The Mirage – ‘The World Goes On Around You’ (2022)

Uncategorized February 14, 2023

The Mirage – ‘The World Goes On Around You’ (2022)

The full story of mid to late 1960s UK pop psych band The Mirage, whose work went largely unnoticed at the time, is finally brought to life in the three disc, sixty track, collection ‘The World Goes On Around You’ released on Cherry Red Records’ Grapefruit Records imprint.

The comprehensive anthology collects all the singles released by the band, composed of brothers Pete Hynes (lead vocals), Pat Hynes (rhythm guitar) and Dave Hynes (drums), along with Ray Mynott (lead guitar, vocals) and Dee Murray (bass, vocals), as The Mirage and under the pseudonyms Yellow Pages and Portebello Explosion, supplemented by BBC session, demo and out-take recordings. The collection is completed by the 1970 LP and associated single issued under the moniker Jawbone, by which time Pat Hynes had been replaced by Neil ‘Kirk’ Duncan (keyboards, vocals).

Disc one opens with four single sides released on the CBS label in 1965, including debut 45 a-side ‘It’s In Her Kiss’ which had been included on The Hollies second album as well as their second a-side ‘Go Away’ written, but not recorded, by Allan Clarke, Tony Hicks and Graham Nash. The latter’s b-side ‘Just A Face’ was the first band original to be released, written by Dave Hynes and Phil Mynott. Sadly, neither of the releases made an impression on record buyers. Next up are the six sides which comprised The Mirage’s three singles released on the Philips label in 1966 and 1967. The first, an impressive cover of The Beatles’ ‘Tomorrow Never Knows’ was indicative of the group’s new psychedelic direction, but was held by the label until after the release of ‘Revolver’ destroying the single’s chance of charting. ‘Hold On’ and ‘The Wedding Of Ramona Blair’ are excellent Beatlesque slices of psychedelia penned by Dave Hynes. The former was a fuzzed out, feedback laden rocker, complete with ‘Taxman’ guitar riff, while the latter, and its b-side ‘Lazy Man’, both Dave Hynes originals, showcase The Mirage’s gorgeous Beatles style vocal harmonies. Unfortunately, none of the releases charted, and The Mirage were never again allowed to release a band original a-side, despite the quality of material. Three 45s were released on the Page One label in 1968, the second issued under the Yellow Pages moniker, a nod to producer Larry Page, probably best remembered for his work with The Troggs. Unquestionably the strongest of these sides was ‘The World Goes On Around You’, written by the band after Duncan had joined the ranks, released in December 1968. The tune’s keyboard intro and Beatlesque vocals are joined by Mynott’s tasty lead guitar work and a Duncan organ interlude as well as nice tempo changes. The track would have made a great a-side. A September 1969 45 released on the Carnaby label, issued under the Portebello Explosion moniker, combines a competent Dave Hynes composed mid tempo psychedelic rock a-side ‘We Can Fly’ with a high octane cover of Bubble Puppy’s ‘Hot Smoke And Sassafras’ which features a tasty Duncan electric piano solo to complement the lead guitar work of Mynott, proving The Mirage definitely had the ability to rock. The disc closes with the six BBC session recordings from 1967 and 1968 which have survived, including takes on ‘The Wedding Of Ramona Blair’ and ‘Hold On’.

Disc two is titled ‘Out-takes’ and contains twenty three recordings from 1965-1968 which went unreleased at that time. The opening track is a rare stereo take on ‘The Wedding Of Ramona Blair’ which was issued inl 1984. ‘Ebaneezer Beaver’ is a Dan Hynes original featuring a great lead line and two solos by Mynott. The demo version of ‘Go Away’ is memorable because of its guide vocal by Graham Nash. Also notable are the Beatlesque psych rocker ‘Mrs. Busby’ and a take on Chip Taylor’s ‘Wild Thing’ recorded at the insistence of Larry Page which the band was inclined to go along with being familiar with Jimi Hendrix’s version of the song. The demos display the group’s vocal harmonies and their versatility in moving from jangling folk rock to guitar driven hard psych. The disc has many tunes which hold great promise but were never revisited due to their labels reluctance to release band originals.

Disc three contains the twelve tracks comprising the April 1970 self-titled ‘Jawbone’ LP and the November 1970 non-LP single ‘Way Down Down’. The album reflects the band’s versatility and many influences. The Mynott penned opener ‘Honeysuckle Redwood Cabin’ is an upbeat number with Duncan’s organ and Mynott’s guitar front and center. Duncan’s ‘How’s Ya Pa?’ is a re-recorded steel guitar led country influenced tune. ‘Chicago Cottage’ another re-recording, has a breezy, delicate, organ centered melody. Mynott’s ‘Brave White Knight’ features acoustic guitar, harpsichord and delicate vocals. Dave Hynes’ ‘Bulldog Goes West’ is a melodic pop rocker featuring Mynott’s lead line and Duncan’s electric piano. A cover of The Beatles’ ‘Across The Universe’ features organ, acoustic guitar and heavily echoed vocals. Duncan’s ‘Million Times Before’ has a Byrds vibe with its chiming guitars. Dave Hynes’ ‘Money Is’ is a Lovin’ Spoonful style pop rocker. The six minute closer ‘Jeremiah Dreams’ penned by Dave Hynes is a trippy, Sgt. Pepper influenced tune which references ‘Ebaneszer Beaver’ and showcases Mynott’s lead guitar line and two solos with Duncan’s organ adding accents. The disc and box set close with Dave Hyndes’ ‘Way Down Down’, a breezy folk rocker with piano and mouth harp complementing its vocal harmonies. Unfortunately neither the album or single sold in large numbers or impacted the charts and the group disbanded.

The Mirage | Source: Discogs

‘The World Goes On Around You: The Complete Recordings incorporating Yellow Pages, Portebello Explosion and Jawbone’ comes in a tri fold digipak. The box set includes a 32 page full color booklet with an extensive essay by compiler David Wells and is lavishly illustrated with band photos, press clippings, single and album artwork and other memorabilia. The Mirage sounds better than ever thanks to the mastering job of Simon Murphy. The anthology will appeal to fans of 1960s pop psych and pop music in general and is highly recommended.

Kevin Rathert

The Mirage – ‘The World Goes On Around You’ (Grapefruit 2022)

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