Fairfield Parlour in session to end the week. Kaleidoscope were active between 1967 and 1970. The band’s songs combined the elements of psychedelia with lyrics. They were also known at various times as The Sidekicks, The Key, I Luv Wight and Fairfield Parlour. Nothing like keeping your audience a little confused at all times.
Having performed since 1963 under the name The Sidekicks, they became The Key in November 1965, before settling upon the name Kaleidoscope when they signed a deal with Fontana Records in January 1967 with the help of the music publisher Dick Leahy. The group consisted of Eddy Pumer on guitar, Steve Clark on bass and flute, and Danny Bridgman on drums and the vocalist Peter Daltrey, who also played various keyboard instruments. Most of the band’s songs were compositions of Pumer’s music and Daltrey’s lyrics. While the group did not achieve major commercial success in its time, it retains a loyal fan-base and its recordings are remembered in high regard.
The band’s first single “Flight from Ashiya” (b/w “Holidaymaker”) was released on 15 September 1967 by Fontana Records, a little earlier than the band’s first album Tangerine Dream. The song was telling about an impending plane crash. The single got critical acclaim and quite an amount of radio airplay but failed to reach the charts. Years later, the song has appeared on many compilation albums, including Nuggets II: Original Artyfacts from the British Empire and Beyond, 1964–1969, the second box set of the Nuggets series and Acid Drops, Spacedust & Flying Saucers: Psychedelic Confectionery.
Two months later, Tangerine Dream – also produced by Dick Leahy – was released. The album included “Flight From Ashiya”, “Please Excuse My Face” and “Dive into Yesterday” which are now considered some of the band’s best songs. Meanwhile the band were aired performing live on several BBC radio shows. A new single was released in 1968 called “Jenny Artichoke” (b/w “Just How Much You Are”) that was inspired by Donovan’s, “Jennifer Juniper”. After the release the band traveled around Europe, and when in Netherlands supported Country Joe and the Fish at the Amsterdam Concert Hall. Faintly Blowing, again produced by Leahy, was released later, in 1969 by Fontana Records. This time the band’s sound was heavier but the tracks still included psychedelic elements with notable lyrics but it failed to reach the charts. After the failure of Faintly Blowing, they released two more singles.
By the end of the decade, failing with their last single “Balloon”, the band moved on with their new manager DJ David Symonds, whom they met during the BBC sessions, as Fairfield Parlour, with the same line up. Despite the fact that they were now being called a progressive rock band, their music did not change much and still included fairy-tale lyrics with psychedelic harmony. The band’s first single as Fairfield Parlour, “Bordeaux Rosé”, was released on 17 April 1970 on the Vertigo label. It got a considerable amount of radio airplay, but failed to reach the hit lists. After releasing several singles, the album From Home to Home was released on 14 August 1970 with Symonds’ production. While the band was getting ready to release the album, they again used another name for themselves, I Luv Wight, as they were asked to record the theme tune for the Isle of Wight Festival, “Let the World Wash in”, which got released a week after the release of the album From Home to Home. They made the opening for the festival as Fairfield Parlour.
The band’s fourth album, White Faced Lady, which they financed independently, was recorded in Morgan Studios in London. Attempts at finding a record company failed and the album was shelved until 1991 when it was released under the name Kaleidoscope on an independent label. The band’s last appearance in the early days was at a concert in Bremen, Germany, in 1972.
Whether or not you are still confused about the constantly revolving names, here is their only session (as Fairfield Parlour) for John Peel, recorded at BBC Radio 1 on April 30, 1970.
Crank it up and get ready for the weekend.