Exposé Online banner

July — The Second of July
(Lion Music ACLN 1019, 1967/2014, CD)

by Peter Thelen, Published 2015-01-16

The Second of July Cover artThe 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.

Filed under: Archives, 2014 releases, 1967 recordings

Related artist(s): July

Latest news

2018-11-16
The Seventeenth Dream of Dr Sardonicus Festival Tickets Now Available – Fruits de Mer Records and their merry crew of psychedelic explorers are getting set to present the next The Seventeenth Dream of Dr. Sardonicus Festival. The dates are set for August 2-4, 2019 at The Cellar Bar in Cardigan, Wales. They've also announced that the legendary Groundhogs will top the bill. » Read more

2018-11-02
Charles O'Meara (C.W. Vrtacek) RIP – A true musical original has left us. Charles O'Meara, who recorded under the name C.W. Vrtacek, was a wild-card musical talent, ranging from complex progressive rock to introspective modern compositions, with stops at many places inbetween. » Read more

2018-10-17
Eurock Documentary Seeks Funding – We've been fans and fellow travelers with Archie Patterson and his Eurock project on the journey to discover great music. After many years of promoting and trying to spread the word,a new phase is beginning: a documentary film. Things like this don't just happen, and money does not magically appear to make it happen, so it's up to the fans to get it done. » Read more

2018-09-29
Marty Balin RIP – One of the architects of the 60s psychedelic sound of San Francisco has died at the age of 76. Marty Balin was a singer, songwriter, and guitarist who was one of the founders of Jefferson Airplane. After the split of the original Airplane, Balin went on to form the highly successful Jefferson Starship. » Read more

2018-09-25
Help the Psychic Equalizer Avoid Extinction – Last year we reviewed the debut album by Psychic Equalizer, a musical project of Hugo Selles. He's now working on the ambitious follow-up to that release, and is seeking funding from listeners around the world. » Read more


Previously in Exposé...

Michael Mantler / Edward Gorey - The Hapless Child and Other Inscrutable Stories – It's a rare project that extracts elements of the written word and transfers them eloquently to an audio performance. Composer/trumpet player Michael Mantler's first major success with this...  (2000) » Read more



Listen & discover



Print issues