The Zipps - Ever Stoned & Live (Record Collector Rare Record Club, 2015)
Recorded for posterity by the group's super-fan Ron de Bruijn - at that time an enthusiastic fifteen year old - at what was the culmination of a "Woodstock-style" mega-concert held in farmland outside The Zipps hometown, Dordrecht, near Rotterdam, in August 1969.
This is a wonderful, outrageous snapshot that captures the inherent power, drama, looseness and vibrant lucidity of the group's playing.
After months of intense rehearsal this is the result of the then new-look Zipps' first live show wherein main lead singer, rhythm guitarist, harmonica and flute player Philip (Byron) Elzerman, drummer Johnny Noce Santoro and bassist Ruud van Seventer (Theo Verschoor's replacement) are joined by Jan Bek (vocals) and Janco Barut (guitar and vocals) late of happening local group The Heatwave - they of their own tremendous full-length "Honeymelon Teapot", issued some years back on the Grey Past label.
Raging six and four-string guitars and battering ram drums are poured out across sprawling opener 'Mad Man's Diary' and throughout the mind-melting opulence of 'Honeymelon Junction'; testimony to just how hard, heavy and, curiously, how oddly convergent and pop-angled The Zipps could be at times. Yet even in their viscous power flights they are never in danger of becoming overlong progressive indulgences. Tempered by fluid bursts of calming flute, and, occasionally, more measured vocals that switch between Byron and Bek, gaining maximum contrast and authenticity for their efforts. Here and there distinct whiffs of Pink Floyd-style dynamics (a significant influence on The Zipps during this period) float high on the evening breeze.
Though the sound takes the odd dip once in a while it's nothing to get hung about, and doesn't detract from the crunchingly authoritative, ear-blasting presence of this magnificent performance.
Circulated around Zipps freaks for decades, on cassette, natch, this has long been a favourite, and now attractively solidified on vinyl, with expert sound restoration and eye-catching gatefold-sleeve cover, this Zipps artefact has been afforded newer, longer lasting life and has been thoroughly enlivened to give it extra positive credence.
So if loud, dynamic, occasionally reflective and definitively challenging psychedelic rock is what floats your boat then you'll certainly want to bag this. Only 500 pressed up so what're you waiting for?
Review made by Lenny Helsing/2015
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