Monday 27 March 2017

Nirvana: The Original Rainbow Chasers


No… not that NIRVANA, this NIRVANA
The 1960s duo who recorded sublime vinyl such as 
“Rainbow Chaser”, “Pentecost Hotel”, Wings Of Love” 
 and… erm, “Lithium”. Yes, I know. All will be revealed…! 


When you Google ‘The Avengers’, you must wade through pages about Marvel Superhero comics and movies before you get to any reference to the uniquely crazy 1960s TV spy series with Patrick Macnee and Diana Rigg. The same principle applies when you Google Nirvana. There’s lots about the suicide of a Seattle Grunge-merchant, but not a lot about the 1960s sub-cultural enigma responsible for “Rainbow Chaser”. It’s not that I’ve got anything against Wolverine, Thor or the Hulk, just as I’m occasionally partial to “Smells Like Teen Spirit” for that matter. It’s just that I feel a certain balance should be struck.

Nirvana was conjured into being as the brainspawn of the London-based songwriting duo of dark tousle-haired Greek Alex Spyropoulos – born in 1941, a ‘gipsy-gipsy, moving around’, and Patrick Campbell-Lyons, from ‘Dublin’s fair city, where the girls are so pretty’. A loquacious Irishman – born 13 July 1943 in Lismore, he still speaks with a soft Celtic burr. As a teenager he listened to Elvis and the Everly Brothers on Radio Luxembourg. ‘I looked at my reflection in a cracked mirror. I was wearing a suit of shimmer and light, my hair was on fire, a shower of sparks cascaded around me like a golden arch of neon on Broadway. I made shapes… lived like Tony Curtis, I talked like Jack Palance. I would not seek forgiveness from bigots, rogues and charlatans, or extend courtesy to chancers consumed by greed. It was time to go…’

When he first hooked up with Alex, he’d already done the Hamburg ‘Star Club’ thing – supporting the High Numbers, while fronting an Ealing R&B group called Second Thoughts, and navigating his ‘way on a voyage of music, freedom, adventure and self-discovery’. Then he issued two singles with Chris Thomas as Hat & Tie. Alex was attending St Martin’s Film and Art School, and both were hustling their songs through Kassner Music publishing in the ‘Tin Pan Ally’ of Denmark Street. It was 1967, and astutely hopping the Age of Aquarius fad for Eastern religious mysticism they become Nirvana, garnishing a plethora of musical styles augmented by baroque chamber-Pop arrangements to create a unique entity.

As the first teasing hints and suggestions of psychedelia began rippling through the Rock underground, it assumed variant guises. With no internet, YouTube or downloads to experience it directly, the vital conduit for information was the music press, the ‘straight’ ‘New Musical Express’, ‘Melody Maker’ and ‘Disc’ plus those with a more insider perspective in the counter-culture magazines. In a blur of hype and misinformation a massive transatlantic rift opened up. In the States groups took on a more hard-core Garage-band burn derived from the Yardbirds, Them and the Stones. While England took to prettification in a big way, via a whimsical ‘Wind In The Willows’ Aubrey Beardsley lens. Of course, there were exceptions. Left Banke took the ‘Eleanor Rigby’ chamber string-quartet format very decoratively into the US charts with “Walk Away Renée”. But it was Nirvana who created the epitome of melodic delicacy, with an attractively skewed oddness acutely attuned to the vibe of the time. Prettiness can – and frequently did, tip over into saccharine schmaltz. Nirvana always retain the saving grace of melodic invention and quirkiness.

A four-track demo-tape eventually unspools at Island records, which was fortuitously in the process of repositioning itself from a clique Ska label, towards the nascent hippie market via Traffic and Spooky Tooth. And, as though fully-formed, there were two sublimely dreamlike Nirvana singles in July and October of that significant 1967 year. The lustrous “Tiny Dancer” – running to a full 4:03-minutes, instantly became a ‘Climber Of The Week’ on John Peel’s Radio London ‘Perfumed Garden’, from its descending cello and harpsichord play-in, moving through passages of spiralling rococo instrumental interplay rising to intricate crescendos. The lyrics inhabit that same ethereal dimension, ‘in a room just five-foot eight, I sit alone and I will wait’ for her impossible beauty, ‘the clock said half-past-three, it stopped to wait – like me.’ He waits in a perplexing place where ‘portraits smell of sweet perfume’ confounded by the capricious feminine mystique, begging ‘don’t try to humour me, with letters I can’t read’. As Rock-academic Brian Hogg writes ‘this delicate poignant recording established the pattern for much of their work wherein Patrick’s light, ghostly voice swept over meticulous string and wind arrangements.’

The sumptuous “Pentecost Hotel” follows with allusively liquid poetry about ‘there underneath blue waves, the sunrise spreads blue rays, and Pentecost hotel shades all its cobwebs’, while the pre-Raphaelite wistful hippie-chick is there – ‘in the lobby Magdalena is friendly, to all the people with a passport of insanity’. David Wells praises its ‘mystical, gently romantic lyrics, Campbell-Lyons’ breathy falsetto and a gorgeous combination of soft psych/pop melodic flair and baroque-flavoured arrangements’ (‘Record Collector: 100 Greatest Psychedelic Records’, 2005, Diamond Publishing). Who is Magdalena? She’s the girl at the protest who sticks a flower down the muzzle of the National Guardsman’s rifle, she’s Theda Bara on the ‘IT: International Times’ masthead, she’s Ophelia in the Millais painting, while the insanity she invites is not tragic psychosis but skewed through the RD Laing orbit into an alternative plane of perception.

The ascent culminates when, in October, Nirvana release their first album, supposedly a concept album produced by Island’s Chris Blackwell – ‘The Story Of Simon Simopath’, a ‘Science Fiction Pantomime’ that’s arguably the first story-driven ‘concept’ album – before that particular idea got ludicrously out of hand. The ‘Record Mirror’ reviewer welcomed this ‘delightful LP – it is built around a science-fiction story, with plenty of subtle undercurrents thrown in. The songs are mostly pretty and well-performed with a sad gentleness. Tuneful, and very competent, this makes good listening’ (30 December 1967).

The lyrics supposedly track the life-to-death story of Simopath, tripping through a series of concise songs that never overstay. In “Wings Of Love” he dreams of flying, and tries to bargain with a swallow – ‘permit me to entice you with a bargain’, offering a comic-book and a cuckoo clock in exchange for the gift of flight. ‘He wants to be in love, he wants to be a butterfly’ is exactly the kind of fey escapist artiness that incendiary Punk set out to crush beneath its hardcore Doc Martens. But the Hans Christian Anderson portal into otherness is also wings, the Arthur Rackham vision of haunted strangeness. And Nirvana encapsulate it better than anyone else. From the orchestral play-in, through dazzlingly expansive cinematic time-changes, into the false-fade, with a speeded-up chorus phasing in from stage-left, it’s as seductive as a charm.

The ‘story’ develops across the inner-spread of the gatefold sleeve, within the childishly striking art. Simon is unpopular at school, but after reaching the ‘summer of his years’ finds himself ‘lost in the office jungle’. ‘Hanging by a thread’ he suffers a nervous breakdown. Unable to find therapeutic help he hops a rocketship instead, ‘dreaming of a place that is slightly out of focus’. “Satellite Jockey” closes with a countdown and lift-off sequence. He meets and befriends the centaur you see on David Browning’s cover-art, and Magdalena who works at Pentecost Hotel. Simon and Magdalena fall in love (serene ballad “I Never Had A Love Like This Before”) and wed (the McCartney-style hook “Take This Hand”), followed by a jazzy party (“1999”). Well… it’s no more silly than a deaf-dumb-and-blind kid who plays pinball!

This expanded album-length palette shows Nirvana slipping sideways into the baroque-flavoured, melodic Prog-Pop, soft-rock category of what the group’s Wikipedia page suggests as the Zombies of ‘Odessey And Oracle’ (April 1968) or the Moody Blues of ‘Days Of Future Passed’ (November 1967). But not quite. So far, so indecipherable. It also relates directly to Syd Barrett’s whimsical songs for early Pink Floyd, or the ornate arrangements of Donovan’s ‘Sunshine Superman’ period. The effete edge of acid. And just check out Herman’s Hermits cover of “Wings Of Love” to see just how Pop-friendly it could be, retaining all Nirvana’s twiddly adornments (on YouTube, a bonus track on the 1968 ‘Mrs Brown, You’ve Got A Lovely Daughter’ CD). Or The Alan Bown’s near-hit with their contagious sing-along edited-and-expanded version of “We Can Help You”. Or Kenny Ball’s trad-jazz single of closing track “1999”. While Françoise Hardy’s version of “Tiny Goddess” is simply exquisite.

With the LP due to for promotion through ‘a live show at the Saville Theatre, sharing a bill with fellow label acts Traffic, Spooky Tooth, and Jackie Edwards’ there are changes. Essentially a studio unit, supplying songs and vocals, with back-up primarily added by session and orchestral musicians – with Campbell-Lyons providing a little guitar and Spyropoulos adding keyboards, they expand into the Nirvana Ensemble for concerts and TV. Part of the live experience rather than bona fide members, the add-ons are there in the album cover photos and promo shots attired in regulation kaftans and beads – ‘all dressed up and laughing loud’, to assist the group image. Guitarist Ray Singer already had a track-record of working with Alex. He’s joined by Brian Henderson (bass), Sylvia ‘Sylvy’ A Schuster (cello) and finally Michael Cole (French horn, viola), while Sue & Sunny provide sweet vocal harmonies. But Nirvana revert to its original duo line-up for studio work. Patrick explaining that Nirvana is ‘just a vehicle for musical works put together by myself and friends I’ve known for a long time.’


Then “Rainbow Chaser” became the only Nirvana single to achieve a degree of commercial success, while being one of the candidates as the first UK 45rpm single to extensively utilise phasing or flanging. It enters the ‘Record Mirror’ Top 40 – and peaks at number 34, 29 May 1968. Union Gap’s “Young Girl” was no.1, and Love Affair’s “Rainbow Valley” was climbing into the Top Ten. The Rolling Stones “Jumping Jack Flash” debuts the same week. Nirvana drop to 37 the following week, then no.38, before making a final showing also at no.38 (19 June). Although “Rainbow Chaser” climbs all the way to no.1 in Denmark! To me, marooned in the bleak uncoolness of Hull a million light years from the Dawning of the Age of Aquarius, the swooshing comet of phasing seemed a luring link into an altogether more hip dimension where the world could be different. Chart success destroyed exclusivity, Nirvana came close enough to become a portal into counterculture otherness without ever losing that elusive in-crowd code. They were part of the new ‘underground’ scene, interacting through its gaudy magazine network, feeding evocative artwork through its pages. For me, furthering that tenuous link by hunting reviews and mentions in the weekly music press.

With phasing an essential weapon in the psychedelic arsenal, Nirvana were – and are, invariably tagged that way. ‘We rapidly took on the connotations of an early acid band’ Patrick told ‘Hot Press’ magazine, ‘but the whole thing was concepted out of total ignorance.’ Yet, despite his denials, their hippie joss-stick name, promotional photographs on the cover of their first album wearing ‘flower-power’ raiments that imply ‘druggy’ associations, “Rainbow Chaser” is one of the few Nirvana records that has a direct link with ‘psychedelic’ music. Although “Orange And Blue” (1970) was acknowledged to have been written under the influence of LSD according to the liner notes on the album it titles. Instead, where creativity is concerned, ‘I get it from sadness very often’ says Alex, ‘a relief from personal anxieties inside me.’

The group appear on the French TV show ‘Improvisation On A Sunday Afternoon’ with Salvador Dalí, who splashes black paint on them as they perform “Rainbow Chaser”. ‘That afternoon was, and still is, the high point of my performing days’ says Campbell-Lyons – who keeps the jacket, jokily expressing regrets that Dalí didn’t sign any of their paint-splashed clothes. While Island Records send the artist an invoice for the cleaning of Schuster’s cello. Following the minor chart success of “Rainbow Chaser”, ‘live appearances became increasingly rare’ and the duo at the core of Nirvana ‘decided to disband the sextet’ and fall back on session players for future recordings. Campbell-Lyons blames the high cost of additional members as a reason for downsizing. Spyropoulos cites Schuster’s departure due to pregnancy, as another – she goes on to become principal cellist of the BBC Symphony Orchestra!

While top musicians who play Nirvana sessions include Lesley Duncan, Big Jim Sullivan, Herbie Flowers, Billy Bremner (later of Rockpile), Luther ‘Ariel Bender’ Grosvenor, and the ubiquitous Clem Cattini, as well as the full Spooky Tooth line-up. There’s a frequent repetition on websites of the who’s-who of music activists who use Nirvana sessions as a tyro creative romper room for sharpening skills that would go on to shape future music, a ‘six degrees of separation’ way of drawing in such behind-the-scenes craftspeople as Jimmy Miller (Rolling Stones), Chris Thomas (Sex Pistols), Tony Visconti (Bowie), or arranger Johnny Scott who scored for the Hollies and subsequent movies such as ‘Greystoke’ (1984) and ‘The Shooting Party’ (1985). Although these are true, they’re hardly necessary. Nirvana is enough in itself. With a title-track suggesting ‘the wind from somewhere east will take us back home,’ the duo’s second album touched down in 1968, without the artistic conceit of a unifying theme. ‘(The Existence Of Chance Is Everything And Nothing While The Greatest Achievement Is The Living Of Life, And So Say) All Of Us’ nevertheless features a more successfully integrated range of broad styles. The cover reproduces a black-and-white print of an 1892 Pierre Fritel painting, showing world history’s most famous ‘Les Conquérants (The Conquerors)’, in a triumphal procession through a mass of corpses – depicting the relentless force of destiny. Yet it’s headlined by two softly-lysergic singles. The ethereal “Tiny Goddess” and the made-in-heaven “Rainbow Chaser” with its collusion of goosebump-inducing vocals, shamanistic lyrics and jaw-dropping melody, what David Wells calls ‘their defining Pop-psych moment’.

The title track with its Procol Harum liturgical organ, had been lifted as the theme for ‘The Touchables’ (1969) – hence it’s sub-title. Stevie Winwood had turned down an offer to provide a soundtrack for this trash-exploitational Swinging Sixties movie from an Ian La Frenais (‘The Likely Lads’) script, of a Pop star kidnapped by four girl fans (a ‘handsome quartet’ played by Kathy Simmonds, Esther Anderson, Marilyn Rickard and Judy Huxtable). So it went to Nirvana – ‘there is no ending to the game that we play’. The bright breezy “Girl In The Park” also has the pastoral flower-power visual quality of a video to frolic in your head. They use rippling harp and a cerise chorus to light the story of “Melanie Blue” who’s ‘got the sunshine to stay’ while her children play. A touching glimpse into post-hip domesticity, ‘I never see the age I am, there is no change in time’. While “Trapeze” uses circus-acrobat imagery to pose the question ‘do you think they are afraid of being high?’ “The Show Must Go On” is a unique Greco-Celt instrumental, while the gauzy lazy breathy “You Can Try It” recaptures McCartney’s easy melodic gift to close another highly accomplished twelve-inch set.

Yet their third album, ‘Black Flower’, was rejected by Blackwell, who compares it disparagingly to Francis Lai’s “A Man And A Woman”. He advised ‘leave the heavy stuff to Spooky Tooth’. Under the new title ‘Dedicated To Markos III’ – supposedly named for a ‘rich uncle’ of Spyropoulos who helped finance the album, its captivatingly soundscaped glide-by beauty arrived through a new label hook-up with Pye in May 1970, though reportedly only 250 copies were pressed and it was deleted shortly after. One track, “Christopher Lucifer”, is a jibe at Blackwell.

Their final shot on the pale pink Island label was the upbeat May 1969 single “Oh! What A Performance”, flipped with “Darling Darlene” which candy-coats ‘ba-ba-ba’ Summer of Love Turtles-style harmonies. By contrast, the ‘A’-side features energetic Spooky Tooth back-up, with Gary Wright’s ‘Lady Madonna’ piano and Luther Grosvenor’s stinging guitar. The tongue-in-cheek lyric has Patrick boasting how he ‘won an Oscar for playing the fool’, while he’s the ‘superstar attraction – yeah’. It’s like he’s finally become that reflection in his cracked teenage mirror, ‘wearing a suit of shimmer and light, my hair on fire, a shower of sparks cascading around me like a golden arch of neon on Broadway.’

Maybe ‘the audience never let him go’, yet in 1971 the duo amicably separate, leaving Campbell-Lyons – who’d dominated ‘Markos III’, as the primary contributor to the next two albums issued under the Nirvana name, both of which have quiet flashes of the group’s sublime excellence. ‘Local Anaesthetic’ (1971), features keyboard-player Patrick Joseph ‘Pete’ Kelly, who also co-writes the “Modus Operandi” track for the album, and ‘Songs Of Love And Praise’ (1972), which features the return of cellist Sylvia Schuster. For those still in doubt, Chris Welch reveals that ‘basically Patrick Campbell-Lyons is Nirvana. He assembles the musicians to interpret his themes, usually in an orchestral context, often with a choir. Some of the themes are instrumental sound paintings, or simple mood pieces like “Nova Sketch” which features a brief piano solo with conga accompaniment’ (‘Melody Maker’ March 1972).

Campbell-Lyons subsequently worked as a solo artist to issue further albums ‘Me And My Friend’ (1973, Sovereign 7258), ‘The Electric Plough’ (1981, Public Publ 1) – which includes a Latin remake of “All Of Us” (as “Habemus De Loca”), and ‘The Hero I Might Have Been’ (1983), while undertaking producer roles for Vertigo progressive albums by Clear Blue Sky and Sunburst – plus Jade Warrior whose members had continuity links all the way back to Second Thoughts (through a one-album Pop-sike group called July). He did production work for Mickey Jupp and Gracious, while ‘Public Records’, an indie label he set up with Gloria Sattin also issued singles by M15 and 50:50 (in May 1980). He also admits to ‘quite a few horrible things I’m not very proud of’, listing ad-jingles and TV-themes for ‘Whitbread Round-The-World Sailing’ and Channel 4’s ‘The Horse In Sport’. Maybe Simon Simopath finally found his mighty wings, without the use of ‘gun and bow and arrow’, during the ‘British Airways Poundstretcher’ ad campaign he also scored?

So, does Nirvana still stack up, across the years? Edit away all the ephemerals to the core of the music on the CD reissues, and does it still mean anything? Well, I’m listening to a compilation CD called ‘Travelling On A Cloud’. And, permit me to entice you with a bargain. We might know this music, but it’s never seemed so fresh. The melodic invention is still as charming, the breathy melancholy can trigger shivers in even the most unwary. These are still wings.

The duo reunite in 1985, touring Europe and releasing a compilation album that contains some new material. Confusingly this was titled ‘Black Flower’ (Bam-Caruso, 1987), because their third album had by now been reissued under this same original planned title! In the 1990s two further albums arrived, ‘Secret Theatre’ (1994) compiled of rare tracks and demos, while ‘Orange And Blue’ (1996) contained previously unreleased material including a tongue-in-cheek flower-power cover of Kurt Cobain’s “Lithium”. According to the band’s official website, this was intended as part of a cheekily-title album to be called ‘Nirvana Sings Nirvana’ that was aborted when Cobain died. When the recording was presented on the ‘Orange And Blue’ album, Campbell-Lyons’s liner notes treat it seriously, with allusions to ‘Wuthering Heights’ Heathcliff.

 The eruption of Seattle Grunge presented both problems, and amusing chances. Although the only real confusion came on behalf of opportunistic lawyers who filed 1992 California litigation against Kurt Cobain’s band. Settled out of court on undisclosed terms, Music writer Everett True claims Cobain’s label paid $100,000 to allow both factions to continue using the Nirvana name without disclaimers or caveats to distinguish one from the other. ‘New Musical Express’ reports the reactivated duo were planning a new single, ‘get out of my head, get into my bed’ alongside possible live festival gigs (10 April 1993). Also according to the website, the band still wanted to open for Hole even after Cobain’s death.

Nirvana? This one, or that one? Maybe the next time Nirvana gets Googled, this feature will have gone some way towards striking a certain balance.



1966 – “California Jazz Club USA” c/w “Chance For Romance” (President Records PT 105), featuring Patrick Campbell-Lyons and Chris Thomas as HAT AND TIE

April 1967 – “Bread To Spend” c/w “I’m Finding It Rough” (President Records PT 122), featuring Patrick Campbell-Lyons and Chris Thomas as HAT AND TIE. The ‘B’-side later recorded by the Everly Brothers

July 1967 – “Tiny Goddess” c/w “I Believe In Love” (Island WIP-6016), first as NIRVANA,‘A’-side produced by Jimmy Miller and Chris Blackwell

October 1967 – “Pentecost Hotel” c/w “Feelin’ Shattered” (Island WIP-6020), ‘A’-side produced by Chris Blackwell. Performed on German TV ‘Beat Club’…

 March 1968 – “Rainbow Chaser” c/w “Flashbulb” (Island WIP-6029), ‘A’-side produced by Muff Winwood – UK Singles Chart No. 34. Also featured on ‘You Can All Join In’ Island sampler album

July 1968 – “Girl In The Park” c/w “C-Side In Ocho Rios” (Island WIP-6038), ‘A’-side produced by Chris Blackwell and recording engineer Brian Humphries who started with Nirvana before going on to work with Traffic, Black Sabbath, and Pink Floyd (engineering their acclaimed ‘Wish You Were Here’ and ‘Animals’). ‘B’-side is an instrumental mix of ‘In The Courtyard Of The Stars’ as by the Nirvana Orchestra

November 1968 – “All of Us (The Touchables)” c/w “Trapeze” (Island WIP-6045), ‘A’-side produced by Chris Blackwell and Jimmy Miller, ‘B’-side by Alex Spyropoulos and Patrick Campell-Lyons

January 1969 – “Wings of Love” c/w “Requiem To John Coltrane” (Island WIP-6052), produced by Chris Blackwell

May 1969 – “Oh! What A Performance” c/w “Darling Darlene” (Island WIP-6057), both sides produced by Chris Thomas

May 1970 – “The World Is Cold Without You” c/w “Christopher Lucifer” (Pye International 7N-25525) produced by Mike Hurst, ‘A’-side arranged by Mike Vickers, former Manfred Mann. ‘NME’ says ‘delicate misty opening and that peculiar husky vocal sound. A funny little throw-away song with some Jim Webb-type strings’

1971 – “Stadium” c/w “Please Believe Me” (Philips 6006-166)

April 1974 – “You’re A Winner” c/w “The Proposal” (Chrysalis CHS2041) solo single as ‘Patrick O’Magick’ reviewed by ‘NME’ as ‘a piece of wafer-thin country-Rock, with a chorus you remember with ease’

1976 – “Two Of A Kind” c/w “Before Midnight” (Bradley Records BRAD 7602), from an unstaged Spyropoulos and ‘Patrick O’Magic’ Campell-Lyons musical called ‘Blood’, ‘like a rider in the sky, like a shipwreck passing by’ it goes from a ‘Bridge Over Troubled Water’ piano to mass choral voices. ‘B’-side as by The Nirvana Ensemble. A French edition couples ‘Two Of A Kind’ c/w ‘Jacqueline’ (Les Disques Motors MT 4074)

1976 – “Ooh It Takes Two To Tango” c/w “Rocking The Boat” (Electric WOT7) as by Arthur and Aliki which is Arthur Brown (of Crazy World) and Aliki Ashman with producer Campell-Lyons adding phasing. Patrick also issues singles as PC Lyons for Chrysalis, ‘The Hero’ as by Erehwon for Harvest, and ‘The Girl From Roxyville’ c/w ‘Autograph Book’ as The Cisco Kid (Electric WOT5). He also wrote and produced ‘My Radio’ c/w ‘Grandpa’ for the Informants (Criminal Records SWAG5) in 1979

November 1978 – “Love Is” c/w “Pascale” (Pepper Records UP 36461) ‘Love is the universal high! The opiate of the people! The answer to the ‘why’!’ Tony Parsons writes ‘sounds like massed choirs of ‘spaced-out’ Jesus ‘children’, ‘ecstatic’ in the ‘mud’’ (NME, 11 November)

1979 – “Restless Wind” c/w “Thank You And Goodnight” (Pepper Records UP 36538), features Joe Fagin

September 1981 – “The Picture of Dorian Gray” c/w “No It Isn’t” (Zilch 8) ‘NME’ says ‘Wilde’s macabre masterpiece trivialised… no good hooks, too long, eviction time from Pentecost Hotel.’ Patrick Campbell-Lyons solo, but issued as Nirvana

1982 – “Black And White Or Colour” c/w “Tall Trees And Mansions” (Zilch 15)


1967 – THE STORY OF SIMON SIMOPATH (Island ILPS 9059), produced by Chris Blackwell with ‘Wings Of Love’, ‘Lonely Boy’, ‘We Can Help You’, ‘Satellite Jockey’, ‘In The Courtyard Of The Stars’, ‘You Are Just The One’, ‘Pentecost Hotel’, ‘I Never Found A Love Like This’, ‘Take This Hand’, ‘1999’. ‘NME’ says ‘modern, and yet tuneful’, ‘Record Mirror’ says ‘one of the most adventurous LPs to be issued this month’. A 2003 Universal CD includes bonus tracks ‘I Believe In Magic’, ‘Life Ain’t Easy’, ‘Feelin’ Shattered’, ‘Requiem To John Coltrane’

1968 – THE TOUCHABLES (Twentieth Century FOX SL 10271) movie soundtrack compiled and produced by Chris Blackwell, with Jimmy Miller. Nirvana perform two versions of the theme only, one at 2:46-minutes and one at 2:58. Other tracks are by Wynder K Frog (‘Dancing Frog’ and ‘Blues For A Frog’), Ferris Wheel (‘Respect’), plus various Ken Thorne original instrumentals

1968 – (THE EXISTENCE OF CHANCE IS EVERYTHING AND NOTHING WHILE THE GREATEST ACHIVEMENT IS THE LIVING OF LIFE, AND SO SAY) ALL OF US(Island ILPS 9087) with ‘Rainbow Chaser’, ‘Tiny Goddess’, ‘The Touchables (All Of Us)’, ‘Melanie Blue’ (produced by Chris Blackwell and Brian Humphries), ‘Trapeze’, ‘The Show Must Go On’ (produced by Tony Visconti), ‘Girl In The Park’, ‘Miami Masquerade’, ‘Frankie The Great’, ‘You Can Try It’ (produced by Nirvana), ‘Everybody Loves The Clown’, ‘St John’s Wood Affair’. ‘NME’ says ‘Nirvana is due for big things before long’. The 2003 Universal CD has bonus tracks ‘Flashbulb’, ‘Oh! What A Performance’, ‘Darling Darlene’, ‘C-Side Of Ocho Rios’. An Australian single, ‘Melanie Blue’ c/w ‘Wings Of Love’ issued in 1968 as Festival Records FK-2786

1970 – DEDICATED TO MARKOS III (Pye International NSPL 28132) produced by Mike Hurst, with ‘The World Is Cold Without You’, ‘Excerpt From The Blind And The Beautiful’ (featuring Roger Cook backing voice, Bill Bremner guitar), ‘I Talk To My Room’, ‘Christopher Lucifer’, ‘Aline Cherie’, ‘Tres, Tres Bien’, ‘It Happened Two Sundays Ago’, ‘Black Flower’, ‘Love Suite’ (with Leslie Duncan vocals), ‘Illinois’. Arrangements by Johnny Scott, Mike Vickers and Tony Visconti. Issued in 1969 in the US as Metromedia MD-1018. Reissued in 1987 under its original title ‘Black Flower’ with bonus tracks ‘Shine’ and rerecorded ‘Pentecost Hotel’, and as Edsel EDCD-378. Johnny Black says ‘ambitious orchestrations, quirky time-changes and lyrics that once passed for meaningful evoke the period perfectly’ (‘Q’, February 1994). The first three Nirvana albums are reissued on CD by Universal Records in 2003 to critical acclaim

May 1971 – LOCAL ANAESTHETIC (Vertigo 6360031) with two suites ‘Modus Operandi’ by Patrick Campbell-Lyons with Pete Kelly taking up side one. ‘NME’ says ‘contains a good deal of self-indulgence, although among the aimless cacophony there are brighter moments when the vocalist seems intent on impersonating Jagger’. And ‘Home’ on side two consisting of ‘Salutation’, ‘Construction’, ‘Destruction’, ‘Re-Construction’, ‘Fanfare’ which is ‘nearer the Nirvana of the good songs they’ve proved capable of producing in the past’. Features Jade Warrior and Mel Collins. Reissued in 2005 by Universal (Japan). ‘Home’ is also featured on multi-artist September 1971 LP Vertigo 6360045

February 1972 – SONGS OF LOVE AND PRAISE (Philips 6308-089) with ‘Rainbow Chaser’, ‘Please Believe Me’, ‘Lord Up Above’, ‘She’s Lost It’, ‘Nova Sketch’, ‘Pentecost Hotel’, ‘I Need Your Love Tonight’, ‘Will There Be Me’, ‘Stadium’, with thanks to Jade Warrior, Pete Kelly and Phil Dennis. Chris Welch says ‘it is not necessary to probe for any great depth in this essentially studio orientated music, and there is sometimes an unfinished quality, evident in the use of fade-out, which precludes it from greatness’ (‘Melody Maker’). Press advert says ‘A Really Nice Album’. This new version of ‘Rainbow Chaser’ issued as a single Philips 6006-129. Album reissued in 2005 by Universal (Japan)

1974 – ME AND MY FRIEND(Sovereign 7258), Patrick Campbell-Lyons’s first solo album, with ‘Out Of Nowhere’, ‘Friends’, ‘Mother England’, ‘Everybody Should Fly A Kite’, ‘Tomorrow I’ll Make You Smile’, ‘Me And My Friend’, ‘Jesus Christ Junior’, ‘I Think I Want Him Too’, ‘1974’ and ‘Watch Out Cassius Clay’. Features lyrics by Dominic Behan. When released on CD, most of the tracks from ‘Songs of Love and Praise’ are also included and it was marketed as a Nirvana album

September 1981 – THE ELECTRIC PLOUGH(Public Records Publ 1), subtitled ‘The Story Of A Blind Man Walking Through A Field Of Poppies’, Patrick Campbell-Lyons’s second solo LP ‘has as its theme emigration, exile and a joyful return to the home country’ says ‘Hot Press’. With ‘Sanskrit’ a psychedelic Gregorian choral chant, ‘Tomorrow’, ‘The Actor Prepares’ sung by Martin Finlay, ‘The Way You Look Tonight’, ‘Afternoon Dancing’ with Theresa De Breu, ‘Habemus De Loca’ (Latin version of ‘All Of Us’), ‘Honeymoon For One’ instrumental, ‘The Hero I Might Have Been’, ‘Naked Robots Watching Breakfast TV’, ‘Sanskrit Reprise’ and ‘Sanctuary’ – ‘signifying the return to Ireland. Again it’s a traditional air, probably the most successful of its kind on the album, a well-arranged, nicely-textured fusion of pipes, fiddle and harp’. Alex wrote two tracks and co-produces another

1987 – BLACK FLOWER (Bam Caruso LP KIRI041) compilation with ‘Black Flower’, ‘I Believe In Magic’, ‘It Happened Two Sundays Ago’, ‘Life Ain’t Easy’, ‘Pentecost Hotel’, ‘The World Is Cold Without You’, ‘Satellite Jockey’, ‘Excerpt From The Blind And The Beautiful’, ‘Tiny Goddess’, ‘Illinois’, ‘Tres Tres Bien’, ‘Love Suite’ with new tracks ‘June’ and ‘We Can Make It Through’

1992 – TRAVELLING ON A CLOUD (Island 3D CID 1002), compilation with ‘Rainbow Chaser’, ‘Pentecost Hotel’, ‘Tiny Goddess’, ‘Girl In The Park’, ‘Melanie Blue’, ‘You Can Try It’, ‘Trapeze’, ‘Satellite Jockey’, ‘Wings Of Love’, ‘The Show Must Go On’, ‘The Touchables (All Of Us)’, ‘We Can Help You’, ‘Oh! What A Performance’ and ‘Darling Darlene’, with Brian Hogg sleeve-notes

1995 – SECRET THEATRE (Edsel EDCD 407) twenty-one-track rarities and outtakes including previously unissued demo of ‘Girl In The Park’ by Smoke, Jimmy Cliff vocals on ‘Waterfall’, Joe Fagin vocals on ‘Restless Wind’, Diana Dor’s son Gary (‘Twenty-Four Kisses’), plus Campbell-Lyons spoken-word ‘Dali’, ‘Indiscreet Harlequin’ and ‘Rio De Janeiro’ (about meeting Guy Stevens, Jimmy Cliff and Salvador Dali, from his book ‘Rainbow Chaser’). Also ‘Pascale’, ‘Girl From Roxyville’ (described by ‘NME’ as ‘surreal mixed-up laid-back cineramic masturbation’), ‘Radio UFO’ and a cover of Marty Wilde’s hit ‘Bad Boy’

1996 – ORANGE AND BLUE (Edsel EDCD 485) with ‘Orange And Blue’ (lyrics include spoken passage using ‘silver apples of the moon’), ‘Lithium’, ‘Stone In The Water’, ‘As Long As I Can See You’, ‘Lost In Space’, ‘Busy Man’, ‘What Are We Gonna Do Now?’ (new recording using drum-machine), ‘Do You Dream?’, ‘My Little Red Book’, ‘Allison Smith’, ‘The Face At The Window’, ‘Our Love Is The Sea’

September 1999 – CHEMISTRY (Edsel FBOOK24), 3CD retrospective, first disc titled ‘Orchestral’ 18-tracks with alternate ‘Rainbow Chaser’, ‘Acoustic’ 17-tracks with ‘Stone In The Water’ and ‘My Friend Taffin’, and ‘Rock And Pop’ with ‘My Little Red Book’ and ‘Tiny Goddess’, including twelve previously unreleased tracks, some new material and a 16pp booklet

2003 – FOREVER CHANGING (Island Records 980-001-5) 14-track compilation credited as ‘An Introduction To Nirvana’, yet oddly includes the later Philips re-recordings of ‘Pentecost Hotel’ and ‘Rainbow Chaser’. Sleeve notes by Phil Smee

2011 – THE 13 DALIS (Global Recording) A thirteen-track Patrick Campbell-Lyons solo project recorded in London, Spain and Morocco with Alex Spyropoulos guesting, includes ‘Sunset City’, ‘A Prayer Before A Kiss’, ‘Unforgiven’, ‘Falling’, ‘All I Do Is For You’, ‘Reach’, ‘Nothing Changes’ and ‘Flowers For Friday’ plus Richard Thompson’s ‘Galway To Graceland’ and Love’s ‘Live And Let Live’. The title Dali is a guru, not Salvador!

April 2012 – CULT (Global Recording Artists) 23-track compilation aimed at the US market as ‘The Young Person’s Guide To Nirvana’, the cover-art says Nirvana ’69 to avoid potential confusion


November 2009 – PSYCHEDELIC DAYS: 1960-1969 by Mr Patrick Campbell-Lyons (Createspace ISBN-10: 1449923291 ISBN-13: 978-1449923297) autobiography

Music and interview… 


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Rainbow Chaser said...

"Orange And Blue" reissued 2023, as well as unreleased album from the 1970's "Secrets"