Thursday, July 30, 2009

McGough and McGear - McGough and McGear (1968)

McGough & McGear was a spin-off of the Scaffold, the British comedy/pop trio famous for including Mike McGear, Paul McCartney's brother. The Scaffold also included poet Roger McGough and John Gorman. Minus Gorman, the duo of McGough & McGear released a self-titled album in 1968.

Far from being just a Beatles-related curiosity, McGough & McGear is a fine (and rare) album deftly combining poetry, comedy, and a good amount of solid pop-psychedelic rock. McGear tended to be more prominent on the straighter rock songs, while McGough had a greater role on the pieces dominated by goofy, yet intellectually sharp, poetry. It's heartily recommended to fans of the more famous Bonzo Dog Band, who had a similarly appealing blend of comedy and rock, though McGough & McGear has a more poetic, spoken word bent. On tracks like "So Much in Love" and "Ex-Art Student," however, the act presented accomplished, sunny British pop-psych that could be enjoyed as relatively pure, tuneful rock songs.

The record also boasted a roster of all-star guests, including, unsurprisingly, Paul McCartney; McCartney's then-girlfriend, actress Jane Asher; Jimi Hendrix, who adds cool psychedelic guitar to "Ex-Art Student"; the other members of the Jimi Hendrix Experience; John Mayall; Zoot Money; Graham Nash; Spencer Davis; ex-Pretty Things drummer Viv Prince; ex-Yardbirds bassist Paul Samwell-Smith; Dave Mason; Gary Leeds of the Walker Brothers; and yet more names that will be known to aficionados of swinging London, like Margaret Asher (Jane Asher's mother) and socialite Prince Stanislaus Klossowiski de Rola. The Beatles' official biographer, Hunter Davies, wrote the liner notes.

The album was largely recorded in the summer of 1967, but not completed and released until the following year. It's been reported that it was intended for issue on the Beatles' new Apple label, but in the end it appeared on Parlophone (the Beatles' standard record company). The album went little noticed, and was only briefly reissued on CD before it went out of print again. ~ Richie Unterberger, All Music Guide

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1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Thank you!