Wednesday, January 6, 2016

Forgotten Bands Of The 60s-The Creation

What is it about bands of long ago and far away that they appeared on the scene, make a couple singles and then disappear off the face of the earth, but those who heard of these forgotten bands made such an impression that they actually would remember them by naming a record label after them?  Such is the case of The Creation.

Lead by Eddie Phillips one of the best unknown guitar players of all time, his use of the violin bow on his guitar would later be used by Jimmy Page although Phillips may have been the first the use this.   Phillips was so good, that The Who considered having him join Pete Townsend in their band, but Eddie declined.  Like The Who, The Creation used Shel Talmy on their classic hits, they had better luck in the UK rather in the USA.  Two singles were released via Planet Records (not the Richard Perry run label of the late 70s and early 80s but an offshoot label distributed by Jay Gee (Jubilee)), and two singles for Decca.  In the UK Polydor was their label.

Perhaps one of the best riffs since You Really Got Me, Making Time is done by Phillips, and the vocals were done by Kenny Pickett.  The followup, Painter Man was a bit more poppy with the B Side Biff Bang Pop, which somebody like so much they named a music magazine and a band after said song.   But The Creation suffered from many lineup changes to even which Eddie Phillips walked away for a time and Kenny Pickett returned and an up and coming guitar wizard named Ronnie Wood would join up.  Bob Garner would take over the lead vocal for the Decca singles Nightmares/If I Stay Too Long and How Does It Feel To Feel, the latter managing to bubble under in late 1967 but not going past the top 100.  But this song has been covered by UK bands The Godfathers and Ride, the latter band that would record for Alan McGee's Creation label.

In the US, The Creation did not have (as far as I know) any albums and the four singles on Planet and Decca are their domestic output.   For the band themselves they had The Who sound a little bit, Jack Jones was not as wild as Keith Moon but he kept a driving beat in his own way but they also borrowed a bit from The Kinks and Small Faces.  The failure of their singles to chart in the US we missed out on UK classics such as Life Is Just Beginning, and Can I Join Your Band.  Retroactive in the us issued two comps of most of The Creation's output, Making Time and Biff Bang Pow. Repertoire in Germany issued the import only We Are Paintermen with 12 bonus cuts of varying degree: the US version of How Does It Feel To Feel is there but not the UK version and leaves off key tracks.  The album that I do have, the 1998 Diablo/Edsel CD of Our Music Is Red With Purple Flashes does have the Planet/Polydor/Decca 1966-1968 singles and probably is the best overview.  Their cover versions are the weakest songs (Hey Joe, Cool Jerk, Like A Rolling Stone, done as an afterthought and sounds like it) but their original versions of Making Time, Biff Bang Pow, Painter Man, Nightmares and How Does It Feel To Feel do stand up next to what The Who or The Kinks or even for that matter The Easybeats, to which the backing vocals to Nightmares may have came from hearing Friday On My Mind. But we'll never know.

Eddie Phillips did reunite the band back in 1994 along with Jack Jones and Lenny Pickett and Bob Garner, but Pickett passed away in 1997 and Garner took over vocals till 2001.  In the early 80s, Phillips did managed to have John Dalton and Mick Avory from The Kinks as the rhythm section and a few songs were recorded but nothing came of them till Psychedelic Rose the great lost Creation album that Cherry Red issued in 2007.  Power Surge was the 1990 comeback album which I not heard but it can be found fairly cheap via Amazon.   Certainly if you're a fan of 1960s British Rock, you certainly do need a Creation best of.   And the go to album for me is Our Music Is Red With Purple Flashes. 


2000 Man said...

Love The Creation! That cd is probably the best one. I've got an album of singles somewhere but I haven't played it in ages since the cd is on my flash drive that plays in the car. Eddie Phillips was something else.

R S Crabb said...

I heard them the first time around the late 90s when I came across a cheap EP of their best known songs. They're the missing link between The Who and The Kinks. ;)

Bob331 said...

Eddie Phillips has to be the greatest guitarist that failed to make the big time and the Creation greatest band that never made it. Makes you wonder what their output would have been like had they continued. Biff Bang Pow was a storming tune, criminally relegated to a b side. Another great band were The Smoke ( My Friend Jack)

Bob331 said...

Eddie Phillips was (is) amazing. Creation were the greatest band of the 60's not to hit the big time Biff Bang Pow was the greatest b side of all time. Still play this band in the car at least once a week. Timeless music. Loved The Smoke too (My Friend Jack) hsve a listen to We Can Take It on any of their compilations. Pure magic!

R S Crabb said...

Hi Bob!

Eddie Phillips remains one of the best guitar players of the 60s that nobody ever heard of. In a perfect world Making Time would be heard on oldies radio just as much as You Really Got Me, or I Can't Explain, or the Stones Satisfaction, but don't know if it was luck of the draw or The Creation couldn't find a US label that could promote them. But those who have heard The Creation would form a independent label in the UK (Creation Records, perhaps the best of the Alternative labels of the 1990s) and Biff Bang Pow did inspire a couple folks to form a band that would get their albums released on (naturally) Creation Records. I tend to agree that Biff Bang Pow would have made a better A side than Painter Man, which like Making Time, sank without a trace as a single. A couple singles came out on Decca to which the B side Nightmares would have fared better than If I Stayed Too Long. How Does It Feel To Feel did get covered by a couple UK bands, The Godfathers and then Ride. Eddie Phillips was legendary for his use of violin bow, to which Jimmy Page would later copy for his own band.

Not familiar with The Smoke outside of My Friend Jack (which made it on Rhino's Nuggets 2 box set) but you tube does have a heaping helping of The Smoke's songs. We Can Take It. which would not sound out of place if Paul Revere And The Raiders done it. Yep, the 60s was such a magical time for music, especially from the UK as well.