3 Feb 2014
Tinkerbell's Fairydust Review
I haven't been paying as much attention to the vintage psychedelic reissue scene lately as I normally would, so I decided when I opened the promo package from Grapefruit Records that contained this that I'd cover it whether I liked it or not.
Not a new release strictly speaking, this was originally compiled in 2009 and has sold sufficiently well since to ensure a repress was necessary (surely a good sign?)
Tinkerbell's Fairydust is a name I've seen referred to often, but have up until now resisted investigating further. Quite how all band members unanimously agreed that going by such a name was a good move (even at the height of psychedelia's obsession with toytown paraphernalia) is beyond me, and indicative of similarly poor decisions being made musically surely? And surely that name could promise little beyond the most twee pop of the period? The fact that their sole album was pulled at the very last minute by Decca seemed enough to justify these entirely uninformed prejudices of mine.
Had I been a little less boorish and investigated a little further however I would have noticed among it's number a cover of Jeff Beck's guitar showcase "Jeff's Boogie" - an entirely inappropriate number for the hopelessly twee harmony pop act that my imagination had forecast to tackle.
And so, as doubts set in Tinkerbell's Fairydust (it still makes me cringe) gradually won me over.
The first thirteen tracks that make up the original self titled album certainly don't constitute a classic - there's a fair amount of ups and downs here - but the ups are considerably more triumphant than a myriad of other also-rans of the period managed. A hard rocking cover of "(You Keep Me) Hangin' On" is surprisingly gritty and musically adventurous (although owing an obvious debt to the Vanilla Fudge verison, which I think it betters), while "Twenty Ten" (recorded in 1967) is a bach infused look forward to the pastoral proto-prog of the Moody Blues and Barclay James Harvest which deserves credit for being a bit of a front runner, as well as a top tune in it's own right.
There's a fairly even 50/50 split between adventurous psychedelic pop of this nature, and fairly generic harmony pop that was old hat by this point (sometimes reminiscent of the Four Seasons, but more often the Beach Boys), with only the most mild psychedelic tendencies.
So the original album itself doesn't make this a must buy, but the quality of several of the bonus tracks elevates this beyond it's 'maybe I should' status. A slew of bonus tracks from post Tinkerbell's outfit the Rush continue in the weak harmony pop vein, but bookending them are a couple of real gems. Firstly, Jeff Lynne's "Follow Me Follow" in two versions including a magical acoustic demo version - I believe these cuts date from before the Idle Race's recorded versions but could be wrong.
Best of all of the bonus tracks though is an early single from pre Tinkerbell's Fairydust beat combo Tommy Bishop's Ricochets, both sides of which are present here, the a-side in particular being a particularly winning minor key beat ballad.
So, not all good, but the best material on here is pretty essential stuff for genre collectors, and unless you have upwards of $1000 to plump on one of the original withdrawn LPs, your best way of adding this to your collection.
"Tinkerbells Fairydust" is available on CD here.