Freaks of Nature

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There was one single issued on Island in the U.K. in late 1966 credited to the Freaks of Nature, "People Let's Freak Out"/"The Shadow Chasers," that will probably continue to confuse collectors and discographers…
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There was one single issued on Island in the U.K. in late 1966 credited to the Freaks of Nature, "People Let's Freak Out"/"The Shadow Chasers," that will probably continue to confuse collectors and discographers for eternity. For the Freaks of Nature were actually the Belfast Gypsies, a spinoff group of Them (with their own complicated, confusing history). Both of the tracks were issued on a U.S. single crediting the Belfast Gypsies, and also a little later on the Belfast Gypsies' sole LP, Them Belfast Gypsies. Probably someone not in the band (which broke up in late 1966 and didn't exist by the time the single was issued) felt that the single would get more attention if the band name was changed to something freakier and more psychedelic. Neither the Belfast Gypsies nor producer Kim Fowley had any prior knowledge of the name change, and according to Fowley, just 100 copies of the U.K. single bearing the Freaks of Nature name were pressed.

The confusion doesn't stop there. First of all, the B-side, "The Shadow Chasers," was actually just a Belfast Gypsies track that had already been issued as the B-side of their first single under a different title, "Secret Police." Second, the version of "People Let's Freak Out" on the Freaks of Nature single wasn't exactly the same as the more familiar version that came out on the Belfast Gypsies LP. The Freaks of Nature version had weird, overdubbed, and frankly incongruous psychedelic/electronic effects. For a long time it was much rarer than the un-overdubbed Belfast Gypsies version of the song, but the psychedelicized overdubbed Freaks of Nature version did come out on the 2003 compilation Impossible But True: The Kim Fowley Story.

As for the songs themselves, "People Let's Freak Out" was a cool Bo Diddley-styled slice of mid-'60s British R&B-rock, though with some psychedelic sloganeering in the lyrics. "The Shadow Chasers," aka "Secret Police," was in a similar mold, though with a more paranoid, slightly more psychedelic bent. Both tracks are good, but they're more properly heard and appreciated as part of the Belfast Gypsies' album than on the misleading Freaks of Nature single.