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DEEP FEELING

Formed from the ashes of beat band The Hellions in 1966 the short lived Deep Feeling were one of the most adventurous bands of their time.  Featuring Jim Capaldi (Traffic), Luther Grosvenor (Spooky Tooth, Mott the Hoople) Poli Palmer (Blossom Toes, Family), Gordon Jackson (later to make a classic solo LP) and Dave Meredith they wowed London audiences with their audacious brand of exotic proto-psychedelia, even backing Jimi Hendrix at his first UK gig. Tragically however, Capaldi departed to form Traffic during the sessions for their debut album ‘Pretty Colours” (produced by former Yardbirds and Rolling Stones manager Giorgio Gomelsky) and the tapes were shelved.....until now.  The remarkable tracks make their first-ever appearance here together with demos made by Poli palmer and Gordon Jackson in 1967 and a song featuring the duo backed by The Blossom Toes.  The CD which is available fromwww.sunbeamrecords.com/ comes with a 12 page packed booklet with detailed reminiscences from  Jim Capaldi, Gordon Jackson and Giorgio Gomelsky amongst others together with rare photographs.
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I contacted
Gordon Jackson to ask whether he had any further reminiscences that he would like to share with Coloured Rain readers and this was what he had to say:

“Hi Eddie, thanks for your interest. It is so nice to eventually put this album out, though it seems so long ago. I had kept copies on two track tapes of these songs in a cardboard box for 40 years. They survived a flood, storage in a shed and some had been over recorded on a quarter track machine when tape was needed for other songs. Poli Palmer did miracles getting the quality we have, which is not brilliant, but the atmosphere is preserved. The original masters were dumped when Marmalade folded and I had taken home rough mix copies of the unfinished recordings. The originals were of course recorded by Giorgio Gomelsky. On the Sunbeam re-release Poli and I selected what was in any way useable and Poli worked on the quality. He had to deal with stretched tape, had to edit and chop to fill gaps which were faded or missing. ‘Spell on you’ was from two different recordings, one from the Hellions with Dave Mason on guitar, and the other with Deep Feeling and Luther.”


Gordon continues: “The five studio tracks were all recorded in a couple of sessions at Rymuse in London with Giorgio Gomelsky producing. Listening afresh again we are pleased with them. I think the band was hot at that time, we had been in France for five weeks playing every night. The songs are good and were ground breaking then, very Gothic and progressive. Jim's vocals were great and Luther has some shining moments. Poli's love for Dubussy and jazz, together with his skill on vibes and flute is obvious. My part was in the writing. I wrote the lyrics, and Poli, Jim and I put the songs together. We all sang harmonies. We were all devastated when Jim announced he was leaving and we decided not to go on with Deep Feeling. Luther joined the VIP's then Spooky Tooth and later Stealers Wheel, Widowmaker, and Mott the Hoople. Poli and me did some song writing for a year before going our separate ways, he to Ecclection and Family, while I did my solo album 'Thinking Back'. We have included some demo's of a few songs on this album. Also a couple of live tracks - one recorded on my dads old reel to reel off an old radio when we did a session on Radio Free Europe, the other by someone at the Elbow Room in Birmingham.UK. Goodness knows on what, probably a reel to reel domestic tape recorder. I kept close contact with Jim right up to his death. I miss him greatly.”

Gordon Jackson.


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Steve Milner
reviews the Pretty Colours album for Coloured Rain:

2008 was an exceedingly good year for Traffic fans: Winwood teamed up with Clapton for a few more dates - official recordings of which are soon to be released – and he toured the UK in support of his new album. Chris Wood’s ‘Vulcan’ actually appeared in official format, exceeding all expectations; Dave Mason’s ‘new’ album finally appeared after 17 years gestation …and out of the blue, ‘Pretty Colours’ popped up in December.


Sunbeam Records is dedicated to releasing / re-issuing records of a bygone age, when groups were groups and bands were to be found playing in the park on a Sunday afternoon. Despite the seeming indifference of its UK distributor, copies of Pretty Colours became available just before Christmas. The album is attributed – rather loosely, to be fair – to Deep Feeling, the group Jim Capaldi played in before Traffic. Although Jim usually fronted on stage, I’d hesitate to call it ‘Jim’s group’, despite the fact that it split when Jim left to join Traffic. The Deep Feeling tracks are attributed to Capaldi / (Gordon) Jackson / (Poli) Palmer, who were in the group on rhythm guitar and drums/flute/vibes respectively, along with Luther Grosvenor on lead guitar and Dave Meredith on bass.


Deep Feeling had evolved from the earlier Hellions in which Dave Mason had already done his in-and-out-like-a-fiddlers-elbow trick, and which Jim always described as the forerunner of Traffic. The tracks on this album certainly have the quirkiness – trippy lyrics, key and tempo changes – that characterise early Traffic tunes like Mulberry Bush, Smiling Phases and Paper Sun, although I don’t find it any more ‘psychedelic’ than other contemporary recordings by say, The Move, Pretty Things, or Beatles. Viewed from 40 years on, it could be that a few months difference in who actually pioneered what is now more blurred than it was at the time. The album’s accompanying 12 page booklet carries notes from Jim and Gordon, Project Co-ordinator Richard Morton Jack (Sunbeam Supremo and author of the Bumper Book of British Sleeze! impresario and former DF manager Giorgio Gomelsky and Mike Pryce, former contemporary of Mason & Capaldi who found the pen mightier than the guitar and spent his career in Worcester’s local press. As these gentlemen are far more knowledgeable than I about such history, I shall therefore confine my comments to the music!


The opening track, ‘Pretty Colours’, was first released on Luther Grosvenor’s anthology ‘Floodgates’ in October 2006, and comes across as the most polished track on the disc. A guitar-led intro leads into some challenging vocals for Jim – they’re all over the scale with added tremolo to boot, but he gets away with it, while it’s Gordon apparently wearing the tightest trousers who takes care of the high backing vocals. Poli Palmer chucks in flute and vibes for good measure. Next up, ‘The Ruin’, initially promises more guitar-led ‘beat music’ (as they used to call it!) but Palmer’s flute softens it up and it all flows nicely for a minute and a half while the words are all despatched. Then comes a sort-of-solo which reminds me of Clapton/Green era Bluesbreakers. I say sort-of solo because the guitar gets in first but Poly persists and eventually prevails – and its not a duet! Very nice though, and probably my favourite track. 
Listen to Pretty Colours on youtube at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tkNQzGoY820&list=PL8B3D87E3BB08DB63&index=1


‘Chicken George’ is nothing to do with Alex Haley’s ancestor, nor the guy who hijacked a container load of frozen poultry from Grimsby Docks in 1972. It’s 2½ minutes of half-harmony vocals with a teasing smattering of “keep on moving” that doesn’t really go anywhere. The track isn’t as polished a recording as the previous two, with noticeable hiss and the bass giving the VU meter needle a particularly hard time. ‘The Necessitarian’ also suffers in this way. It brings The Skeleton and the Roundabout to mind for some reason in parts, until it descends into some choral harmonies, slows down, speeds up and fades away. There’s a lot of effort gone into writing these numbers, although a passage woven in here is probably best described as of ‘traditional’ origin and appeared later as the main melody in Love Sculpture’s 1969 recording ‘In the Land of the Few’. Maybe less complexity would have resulted in the completion of an entire album, because the next track up ‘Or Something’ is the last from these sessions. It’s frantic 3:36 mins is actually the longest Deep Feeling track here.


‘I Put a Spell on You’ is a BBC radio session from November 1966 with a voice-over introducing The Hellions. I’m sure it deviates from the original, and Alan Price’s version which charted earlier that year – going up where it should be going down …or maybe vice versa – but it gets there in the end. With Poli’s vibes and Jim’s scat, is this jazz? Nice? Sure! Not a patch on Arthur Brown’s 1968 version though! Track 7, ‘Coming Home Baby’, is an instrumental recorded live in The Elbow Room, again has smooth vibes to the fore, with Poli chucking in a few more stolen phrases. As good a recording as some of the studio stuff.



The final five tracks are Jackson / Palmer compositions, which I would hesitate to call demos because they’re pretty well-developed. Although sophisticated, they don’t suffer from the over-exertions of the first five where it seems all group members are trying to get their two-pen’orth in in under 200 seconds. ‘I Don’t Know Her Too Well’ is a wistful little number, followed by ‘On The Circle of Life’ which starts with a hypnotic raga riff before building flute takes us into circus land and a glorious new horizon ….then back into dreamland. Someone’s certainly had fun putting this together with everything bar sitar chucked into the mix – and astonishingly clocking in a just over for minutes – the longest track on the album.


 ‘To a Lady in Black’ is almost an electronic folk song sung over a few simple arpeggios, drizzled with some minor pentatonic scales from Mr Palmers vibes. At least, that’s what I believe they’re called. ‘Imaginations of Alice’ is more uptempo with a strong hint of the sierra courtesy of what sounds like synth horns. Some theremin in here too? I find it hard to believe this really been gathering dust since 1967! All this stuff is very much in the mould of the music on Jackson’s splendid ‘Thinking Back’ album which was re-released a couple of years ago, and probably has a greater affinity with that than the Hellions / Deep Feeling material, but I guess was included here to pad out the product.



As this album is a bit of an anthology. it might have been worthwhile having a word with Pye Records heirs and successors to secure Hellions tracks to plump up this volume. There were 3 singles, one of which, ‘Daydreaming of You’ appeared on a Sequel Records ‘Brumbeat’ compilation CD in 1993. These tracks are all very typical of the early sixties – very ‘Beatley’ to my ear – and different to the more progressive Deep Feeling tracks, but would have been a welcome addition. [Were there any more tracks recorded at The Elbow Room? Jesus wants them for a Sunbeam!]


Which brings me to the final track, ‘Blues for Witley’. This has Jackson & Palmer backed by Blossom Toes in a 1968 session. Although it brings the CD’s running time up to 40 minutes, it severely detracts from the overall quality in my view. A ponderous lamentation which has various vocalists straining at the boundaries of their comfort zones, it also suffers from dodgy sound quality. Don’t let it put you off though – the rest are a welcome addition to the collection of anyone with an interest in the various roots and branches of the Traffic family tree …and Family, come to think of it!

STEVE MILNER - March 2009.

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This article was originally put together by
Eddie Gibbs in May 2009 and re-vamped for this web site in May 2013. Thanks to Gordon Jackson for his words and pics. Thanks also to Steve Milner for his review.