Thirteen examples of pleasant, mid-tempo, mildly amplified psychedelic pop, most of them owing some considerable debt to the influence of the Beatles’ Rubber Soul and Revolver (though not their production), with some of the nutsy brand of humor that Giles, Giles, & Fripp later traded in. This is basically Paul McCartney-influenced psychedelia, not only in the tone and texture of the lead vocals, but the retro style of songs like “I’m So Happy,” with some vaguely progressive touches that make one think of the more ornate tracks off of Bee Gees’ 1st. “Montgolfier” is a folky/trippy, deliberately antiquated cut that intersects somewhere midway between the early psychedelic Bee Gees and the early work of Amazing Blondel. The group also had the temerity to write and record a bouncy number called “Drive My Car” that sounds McCartney-esque (even anticipating the scatting on the latter’s “Heart of the Country”) without ever sounding at all like the Beatles’ song of that name. Other cuts, such as “Goodbye,” contain elements that anticipate Simon & Garfunkel’s “So Long, Frank Lloyd Wright.” It’s all under-produced, which makes the attempted guitar flourishes on “Hey You” seem a bit anemic, but imparts a nicely lean and trippy sound to “Sun Sing.” Every track here was essentially a demo, a fact that may explain why the album never found an audience in an era when layer upon layer of overdub was the norm – but it is pretty, in a minimalist sort of way…. by Bruce Eder ………….
Rainbow Ffolly consisted of Jonathan Dunsterville on guitar and vocals, his brother Richard on lead vocals and guitar, Roger Newell on bass and vocals, and Stewart Osborn on drums and vocals. The group were from High Wycombe University, and their art-school influence is very apparent in this 1968 L.P. titled Sallies Fforth. The Psychedelic cover was designed by Jonathan, who was also credited with writing all of the songs. With 15 tracks clocking in at 43 minutes, this highly collectible, enigmatic L.P. emerges with all of it’s influences clearly worn at the top of it’s sleeve. Copies of the original L.P. fetch up to $2,000. each, if one can find them. Is the L.P. worth it? That is entirely a matter of one’s opinion, as well as one’s taste. The lush, inventive arrangements, flowing melodies, and strong vocal harmonies display a wide range of styles, all very British, with tongue firmly planted high up in cheek. As pointed out in the sparse but spot-on sleeve notes by Brian Hogg, even their name with the double ‘f’ was intended as a tribute to Wally Ffolks, creator of The Daily Mail’s Flook cartoon strip. As for the individual tunes themselves, they display a wide range of styles. “She’s Alright” opens the album with strong musicianship, which is achieved throughout the L.P. “I’m So Happy” is inspired by the 1920’s British Music Hall tunes which The Kinks embraced during their late 60’s and early 70’s period. “Montgolflier” embraces some excellent Beach Boys type harmonies. “Drive My Car” was the single chosen by the Parlophone label to unleash on an unsuspecting public. The single did not chart even though it is very good. FYI, it is NOT the Beatles tune. Moving onward, the tunes get stronger with some very good Psych guitar complementing the harmonies. “Goodbye” sounds like early period solo Paul McCartney, while both “Sun Sing”, as well as “Sun And Sand” recall Donovan in his Psychedelic period. Quite Rightly So! “Labour Exchange” recall The Small Faces, while “No” sounds totally original but yet familiar. “Sighing Game” and “Come On Go” close the album with 2 of the strongest tracks, displaying very good songwriting by Dunsterville. The release is completed with the inclusion of the mono single version of “Go Girl” and “Drive My Car” which sounds fuller and provides more punch than the L.P. version. Overall, with its’ witty take on Psychedelia, extraordinary triteness, mock-Beatles, 1920’s nostalgia, sound effects drifting in and out between each track, one could easily mistake the entire L.P. as one entire inside joke. The Ffolly wrapped their experimental ideas which were purposely designed to reflect their enigmatic stage act, and embellished them with various forms of studio trickery. Originally designed as a “demo tape”, EMI decided to release it as the finished product. The Ffolly were certainly both delighted, as well as bemused by this. To add further to the mystery, the record sleeve had the very fashionable pop art drawings, but absolutely no information about the group, itself, or the songs on the record, themselves. One’s take on the entire group, as well as the L.P., itself, is entirely dependent one the mood of the listener, themselves. Fans of The Small Faces, Creation, early Pink Floyd, and more specifically, Syd-Floyd, and Kaleidoscope(UK), should enjoy this enigmatic but musically strong L.P. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED! …..BySmrz………………
This band was another one of those underground UK 60’s psych pop bands that had a lot of talent, but never really “made it”. Like The Creation, Turquoise, The Action, Orange Bicycle,(and many others), these guys were in that Kinks/Beatles/Move UK invasion style. They do it very well, and even show off some primitive Beach Boys style harmonies. It is kind of a shame that they were never given the opportunity to record a proper album, because I think that it could have been a real masterpiece. Instead this album sounds exactly like what it is, a collection of demos put together by the record label at the time because they didn’t want to invest the money in recording sessions for the band. Even so, the songs are really strong, and this stands up really well alongside other UK underground releases of the time……By G. Putman………………
Edison Lighthouse had charted heavily with Barry Mason’s “Love Grows” first offered to the Rainbow Ffolly’s. Beatles’ harmony rival was the Rainbow Ffolly’s, far more idyllic than Tony & the Castaways as they sauntered through the Mersey acoustic “Goodbye” or scat Monkees influenced “Come On Go”. The Ffolly’s sprouted two singles the Beachboys influenced “Go Girl” and Beatle vibing “Drive My Car”. Although these paisley cats were a bit Bonzo Dog their King Singers style could waver and sweep lethargically as in the air harmonized “Montgolfier”.Rainbow Ffolly’s evolved from a group called Force Four comprising of guitarists Jonathan and Richard Dunsterville later fusing with bassist Alan Thomas, Stewart Osborn drums. The groups cross harmonized Sallies Fforth zapped `Record Of The Week’ on `Saturday Club’, but “Sun Sing” and “Hey You” allowed them to sink as one of the last beat groups to play to a discarded Starclub in Hamburg over and above ex Bostons Dave Dee who would pen the fuzz “Hold Tight”, “Touch Me Touch You” (jam with Hendrix) plus further creations like “Hideaway”, #5 debut “No Time” under the rattle- trap name of Dave Dee, Dozy, Beaky, Mick & Tich. Howard & Blaikley gave them the Western “Legend Of Xanadu” which received John Cage styled percussion from Mick WIlson. Of particular note `Dave Dee’ Harman started out in 1958 with the Boppers that boasted one of the first stand -up electric basses, played by Roy Jarvis……ByF. N. Noone…………….
For years, Rainbow Ffolly Sallies Fforth, PMC 7050 (stereo PCS 7050), has been the ultimate mystery album for collectors. Mint copies change hands at upwards of £120, an Italian bootleg has been issued, and yet the group members have remained anonymous. Time to unffold the tale of the Rainbow Ffolly, a band influential on the careers of the Moody Blues, possibly the Who and even the Beatles.
The Ffolly’s story, with its incredible string of 'ffirsts’, is unique amongst groups of the time. Only when it reaches the part where the band is forced to split through lack of income does the tale become the sadly-familiar 'Sixties shot-at-stardom that failed’.
Rainbow Ffolly, an art college band, evolved in High Wycombe, Buckinghamshire, from a group called Force Four. Jonathan Dunsterville picked the new name to conjure up the eye-searing colours associated with psychedelia, doubling the 'f’ on Ffolly in tribute to Wally Ffolks, jazz clarinettist and creator of the 'Flook’ cartoon strip.
Roger Newell and Stewart Osborn were neighbours who had known each other since the age of three. Later in life they both took up the guitar, but according to Roger: “We found there were loads of guitarists better than us, but few bass players and few drummers.”
Roger shrewdly moved to playing bass and Stewart, to drums. In book-binding classes at college, John became intrigued by Stewart’s habit of carrying sticks in his pockets and drumming on the desk when he got bored.
“This bloke in evening class going 'chika chika chika bash bash bash!’… (had) to be an interesting character,” John realised. “He could play trills and things that no other drummer could do at the time, so I thought, 'that’ll do’!”
John and his brother, Richard, came from a musical family, John’s guitar skills stemming from finding a ukulele in the loft at the age of eleven. The brothers honed their talents by copying Elvis and the Everlys. When John first considered Roger for the band, he rejected him because he “only looked about thirteen” and was dwarfed by his guitar. Alan Thomas subsequently became Force Four’s bassist, leaving after a year or so because he was not in tune with the others’ art school ideas. By this time, Roger, whom John describes as “a perfect bass player,” had “doubled in size” and finally passed the audition.
Roger recalls seeing John entertaining a group of people in the local park, and thinking:
“'Wow! He plays Scotty Moore stuff!’ And (John) 'picked’, which was not a style currently in vogue.”
Group manager, John Sparrowhawk’s claim to fame was that he was the vocalist on the 'Light up a Richmond’ cigarette commercial, fondly remembered by Sixties pirate radio aficionados………………….
This is a pretty strange album as many of these songs are literally demos that were not intended to be released as they were. The band recorded these tracks as bare bones demos for the most part and the tapes were given to Parlophone/EMI. Unluckily, the label liked it enough to put it out as it was without any further work. As a result, this is a very underproduced album, a lot of times it is just acoustic guitar and voices. This is supposed to be psychedelic pop (according to most every source) but it is SO stripped down that it can’t really be compared to anything I call psych pop, it has more in common with folk/rock and Monkees-esque pop/rock. Anyway, I don’t really get much from this album, the label really should have allowed the band to get into a studio and flesh these songs out. It is really weird to hear this in its unfinished state, the band had to be so disappointed. In the end, the album is decent because it is carried by some good songwriting but had there been some actual production, effects, etc…this might have been a really excellent record. Sad….by…geldofpunk ………
Pound for pound, one of the best psych albums of 1968. I’d say that most of the time when you check out something from this era and genre, its like in R&B or POP: two singles, one or two listenable tracks, and a whole lot of filler. The filler on psych albums are silly ditties and avant garde studio experiments. Rarely does the filler compliment the music like it does on Sallies Fforth. On this album, they are kept to fun, short bits that could possibly be completely inane… but are none the less entertaining! More importantly, they keep the album moving forward. The album starts off pleasantly enough but doesn’t really pick up steam until we get to the obvious standout rave rocker, Drive My Car. The next track is a lovely ballad (Goodbye), and then what follows are a slew of fun, garage rock tracks. The band complains that the record company released the disc before sweetening and retakes could be completed. This could be why some of the tracks, and I’m thinking of the song, No, on side two in particular, seem a bit naked and demo-like. Maybe this is exactly what you’d expect from something as acid drenched as this, and maybe a 'lil silly at times (this is a band that spells Folly with two fs, ya know?) but I always detect craft and innovation on this disc…by…..lanky_caravan ………….