Exposé Online banner

Wilde Flowers — Tales of Canterbury: The Wilde Flowers Story - Brian's Tale
(Voiceprint VPB 123, 1969/1994, CD+Book)

The Wilde Flowers — The Wilde Flowers
(Voiceprint VP123, 1969/1994, CD)

by Jeff Melton, Published 1995-11-01

Tales of Canterbury: The Wilde Flowers Story - Brian's Tale Cover artThe Wilde Flowers Cover art

For those of you still uninitiated, Canterbury was a place in the UK where a music scene originated in the 60s (complementary to that of San Francisco Haight-Ashbury). Several known European groups and solo artists originated from this locale (including Soft Machine, Caravan, Gong, and Kevin Ayers). Up until this point, the starting nucleus for all these musicians has been either buried in musician's waning memories or completely ignored. But The Wilde Flowers Story does provide a clear, semi-microscopic view into the roots of a bunch of adventurous minds influenced by blues, jazz, and beat poetry. The nearly 60-minute, 22-track disc traces the early adventures of Robert Wyatt, Hugh Hopper, Kevin Ayers, Richard Sinclair, Pye Hastings, and Richard Coughlan as chronicled by rhythm guitarist (and occasional singer) Brian Hopper.

Brian's story puts the group in 1965 hanging out in your typical Soho coffee house listening to live versions of "Johnny B. Goode." According to Brian's narrative, the group was also one of the few at the time to write and perform their own songs at as well as covers of the Stones / Motown and Thelonious Monk. Robert Wyatt can be seen as the early leader, moving from drummer to front man, vocalist for several songs; bassist Hugh Hopper is key original writer. Gem tracks include: "Impotence (V1 and V2)" (in part due to the amusing subject matter and sordid lyrics), and "Parchman Farm" (one of the earliest recorded Kevin Ayers vocal parts on a blues standard). An early version of "A Certain Kind" (which was re-worked for Soft Machine's debut) is sung in a 50s crooning, Pat Boone-ish style by Richard Sinclair. Pye Hastings is only represented with a single track, "She Loves to Hurt," that is very reminiscent of his work on the first two Caravan albums. Down points: a few turkey tracks are included (those of Brian Hopper's offshoot group, Zobe) but fortunately, they don't derail the compilation.

For you collector's types the disc comes with psychedelic packaging, complete with detailed track listing and credits. The sources appear to be from old ancient acetates that have been cleaned up significantly without major remix work. Overall the comparison of this group to others of the day is similar to that other retro groups: a good start for musicians whose body of work was still far ahead of them, but still charming in this simple development stage. It's not just a historical look-back into the timevault: this set of primitive ideas is fun and engaging.


Filed under: Archives, Issue 8, 1994 releases, 1969 recordings

Related artist(s): Brian Hopper, Hugh Hopper, Robert Wyatt, Kevin Ayers, Richard Sinclair, Dave Sinclair, Wilde Flowers

Latest news

2019-01-11
Jazz Composer Mark Lomax, II Releases Epic 12CD Set – In addition to being a fine jazz drummer, Dr. Mark Lomax, II is a composer in residence at Ohio State University, where he has been very busy on the compositional front. The year 2019 is the 400th anniversary of the arrival of the first ship bringing African slaves to North America, and in commemoration of this, Lomax has produced 400: An Afrikan Epic, a 12 volume set of CDs featuring a variety of different musical ensembles. » Read more

2019-01-02
Chicago-Based Surabhi Ensemble Tours the World in January – Surabhi Ensemble was formed more than a decade ago in Chicago with the aim of bringing together musicians from varying traditions to make music. Saraswathi Ranganathan, who plays veena, assembled a cast that includes Arabic oud, Spanish guitar, and percussion from Africa and India. This month, the group will be sharing their sounds with concert-goers in Southeast Asia, Europe, and Africa. » Read more

2018-12-23
Seaprog Festival Seeks Donations – Seaprog is a small festival in Seattle that highlights creative music from many genres with artists from around the world. It's also a US non-profit organization. They're seeking donations to help keep the ball rolling. Starting in 2013, the organization has been growing, and has featured such artists as Free Salamander Exhibit, Jack o' the Clock, Nik Turner, Cabezas de Cera, Miriodor, Thinking Plague, and many more. » Read more

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


Previously in Exposé...

François Couturier - Nostalghia - Song for Tarkovsky – The films of the late Russian filmmaker Andrei Tarkovsky have been widely acclaimed in international circles for over thirty years. Pianist François Couturier has taken as inspiration characters,...  (2007) » Read more



Listen & discover



Print issues