It has been decades since I last saw the Pretty Things. During their psychedelic phase they used to play around the college circuit in London and I caught them a number of times. They were always great.
Back when they started out, and I was a mere lad of fifteen/sixteen I thought they were superb. Phil May’s hair was the longest and they were the ultimate rebel band. On telly they even put them in a cage. They were as big as the Stones to me. I loved those early singles – Rosalyn and Don’t Bring Me Down. They never disappointed. All those great R&B covers and the songs like Midnight To Six Man, Buzz The Jerk and great B-sides like Can’t Stand The Pain. I was always playing my stuff at maximum volume and my Mum used to keep shouting at me to turn it down. I used to, very unfairly I am ashamed to say, put that Pretty Things cover version of the Bo Diddley track Hey Mama, Keep Your Big Mouth Shut on the old Dansette and crank it up.
So when I saw they were on at Skegness I knew I just had to go. I wasn’t sure quite what to expect. Was it going to be the R&B stuff, the psychedelic or the progressive. I wasn’t disappointed. It was mainly R&B but with a bit of psychedelic and progressive thrown in.
Dick Taylor is brilliant. He was a founder member of the Rolling Stones – leaving in 1962 to form the Pretty Things. Just think what could have been.
So the Pretty Things were to blame for me spending a weekend with a bunch of strange Mersey Bands from my distant youth. Some of it was a bit twee but I had a good time and found a lot of it was good.
The highlight of the whole weekend was the brace of acoustic songs that Dick Taylor and Phil May performed as a duo. Muddy Water’s I Can’t Be Satisfied and Robert Johnson’s Come On In My Kitchen have rarely, if ever, sounded better.