Albums you should know, Part 5: Blossom Toes - We Are Ever So Clean
Song: What On Earth (1967)
Originally named the Ingoes and inspired by the Yardbirds, guitarist Brian Godding and bassist Brian Belshaw left their day jobs to start the band in 1964. Signing with Giorgio Gomelsky in 1965, he promptly sent them to Paris to hone their trade. They recorded a few singles, and an EP, adding guitarist Jim Cregan along the way, before returning to the UK in 1967 to record their first album. By that time Kevin Westlake had joined on drums, and flower power was in full swing. Gomelsky fashioned the band as a “cross between the Beatles and the BeeGees” and rechristened the band as the Blossom Toes. However, Polydor usurped control of the sessions, bringing in orchestrator David Whittaker and a host of session musicians to reshape the Toes’ music. That said, We Are So Clean is still something of a classic flower power record. When the album is on, it stands as some of the best music of the era; “Look At Me I’m You” kicks off, the psychedelia in full regalia, while the melodic popsike of “I’ll Be Late For Tea” is utterly infectious. As the hooks of “Telegram Tuesday” attest, Godding shines as a songwriter. His “What On Earth” is the album’s gemstone, and the production couldn’t be a better fit. Certainly a few tracks are a little too clever or contrived, and easily identified by their titles: The Remarkable Saga of The Frozen Dog, People of the Royal Parks, etc. But great album or not, the band were unhappy with the sessions, and Westlake promptly left the band. John “Poli” Palmer, previously in Deep Feeling, joined on percussion and vibes, but his term was short-lived. Unable to play the album live, their disastrous live gigs ordered a rethink and a new direction was soon to be in order. The album sunk with little trace, but has become a cult-classic in the ensuing decades.