Kendra Steiner Editions (Bill Shute)

August 18, 2020

Fading Yellow, Volume 1

Filed under: Uncategorized — kendrasteinereditions @ 12:22 am
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Hard to believe it’s almost 20 years since the first CD compilation in the seminal FADING YELLOW popsike compilation series (an LP came out in the 1990’s prior to the CD’s). I reviewed a volume in Ugly Things magazine a while back and then reviewed the most recent entry, Volume 17, here on the KSE blog a while back. You can read that write-up here:

https://kendrasteinereditions.wordpress.com/2020/02/23/fading-yellow-volume-17-flower-machine-cd-sweden/

Here is a key section from that, in case you are unfamiliar with the FY series: Curating compilations is truly a complex art–a quality compiler with a consistent aesthetic and a knowledge of deep tracks that others have overlooked can create a masterwork from songs that, taken individually, might not blow anyone away. Through sixteen volumes, the Fading Yellow (the name taken from a Mike Batt song on the first volume) series has staked out a unique territory–not really psychedelic, though with some trippy elements; not really sunshine pop, though with some elements from that genre too. There tends to be a moody, melancholy feel to the best tracks on these albums, and even when the series moves too far into the 1970’s and some of the pieces sound like groups such as America or England Dan & John Ford Coley, those tracks tend to complement the overall atmosphere of the album and provide a change of pace among the trippier tracks that helps create a varied mosaic of sound that’s instantly recognizable as a Fading Yellow comp. The albums can transport you to a place where you are looking upon a field of flowers illuminated by moonlight at 2 a.m., with a mellow wine buzz….assuming that’s what you want!

While I (literally!) keep my FADING YELLOW CD’s on the same shelf as my SOFT SOUNDS FOR GENTLE PEOPLE comps, FY has a unique and consistent aesthetic….SOFT SOUNDS tends to go more for kitschy West Coast faux-psych, while FY tends to go more for trippy late 60’s (and eventually early 70’s) singer-songwriters or florid studio-pop that could have been played at a record-label press-party announcing the release of, say, The Yardbirds’ LITTLE GAMES or the Bee Gees’s ODESSA (if you get my drift), but there is also an appealingly eclectic quality to the series so those generalities don’t really hold when you look at the entire series. Certainly, anyone who enjoys Steve Stanley’s NOW SOUNDS internet radio show or Andrew Sandoval’s COME TO THE SUNSHINE will appreciate the FADING YELLOW series. I certainly do, and every year I bring a stack of FADING YELLOW CD’s with me when I go on my poetry writing vacations (as I did just last week!) because you can’t get much more “atmospheric” than Fading Yellow (I also have allusions to lyrics of some of the songs in some poems, for you trainspotters our there and for future scholars to unpack).

So, here is VOLUME 1 from the Fading Yellow series for you, from You Tube. It should play the songs in order. This is the volume that started it all! There is a primarily UK orientation here (volumes would often alternate their focus….one volume would be UK/Europe, the next would be North American, etc., though some mix that up), though the net is cast wide enough to include Ronnie Bird (from France) and the Aerovans (Americans who recorded in the UK in a very British style).

Put it on while you are doing something around the house….and then repeat it, and you may well be hooked….

note: some of the songs on the original CD have been deleted on You Tube (no doubt due to rights issues…..these comps are not authorized and are more visible on You Tube than on the “private pressing” CD’s distributed through specialist dealers), so I’ve deleted them from the line-up below–you can tell from the missing numbers.

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Fading Yellow Vol. 1
Timeless Pop-Sike and Other Delights
1965-69

CD version originally released 2002.

• • • • •

1. Kate – “Strange Girl” (3:04)
2. Dean Ford and the Gaylords – “That Lonely Feeling” (2:41)
3. Eddy Howell – “Easy Street” (3:01)
4. Mike Batt – “Fading Yellow” (3:45)
5. Steff Sulke – “Oh, What a Lovely Day” (3:04)
6. John Williams – “Flowers in Your Hair” (2:42)
7. Zephyrs – “I Just Can’t Take It” (2:31)
8. Jon – “Is It Love” (2:52)
9. Koobas – “Woe Is Love My Dear” (2:27)
10. Orange Bicycle – “Competition” (2:40)
11. Gremlins – “The Only Thing On My Mind” (2:06)
12. Quintin E. Klopjaeger & the Gonks – “The Long Way Home” (2:28)

16. Paul & Barry Ryan – “Madrigal” (2:17)
17. Phil Cordell – “Red Lady” (2:25)
18. Ronnie Bird – “Sad Soul” (2:52)
19. Ronnie Bird – “Raining in the City” (2:37)
20. Elliots Sunshine – “‘Cos I’m Lonely” (3:08)
21. Peter Janes – “Do You Believe (Love Is Built on a Dream)” (2:54)
22. Bliss – “Lifetime” (2:47)

24. Members of Time – “Dreamin'” (2:38)
25. Aerovons – “World of You” (2:24)

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Enjoy!

February 23, 2020

FADING YELLOW, Volume 17 (Flower Machine CD, Sweden)

Filed under: Uncategorized — kendrasteinereditions @ 1:12 am
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FADING YELLOW, VOLUME 17: 20 TIMELESS GEMS OF U.S. POP-PSYCH & OTHER DELIGHTS (CD, Flower Machine Records, Sweden, released December 2019)

1              –The Avant-Garde*        Yellow Beads

2              –Alan Lorber      Congress Alley

3              –The Poppy Family          I’ll See You There

4              –J.C. Cole*          I Found Me Today

5              –The Rooftop Singers     Kites

6              –A Small World                 I See You

7              –Space                  Radio Song

8              –James, John & Francois                Carolina

9              –The Fifth Estate              Love Is All A Game

10           –The Celtics        Looking For You

11           –The Hobbits     Artificial Face

12           –The Surprise Package   The Other Me

13           –The Magpies                    The Ballad Of Samuel Oscar Beasley

14           –The Looking Glass          Love Is Not Everything

15           –The Marshmellow Highway       I Don’t Wanna Live This Way

16           –Bucky Wilkin    I Wanna Be Free

17           –Sound Carnival                I Wish I Could Tell You

18           –The Swiss Movement                   Inside Of Me

19           –The In-Keepers               The Cobwebs Thread Of Autumn

20           –Salt And Pepper             In The Morning

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I was not aware that Volume 17 of FADING YELLOW had been released until Mike Stax sent out his Excel spreadsheet of who was reviewing what for the next issue of UGLY THINGS, and I saw that someone else was reviewing FY 17 (I reviewed FY 16 for UT in late 2018). Thankfully, Suzy Shaw at Bomp Records was stocking it, and I’ve been playing my newly acquired copy multiple times over the last week. If you’re not familiar with the series, let me quote from the first paragraph of my UT review of FY 16:

  Curating compilations is truly a complex art–a quality compiler with a consistent aesthetic and a knowledge of deep tracks that others have overlooked can create a masterwork from songs that, taken individually, might not blow anyone away. Through sixteen volumes, the Fading Yellow (the name taken from a Mike Batt song on the first volume) series has staked out a unique territory–not really psychedelic, though with some trippy elements; not really sunshine pop, though with some elements from that genre too. There tends to be a moody, melancholy feel to the best tracks on these albums, and even when the series moves too far into the 1970’s and some of the pieces sound like groups such as America or England Dan & John Ford Coley, those tracks tend to complement the overall atmosphere of the album and provide a change of pace among the trippier tracks that helps create a varied mosaic of sound that’s instantly recognizable as a Fading Yellow comp. The albums can transport you to a place where you are looking upon a field of flowers illuminated by moonlight at 2 a.m., with a mellow wine buzz….assuming that’s what you want!

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Fortunately, Volume 17 DOES NOT veer into the 70’s soft-rock mentioned above–it’s a solid collection of little-known also-ran pop-sike sides from both major labels and small local labels, nicely programmed into a seamless set that will satisify any lover of the SOFT SOUNDS FOR GENTLE PEOPLE compilation series or any listener to Steve Stanley’s NOW SOUNDS internet radio show. Each collector who curates these kind of compilations has a slightly different focus and slightly different taste, so FADING YELLOW is not the same as SOFT SOUNDS. There is less of the kitschy material found on SOFT SOUNDS (though the Alan Lorber track here on FY 17 certainly qualifies), but SOFT SOUNDS would never present some of the 70’s material FY does (for which I’m glad). It’s a trade-up and neither is “better” than the other–best to enjoy both, as so many of the records will be unfamiliar to the majority of listeners. Very little of what’s on FY 17 has been reissued….the amazing snarling 60’s bubble-punk anthem “Artificial Face” from the second LP by Jimmy Curtiss’ THE HOBBITS (the only album track here, I’m the proud owner of a mono copy of the LP, everything else is from 45’s) was re-issued on a Spanish comp named after it, ARTIFICIAL FACES, a number of years ago, but most everything else is not on reissues I own. From the flowers-in-her-hair and yellow love beads San Francisco-from-a-distance as seen by a sensitive-folkie vibe of “Yellow Beads” by The Avant-Garde (of Naturally Stoned fame), featuring Chuck Woolery (of game show and reality show fame), to a single from San Antonio’s THE SWISS MOVEMENT that could give the late 1967 Hollies a run for their money, the album has 20 diverse songs that will evoke patchouli incense, nehru jackets, images of fields of poppies in a psychedlic-tinged 1968 deodorant commercial, and the kind of hippies found in a Dragnet episode or an Up With People rally. The Turtles or the post-Peter Tork Monkees would be proud to claim the majority of the tracks here, unless Orpheus or The Association would be a better fit.

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I love these compilations, both as a collector myself (great tracks I’ve never heard) and as someone who enjoys the unique atmosphere these records create. In fact, ATMOSPHERE is the operative word for any FY comp. Each track is atmospheric, and placed alongside 19 other selections, it’s a beautiful juxtaposition of images and moods to take you back to a 1968 or 1970 that never existed, but was a beautiful dream/fantasy for but a brief moment in time. All for the cost of a CD.

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If you’re in the US, try Bomp Records mailorder. If you’re in Europe, try some of the local Ebay sites. This is a Swedish release, so finding it in Europe should not be much of a problem. These are limited to 500 copies, so don’t delay….most of the earlier volumes are out of print. Can’t wait for Volume 18. Hope it does not take another two years….

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