Various Artists: Wednesday Morning Dew: Realistic Patterns, Vol. 2
Nick Saloman dredges the bottomless archives of rock esoterica and delivers another pleasurable offering.
On Wednesday Morning Dew: Realistic Patterns, Vol. 2, Nick Saloman, formerly of the Bevis Frond and a co-publisher of Ptolemaic Terrascope, dredges the bottomless archives of rock esoterica in an attempt to collect the riches the mature-pop challenges “Eleanor Rigby” and the Left Banke put forth. Overall, it's a another pleasurable, though uneven, offering. As one might expect, some tunes suggest music-jobbing adults trying to get groovy with the youngsters, or dubious visions of go-go girls slathered in Day-Glo paint. That one track, the Stony Brook People’s “There’s Tomorrow”, came from the house band at an L.A. nightspot owned by Sammy Davis Jr. should provide a clue.
Fortunately, not everything here reeks of incense and peppermints; some tracks even manage to genuinely rock. The jazzy trappings of Jeff Monn’s “She is There for Me” drape intrigue onto its snotty shrug of a vocal, befitting a guy otherwise known (if at all) for the Third Bardo’s punk-psych gem “I’m Five Years Ahead of My Time”. Secret Agents of the Vice Squad‘s “I Saw Sloopy” woozily recounts the inevitable morning after for the McCoys’ iconic heroine. Topping them all is “Room at the Top”, a Nazz-like sparkler from 1968 by DC one-hit wonders, the Fallen Angels.
Lighter fare can be found in the Majic Ship’s late-summer haze of a title cut. Similarly, Peter Courtney’s “Dr. David’s Private Papers” and the Shambles’ “World War II in Cincinnati” both nod to the more fanciful work of the early Bee Gees or Marc Wirtz of “Excerpt from a Teenage Opera” infamy. While Hearts and Flowers boasted future associates of Laurel Canyon’s buckskin music elite, the band's “(Ballad of a) Tin Angel” is a definite highlight. Its apt, spacey harmonies and shifting orchestral textures (Iberian to Gregorian to Appalachian, via L.A., natch) push beyond psychedelia into phantasmagoria, which is where the best of this musical genre should reside and be regarded.