Orange Bicycle

Hyacinth Threads: The Morgan Blue Town Recordings

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Although never succeeding like their contemporaries, multi-instrumentalist and songwriter Wilson Malone's band, the Orange Bicycle, issued late-'60s recordings that occasionally managed to hit the mark with their "U.S. West Coast harmony pop meets U.K. psychedelic pop" style. The early singles released on Columbia during 1967 and 1968 are resplendent with the motif-sweet harmonies, splashes of harpsichord, and fuzz guitar that filled the flower power era. However, their sole album, released in 1970 and produced by John Peel, showed a musical desperation that would never be shaken off. It contained four songs by fledgling writer Elton John, and for the main part was a very pedestrian affair that lacked any of the excitement of their earlier recordings. In an attempt to reinstate the Orange Bicycle into the echelons of U.K. psychedelia, Edsel has compiled a selection of Malone's finer songs on this double-CD set. Stylistic fragments of the singalong pop of the Bee Gees, the haunting harmonies of the Zombies, and the soulful nature of Traffic converge with the Baroque pop of Simon & Garfunkel and the optimistic sheen of the Association. Consisting of single sides, a few album tracks, and 15 unreleased cuts, these 33 songs track Malone's career from a fuzzy young tyke (Monkees meet the Who popisms) through to his attempt at Anthony Newley-like theatrical numbers. The face of U.K. psychedelia was ever changing, and it seems that Malone's persistence in trying to fit in with the Zeitgeist and get a hit worked against him.

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