Robyn Hitchcock Announces 1967 Covers Album Companion To New Memoir

Robyn Hitchcock Announces 1967 Covers Album Companion To New Memoir

Last month, Robyn Hitchcock published his memoir, 1967: How I Got There and Why I Never Left, on Akashic Books. Today, the English musician and former Soft Boys leader announced a musical companion titled 1967: Vacations In The Past.

1967: Vacations In The Past is an acoustic covers album with Hitchcock doing renditions of songs from and inspired by 1967. “Finally, after 45 years of playing together, my old pal Kimberley Rew and I strum two acoustic guitars on this version of ‘Itchycoo Park,’” said Robyn Hitchcock about the lead single out now. He continued:

Given how deafening the pair of us were in the Soft Boys this is quaint and merciful.

I love playing these 1967 vintage compositions. As great songs do, they bottle fragments of time like fireflies in a jar. The original recordings were heavily produced, but my versions on this album are based on one or two acoustic guitars with a few effects thrown in to spice the sound and nod to the times.

“Itchycoo Park” was written by Steve Marriott and Ronnie Lane of the Small Faces. Like many songs from this era, it appears to celebrate being on the right side of your drugs: seldom a long phase, alas.

About the LP, he added:

For me, 1967 was the portal between childhood and the adult world where these songs flickered in the air to greet me like hummingbirds. They’re full of saturated color and melancholy, just as I was charged with hormones and regret as one part of me said goodbye to the other. Perhaps I peaked then — at the supernova of boyhood — the black hole of the grownup world awaited me with its dwarf-star mentality, all beige and hell and compromise.

Forever after, I’ve wandered beneath the dayglo Waterloo Sunset and burned the Midnight Lamp, yearning for that time. A Whiter Shade of Pale, she’s the wan ghost that haunts me in summer twilight, all the way down to the river where the specter of Emily plays, Ophelia-like, with strands of green waterweed. Look — they’re full of dead minnows! See, now she’s draping wet strips of it over her hair!

By coincidence, the world was changing as fast as I was, and music embodied that change. The world grew hair, became infused with new desires and crawled out of its grey nest to test its fresh, multicolored plumage. We all crash eventually, but at least some of us take off first: if we are left only with sullen cravings and a sense of loss, well, so be it. 1967 is a phantom heart that glows inside me, lighting me up like a lamp on a good day. “So long, Mum! Thank you, Dad! I’m off to infinity! Please leave my dinner in the oven.”

1967: Vacations In The Past was produced by Hitchcock with Charlie Francis (R.E.M., The High Llamas, Martin Carr) at studios in Sydney, Cambridge, Cardiff, and San Francisco. It has covers of Jimi Hendrix, Traffic, the Move, and more. Hear his take on “Itchycoo Park” below (and if you’re a Robyn Hitchcock fan, be sure to tune in to The Alternative Number Ones on Wednesday).

01 “A Whiter Shade Of Pale”
02 “Itchycoo Park”
03 “Burning Of The Midnight Lamp”
04 “I Can Hear The Grass Grow”
05 “San Francisco (Flowers In Your Hair)”
06 “Waterloo Sunset”
07 “See Emily Play”
08 “My White Bicycle”
09 “No Face, No Name, No Number”
10 “Way Back In The 1960s”
11 “Vacations In The Past”
12 “A Day In The Life”

1967: Vacations In The Past is out 9/13 on Tiny Ghost.

Emma Swift

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