one of my website discussions was "The mystery" of the album Emotions with its not so hot strings & horns. Well Dick Taylor wrote me an email about it & we became friends. They loved my website. & when the 98 Abbey Road Show took place I was deeply involved trolling Pink Floyd discussion groups to let people know Gilmour would play with them... it was a gigantic success. & then in a few months the PTs come to play in NYC & I am invited to help them with a soundcheck event which is going on MTV. We hung out for 3 days. Got Indian food, went to a bar Dick knew had Blues Juke Box & as the saying goes- you never want to meet your idols! I continue to keep in touch with Wally & John & was very close to Pete Tolson & encouraged them to get involved with social media when they did the X-Pretty Things project- which they did & continue to do.......

    now if anyone could find any of the supposedly still existing but hoarded shows of Love "Live at the Whiskey- 65-6" another mystery could unfold... Keep up the great work- its appreciated!!!! best Rick

    1. Hi, thanks for the info. Here's the Dutch TV thing I'm aware of, which is a very interesting watch:

      I don't know anything about "Young Lovers, Young Care." If you have it, can you send it to me? Then I can add it in. Plus, if there's anything else that I've missed, with this or with my stray tracks albums, please let me know, and I can add that stuff in too.

      Thanks for the story about your contact with the band. But why did you say "never meet your idols?" It all sounds like a positive experience, from what you say. By the way, is your website still going?

  2. not sure how to send you the songs- I will gladly.Its doesnt seem to work in the reply mode here.So let me know how I can send you the songs
    When the site provider shut down I chose to let it go. had one for Tony Jackson as well. My sites are now just for my personal art & music & by then the band was participating on social media. I tried to portray the meetings with the band in a positive way. But just like in real life -5 guys -everybody talks & shares & everybody acts differently. Everyone has their own nature, interests & some just aren't your "cup of tea. I prefer - just the music.

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