Saturday, July 28, 2012

VA - Nice: An Anthology of Peter Eden Productions

VA - Nice: An Anthology of Peter Eden Productions (1966-1973)

If Peter Eden's name is known at all to rock fans, it's because of his brief but important role in Donovan's career, in which he was the singer's co-manager in the mid-'60s when Donovan put out his first records. However, Eden was also involved in managing and producing a number of other British artists from the mid-'60s to the early 1970s, though none of them remotely approached Donovan's success. None of them were remotely as talented as Donovan either, to be frank. But some of them were OK, and this LP (a limited edition of 1000) collects 16 tracks he produced between 1966 and 1973, all but one of them from the '60s (and only four of which were previously released). It almost acts as a gallery of British rock and pop styles of the period, including as it does some pretty, fey pop-psychedelia (the Crocheted Doughnut Ring's 1967 single); fair late-period freakbeat (the Fingers' "Just Like Loving You Baby"); rough singer/songwriter folk (two unissued early-1969 tracks by Bill Fay); more traditional-based British folk ("Stories of Jesus," an unreleased early-1969 cut by original Incredible String Band member Clive Palmer); and quasi-vaudeville/jugband (Barry Fantoni's "Sadie Moonshine," the most unpleasant performance here). No, nothing here is great, though the Fingers' 1966 B-side "Oh" is good early Beatlesque pop that's almost worthy of the Rutles, and Palmer's "Stories of Jesus" is interesting as his British folk-at-heart sound is sympathetically dressed up with low-key strings. the Fingers' 1966 45 "I Go to Sleep" also holds interest as a cover of a Ray Davies composition that the Kinks didn't release in the 1960s. But for specialized British '60s rock collectors, it has some appeal as a roundup of very rare material, though Eden really didn't establish a signature production sound. The history of both Eden and these tracks in particular is thoroughly covered in the lengthy liner notes.

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