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Archer Prewitt
Alan Price
Vincent Priceless

Andy Pratt  (US)

Andy Pratt, 'Resolution'

Resoution  (1976,  37.06)  **/½

Resolution
If You Could See Yourself
  (Through My Eyes)
Constant Heat
Karen's Song
Can't Stop My Love
Everything Falls Into Place
  (Lillian's Song)
That's When Miracles Occur
Some Things Go on Forever
Treasure That Canary
Set Your Sights
Love Song

Current availability:

Mellotron used:

Although I've never heard of him before, Andy Pratt is apparently best known for Avenging Annie, a multi-tracked vocal number from his second, eponymous album from 1973. Resolution was his follow-up, three years on and is best described as typical mid-'70s singer-songwriter fare, its arrangements locating it chronologically as surely as carbon dating. If you're into the style, it's probably a good album; certainly some way ahead of the likes of the horrible Leo Sayer, for example, although I wouldn't actually take that as a recommendation. What's the Douglas Adams quote? 'Mostly harmless', that's it, albeit rather irritating in places. The bulk of the album's material washes over me fairly harmlessly, although when the piano balladry got too close to Billy Joel territory (Can't Stop My Love, Everything Falls Into Place), I start twitching a little.

Mellotron on one track, with from Ken Bichel (Average White Band, Stories), with string and cello parts on Set Your Sights, although I've no idea why Pratt chose to use a Mellotron rather than the string section employed on the rest of the album. It's phased on the second chorus, which may be the reason, although I can't imagine why that couldn't be done to the real strings as well. Anyway, Resolution is an album caught in its own time like a fly in amber, with a very inessential 'Tron part, so don't go too far out of your way.

Official site

Prayers & Tears of Arthur Digby Sellers  (US)  see: Samples

Preacher Boy  (US)

Preacher Boy, 'Gutters & Pews'

Gutters & Pews  (1996,  44.32)  ***½/0

Down and Out in This Town
Catfish
Ugly
Cold Mountain Music
I Won't Be There
Something is Wrong
Buckshot
Railroad
New Orleans
In the Darkened Night
Back Then We Only Cared for Hell
2 O'Clock

Current availability:

Mellotron used:

Eagle-Eye Cherry collaborator Christopher "Preacher Boy" Watkins is an author, poet, songwriter, musician and singer, whose second album, 1996's Gutters & Pews, reminds the listener of a less extreme Tom Waits, if he concentrated more on old-time country and blues and less on being deliberately weird. Watkins is a superb guitarist, who clearly loves his raft of vintage instruments, playing them to perfection across the album, better tracks including Something Is Wrong, the energetic Buckshot and Back Then We Only Cared For Hell.

Watkins supposedly plays Mellotron, but whatever he might've added to the album is effectively inaudible. Somehow, I can't imagine that he used samples; maybe it's a mis-credit and he actually played something else entirely? Anyway, this is a fine Americana record from the old school, but you're not going to bother for the Mellotron.

Official site

Preâmbulo Que  (Portugal)

Preâmbulo Que, 'Tens um País' 7"  (1975)  **½/T½

Tens um País
Longe de Mim e do Mundo

Current availability:

Mellotron used:

Preâmbulo Que were a 'progressive folk' band from northern Portugal, whatever you take that to mean; I've no idea whether they released anything else, but 1975's Tens Um País is a rather cheesy effort, albeit stopping short of full-blown Europop. Its flip, however, Longe De Mim E Do Mundo, is somewhat better, a slower, folkier effort with a psychedelic guitar solo to liven things up a bit.

The semi-legendary José Cid produces and plays Mellotron, with background strings on the 'A' and a major flute part on the flip. This is available on download blogs, although I wouldn't go too far out of your way; Longe De Mim E Do Mundo is decent enough, but rather uninspired, with little enough Mellotron overall to really make it worth the effort.

See: José Cid

Predmestje  (Yugoslavia)  see: Mistaken ID

Premiata Forneria Marconi (PFM)  (Italy)  see:

Premiata Forneria Marconi (PFM)

Presence of Soul  (Japan)  see: Samples

Present  (Belgium)

Present, 'No.6'

No.6  (1999,  47.12)  ****/T

The Limping Little Girl
  Part 1
  Part 2
  Part 3
  Part 4

Le Rôdeur
Ceux d'en Bas (Suite)
  Part 1: Le Matin
  Part 2: Le Rêve de la Nuit
  Part 3: La Realité
  Part 4: Vers le Cauchemar
  Part 5: Le Cauchemar Yo
  Part 6: Le Combat

Sworlf
Present, 'High Infidelity'

High Infidelity  (2001,  48.03)  ****/T

Souls for Sale
Strychnine for Christmas
Rêve de Fer

Current availability:

Mellotrons used:

A few years ago, I saw Present play at a Swedish progressive festival. Their drummer hadn't made the gig so, undeterred, they played anyway, largely clearing the hall, which sums up the band's attitude perfectly. They began as a Univers Zero offshoot, formed by guitarist Roger Trigaux, with other UZ members guesting, although the band soon took on a life of its own. Splitting in the mid-'80s, it was a decade before Trigaux put together another lineup under that name, who have worked sporadically ever since. Their music is most easily compared to that of Univers Zero, best described as 'avant rock'; dissonant, repetitive, angular and intense, it's about the furthest you're going to get from 'easy listening' while remaining even vaguely in the realms of progressive rock, although I rather doubt that the band would even consider themselves such.

Trigaux contacted me himself to confirm the Mellotron use on their two most recent studio releases, 1999's No.6 and High Infidelity from two years later (REO Speedwagon connection, anyone? Thought not...). No.6 fits the band template to a T, with lengthy opener The Limping Little Girl's edginess setting the tone for the rest of the album. Oddly, Trigaux barely performs on the record, crediting himself mainly with 'composition/musical direction', leaving a five-piece band to actually play his material. Pierre Chevalier provides the slightly Magma-like piano work, plus the Mellotron on Ceux D'en Bas Pt.6, Le Combat, with some background strings slowly working their way to the front of the mix by the end of the piece.

High Infidelity is, if anything, better than its predecessor, with Trigaux taking more of an active role in the recording this time round. Although two of the album's three tracks are again split into several parts, it seems to be less 'official' than on No.6, so I haven't included them in the tracklisting above. The music is from the same, angular school as other Present albums, although it may be just a tad more accessible, or maybe it's just that I'm getting used to it; either way, it's all good stuff, particularly the 27-minute Souls For Sale. As with its predecessor, the album was recorded in Tel Aviv, and Chevalier does the Mellotron honours again (using Zohar Cohen's machine, also used by Israeli psych/pop monsters Rockfour), though only on his own composition, Strychnine For Christmas. I think the staccato sound over the (real) cello is actually guitar, though it's hard to say, but the strings in the middle of the piece are very obviously 'Tron.

So; two excellent albums in their field, but if you don't go for more 'out there' prog, stay away! For the more adventurous spirits out there, though, give it a go, although the Mellotron work isn't that overt.

Official site

See: Univers Zero

Lisa Marie Presley  (US)

Lisa Marie Presley, 'To Whom it May Concern'

To Whom it May Concern  (2003,  50.45)  ***/½

S.O.B.
The Road Between
Lights Out
Better Beware
Nobody Noticed it
Sinking in
Important
So Lovely
Indifferent
Gone
To Whom it May Concern

Current availability:

Chamberlin used:

It wouldn't be fair to say that Lisa Marie's management went out of their way to make her look like the spit of her dad, now would it? OK, it would. The Pelvis would've been proud of the monochrome 'over the shoulder smoulder' she sports on the sleeve of her debut album, To Whom it May Concern, archly raised eyebrow and all. Veteran of three failed marriages (one to Michael Jackson, as I'm sure you'll all remember) and a Scientologist since her teens (troubled celebrity background, eh?), Lisa's finally, at the age of 37, taken the plunge and followed in her father's footsteps. I was expecting the album to be truly awful, with some name producer shoehorning her into an inappropriate 'R&B' format, so, while I can't really say I particularly like it, I was surprised to find that it sits on the border between singer/songwriter territory and AOR, while Presley has a pleasant, warm contralto voice, proving that she's inherited more than just her father's looks.

Zac Rae (Macy Gray) plays Chamberlin on one track, with rather pointless background strings on Lights Out, which you quite honestly wouldn't spot were they not credited. So; by no means a great album, To Whom it May Concern is still better than expected, but don't go out of your way for its Chamby content.

Official site

Pressgang  (UK)

Pressgang, 'Mappa Mundi'

Mappa Mundi  (1997,  46.45)  ****/0

The Sylkie
Forty Summers
Flowers of the Forest
Death of the Last Crusader
Lyke Wake Dirge
Trip to the Glen
Lock the Gates
River Song
Chainsaw Reel
Walking in the Wild
Rocks and Stones
Locksley Hall

Current availability:

Mellotron used:

Pressgang have been chugging along for over 15 years now, brandishing their own, raucous take on UK folk-rock at the general public, some of whom have been seduced by the band's raw, uncompromising but fun approach to the genre. I hesitate to say this, but there are at lest slight similarities between their sound and that of the tedious 'folk-punk' crowd, including the Levellers and the appalling New Model Army, although Pressgang beat the competition hands down, largely by not being boring politicos, having brains and knowing how to write a tune.

I first heard Mappa Mundi some years ago, and was quite surprised to see a credit for 'Mellotron' on three tracks. Now, here I have a slight problem; I'm actually reviewing this from a taped copy of the album (sorry, chaps), and without the CD insert, I don't know which the three tracks are [note: I do now. Thanks Ritchie]. This is heavily compounded by the fact that when I heard it originally, all I could hear on the relevant tracks was a weird sort of drone, unlike any Mellotron sound I'd ever heard. So; is it actually a Mellotron at all? Or have they used the term indiscriminately, in a similar manner to the word 'Moog' being interchangeable with 'synthesizer' in the '70s? Or 'Fender bass' simply meaning 'bass'? Who knows?

Anyway, the album is actually bloody impressive; doom-laden opener The Sylkie sets the tone nicely, with several other darker pieces scattered throughout the record. There are more 'trad' folk numbers, too, plus a handful of more modern folk-rock efforts, making for a varied and interesting album that nonetheless fits firmly within the boundaries of English folk. George Whitfield's 'Mellotron' is, of course, another matter. As outlined above, all I can hear is what sounds like guitar-generated drones on three tracks, giving the album a resounding '0' on the 'Tronometer, I'm afraid. It is, though, well worth hearing if you're into this brand of folk.

Out-of-date official site

Presto Ballet  (US)

Presto Ballet, 'Peace Among the Ruins'

Peace Among the Ruins  (2005,  47.15)  ****/TTTT

Peace Among the Ruins
The Fringes
Seasons
Find the Time
Speed of Time
Sunshine
Slave
Bringin' it on
Presto Ballet, 'The Lost Art of Time Travel'

The Lost Art of Time Travel  (2008,  60.24)  ****/TTT½

The Mind Machine
Thieves

You're Alive
One Tragedy at a Time
I'm Not Blind

Easy Tomorrow
Haze
Presto Ballet, 'Invisible Places'

Invisible Places  (2011,  61.45)  ****/TTT½

Between the Lines
The Puzzle
Sundancer
Of Grand Design
One Perfect Moment

All in All
No End to Begin
Presto Ballet, 'Love What You've Done With the Place'

Love What You've Done With the Place  (2011,  40.38)  ***½/TT

King of the Stars
The Clock
A Distant Heart
Deep Black Blue

Looking Glass
The Faith Healer
Presto Ballet, 'Relic of the Modern World'

Relic of the Modern World  (2012,  41.53)  ****/T½

The Chemical Age
Watching the Radio

Broken Toys
Prelude to Farewell
Relic of the Modern World

Current availability:

Mellotrons used:

Presto Ballet is the latest project from Metal Church guitarist Kurdt Vanderhoof, who gleefully admits to having been a vintage keyboard collector for some years (he used his Mellotron on Metal Church's '99 album, Masterpeace). Peace Among the Ruins is a curious mixture of '70s progressive hard rock and Vanderhoof's roots, '80s metal, so this isn't going to appeal to everyone into Zeppelin, Heep et al, although many of you will get off on at least some of it. Find The Time is particularly retro, with a No Quarter-style piano part and swirling synths (rock reviewer cliché no.37 - sorry about that), while Sunshine is an acoustic strum-along kind of thing, with upfront 'Tron strings and flutes, although most of the other material is heavier, in that '70s-crossed-with-'80s way that Vanderhoof seems to have made his own. There's Mellotron and Chamberlin, maybe surprisingly, everywhere you look here, making me think at first that it could be samples, until I found an online interview where Vanderhoof talks about his collection. Mellotronic high-points? The flutes'n'strings pitchbending at the end of Sunshine, the point in closer Bring' It On where he finally uses the choirs, and just about every point where the strings lurch up out of the mix and kick you in the teeth.

Three years on, and Presto Ballet follow up with The Lost Art of Time Travel, possibly a less heavy album than its predecessor, although certain production tricks pronounce it a modern album, not a long-lost classic. It's as good as its predecessor, too, albeit rather different, which means (wait for it...) THEY'VE PROGRESSED! Well, shiver me timbers and fuck my old boots! It's such a rarity to see a band in the progressive area actually, y'know, move on these days that I feel it had to be remarked upon. Slightly less 'Tron than on Peace..., with two tracks entirely free of it, but plenty of good, tasteful use on most of the record makes this another worthwhile effort.

2011 brings two releases, the hour-long Invisible Places and the forty-minute 'EP' (huh?) Love What You've Done With the Place (ho ho). Although they're both recognisably Presto Ballet, most of the band has been replaced and they take a sharp left turn, going for that late '70s pomp thing, sounding not unlike Styx in the process. Is this a good thing? Depends on whether or not you like The Grand Illusion and Pieces of Eight, really; I do, but I'm sure many US readers tired of them after radioplay overkill at the time. The end result is quite excellent, only falling very slightly short of an extra half star, highlights including upbeat opener Between The Lines, All In All (particularly the sequencer/guitar interplay section) and parts of closing epic No End To Begin. New keys man Kerry Shacklett plays Mellotron, with strings on opener Between The Lines, Sundancer and No End To Begin, strings and choirs on Of Grand Design and flutes on One Perfect Moment. But is it real? The Hammond sounds fake, so I remain unconvinced, although the monosynth (an ARP?) sounds real enough.

Love What You've Done With the Place, while good, smells like outtakes, although the Wurlitzer-driven Deep Black Blue is as good as anything on the album. Material that wouldn't (and indeed, didn't) make the cut includes the cheesily-riffing Looking Glass, which incorporates the Peter Gunn Theme, for no apparent reason and their cover of The Sensational Alex Harvey Band's immortal Faith Healer, which channels the live version, rather than the original studio take. Shacklett adds Mellotron strings to the first four tracks, notably on The Clock, but this is far from being a major Mellotron release.

Clearly on a major roll, 2012 brought yet another Presto Ballet release, Relic of the Modern World, on which the band have backed away a little from their prevailing pomp influences, going back to a more 'typically' rock/prog (as against the abomination of prog metal) approach. It's impossible to pick out any 'best tracks'; they're all excellent, although the 'side-long' title track, veering between detailed, Genesis-like 12-string work, Spock's Beard riffery and a plethora of other styles is possibly the stand-out. Shacklett (and Vanderhoof?) presumably play Mellotron, although I'm becoming more and more disbelieving of its veracity with every passing PB release. Anyway, we get strings on opener The Chemical Age, playing solo at the end of track, with more of the same on Watching The Radio and the title track, the last-named adding choirs, although it's hardly the heaviest use you'll ever hear.

These are all good albums, decidedly worth hearing, their debut actually losing its '80s-ness as it progresses, strangely, bumping it up from a prospective ***½ to a ****, while Invisible Places channels Styx so effectively that I can wholeheartedly recommend it to fans of their best work. Buy.

Official site

See: Metal Church | Vanderhoof

Pretty Things  (UK)

Pretty Things, 'Talkin' About the Good Times' 7"  (1968)  ****/TT½

Talkin' About the Good Times

Walking Through My Dreams

Pretty Things, 'SF Sorrow'

S.F. Sorrow  (1968,  41.08/57.17)  ****½/TTT

SF Sorrow is Born
Bracelets of Fingers
She Says Good Morning
Private Sorrow
Balloon Burning
Death
Baron Saturday
The Journey
I See You
Well of Destiny
Trust
Old Man Going
Loneliest Person
[CD adds:
Defecting Grey
Mr Evasion
Talkin' About the Good Times
Walking Through My Dreams]
Pretty Things, 'Parachute'

Parachute  (1970,  41.03/63.01)  ***/T½

Scene One
The Good Mr. Square
She Was Tall, She Was High
In the Square
The Letter
Rain
Miss Fay Regrets
Cries From the Midnight Circus
Grass
Sickle Clowns
She's a Lover
What's the Use
Parachute
[CD adds:
Blue Serge Blues
October 26
Cold Stone
Stone-Hearted Mama
Summer Time
Circus Mind]
Pretty Things, 'Philippe DeBarge'

Philippe DeBarge  (2008, recorded 1969,  44.15)  ***½/T

Hello, How Do You Do
You Might Even Say
Alexander
Send You With Loving
You're Running You and Me
Peace
Eagles Son
Graves of Grey
New Day
It'll Never Be Me
I'm Checking Out
All Gone Now
Monsieur Rock (Ballad of Philippe)

Current availability:

Mellotrons used:

The Pretty Things started life as the nastiest beat group in town, out-outraging the Stones wherever they went, until psychedelia suddenly hit. Their first 'interesting' single, Defecting Grey, was good, but Talkin' About The Good Times was an excellent Mellotron and sitar-driven effort, easily the equal of many better-known psych 45s.

Famously, with S.F. Sorrow, the Pretty Things beat The Who to The First Concept Album (or, appallingly, 'rock opera') crown, although it's only in recent years that they've really been heralded for the feat. A fairly straightforward narrative of a man's unhappy life, it hangs together both lyrically and musically, and holds up well against its two major contemporaries, the Beatles' Sgt. Pepper and Pink Floyd's Piper at the Gates of Dawn. There's not a bad track on it, and highlights include the title track, Balloon Burning and the full-on Baron Saturday. The title track features much 'Tron brass, and a little strings for good measure, with other Mellotronic highlights being the swirly string chords and brief flute melody on Baron Saturday, while several other tracks feature the instrument rather more in the background. Thinking about it, S.F. Sorrow has to be one of the earliest 'Mellotron Albums', where it's used in anything more than a supporting role, giving it yet another 'first' in addition to the several it's already chalked up.

It took the band two years to follow S.F. Sorrow - doubtless the exertion involved in being so groundbreaking fair took it out of them. Anyway, Parachute was never really gong to compete, but it's not a bad record, just all a little ordinary in comparison, and showing their r'n'b roots more than you might expect. Apparently, John Povey definitely plays the 'Tron this time round, although his use seems to be limited to flutes on The Good Mr. Square and The Letter, and nice, if subdued string parts on Grass and the title track. There's a remote possibility there's more 'Tron elsewhere, but if so, it's low enough in the mix as to be almost inaudible. No 'Tron on any of the CD's bonus tracks, either.

Late 2008 brought a belated official release for one of the strangest Pretties stories of all. In 1969, a French playboy, name of Philippe DeBarge, wanted to be a rock star and asked the band if they'd back him, money no object. Being a bit on the skint side, the band agreed, recording an album's-worth of their own material (some of it rescued from their Electric Banana series of library recordings, speaking of strange Pretties tales). Philippe DeBarge is actually a pretty good effort, DeBarge making a fine lead vocalist, falling stylewise in between S.F. Sorrow and Parachute, funnily enough, highlights including Alexander, the acoustic jam You're Running You And Me and closer Monsieur Rock (Ballad Of Philippe). It's probably Povey on Mellotron again, with strings and brass on You Might Even Say, a brief, wildly pitchbent string part (thanks, Zohar) on Eagles Son and what sounds suspiciously like Mellotron guitar on It'll Never Be Me, so no 'Tron classic, but a good album in its own right.

So; I don't think I really need to recommend S.F. Sorrow to you. You either already know it or should, unless you just happen to have some antipathy towards late-'60s UK psych, in which case I suggest you revise your opinions post-haste. Buy unreservedly, particularly the version with the As and Bs of their two previous singles, including Talkin' About The Good Times. Parachute and Philippe DeBarge are rather more ordinary, but have some nice 'Tron here and there.

See: Twink

Bobby Previte  (US)

Bobby Previte, 'Coalition of the Willing'

Coalition of the Willing  (2006,  47.05)  ***½/½

The Ministry of Truth
Airstrip One
Versificator
The Ministry of Love
Oceania
The Inner Party
Memory Hole
Anthem for Andrea

Current availability:

Mellotron used:

Drummer Bobby Previte is one of the central figures in the New York jazz/avant-garde scene, frequently working with luminaries such as Charlie Hunter (in Charlie Hunter & Bobby Previte as Groundtruther) and John Medeski. Jazz discographies are notoriously convoluted, making it near impossible to work out how many solo albums Previte's released. Step 1: define 'solo'. Step 2: define 'released'. You get the picture... Suffice to say, 2006's Coalition of the Willing is a jazzy ((blue) note: not 'jazz') instrumental album, stuffed to the gills with Hunter's guitar (the album's outstanding feature, I'd say), working on a regular six-string instrument for once. Why is it so many jazz bandleaders are drummers, huh? Then they give all the solos to tuned instruments? Don't look a gift-horse in the mouth, son.

Jamie Saft (Matt Maneri) plays Mellotron, alongside Hammond, Moog and guitar and bass, although it only gets a look-in on one track, closer Anthem For Andrea, although it's near-impossible to tell what it might be doing. The vague, pad-ish sound in the background? Anyway, a bloody good album of its type, but don't bother for the Mellotron.

Official site

See: Charlie Hunter & Bobby Previte as Groundtruther

Archer Prewitt  (US)

Archer Prewitt, 'White Sky'

White Sky  (1999,  41.01)  ***½/TTT

Raise on High
Shake
White Sky
Summer's End
Last Summer Days
Walking on the Farm
Motorcycles
Final Season
I'll Be Waiting
Archer Prewitt, 'Three'

Three  (2002,  57.54)  ***/½

Over the Line
Tear Me All Away
When I'm With You
Two Can Play
I'm Coming Over
Gifts of Love
Second Time Trader
Atmosphere
Behind Your Sun
No Defense
Another Day
Sister Ice
The Race
The Day to Day
Archer Prewitt, 'Wilderness'

Wilderness  (2005,  53.50)  ***½/TTT

Way of the Sun
Leaders
O, Ky
Go Away

Judy, Judy
No More
Think Again
Cheap Rhyme
O, Lord
Without You
Wilderness

Current availability:

Mellotrons used:

Archer Prewitt's career started with The Coctails, before moving on to The Sea & Cake. He runs a solo career alongside playing in the latter, working in the slightly jazzy singer-songwriter area, crossed with what's probably best described as adult pop/rock (sorry).

His second solo effort, 1999's White Sky, typifies his style, mixing more laid-back material (Shake, Summer's End) with slightly (but only slightly) more aggressive stuff (Motorcycles, the title track), most with a vaguely jazzy feel that doesn't overwhelm with its... jazziness. Prewitt plays the Mellotron himself, with an uncredited flute melody on opener Raise On High, full-on strings on Summer's End and more of the same towards the end of Walking On The Farm. Ghostly flutes on Final Season and strings (and flutes?) on closer I'll Be Waiting finish off a surprisingly 'Tron-heavy release.

2002's Three is a rather more mainstream pop/rock thing, I'm afraid, and thus a lot less interesting than its predecessor. Don't get me wrong; it has its moments, but nowhere near as many as on White Sky, despite the addition of the occasional Neil Youngism. It's also far less notable on the Mellotron front, with nowt but a few faint string notes on opener Over The Line from Prewitt himself.

Wilderness appeared in January '05 and redressed the Mellotronic balance immediately. The music's better, too, if not a full return to his style of half a decade earlier. I believe that's called 'progression'. No fewer than three credited Mellotron players this time round: Prewitt, Dave Max Crawford and Mark Greenberg, all of whom are kept busy, with a front-of-the-mix flute line at the end of Leaders, a string part and more flute on O, Ky and what sounds like 'Tron strings mixed with real ones on Go Away. I think that's polyphonic Mellotron flutes on No More, but I could be wrong, and while the strings on Cheap Rhyme seem to be real, O, Lord and Without You both have Mellotron strings, the latter doubled, again, with real ones, with a chordal flute part on the title track to round things off nicely.

So; two out of three both musically and Mellotronically. Happily, they're the same two. Prewitt's work is probably going to appeal more to those who like to listen to something relaxing but not bland, and I'm quite sure many of his songs will grow on the listener given time. After all, how much good music takes a while to get into? I've learned to distrust immediacy; the initial sugar-rush of excitement is all too often followed by the sour taste of ennui. I suspect Archer Prewitt's albums will not be subject to this boom/bust cycle.

See: The Coctails | The Sea & Cake

Alan Price  (UK)

Alan Price, 'Don't Stop the Carnival' 7"  (1968)  **/TT

Don't Stop the Carnival
The Time Has Come
7"  (1968)  **½/½

When I Was a Cowboy
Tappy Tortoise

Current availability:

Mellotrons used:

Alan Price was the guy who played that organ riff on The Animals' immortal version of the traditional The House Of The Rising Sun, notoriously being the only band member with his name on the label (and thus the recipient of all publishing), as 'they ran out of room'. Yeah. Right. He eventually left the band (I'm not surprised, after that), becoming a Professional Geordie for the rest of his career which, at least for the rest of the '60s, was quite profitable.

Price released a couple of Mellotron efforts in 1968 in the shape of his first two singles of that year. The first, Don't Stop The Carnival (a Geordie calypso, for Chrissake?) was backed with the rather better The Time Has Come, the A-side adding background Mellotron mandolins and one of the brass variants, while the flip had rather more obvious strings and flutes. Single #2, When I Was A Cowboy, is immediately recognisable as Leadbelly's Out On The Western Plain, as memorably performed by the late, great Rory Gallagher, but nowhere near (NEAR) as good. Its flip, Tappy Tortoise (presumably in honour of Animals roadie Tappy Wright), is an odd little number, possibly aimed at the younger market, Price intoning the heartwarming story of how some lonely instruments met up and formed a band, backed by an exceedingly faint 'Tron string line.

All four tracks are available on I Put a Spell on You: The Decca Deram Singles A's & B's, along with his better-known solo hits, but I'd have trouble genuinely recommending any of these, for either the music or the Mellotron.

Official site

Unofficial site

Vincent Priceless  (US)

Vincent Priceless, 'Black Light Revival'

Black Light Revival  (2014,  41.35)  ***½/TTT½

Psychedelic Sunshine Pop Crusader
Frozen Fathers
Mitchum
What's in Your Food?
I'm Edgy (a Devotion for '71 Alice)
...Machines of Loving Grace
It Was a Very Good Year

Is it My Wheels?
Semi-Automatic Family Man
I Love Loosely
All the Colours of the Rainbow
Fluorescent Flashback

Current availability:

Mellotrons used:

The stupendously-nom-de-plumed Vincent Priceless (no, I don't know his real name) is a New York-based multi-instrumentalist who's been playing since the late '70s, by the look of it. I believe 2014's Black Light Revival is his first solo album, though, a mélange of rock'n'roll, surf and psych stylings, with a smidgeon of turn-of-the-'80s noo wave for good measure. Top tracks include the album's two covers, Sinatra's It Was A Very Good Year and Hugh Cornwell's All The Colours Of The Rainbow, excellent jangly opener Psychedelic Sunshine Pop Crusader, the punchy, Cooper-esque I'm Edgy (A Devotion For '71 Alice) and psych closer Fluorescent Flashback, although, despite the album's relative brevity, it could probably lose a couple of the more bog-standard rock'n'roll numbers.

Mellotronically speaking, Priceless plays both his old M400 and an M4000 (his?), with strings all over opener Psychedelic Sunshine Pop Crusader, less of the same on Frozen Fathers, occasional background choirs on Mitchum, I'm Edgy and Semi-Automatic Family Man, strings and choirs (sometimes background) on What's In Your Food?, I Love Loosely and All The Colours Of The Rainbow, 'everlasting sustain' choirs and swirly strings on ...Machines Of Loving Grace, choirs and pseudo-orchestral strings on It Was A Very Good Year and string section (and brass?) on Fluorescent Flashback. Enough Mellotron? I'm wondering if I've missed anything on Is It My Wheels?; the oboe-ish sound is more likely to be Priceless' generic Yamaha, but I've been wrong before... So; a decent collection of often witty material, with shedloads of very real Mellotron. What's not to like?

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