Cherry Red (label)
24 February 2023 (released)
17 February 2023
In Victorian times in London, Notting Hill Gate through to Westbourne Grove and Kensal Green was a strong middle class area, but by the dawn of the Hippie era it had fallen on somewhat less salubrious times. As such, the main artery, Ladbroke Grove, found itself home to cheap property prices, flat conversions, squats and lots and lots of music. It was home to Anarchist collectives, acid heads, a very strong West Indian presence as well as (Portobello Road) antique dealers and street markets.
Bands took up residence, record labels (Island, Virgin, Trojan, Safari) were founded and the scene pulsed and gave birth to the so-called ‘Freak Scene’.
This three album set features many of the different combinations of musicians and other artists that congregated, inevitably of very various quality and genre. What it does definitely capture is the core of the artistic melting pot that was so prevalent through from hippie to pre-punk and on.
Among the familiar names are Hawkwind, Quintessence, Cochise, Mick Farren & The Social Deviants, Robert Calvert, Third Ear Band, Michael Moorcock & Deep Fix, Hapshash & The Coloured Coat and add a few surprises in the form of Family, Edgar Broughton Band, The Pretty Things, Stray, Roxy Music. Then sprinkle in the rarely heard bands such as Shagrat, Village, Rosemary, Mataya.
The list goes on but basically there is a wide range, some excellent and some who leave you wondering why anyone would record them in the first place.
All power to Grapefruit for not ignoring the weird and the hopeless as they were part of the scene originally, just as much as bands who have become recognized and lauded.