The Electric Prunes – In session for Bouton Rouge – 1967 – ORTF – Radio/TV – Paris –
The Electric Prunes in session tonight. Recorded in Paris for the Bouton Rouge program presented by the ORTF (Public Radio/TV) in 1967. This session comes around the same time as the Stockholm concert from the same year, and presumably the same tour.
With a name like The Electric Prunes, you’d be hard pressed to take the band seriously – even by their own admission they thought the name was pretty ridiculous – but it made an impression, and as the flood-gates of Psychedelia opened throughout the world, anything to capture attention was worth a try.
The Electric Prunes did embody that “other side of L.A.” sound – not the one most people came to know that centered around Laurel Canyon which was drenched in Folk, this one embraced the Garage band ethic -loud, raw and soaked in Blotter-acid. This was the sound that permeated the clubs all up and down the strip – these were the house bands; the ones that provided the relentless beat and ear-piercing fuzz that reduced you to a puddle of sweat on the dance floor. These bands provided the backbone, and most of them are relegated to anecdotes or one-off singles for examples of their careers. The Electric Prunes were a few cuts above most of the house bands, but they exemplified the sound. You could call it a precursor to Punk, but that wasn’t on anyone’s mind at the time.
The Electric Prunes did leave two indelible marks on 60s music; I Had Too Much To Dream Last Night and Get Me To The World On Time. Both have achieved a level of immortality that pinpoints a place and a time better than almost anything else, at least as far as L.A. is concerned. Although the core of the band and the crux of their careers lasted roughy two years (they were first signed to Reprise in 1966 and broke up in 1968), they carried on for a while long with a revolving door of musicians until around 1970. They got back together briefly in 1999 as the original lineup and have kept it going to a degree ever since (although James Lowe the singer and only original member is still active.
This session, stripped of studio embellishments, gives some idea of what they sounded like in a live setting – and in fact what a lot of bands sounded like during this period of time. There was always a huge gap between what a band sounded like live and what they sounded like in the studio – a gap that’s not so apparent anymore. But that’s what you had in 1967.
And this is what The Electric Prunes were up to that year. A little over six minutes worth – a short session, but an interesting one.