Various Artists

Rubble 14: Magic Rocking Horse

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The 14th volume of the long-running Rubble series of obscure pop-psychedelia (mostly, but not totally, from the U.K.) was typically all over the map in terms of quality and, to a lesser degree, style. There was the usual preponderance of candy-coated rarities that were far more pop than psych -- the kind of music you'd expect, really, from bands named Curiosity Shoppe, Our Plastic Dream, and Science Poption. A lot of those tracks on this album are on the forgettable, if ornately produced side, but then there are some terrific cuts, those mostly being the ones with a harder edge. Pinkerton's Assorted Colours' "Magic Rocking Horse" is something like a harder-rocking U.K. equivalent to the Lemon Pipers' "Green Tambourine," and sounds like it should have been a hit (though it wasn't). Boeing Duveen & the Beautiful Soup's "Jabberwock" is menacing freakbeat with a far greater sense of sly humor than most of this stuff. The Syn's "Grounded" is far more mod than psychedelic, but it's superb crunching mod rock with cool guitar-organ interplay. The Sub's "Ma-Mari-Huana" is demented organ bad-trip psychedelia (from Germany) with plenty of phasing. In a softer mold, Strawberry Children's "Love Years Coming" is very much in the Beach Boys' "God Only Knows" style, though it's unclear why it qualified for inclusion, as this early Jimmy Webb composition was most definitely done by an American artist. Magic Rocking Horse was reissued on CD in 2003 as one of the ten discs in the box set The Rubble Collection Volumes 11-20.

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