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27 Feb 2017

Second Hand "Reality" 1968 UK Prog Rock














Second Hand  "Reality" 1968 UK Prog Rock
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Second Hand were a British progressive rock band, established by teenagers Ken Elliott, Kieran O'Connor and Bob Gibbons in 1965. They recorded three studio albums (the firstwas released in 1968) until their breakup in 1972. The band is considered to be one of the first and most underestimated progressive rock bands in history.

Ken Elliott was 15 in 1965, when his schoolmate Kieran O'Connor, a drummer, suggested that they set up a band. Ken quickly learned to play the harmonica and the piano. Kieran also asked his friends Bob Gibbons, who played the guitar, and Grant Ramsay (bass) to join the group. The band's title was The Next Collection, the group was based in Streatham,South London. Ramsay was replaced by Arthur Kitchener soon afterwards. With him on board, the band won the Streatham ice rink battle of the bands and were awarded the privilege to make a demo recording at Maximum Sound Studios. The Next Collection recorded two songs during this session, "A Fairy Tale" and "Steam Tugs". These demo recordings were later released as bonus tracks to the 2007 reissue of the album Reality. Vic Keary, the owner of the studio, liked the band and decided to become their producer.

With Keary's support, the band signed to a prestigious Polydor label under the title The Moving Finger (a reference to one of the Omar Khayyám poems). The band started working on their first studio album, Reality with Arthur Kitchener on bass, but he quit the band during the sessions, and the bassist Nick South was found through an ad in Melody Maker. As a result, half of the songs on the album were recorded with Kitchener on the bass, and the other half with South. The album was to be released in September, but Polydor found out that the band called The Moving Finger had already released a single on Mercury Records, and so the band had to change its name. They called themselves Second Hand, as all their instruments had been bought used. The album was released at the end of 1968 and failed because of complete lack of promotional support by Polydor............

Second Hand’s Reality is rarely mentioned when collectors compile their lists of best ever UK psych albums. That’s a shame, because Reality is probably better than most of the well-known psych classics.

Second Hand was originally known as The Next Collection, a Clapham/Balham/Streatham group who, early on, were structured around the guitar talents of Bob Gibbons (Gibbons would eventually quit the band due to depression). The Next Collection were heavily influenced by the sounds of the Who, the Creation and the Small Faces, utilizing feedback and charging arrangements in many of their early tunes. The axis of the group would eventually become keyboard player Kenny Elliot and drummer Kieran O’Connor. This group would change their name to the Moving Finger as psychedelia became the new trend and some time later, they’d eventually settle on Second Hand. Early copies of their debut, released in 1968, are in fact credited to the Moving Finger. The group changed their name to Second Hand because another group called the Moving Finger had just released a 45 on Mercury.

Lots of people comment that the album’s one weak point is Kenny Elliot’s vocals. This reviewer feels his vocals fit the music appropriately and do not take anything away from the album’s greatness. Some tracks such as “A Fairy Tale” and “Good Old ’59” are appealingly twee while others hit much harder, like the stoner rock of ‘Rhubarb!” There’s lots of mellotron and cool studio tricks throughout Reality. The album’s one certified classic, “The World Will End Yesterday” has swirling backward tapes, crashing drums and heavy guitar – a psych masterpiece! A few of the longer cuts have led some people to unfairly label this disc prog. Reality is pure psychedelia but more experimental and challenging than most. Two sad drug OD songs (“MainLiner” and “The Bath Song”) hit really low, downer moods but are truly brilliant. An album that can be played from beginning to end, without skipping thru any tracks. One of the great unknown LPs from 1968.

Second Hand would issue their second album in 1971. This disc, titled May Death Be Your Santa Claus, is another standout effort from the early progressive era, full of great ideas and eccentric music.....Rising Storm review........

 Second Hand’s Reality is rarely mentioned when collectors compile their lists of best ever UK psych albums. That’s a shame, because Reality is probably better than most of the well-known psych classics.

Second Hand was originally known as The Next Collection, a Clapham/Balham/Streatham group who, early on, were structured around the guitar talents of Bob Gibbons (Gibbons would eventually quit the band due to depression). The Next Collection were heavily influenced by the sounds of the Who, the Creation and the Small Faces, utilizing feedback and charging arrangements in many of their early tunes.

The axis of the group would eventually become keyboard player Kenny Elliot and drummer Kieran O’Connor. This group would change their name to the Moving Finger as psychedelia became the new trend and some time later, they’d eventually settle on Second Hand. Early copies of their debut, released in 1968, are in fact credited to the Moving Finger. The group changed their name to Second Hand because another group called the Moving Finger had just released a 45 on Mercury.

Lots of people comment that the album’s one weak point is Kenny Elliot’s vocals. This reviewer feels his vocals fit the music appropriately and do not take anything away from the album’s greatness. Some tracks such as “A Fairy Tale” and “Good Old ’59″ are appealingly twee while others hit much harder, like the stoner rock of ‘Rhubarb!” There’s lots of mellotron and cool studio tricks throughout Reality.

The album’s one certified classic, “The World Will End Yesterday” has swirling backward tapes, crashing drums and heavy guitar – a psych masterpiece! A few of the longer cuts have led some people to unfairly label this disc prog. Reality is pure psychedelia but more experimental and challenging than most. Two sad drug OD songs (“MainLiner” and “The Bath Song”) hit really low, downer moods but are truly brilliant. An album that can be played from beginning to end, without skipping thru any tracks. One of the great unknown LPs from 1968.

Second Hand would issue their second album in 1971. This disc, titled May Death Be Your Santa Claus, is another standout effort from the early progressive era, full of great ideas and eccentric music.
by Jason Nardelli ..............

 The debut album from Second Hand which was released in 1968 and called Reality is a pretty psychadelic experience.
The music is heavily influenced by rock/ blues bands like Jimi Hendrix and Cream but in addition to that sound Ken Elliott´s vintage keyboards are a trademark in Second Hand´s sound. His voice is very strong and humourous. This music seems to be made while having lots of fun and probably under the influence of various drugs.

Most songs are fairly ordinary rock songs with a psychadelic touch while Mainliner Reality is a 15 minute long song with lots of string arrangements. The most progressive track on Reality for sure.

The musicianship is allright but a bit sloppy. The production is muddy and far from clean but I guess that´s the way the band thought it should be ( or maybe they just didn´t have enough money to buy themselves a better sound).

If your introduction to Second Hand was their second and most known album Death May Be Your Santa Claus this album probably won´t blow you away. But on the other hand if you liked Death May Be Your Santa Claus this is a a nice way to see how they started out. I´ll rate Reality 3 small stars. It´s a good psychadelic rock album with vintage keyboards and a great singer, but not much more than that. I´ll recommend that you start with Death May Be Your Santa Claus if you´re curious about Second Hand......by UMUR ..........

Second Hand's debut, Reality, released in 1968 before progressive music had developed, is one of those odd records that mix psychedelic and garage-style music with some progressive touches. This is most evident on "Mainliner" and the title track, which are segued together by some classical music instrumentation. "Reality" adds other symphonic elements as well, and there's even a minute where one hears just organ and cello, a relaxed, slightly haunting moment before the rest of the band kicks back in. "Mainliner" is a nightmarish track about heroin addiction with funeral-dirge organ riffing, and "The World Will End Yesterday" is another doom-laden piece. "Denis James the Clown" uses carnival music played at an amphetamine-hyperactive pace to create a strange little song. There are lots of long instrumental sections with guitar solos, which is fortunate because Ken Elliott's vocals are the weakest link, and a few of his song arrangements come off a little dated as well. Fortunately, those aspects are not enough to distract too much from this otherwise excellent record......by Rolf Semprebon.........

Secondhand came from Streatham, a suburb of London. The band was founded in the mid-1960s as a student band, but at the beginning of the next collection. In 1967, the quartet for Ken Elliott (later on to the Seventh Wave electronics division) won a band competition, which made it possible to record a demo in Vic Keary's Maximum Sound Studio. Keary, who later ran the well-known Chalk Farmstudio, liked the band - which was now called Movingfinger - and gave the group a record deal with Polydor. At the beginning of 1968 the album "Reality" was produced with Keary as producer. However, since there was another band called MovingFinger (who was about to release a single), Elliott and colleagues had to change their name again. "Reality" finally appeared at the end of 1968 under the band name Secondhand.

Secondhand are known in Progkreisen - if at all - because of their second boy ("Death May Be Your Santa Claus" from 1971), which can be easily assigned to the Prog and is probably the status of an obscure classic. On the other hand, the band 's debut is more psychedelic, although the music has sometimes been so broken and confused that the adjective can also be used here progressively.

A very own mix of late-sixties pop songs, classical psychedelics à la early Floyd, Protoprog (with organ and mellotron - the latter was also borrowed by Manfred Mann, who at the same time recorded the maximum sound), Bluesrock à la Hendrix and confused dadas, Which Ken Elliott describes as "progressive pop" in the extensive supplementary text (which he wrote on the occasion of the reissue of Sunbeam Records in February 2007). Secondhand belong to the not so small group of British bands, who broke the boundaries of Beat and Rock in the late 1960s and moved into experimental-progressive fields, but at the same time, due to the low media echo, to the rockmusic underground Of the island. Interesting and innovative (seen from the perspective of 1968), there is "Reality", of course, to be heard nevertheless, even if the whole thing has now set a little dust.

As expected, the two longest numbers have turned out to be the most probable, of which "Mainliner", even with some inserts from the church organ, probably corresponds best to the Protoprog scheme. In the second half of the title, on the other hand, some of the choral pieces are sound, which are very pressing together with the band. In the remaining, rather shorter numbers, Mellotron, organs, and all kinds of tape recordings and noises always ensure that the otherwise prevailing psychedelic pop-fugue will leave in the direction of Prog.

"Reality" is regarded by some contemporaries as British psychedelic classics. So far I would not go now. Really impressive highlights are not to be seen on the album and all in all, the album still looks slightly unpopulated. Nevertheless, lovers of the psychedelic-experimental sounds of the late 60's can discover here a lot of interesting. And as an introduction to the already mentioned "Death May Be Your Santa Claus", the CD is of course also very suitable....by...... Achim Breiling .........

Second Hand
*Ken Elliott - Keyboards, Vocals
*Bob Gibbons - Guitar
*Arthur Kitchener - Bass
*Kieran O'Connor - Drums, Percussion
*Nick South - Bass
With
*Christopher Williams - Cello, Flute, Saxophone

Tracklist
A Fairy Tale
Rhubarb!
Denis James The Clown
Steam Tugs
Good Old '59 (We Are Slowly Gettin' Older)
The World Will End Yesterday
Denis James (Ode To D.J.)
Mainliner
Reality
The Bath Song

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