Thursday, June 1, 2017

More U.K. Obscurities On U.S. Labels: The Flowerpot Men

THE FLOWER POTS-Lets Go To San Francisco (Part 1)/Let's Go To San Francisco (Part 2) US Deram 45-DEM-7513 1967

The Flowerpot Men were a 1967 studio only concoction created by U.K. song writers and session vocalists John Carter and Ken Lewis (best known as two thirds of the vocal trio The Ivy League). The Flower Pot Men's vocal department was led by vocalist Tony Burrows along with other singers Neil Landon, Robin Shaw and Peter Nelson. Burrows would later simultaneously find fame with other studio only acts such as The First Class ("Beach Baby"), The Brotherhood Of Man ("United We Stand"), Edison Lighthouse ("Love Grows Where My Rosemary Goes"), White Plains ("My Baby Loves Lovin'") and The Pipkins ("Gimme Dat Ding").

Created to cash in on "flower power" , The Flower Pot Men (possibly named after a 1950's British TV children's program) issued just 4 singles on Deram in the UK (five if you count the trippy "Mythological Sunday" released under the moniker of "Friends"). Their touring backing band at one point included future Deep Purple members Nicky Simper on bass (formerly of the last line up of Johnny Kidd & The Pirates) and Jon Lord (formerly of The Artwoods) on keyboards. The band's August 1967 U.K. smash (#4) was simultaneously issued in the States but credited to The Flower Pots (this was corrected for the second and final U.S. release, "In A Moment Of Madness", Deram 45-85051 1969).

Pic by David Wedgbury

"Let's All Go To San Francisco" lyrically is about as equally deplorable as Scott McKenzie's hit reading of the John Phillips composition "San Francisco (Be Sure To Wear Some Flowers In Your Hair)". Both tracks of course sing of something that simply did not exist (or one would be led to believe, I was a year old at the time...) . Reality aside, "Lets All Go To San Francisco (Part 1)" is a full on U.S. West Coast Brian Wilson  harmony pastiche meets British psych pop ( with heavy use of Mellotron and regal trumpets). It's not a bad track regardless of it's intentions or hackneyed lyrics ("lets all go to San Francisco where the flowers grow oh so very high..") thanks to it's production and delivery. In fact one wonders how pissed off John Phillips must have been because the lyrics though not directly similar convey the exact same gist as his May 1967 hit!

"Lets All Go To San Francisco (Part 2)" is at first almost a different track, it has similar lyrics but it's slowed down and more "dreamy" before the Mellotron and Brian Wilson inspired harmonies burst forth to the chorus from the A-side and it becomes merely an extended version of the A-side.

Hear "Let's All Go To San Francisco (Part 1)":

Hear  "Lets All Go To San Francisco (Part 2)":

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