The world of Psychsploitation wasn't confined to Pop Music.Jazz also had a large go at cornering the burgeoning Psych trade.
I remember vividly first seeing this album in a crate at Camden market in the mid-nineties.A bloke in a business suit with no shoes or socks on, playing a Sitar!? I was tempted but I had my eye a Don Ellis live double,and unbelievebly decided to buy that!? Once i had got it back to my near-by shop.....yes I had a shop in Camden lock London for a decade or so.....,I unfurled the Don Ellis to play and out slid a double Shirley Bassey in concert album instead!?
So i went back to the stall and complained,and the geezer offered to swap it for something else......you guessed it, I asked about the album with the chap in the suit with the Sitar.
In unison, the guys at the stall cried out "Ahhhhh Bill Plummer!",and went straight to the box containing such treasure.
"Thats one fucking great album man" said one of the stoners on the stall."We got more shit like that if you want it?"
"Maybe next time", I said,let's see what this is like first hey?"
It had that trademark sixties Impulse Records smell as i unfurled the impressive gatefold sleeve and slid the vinyl out.
The first track was the semi-spoken psychedelic rap of "Journey to the East",describing the Cosmic Brotherhoods embrace of the Eastern culture fad that swept the western world post LSD.
A couple of cheesy, sitared-up cover versions of Pop tunes, help fill up the album, along with some free-improv numbers, and one of Bill Plummers rejected Jazz Compostions rearranged for the modern ears of the 1968 generation.
"Journey To The East" is one of the great so bad it's good hits that never was. I wouldn't say that Bill Plummer was the best Sitar player i'd ever heard,but he had a good image,and his shameless cashing-in,although i doubt they sold a single copy of this album,is something to be admired if only for its impertinance.The lack of shoes, Buddhist-style was a nice touch...."leave shoes and minds at the door" said an unnamed swarmi wag,never has that quip been more relevent.
I played this album to death and a small Bill Plummer fan club expanded.I managed to find the great mans e-mail address,and i Informed him of our worship,however tongue in cheek,and asked if there was gonna be a reissue. He replied politely,obviously touched that some youngsters had discovered his music,and that the reissue had fallen through, signing off with a reassuringly unsold out, 'Namaste'.
|Bill and his brotherhood in 1968...this time sans suit!|
Having lent my treasured Mono version of this album to a drunkard friend of mine,the answer to the time honoured question of "What would you save from your house if its was burning down?"was answered....at least for my drunken friend at least, after the house he was staying in was consumed by flames, and he had to climb onto the roof to await rescue by our brave fire service.The one object he had clutched to his chest as he clamboured atop the flaming inferno, was....you guessed it.....that very copy of "Bill Plummer and the Cosmic brotherhood" on Impulse 1968! My two volumes of Re/Search's Incredibly Strange Music publications, i'm sorry to say, were consumed by the flames.The last time I saw him he (simon McAuslane to give him a name),needed to recompense me several hundred quid he stole of me when he worked in my shop,and he was a drunkard,and i didn't check the takings....etc. One of the steps in the Alcoholics Anonymous recovery programme is to say sorry and pay back any debt owed. I knew he would never do it, so I seized the chance to seem like a lovely fella, and said 'Forget about it", like those gangster types do in Brooklyn.....I want my fucking money now!!!!
Bill still plays concerts today by the way,aged 81!?: but no sitar, strictly on the double bass,and strictly Jazz.
Journey To The East 5:58
Pars Fortuna (Part Of Furtune) 3:55
The Look Of Love 3:35
Song Plum 6:27
Arc 294º 10:05
Lady Friend 4:40
Sunshine World (A&M single 1969)
Yentra II (A&M Single B-side 1969)