Andy Ellison

Fool from Upper Eden

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Much of the material on this obscure 27-track bootleg has previously seen the official light of day. But in the absence of ready availability in the CD era of much of the non-John's Children recordings with which Andy Ellison has been involved, this motley group of odds and ends from the mid-'60s through the late '90s is about as easy a way as any to find all this stuff. Through all those decades, the constants in Ellison's music have been a certain sense of frivolous fun wedded to what's trendy or in vogue in the U.K., whether mod, R&B, psychedelia, or glam. In that regard he's similar to his one-time (briefly) bandmate Marc Bolan, and if Ellison isn't nearly the icon Bolan is, that doesn't make him any the less enjoyable. Included in this particular batch of items are four raw mod-R&B tracks from his pre-John's Children band the Silence; a bunch of Radio Stars cuts, all evidently rare to some degree; a couple recordings from a 1999 John's Children reunion; and a Paul Roland solo single, "Dr. Strange," in which Ellison and Robyn Hitchcock participated. The most interesting cuts, though, may be a bunch of rare solo singles and unreleased solo recordings from the late '60s that don't quite fit into the mod, psychedelic, or glam movements, even as they have elements of all of them. The weird, enigmatically downbeat "Cornflake Zoo" is the best of these, even if it's not the rarest of the tracks by any means, having been reissued a number of times. The artwork and track annotation is substandard and the liner notes nonexistent, but until some specialist labels come up with more thoughtful treatments of Ellison's body of work, it'll be hard to find as much of his more cultish efforts in one place.