July — The Second of July
(Lion Music ACLN 1019, 1967/2014, CD)
by Peter Thelen, Published 2015-01-16The British band that released a super rare self-titled album in 1968 and subsequently disappeared should, by now, be known to all connoisseurs of classic period British psychedelic music. At the time the sadly under-promoted album was nothing more than an obscure footnote compared to the likes of Magical Mystery Tour, Satanic Majesties and Piper at the Gates of Dawn, but through the years it has gained its due respect, partially due to the later work of the band’s leader, guitarist and singer Tom Newman (Tubular Bells engineer / producer and creator of the late period progressive classic Faerie Symphony), as well as future Jade Warrior members Jon Field (percussion) and Tony Duhig (guitar) being members of the band. Other band members Chris Jackson (drums, piano, organ) and Alan James (bass) left less of a lasting legacy, although James did important session work for many years to come. The album was a brilliant stew of classic songwriting, experimental arrangements, Indian influences, and studio trickery. One album, then gone. So what exactly is The Second of July, if there was in fact no second album? These are home-recorded demos from 1967 by bandleader Tom Newman and former Tomcats (an earlier band with many of the same members as July) guitarist / bassist Peter Cook, and all but four of these fourteen demos would later reappear on the July album proper, with the full band playing the parts, though by that time Cook was no longer involved. So why are these demos important? Perhaps it’s because much of the eccentricity, invention and experimentation of these songs were ‘smoothed out’ by producers by the time the full band got to the studio to record them. In preparation for this review, I’ve listened to the demos and the album proper back-to-back many times, and have to say the demos, even though the full band is not present and Newman is using taped drum loops, easily trump the album proper. Both the July album and the Second of July demos have been released and reissued numerous times over the years, both on vinyl and CD, once even both were included on the same CD, but this latest 2014 version of Second on Acme / Lion Music is one that can surely be counted on for superior sound.
Related artist(s): July
Seaprog 2018 Artist Announcements Raise Festival's Profile – Seattle's Seaprog festival has been going since 2013, and the 2018 edition features a slate of artists that's sure to bring more attention to the event. Cheer-Accident, Bubblemath, and Free Salamander Exhibit are in the first round announcement of performers. In keeping with their tradition of focusing on regional artists, they will also present a number of artists from Washington, Oregon, and British Columbia. [Edit: Just added: Inner Ear Brigade] » Read more
Adelbert von Deyen RIP – Word reaches us that German electronic musician Adelbert von Deyen has died. His recorded legacy reaches back to 1978, when Sky Records released Sternzeit. Von Deyen, who was born October 25, 1953 in Süderbrarup, was also known as a painter and graphic artist. » Read more
Didier Lockwood RIP – Word reaches us today of the death of one of France's great jazz musicians, violinist Didier Lockwood. His playing bridged many worlds, from traditional jazz to fusion to progressive rock, and his talent can be heard on recordings by Magma, Clearlight, Pierre Moerlen's Gong, and many more. Lockwood was 62. » Read more
10 Years of Fruits de Mer - The Incomplete Angler – Those of you who are faithful followers of Exposé will know that we have been promoting Fruits de Mer and its side labels and releases from nearly its first year. Now music journalist and author Dave Thompson has written a book chronicling the past ten years as a celebration of this milestone. » Read more