HAPSHASH AND THE COLOURED COAT was the third and final name of the British creative partners Michael English and Nigel Waymouth. The two made a name for themselves producing colorful surreal posters in the mid-sixties, primarily for psychedelic and underground bands like PINK FLOYD, SPOOKY TOOTH, SOFT MACHINE, JIMI HENDRIX and many others. In 1967 the pair released an album under the name Hapshash and the Coloured Coat and subtitled 'Featuring the Human Host and the Heavy Metal Kids'. The 'Heavy Metal Kids' were in fact the fledgling group ART, members of which would become the short-lived group SPOOKY TOOTH (Mike Harrison, Greg Ridley, Mike Kellie and Luther Grosvenor). The album is marked by wild psychedelic jams punctuated with unpredictable vocal outbursts, manic piano and rhythms sometimes bordering on both a very early funk sound, and some aspects of world music.
English reportedly became disillusioned with the music scene shortly after the album released and left to resume his art career. Waymouth would go on to release a second and final album under the Hapshash name with GROUNDHOGS guitarist T.S. McPhee and BIG JOE WILLIAMS manager Mike Batt. This album is heavily infused with spoken-word recordings, electronic effects and psychedalia/blues sound enhanced by violin and acoustic bass..... This is one of the stranger progressive albums to come out of the sixties, and that’s saying something considering there was some awfully weird stuff put out back then. This one isn’t one of those really whacked-out American psych albums like Joe Byrd’s American Metaphysical Circus or Fresh Blueberry Pancake, although there were clearly some psychedelic stimulants involved in the artistic process. Instead, the Brits seem to have trolled through some traditional American folk numbers and either adapted them for the times, or used them as inspiration. The result is something that is not only nearly unclassifiable; it also lacks much of a point of reference in anything of its day or since. The album was the follow-up to British artists Michael English and Nigel Waymouth’s first attempt at translating their poster and design art to music. By this second album Michael English had abandoned the band though, and Waymouth only played a nominal role. Instead Waymouth recruited a young Mike Batt (the Wombles, Steeleye Span) on piano and accordion, Michael Mayhew on guitar, guitarist Tony McPhee of the Groundhogs, Michael Ramsden (the Silkie) on vocals, drummer Andy Renton (another Wombles alumnus) and session musician Eddie Tripp along with the Heavy Metal Kids and violinist Freddie Ballerini. This eclectic and rather unrelated crew put together nine of the ten tracks that make the album, combined with a strange recorded-voice intro that sounds like some mid- twentieth century southern American politician’s stump speech.
The best description I can think of for the music here is something akin to a blend of Buckwheat Zydeco’s musical style combined with Joe Byrd’s Americana psych and a little dose of Reverend Glasseye & His Wooden Legs’ off-kilter folk showmanship. It’s a real mixed bag.
The traditional folk tune “Colinda” is the most accessible track on the album, if you can imagine that tune sung as a Cajun love song. The Woody Guthrie standard “Riding In My Car” (titled “Car..Car” here) is recognizable but has a piano line that sounds like one of those nineteenth-century player- pianos and a tinny vocal track from someone trying really hard to sound like a bijou hayseed. The spoon & washboard percussion combined with ball-horns completes the strange arrangement. It’s inconceivable that this rendition of Guthrie’s classic was meant to be taken seriously.
The other ‘cover’ (so-to-speak) is “Fare Thee Well”, a fleshed-out and psyched-up version of an old American Negro spiritual that is set to a decent blues guitar riff and stark piano. Even this one dips into psych territory on the instrumental passages, with some feedback and vocal echoing to make it sound both creepy and more intense.
The rest of the tracks were apparently written by Waymouth with some help from Mayhew and Batt, and they vacillate between more Cajun-sounding music, blues and psych. None of them really stands out much.
I really have no idea how to assess this album. It has no parallels except for some other irreverent acts of that period (Joe Byrd) and now (Reverend Glasseye), but both of them are American. I’m not sure what Waymouth was trying to accomplish here, but the album faded almost immediately when it was released in 1969 and can only be found today as Repertoire’s CD or Imperial’s vinyl reissue. I’m going to go with three stars simply because this thing is like watching a train wreck – you know it’s no good but you can’t turn away. I’ve found myself playing this CD numerous times over the past couple of months and that’s more than I can say for a lot of my collection, so it deserves at least that much acknowledgement.
peace.....by ClemofNazareth .......... Hapshash & the Coloured Coat's second and final album was a much more conventional and organized affair than the relatively anarchic, free-form (read songless) structure of their debut. Because of that, some listeners might be inclined to dismiss it as a sellout of sorts. Most listeners, however, will find it far easier to bear than its predecessor, even if it does sound more like a collection of tracks by a few different bands rather than a unified work. That doesn't mean, however, that it's a psychedelic album of note. In fact, it's kind of second-rate and boring, handicapped by rambling, repetitive songs in a mild hard rock British psychedelic end-of-the-'60s style, often handicapped by artlessly strained vocals. Much of the record's filled with stormily discordant blends of rock with Cajun, old-time folk, and ragtime music that sound as if they were arranged and recorded on the spot. In better news, "Chicken Run" isn't bad doom-clouded psychedelia (other than those terrible lead vocals), with some really weird haunting female chants in the background. And you should try to get that on a compilation tape instead of laying out full dollar for this cacophonous, messy relic of the psychedelic age....by Richie Unterberger......
Digitally remastered edition of this classic Psychedelic album. The band was formed Psychedelic graphic designers and darlings of London's Underground scene Michael English and Nigel Waymouth. The duo ventured into music after being persuaded to do so by friend, DJ and manager Guy Stevens. By the end of 1968, the diversion from graphic art into music led to the end of the Waymouth/English partnership. Waymouth retained the name Hapshash and the Colored Coat and signed a contract for a new album with Liberty Records. Entering the studio with Liberty staff producer Mike Batt and session musicians such as Tony McPhee (of the Groundhogs), drummer Andy Renton, guitarist Michael Mayhew, bass player Eddie Tripp and violinist Freddie Ballerina, the album "Western Flier" was the result. This Esoteric Recordings edition has been remastered from the original master tapes and includes a booklet that restores the original album artwork and a new essay...........
Each individual cd in this box set is a good single and well worth having. BUT the set isn't that great of an idea, in my opinion. That's b/c if you're an nsync fan you might already have one or two of these singles, so it wouldn't be a good idea to get this and have double copies. It's a good gift idea to someone who is a new nsync fan, and will probably be the best bet with new nsync fans. Like I said though, each cd single is good and well worth having, so if you don't have any of these this is a good buy. (I do suggest calculating the price of each individual cd and adding them together... it's possibly a better deal for you might come out of buying each individually - many you can find in stores that cary import singles like these, and there's no shipping charge! - the price just seems a bit high for the quantity of singles included.) Hope my advice helped!!......ByCatherine.....................
Nigel Waymouth - Vocals Michael Mayhew - Guitars Mike Batt - Piano, Accordion Michael Ramsden - Lead Vocals Andy Renton - Drums Tony T.S. Mcphee - Lead Guitar Eddie Tripp - Double Bass Freddie Ballerini - Violin The Rock'n Roll Women - Vocals
01. Telephone Budreaux - 1:00 02. Colinda (Traditional) - 2:57 03. Chicken Run - 5:53 04. Big Bo Peep - 3:31 05. Blue Narcissus - 4:42 06. Car-Car - 2:10 07. Milk Shake Knock - 2:15 08. Wall - 4:47 09. You For Ophelia - 5:02 10. Fare You Well (Traditional) - 8:51