Tuesday, November 27, 2018

Flashback: Issue no. 4, Winter 2013

As mentioned in another post, I'm absolutely fascinated with the magazine "Flashback," which is edited by Richard Morton Jack, with good music journalists, especially Richie Unterberger.  The focus of the publication is Underground rock music from the late 1960s to the 1970s.   Reading "Flashback" is very much like being in a dark room with one light bulb, and no awareness of what's happening outside that room on a regular basis.  Life stopped around 1975 or so, and your only reference is obscure recordings by even more obscure artists.   For instance, the front cover is the band Trees, which I'm sure most of you never heard of them.  Nor have I, they're a British folk-orientated group that recorded for British Columbia Records, and made two albums in 1970.   33 pages, with no ads, but plenty of photos, documents, images of contracts, and various flyers for gigs, but insightful journalism on the band by David Biasotti.

In this day and age of Twitter and online publications, it's fascinating that there is a magazine like "Flashback" that is beautifully printed and designed, and obsessed with bands that fell through the cracks of fame and attention.  Each article on a band runs from 20 to 30 pages, and all are clearly written to be the last word on the subject.  Researched to a maximum level, only a music geek can appreciate.  For those who only have a passing interest in pop music history should move on to the current Rolling Stone or some other mass-market publication, because "Flashback" is a beautiful and endlessly informative love feast on music and artists that are important, but never got their fame or sales in the marketplace.

Issue number 4, besides the interesting piece on Trees, also has a long article on the band Mandrake Memorial, which of this date, I actually located their debut album (which is on its way).    From Philadelphia and they were very much part of the psychedelic scene in that city.  Also is a memoir by Beverly Martyn, a singer who worked with, and married John Martyn.  A harrowing account of her life with the horrifying John which is depressing, but good to hear she's still about making music (as of 2013, my issue here is old).

There's a great piece on exploitation albums from the late 1960s and early 70s that were a knock-off of major hits of the time, including music from the underground scene.  Anonymous musicians who recorded such albums as "Blow Your Mind," "Hair The 31 Flavors," "Light My Fire" by the Firebirds and so forth.   And to top it off there's an excellent and lengthy article on various obscure mono and stereo recordings and which ones are better.  And if you can even purchase such records from the psychedelic era without being pushed into the poor house.  The reviews are plentiful, and very in depth with a focus on CD Boxsets as well as on artists like Harry Nilsson (who is probably the most known figure in this magazine to a general audience).

Each issue, so far, has a feature on a British music publication, and here we "Go."  I never heard or seen this magazine before, but as a publisher, and a fan of music publications, I find it obsessively fascinating on all accounts.   "Flashback" are moments of perfection, and an incredible guide to music I would never be aware of, or ever being in their presence.  I got my issues from Forced Exposure.

Forced Exposure website:  https://www.forcedexposure.com/Home.aspx

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