The Pretty Things - Parachute (1970)

by request - If S.F. Sorrow is the Pretty Things' Sgt. Pepper, Magical Mystery Tour, and Yellow Submarine wrapped in one, then Parachute is their more succinct White Album and Abbey Road. It's not just a time line comparison. The Pretties made this fascinating LP in the same studio as the Fab Four, London's Abbey Road, with Beatles engineer Norman Smith producing. "The Good Mr. Square" replicates the three-part harmony the Beatles were so proud of on "Because." Two songs later, the group assembles a brief, interconnected three-song suite like the famous ones on side two of Abbey Road. Bassist Wally Allen's vocals on tracks such as "Sickle Clowns" have the same throaty, mad anguish that John Lennon exhibited on "Yer Blues" and "Happiness Is a Warm Gun." If S.F. Sorrow is hard rock grandeur, then Parachute is its more bitter twist, the dream dying and the witching hour upon us. Yet, if this isn't as much of a triumph, the creative neurons are still firing throughout a multi-varied, cohesive LP. Like S.F. Sorrow, it's a surprisingly palatable concept LP. This time the topic is a generation caught between the conflicting calls of (rural) peace, love, and boredom, and (urban) sophistication, sex, and squalor in a harsh world. Somehow the departure of the band's main creative force, Dick Taylor, didn't diminish the writing and inspired variety. Allen stepped up big time into the collaborator role with singer Phil May. The harmonies remain a strong point on an otherwise rock-inclined record, and the nasty edge of perfectly balanced bombast in the best songs have been a lost art ever since -- it's not hard to see why Rolling Stone rated Parachute the best LP of 1970. (There are 18 minutes of good stuff tacked on the Snapper edition, taken from singles.) - by Jack Rabid, The Big Takeover (AMG)

Tracking List:
01 Scene One 01:50
02 The Good Mr. Square 01:26
03 She Was Tall, She Was High 01:34
04 In the Square 01:54
05 The Letter 03:47
06 Rain 00:20
07 Miss Fay Regrets 03:26
08 Cries From the Midnight Circus 06:25
09 Grass 04:20
10 Sickle Clowns 06:34
11 She's a Lover 03:29
12 What's the Use 01:42
13 Parachute 03:48
14 Blue Serge Blues 03:52
15 October 26 04:53
16 Cold Stone 03:09
17 Stone-Hearted Mama 03:26
18 Summer Time 04:29
19 Circus Mind 01:59

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