Kaleidoscope: Brace for the Obscure (60s rock)! — January 29, 2022

336) Kaleidoscope — “A Dream for Julie”

How can Kaleidoscope not bring a smile to your face and send you into a childhood reverie? (see #154) As David Wells says, it is “one of the most fondly remembered of the more cultish UK pysch pop bands, even if their fey sensitivity and high whimsy quotient is viewed with some suspicion by admirers of the more visceral, R&B-derived end of the psychedelic market” (Record Collector: 100 Greatest Psychedelic Records) — yeah, admirers like Richie Unterberger:

Highly esteemed by some collectors, Kaleidoscope epitomized certain of the more precious traits of British psychedelia with their fairy-tale lyrics and gentle, swirling folky sound. At times they sound like a far more melodic and accessible Incredible String Band. Their folky ballads have aged best, and although there’s some period charm to be found throughout their two albums, it’s all a bit too cloying to rank among the finest unknown psychedelia. Although they had a solid underground reputation in Britain, they never found wide success, and evolved into a similar group, Fairfield Parlour, by the end of the ’60s.

All Music Guide

As to “A Dream for Julie,” ZebedyZak comments:

After their sad flop with their debut single [“Flight from Ashiya”], Kaleidoscope tried again . . . . “A Dream For Julie” is a splendid piece of psych with sparkling keyboards and a guitar sound similar to the previous single. Add to that Peter Daltrey’s superb voice (and listen to those lyrics!) and we have one perfect single. It was, sadly, another miss. Once again, I don’t know why. Surely there were enough girls called Julie to appreciate this one in 1968.

http://www.45cat.com/record/tf895

Why indeed didn’t every Julie in the UK buy the ’45?! Julie Christie should be ashamed (unless she can produce a 45)!

Nuggets II also sends its accolades:

[It is] a classic specimen of what has become known as “fairytale psych.” The mostly English purveyors of this subgenre often drew from the fantasy world of their childhood storybooks. . . . “A Dream for Julie” is one of the genre’s most effective works, employing a bright, engaging melody and some sparkling guitar passages that successfully steer a course just wide of tweeness.”

“(intro: The Tangerine Wizard turns purple for Julie. ) Mexican clowns are all dancing for Julie. Green bells on their ankles that peal out aloud. Strawberry monkeys are smiling for Julie with pearl button eyes that reflect velvet clouds. Can you hear them smiling? You see them smiling. You feel them smiling. Bubble drops upwards and comes down for Julie while spotlight is dancing and drinking rose wine. Can you hear them dancing? You see them dancing. You feel them dancing. . . . in your dream. Treacle tight thimbles and silver for Julie. The clocks are all dead, so the living is fine. Can you hear them living? You see them living. You feel them living. . . .”

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Top of the Pops radio session:

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