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Big Beat's Seeds reissue series continues with an expanded edition of their third and most controversial album, 1967's idiosyncratic Future. At this point the band, fronted by the enigmatic Sky Saxon, were hugely popular in their native Los Angeles, and seemed poised for major stardom on the heels of their national hit Pushin' Too Hard . Encouraged by their manager, Lord Tim Hudson, the album was Saxon's psychedelic missive to the world; an outrageous gesture with no expense spared: copious string and horn overdubs on a selection of material that espoused the singer's new-found flower power philosophy. Nevertheless, Future contains many fan favourites such as Painted Doll, Flower Lady, Two Fingers and A Thousand Shadows . Big Beat's deluxe 2CD edition features the remastered stereo album, along with a selection of period mono mixes, including several that are previously unissued. A second disc, Contact High: The Future Sessions, is a fascinating rundown of the album s creation, utilising outtakes, alternate mixes and previously unheard versions to demonstrate that, beneath all the overdubs and florid platitudes, on Future, the Seeds collective rock n roll heart beat as strongly as ever. As with Big Beat's previous Seeds remasters, Future comes as a foldout digipak with a jam-packed booklet full of revelatory details and eye-popping pictorial, to accompany this definitive edition of Sky and the Seeds psychedelic masterwork. Compilation and sleeve note by Alec Palao.
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On the other hand, I, as well as most of my friends, were basing these opinions entirely on their 45’s because we never heard their albums. Sure, we saw those albums in the stores, but being the kids we were, we needed to save our cash for the more “serious” bands of the day! Sorry for The Seeds, it took almost fifty years to finally get serious about them and really appreciate what they did.
Now, here I am with the second…yes I say, the second version of Future. I bought the first version of the CD two decades ago in Oklahoma and listened to it quite a bit. This being their “worst” album, even according to them (well the survivors, anyway). Yet, despite that, as a completest, I couldn’t resist picking up this double-down version just to get the extra stuff plus all the story behind it all in the outstanding booklet.
Folks, this is a real treasure and after repeated listens to the different versions of the same album and the sessions, I’ve come to appreciate the musicians much more than I ever did back in the day. Daryl Hooper, Jan Savage and Rick Andridge have gone up a bunch of notches on my musical scale. These guys were the real deal.
Not only that, but despite the dud here and there, I’ve found myself getting into the songs on Future more and more. For what was a dismal failure for the band and a whacked out experiment for Sky Saxon, probably despite him, there was some good come out of all of this.
As I’ve got into The Seeds more and more, I’ve come to the conclusion that I more tolerate Sky’s vocals and get into the music, rather than the other way around. While Sky is the front man, the attention getter, I can only take so much of his snarling and whining and almost off-pitch vocals. Of course, that’s also part of the punk charm as well. Maybe if I was a girl and was seeing him gyrate on stage, I’d think different.
On the other hand, listening to the swirling keyboards and the pulsating guitar which is often felt more than heard, all held together with the pounding drumming, the melodies and rhythms come together into a whole.
Future is a lot better than it was given credit for. This compilation of the original album, takes and outtakes is a real treasure and a must have for any Seeds fan. Highly recommended.