Albums you should know, Part 3: Pretty Things - Parachute

Song: Grass (1970)

With S.F. Sorrow a commercial non-starter, [[bands/pretty-things|The Pretty Things]] again donned their alter-ego Electric Banana to record library music for DeWolfe Publishing, ostensibly to fill the coffers. Three albums, containing both vocal and instrumental versions, were released between 1967-1969. Also recorded around this time was an album with Philippe DeBarge. The wealthy Frenchman commissioned the band the to record an album that featured himself on vocals. In Fall 1969, The Pretty Things headed back into Abbey Road studios with producer Norman Smith. Skip Alan was back behind the drum kit, however, founding member Dick Taylor had departed, being replaced by Vic Unitt from the Edgar Broughton Band. The result is the dark psychedelia of Parachute. The album is split, one side reflecting city life, while the other, escape to the country, however the tracks flow together seamlessly, their melodicism and vocal harmonies a kind of glue, as well as Smith's masterful Abbey Road production. "Miss Fay Regrets" and "Cries From The Midnight Circus" present a much harder and heavier edge, while the second side's "Grass" is haunting, even without the Mellotron. It is again another undisputed masterpiece from the band, and a testament to the Phil May and Wally Waller writing team. Although critically acclaimed upon release (there is some talk of it being Rolling Stone's "Album of the Year"), the album spent only a few weeks in the UK charts, reaching #43, and again saw belated release in the US on the Rare Earth label. Pete Tolson joined the group shortly thereafter, yet touring and a phenomenal single ("October 26th" b/w "Cold Stone") didn't change the bands fortunes, and they fell apart.