Saturday, February 20, 2016

Song(s) of the Day # 762 Hilton Valentine

Hilton Valentine, local hero to where this blog is coming from, he's from South Shields, part of the Newcastle urban sprawl, about ten miles from where I'm writing this. Best known of course as guitarist of The Animals, I'll always think of him for his beatific smile at the end of the promo of The House of the Rising Sun. But he also made a solo record in 1969 called All In Your Head made and recorded on the West Coast and sounding very much like it. It's a hippy period piece, Valentine himself prefers not to talk about, dissatisfied with its florid, overpowering arrangements in retrospect, returning after this to his first great loves, Rock and Roll, Skiffle and Soul driven music.

Nevertheless, it's an interesting listen. Acoustic and introspective and full of the love and peace sentiments of the time, it certainly sounds little like The Animals records of their peak years. It's wide-eyed flower child stuff, some of the lyrics sound ridiculously naive at this remove but it's all obviously deeply heartfelt. Some tracks almost  sound like out-takes from Spinal Tap's formative years but the songs are lovingly presented. 

Donovan is probably the guiding inspiration, and if you're not a fan of his, you almost certainly won't go for this. But it has a certain charm and spirit. The record, needless to say, sank without trace. Valentine returned to his roots, 'It was the flower-power thing. I was even chanting 'Hari Krishna' for a while. Thank God I'm not still doing that. I couldn't handle the yellow robes...'

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