Tangerine Dream/Faintly Blowing
(5 Hours Back)
"PSYCHEDELIC CLASSICS, and not hype this time. Yet few have even heard of, never mind heard, these records. The curse of the early '70s 'vinyl shortage' scam might account for that. A theory runs that, after a minuscule pressing, remaining copies of 'Tangerine Dream and 'Faintly Blowing' were either lost in the bargain bins or melted down to become T.Rex wafer thin biscuits.
Only the loyal and the loony regarded Kaleidoscope as worth keeping at the time until eventually, they slipped outta sight and finally out of mind. However, the collector's market saved Kaleidoscope from total oblivion. Both these records in their original format are clocking up prices of £100, or more! Is this because they have something to offer musically? As all can now hear, the music is much more than an added bonus.
Kaleidoscope emerged from Harrow in a mist of hallucination, at a time when the world and particularly England, was ripe fro change. All eyes were on The Beatles or The Stones, every action was mimicked. Kaleidoscope took 'Strawberry Fields Forever' to heart, and then to art, to create two examples of pure Pre-Raphaelite rock. A brotherhood which would ultimately spill over into a further incarnation called Fairfield Parlour who produced only one available album during their limited time span.
'Faintly Blowing' is the one to really go for here if funds are low. It features 'Music', possibly the ultimate example of phased guitar crescendo yet recorded, where the zenith of Englishness runs smack into a melting concrete wall of sound. The kind of tidbit that collectors of the curious would happily give their right arm for.
Thanks to this release a similar mutilation is called for, demanding only your ears as a suitable sacrifice.
Record Collector Nov 91:
"This archive find to kick off UFO's Blast From The Past series is full of period charm; from the ambitious musical arrangements fusing folk-based songs with orchestral arrangements, to the albums concept. The "White-Faced Lady" in question is Angel, and in the 16-åage lyric booklet, Peter Daltrey outlines the tragic take of the lonely child who found happiness working in a busy antique shop before being discovered by a film producer. You can almost guess what happens next: Angel finds stardom, but not happiness. When she finally discovers love, feuding breaks out, resulting in poverty, and in the end, her death.
"White-Faced Lady" (which was actually recorded after the band had changed its name to "Fairfield Parlour"), has long been hailed as a great lost album. Musically, the results don't quite match the peaks of Kaleidoscope's earlier work, but Daltrey is an underrated songwriter with a voice that is limited, but strangely compulsive. If you enjoy English whimsy, then this album's a treat."
(The Kaleidoscope Record Company LP/CD)
FromRecord Hunter March 91
Kaleidoscope has been hailed by '60s progressive rock fans as one of the genre's finest bands. Their two records under the Kaleidoscope moniker, together with their Vertigo album which they recorded under the name of Fairfield Parlour, are all highly regarded, and original copies still change hands for huge sums among collectors.
The rumor of a third Kaleidoscope album has been circulating for quite some time now. It was originally scheduled to appear on the rock archivist label Bam Caruso but, apparently, the project became too costly and was temporarily abandoned. Now, under their banner of their own label (which is distributed by PWC in the U.K), the project has at last surfaced for all to hear.
'White faced lady' is a concept album on the grand scale of The Who's 'Tommy'. It's a modern pre-Raphaelite fairy story that tells of the tragic rise and fall of Angel, a Madonna for the '90s who chooses to spend most of her time swanning around in a white silk slip. The album's sleeve artwork might look like an advert for the Berketex Bride, but shut your eyes and just listen to the complexity of Kaleidoscope's music. It is both anthemic and, not discouragingly, nostalgic. 'White faced lady' simply aches with fulfilled passion, groaning under its own weight of musical and lyrical ideas.
What we have here is Kaleidoscope's masterpiece: the record they always wanted to make but, until now, failed to deliver. Ignored by the masses in the '60s, revived by a whole new generation in the '80s; perhaps this new decade will be the one when Kaleidoscope shine.
(The Kaleidoscope Record Company LP/CD)
"UK's KALEIDOSCOPE have long been darlings of the progressive rock revival, their
first two LPs for Fontana being especially respected and sought after. 'White-Faced Lady' is the band's third creation, a double concept album which brings together past strengths and fuels them with a power that will hopefully propel them into the future.
If the idea of a concept album in the cold light of the '90s seems a daunting prospect then take heart in the fact that Kaleidoscope's music is magically uplifting enough to make you forget any of its flaws."
(The Kaleidoscope Record Company LP/CD)
"For those who don't know, Kaleidoscope were an excellent late 60s band who never quite made it. They made two albums for Fontana in 1967 and 1969, both of which were reissued with greater success in 1987. They also recorded an album under the name Fairfield Parlour, in 1970.
White-Faced Lady was recorded next, but was never released, and the band split up. Now more than twenty years ago, they have a new record deal with UFO Records, and the album has been released on their own label.
So what's it like? For a record made twenty years ago it sounds remarkably fresh. There are occasional moments when a fairly typical "early '70s progressive rock" sound emerges, but mostly they are as distinctive and individual as ever - something which should please their ever increasing number of admirers.
The album is a double, and tells the story of a fictional actress, Angel, and her tragic end. (It is not, as reported elsewhere, about Marilyn Monroe, though obviously there are occasional similarities.) If the idea of a concept album makes you groan, be assured that Kaleidoscope really do carry it off.
The first half of the album has a gentle, summery sound to it, opening with a short orchestral build-up (the London Symphony Orchestra, I believe, though the cover don't say) before a familiar flute and acoustic guitar drift in. The early songs are wistful, fragile, tales of early innocent love affairs, and theres a catchy pop song with some very strange lyrics too - at least until you read the sleeve notes.
As the album develops, so too does the maturity of the sound, as the arrangements become more complex and intriguing, culminating in the remarkable "Song from Jon" to close side three with a lovely blend of guitar and sitar which recalls their psychedelic early years. "The Indian Head", which precedes it on the same side is probably as close as they've come to an orthodox rock song, a trifle dated now, perhaps, but it does demonstrate that in the early '70s they were streets ahead of some contemporaries who have had long, illustrious careers.
A 1971 release would have set Kaleidoscope on the road to being one of England's premier groups. Twenty years on, Peter Daltrey - vocals, keyboards and lyrics, Eddie Pumer - guitar and music, Steve Clark - bass and flute, and Dan Bridgeman - drums, are together and recording again.
Look out for "White-Faced Lady" and be among the first to rediscover them."
From Home To Home
(UFO BFTP 003)
"The reissue of the third and hardest to obtain Kaleidoscope album is most welcome. In many ways this sounds a good deal less dated than their earlier albums, and benefits greatly from transfer to CD.
From the gentle, tinkling intro. to 'Aries' to the splendid finale of 'Drummer Boy of Shiloh' every track is sharp and fresh. Even the guitars on 'In my Box' sound beefier somehow, though the band are clearly not Status Quo. The softer, more delicate tracks sound especially good, notably 'By Your Bedside', a song of innocence delivered with great maturity.
I love this album; holders of worn out Vertigo records are urged to buy, though anyone who appreciate Rock's softer side (and I'm sure you're out there!) may well find plenty to enjoy here. My only quibble is the absence of Peter Daltrey's wonderful lyrics!"
(Chelsea CRCD 3981)
"Professionally recorded piece of folky/romantic English whimsy from a man who spent the late '60s in groups like Kaleidoscope & Fairfield Parlour. This is immediate with a view from someone who has been through a lot of musical times so that the stories speak for themselves. 'Fitzgerald' reminded me of Elton John. Peter recalls his past with '60s melody lines in a fascinating and distinctive way. He has a clear, English voice backed only by drum machine, bass & keyboards. It's a rich production and some songs like perhaps "Richard and I" could become radio classics.
Side 2 opens with the wistful 'Nothing more than this' and I get the feeling that Peter is a bit of a thinker. This is the work of a man reflecting upon his career, his thoughts concerning people and places. A mature and most welcome effort and most certainly a good way to part with &Pound;6. You'll savor the lovely 'Unicorn' and the guitar traces that occupy a place amongst those '18 Summers'"
"'Dream On' is a 12 song gem with Peter Daltrey's imaginative, literate lyrics and his undiminished gift for a memorable melody or two, very much to the fore. His pure and gentle voice soars over a lush and melodically morne production. The re-emergence of Mr Daltrey from musical retirement is a welcome one and 'Dream On' is a worthy beginning."
"The CD's dozen tracks could be considered fey or naive, but those with a real feel for the magic of Kaleidoscope
and (specifically) Fairfield Parlour will succumb to its spell. Technology notwithstanding, "Tender is the night" & "Ravenswing", with its crystalline harpsichord, echo tracks from "White faced lady". The passage of time is generally unacknowledged; on the inlay the photo seems to be from the early '60s, an era lyrically evoked by the strongest cut, "Dust". Other themes might have been lifted from the Fairfield Parlour songbook circa 1970. The song remains the same indeed, with rosy-tinted nostalgia the order of the day. There are only two real departures: the plaintive "Nothing more than this", featuring a duet with an unaccredited woman, is simply charming."
"Unashamedly nostalgic, Peter looks back to his roots and to the three teenage friends who shared his hopes and dreams. The lyrics are still beautiful, the voice still precisely English, the style mature - the song simply haunting."
"An autobiographical feel seems to run through the album but then I suppose a lot of things have to be got off Daltrey's chest. 'Dream On' is an essential purchase fro the lovers of Kaleidoscope/Fairfield Parlour."
(Evangel Records CRCD 3981)
"'English Roses' is an incredible piece of music and the best song we've had the pleasure to review an a long time. Sounds like Dave Dee on his Jean Musy outing in both mood and in the way Peter's noble voice hangs quavers and grabs. The bass grandiose booms splendidly accompanied by some tasteful Spanish guitar (no drums as on any of the tracks). Staggering.
'English Roses' is nothing less than brilliant. We receive many releases here for review and are choosy but, we have no hesitation in recommending this one. If it is mediocrity that you seek then avoid this at all costs."