THE SHAGRAT SESSIONS
THE SHAGRAT SESSIONS
Reviews by David
Shagrat Limited Edition vinyl The best-quality recordings of Steve and the most representative of his talents as a singer/ songwriter are on the releases on limited quantity vinyl on Colin Hill's High on the Pyg Track label, based in Launceston, Cornwall.
Four brilliant acoustic demos from 1971 and three electic demos of Steve's band Shagrat from circa April 1970. These were released as follows:
Shagrat: Amanda (7" 45rpm both sides) 600 copies pressed 1990
Acoustic side: Amanda
Electric side: Peppermint Flickstick
Steve Took's Shagrat: Nothing Exceeds like Excess
Acoustic side: Strange Sister, Still Yawning Stillborn, Beautiful Deceiver
All the above material comes from the private collection of Pink Fairies/Motorhead guitarist Larry Wallis who was the lead guitarist in the electric Shagrat and played acoustic-bass on the acoustic tracks. The acoustic stuff was recorded on 4 track in Wallis's dad's garage and plays at the correct speed in reasonably good sound quality.
The same, however, can not be said for the electric tracks. These were preserved as studio acetates by Wallis. Unfortunately Steel Abortion is very crackly while 'Peppermint Flickstick' and 'Boo I Said Freeze!' were pressed on to the acetates and released on vinyal at the incorrect speed. This fault has been corrected and the clips here are played at the correct speed!
A bit about the songs then.
Strange Sister mp3 (1 min 32 secs) Still Yawning Still Born. Acoustic protest song in 3/4 rhythm and minor key. Delicious chorus lyric"I would give anyone a part of me I can see, I would give a part of you if what you tell me, Isn't true so move, that feels so sweet, you can feel the blossoms fall from the trees, now here we come to the swirls of those pretty shops, signs flashing by, somehow they find the time."
Still Yawning Still Born mp3 - FULL SONG (2 min 58 secs) Beautiful Deceiver: Lovely poppy tune v like Pulp's "Common People". The intro to this site is a short clip from the end of this song.
Beautiful Deceiver mp3 (1 min 09 secs)
Please note - these were recorded from a scratched acetate. It is anticipated that when the 'Shagrat' sessions are released on CD the quality will be improved!
Peppermint Flickstick. Mark Paytress (referring to an article in Rockerilla by Nigel Cross) compared this song to Pink Floyd's "Astronomy Dominé" and described it as "Doomy freak-rock". Heard at the incorrect speed this is understandable. Heard at the right speed (as it is in this clip) it sounds like a manic Alice cooper, Iggy-esque number. The Sweet's "Hellraiser" would be a good comparison!
Peppermint Flickstick mp3 (2 min 11 secs) Boo I said Freeze: Snarly four-minute number inspired by the incident which saw Took finally deported back to the UK from America in late'69, he was found by the LAPD wandering around on the motorway tripping out on Acid! The first words the police said to him were "Boo! I said Freeze!" He was locked up and packed off back to England and wrote this claustrophobic number about it. Best comparison is "Gypsy Eyes" from Hendrix's Electric Ladyland LP.
Boo I Said Freeze! mp3 (1 min 26 secs) Steel Abortion. The electric track most affected by scratches to the master acetate! This song deserves to have the time spent to remove these! Imagine a seven minute version of Blur's "Song 2" with Hendrix on Guitar and you get the general idea. All about a convict on the run from the police quicklyn dropping by his girlfriend's house for a quick shag before running off. Infectious "Woo Woo Woohoo!" chorus. Nice slow middle section, a bit like a minor key version of the Ziggy stardust title track. "Don't crowd me in or I'll drill a hole in your rubbish bin!" Reportedly this song triggered off a mini-riot at a solo gig in '72.
Steel Abortion mp3 - FULL SONG (7 min 35 secs)
A very special "Thanks" to Larry Wallis for allowing the use of these tracks on Tookie's Web Site. To Larry (again) and Colin Hill for releasing the limited edition vinyl which was responsible for 'turning people on to Steve's music' and to Clive Zone who first spotted the incorrect speed fault on the electric tracks 'Peppermint Flickstick' and 'Boo I Said Freeze!' so that it could be corrected.
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