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7 Jul 2017

Shagrat "Lone Star" (1970-1971) UK Heavy Psych

Shagrat "Lone Star" (1970-1971) UK Heavy Psych


A rare gem from the acid soaked early ‘70s of a short lived psych-folk project from Tyrannosaurus Rex guitarist Steve Peregrin Took and Pink Fairies/Motörhead member Larry Wallis! These raw recordings showcase both Took and Wallis’s adventurous and confident songwriting skills with liner notes written by Mr. Wallis himself!....................

If you're not familiar with the name Steve Peregrine Took, he was the other half of the duo of Marc Bolan's T.Rex's first couple of albums. I don't believe Took ever released an 'actual' LP. This release, like his two others, is a compilation. Seven tracks were recorded between April, 1970 to 1971. The first four cuts are acoustic songs, "Amanda", "Strange Sister", "Still Yawning, Still-Born" and "Beautiful Deceiver". The sound quality of these songs is very good. The three remaining tunes are what I dug the most about Lone Star. First there's "Peppermint Flickstick", a totally hip psychedelic number with great guitar riffs, the straight-ahead rocker "Boo! I Said Freeze" and "Steel Abortion", which to me sounds like a semi-rough (but listenable) Pink Fairies demo. Certainly no masterpiece here, but if you're a collector, completist or a die hard fan of lesser known psych, then you should get something good out of this CD.

Personnel: Steve Peregrine Took - guitar, acoustic guitar & vocals, Larry Wallis - bass & backing vocals, Dave Bidwell - tambourine and Phil Lenoir - drums. Even though Took passed on in 1980, I've wondered what sort of music he might've made since then. Last I heard of him was that Nik Turner had him in the Inner City Unit as a sit-in bongo player. Might possibly appeal to some fans of the Deviants, Pretty Things, Syd Barrett and the Ramones. --- Mike Reed (Aural Innovations #35)................

Not much music that Steve Peregrine Took made outside of Tyrannosaurus Rex has been available to let listeners judge just how much of a talent he was in his own right. This seven-song compilation (credited to Steve Peregrine Took & Shagrat) is on the brief side, but does at least show two different sides of the musician as he sounded shortly after parting company with Marc Bolan. The first four songs are from a 1971 home demo, and have a folky unplugged feel, featuring nothing but Took's voice and acoustic guitar, Larry Wallis' bass, and Dave Bidwell's tambourine. These are slight but pleasant eccentric British acid-folk tunes, Took's vocals sounding a little like Dave Davies' on songs that manage both forcefulness and wistfulness. They're a little meandering and melodically simple, but no more so than the songs on which Took played as part of Tyrannosaurus Rex, and he's got a more conventionally accessible (though far less distinctive) voice than Bolan's. The last three tracks (cut in a studio in April 1970), on the other hand, sound almost like the work of a different artist. The sound (with Wallis on lead guitar) is fully electric with bass and drums, bridging the gap between psychedelia and early-'70s metalish hard rock; the throaty, low, uncouth vocals are so unlike those on the 1971 folky tracks that it's hard to believe it's the same singer. These seem more like recordings of the Pink Fairies (the group Wallis subsequently joined) than solo Took outings, and suffer from a lack of focus, though they're trying hard to project a menacing air. The fidelity on the tracks is okay, but not great, and takes a severe downturn for the final number, "Steel Abortion," which sounds as if it was lifted from an acetate. Perhaps it's not fair to judge Took's talent as a solo artist on the basis of the scraps compiled for this disc. But unfortunately we don't have much else, and what survives here is more a glimmer of some interesting traits than evidence of an unjustly overlooked Richie Unterberger .....................

The acoustic tracks on the Shagrat sessions 'Steve Took's Shagrat' show his exceptional singing voice. Sadly, two of the electric tracks play show and so the manic power of Took and Wallis is missed. The final electric track is taken from a scratched acetate although, that aside it's a rocking track demonstrating why Wallis's guitar playing would become legendary in the pink Fairies and the original line-up of Motorhead. Well worth gettings and for perfection record the two slow electric tracks and speed them up a little. You'll know when you get it right as they will lead out of your system! For the best example of Steve Took at his Electric Best get hold of a copy of "Steve Took's Horns" "Blow It!!!"............

1,2, 3, 4, - Steve Took (acoustic guitar/vocals), Larry Wallis (bass), Dave Bidwell (tambourine) *recorded on 1971 (Larry Wallis' home demo)
5, 6, 7, - Steve Took (guitar/lead vocals), Larry Wallis (lead guitar and then some!/backing vocals), Tim Taylor (bass), Phil Lenoir (drums) *recorded on April 1970 (at Strawberry Studio). With 4 Steve's rare Keith Morris photographs and special linernotes by Larry Wallis. Released on Captain Trip Records (CTCD-312) Information by Kiyohiro Shiroya of Captain Trip Records.

1. Amanda (Took)
2. Strange Sister (Took)
3. Still Yawning,Still-Born (Took)
4. Beautiful Deceiver (Took)
5. Peppermint Flickstick (Took/Wallis)
6. Boo! I Said Freeze (Took/Wallis)
7. Steel Abortion (Took/Wallis)

johnkatsmc5, welcome music..