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

2019-10-06
Ginger Baker RIP – Legendary English drummer Ginger Baker has died at the age of 80. After coming to fame with Cream in the 60s alongside Eric Clapton and Jack Bruce, he became one of the most recognized and influential drummers of the rock era. On September 25, his family announced that he was critically ill, and on October 6 his death was confirmed. » Read more

2019-08-20
Alex's Hand Seeks Spa Treatment – American / European band Alex's Hand has a new album in the works called Hungarian Spa, which looks to be their biggest and best yet, featuring a large roster of guest musicians. They're seeking funding to take the project on the road, and are looking for help from the crowd of wisdom. » Read more

2019-06-05
Legendary Co-Founder of The 13th Floor Elevators Passes Away at Age 71 – Sadly, Roky Erickson passed away on May 31, 2019. Known as the father of psychedelic music and co-founder of the ground breaking 13th Floor Elevators, Roky had a profound influence on music from the 60s to today. Plagued by his own personal demons, Roky had a difficult life and is now free of these burdens. » Read more

2019-04-24
Help MoonJune Bring Great Music to Life – Like many music lovers around the world, we’ve been thrilled and amazed to hear the recordings that have been released by MoonJune from sessions at La Casa Murada in Spain. Such label stalwarts as Mark Wingfield, Markus Reuter, Asaf Sirkis, Tony Levin, Dusan Jevtovic, Vasil Hadzimanov, and many more have gathered in various combinations at the studio to produce some of the most creative music in recent years. Now, label head Leonardo Pavkovic is offering a compilation, La Casa Murada - MoonJune Sessions, Volume One, as a fundraiser for upcoming sessions. » Read more

2019-04-10
The Pineapple Thief to Tour North America – November and December of 2019 will see The Pineapple Thief bringing their music to Canada, Mexico, and the US, and famed drummer Gavin Harrison will be on board. The band has been touring extensively in Europe, but North America will be new territory for them. » Read more


Previously in Exposé...

Mikhail Chekhalin - Poruganie Patsiphika, Paradigm Transition & Untimely – Mikhail Chekalin is a Russian keyboard artist and a composer who has an impressive body of work dating back to the early 80s. He has been called the Russian Klaus Schulze, but these three new releases...  (2008) » Read more



Listen & discover



Print issues