Robyn Hitchcock to Release Album Companion to Acclaimed Memoir

07-08-2024 4:43 PM EDT

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Robyn Hitchcock to Release Album Companion to Acclaimed Memoir

(Big Hassle Media) Robyn Hitchcock has announced 1967: Vacations In The Past, an acoustic musical companion to his critically acclaimed new memoir, 1967: How I Got There and Why I Never Left, arriving via Tiny Ghost Records on Friday, September 13. 1967: How I Got There and Why I Never Left is on sale now from Akashic Books

A 12-track collection comprising all-new versions of songs from and inspired by that epochal year, 1967: Vacations In The Past is heralded by today's premiere of Hitchcock's rendition of Small Faces' classic "Itchycoo Park," performed with longtime friend and musical companion Kimberley Rew and available everywhere now.

"Finally, after 45 years of playing together, my old pal Kimberley Rew and I strum two acoustic guitars on this version of 'Itchycoo Park,'" says Robyn Hitchcock. "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."

1967: Vacations In The Past sees Hitchcock offering up his own distinctive takes on songs by Jimi Hendrix, Traffic, The Move, and others, milestone music which both redefined the shape of things to come and left an indelible mark on his own work as a singer, songwriter, and guitarist. Produced by Hitchcock with his longtime collaborator Charlie Francis (R.E.M., The High Llamas, Martin Carr) at studios in Sydney, Cambridge, Cardiff, and San Francisco, the album features auxiliary musical contributions from such friends as Kelly Stoltz, Kimberly Rew, guitarist Davey Lane (You Am I, The Pictures), and Lee Cave-Berry. Among its myriad highlights are stripped-bare takes on such ornate classics as The Beatles' "A Day In The Life," The Kinks' "Waterloo Sunset," Pink Floyd's "See Emily Play," Procol Harum's "A Whiter Shade of Pale," and fittingly, "Way Back In The 1960s" by The Incredible String Band.

"For me, 1967 was the portal between childhood and the adult world," says Hitchcock, "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.'"

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