Shindig! is a music publication put together with genuine understanding, sincerity and utter belief. We bring the scope and knowledge of old fanzines and specialist rock titles to a larger readership.

Exclusive Shindig! Qobuz playlist #11: Cool Sunday Morning – American Soft-Psych 1966-71

We’re very excited to be media partners with the truly unique online streaming platform and download store Qobuz. The 11th of our monthly bespoke playlists, which take in all manner of genres and sub-genres, scenes and beyond, then and now, encapsulates the joys of spring through wide-eyed American flower-children


Play here or use the scrollable frame with tracklist the bottom of the page. You can sign up for a free trial today. Plans start from £10.83 per month. For more on Qobuz read our interview with MD Dan Mackta here


As hippiedom and drug culture took hold, minds were expanded and new universes were entered across the mid to late ’60s, the American pop music industry evolved. The nation’s wealthy key cities leading studio technology was also central, allowing for great gains in the new sonic template. If The Beatles and Stones had led to the formation of millions of garage bands in 1964-65, it was the experimentation of The Beatles’ post Rubber Soul period, The Zombies’ slightly odd but polite baroque, Brian Wilson’s teenage symphonies, and even The Mamas & The Papas’ Californian clarion call that caught the attention of major record labels. Songwriters, Svengalis, scene shapers, zeitgeist cash-in hucksters, and garage bands sought to change name, or at least style, and become part of the age of Aquarius. Fashion and youth culture was everything and for a short while everyone wanted to be part of the psychedelic revolution – within reason. As acid-rock appealed to the genuine tripping freaks, the major labels and artists seeking hits adapted psychedelia into an easily accessible commodity. And pop music went weird. Harpischords, orchestras, fuzz, harmonies and sweet melodies all coalesced.

The three hours worth of music in this playlist sees old guard figures like Del Shannon and The Tokens change with the times, folkies The Association embrace the new sound, and boy/girl acts aplenty all greatly expand their palette. Spanky & Our Gang’s “Leopard Skin Phones” is about as wacky, clever and aware as anything truly cutting edge recorded in ’69. The Monkees’ Head was a great movie moment that captured the precise moment when teenybop bands got turned on. The opening psychedelic credits accompanied by their ‘Porpoise Song’ is era defining. The Strawberry Alarm Clock, who started out as garage-punks Thee Sixpence, appeared in the AIP drugsploitation flick Psych-Out (alongside Jack Nicholson). ‘Pretty Song’ is the ultimate summation of blissed-out life on the Haight for wide-eyed teenagers that frequented drive-in movies. Much of the music here is psychedelic music made for teens and young adults more averse to the Hot 100 than dropping LSD at a ballroom. A lot of it isn’t really psychedelic at all, but by the nature of the recordings and arrangements so much pop music was affected by it. This new sound offered a distillation of the strangeness and escape of taking drugs without necessarily having to take them. Acts like Harper’s Bizarre, The Cowsills, The Critters, The Turtles, The Magicians were all commercial artists that got caught up in the daring and experimental phase of pop music that The Beatles ushered in. And sure, Salvation, and a number of other acts featured here were genuine drug-taking hippies that, like the Airplane and the Dead, wanted to sell records.

After three hours of this delightful soft-psych you too will be green with envy at the music that young Americans were surrounded by in the second half of the ’60s.

© Jon ‘Mojo’ Mills /Shindig! magazine in partnership with Qobuz


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