Psychedelic-Rock'n'roll: Appletree Theatre - Playback (SUNSHINE PSYCHEDELIC US 1968)

29 May 2009

Appletree Theatre - Playback (SUNSHINE PSYCHEDELIC US 1968)


"Appletree Theatre"'s Playback is a Sunshine 'concept album': it's the brainchild of "John Boylan" and "Terry Boylan".
After landing a solo contract with "MGM"/"Verve Forecast Records", and before beginning a solo album, "Terry Boylan" recruited brother "John Boylan" for an experimental 'rock meets theatre' album.

The Ginger Men, pre-Appletree Theatre: (L to R) Michael Equine, John Boylan, Terence 'Boona' Boylan, Rick Smith, and Ian Seeburg (Photo courtesy of Terence Boylan)

The songs are so strong. It's grade-A Sunshine Pop with occasional Psychedelic arrangements, dipping occasionally into hard-edged soul and music-hall.
"Playback" (Verve Forecast FTS 3042, 1968) offered up a rather weird concept piece, though admittedly the plotline was largely lost on us.
Written by the brothers, the collection offered up a bizarre collage of interlaced vocal narratives, sound effects, song fragments, balanced by an occasional Pop piece ("Hightower Square", the bouncy "Brother Speed" and the trippy "You're the Biggest Thing In My Life").

"Playback" received virtually NO advertising or radio play in US at the time.
There was no doubt the Boylans were talented: on the other hand, the set was simply too experimental for the normal listener.
"John Lennon" in an interview with "Penny Nichols" in 1968 London, called "The Appletree Theatre" one of his favourite new albums.

Addicted of "Beach Boys"' "Smile" era, "The Smoke" and the "Millennium with Begin will really love this record though it has more of a downbeat mood than the before mentioned Sunshine Pop classics.


Michael Kenward said...

Why is The Appletree Theatre's "Playback" reckoned to be psychedelic? (I have seen it tagged like that elsewhere.) Or is that a blanket label for anything from the 1960s? From someone who was there, believe me, this fine album doesn't fit into that category.

Machiventa said...

Micheal - this album is generally labeled as psychedelic because it is. The lyric imagery, trippy sounds and recording techniques are as psych as it gets. To think otherwise is just absurd.

galacticpablum said...

I agree. this is definitely psych!