Mike Vickers, between two Beatles…
A groovy picture sleeve (I do not own…)
Listen/Download – The Baker Street Philharmonic – Tycho
I hope everyone had a chance to dig into this month’s edition of the Iron Leg Radio Show.
The tune I bring you today was one of those happy accidents that makes record digging so rewarding.
I was out in Pittsburgh a while back, and pulled the 45 you see before you out of a box. The group name caught my eye, but it was when I saw the name Mike Vickers on the label, the record moved into my keeper pile immediately.
Vickers was a woodwind player (flute and sax) who took up the guitar when Manfred Mann needed an axeman. He played and recorded with the band (on all three instruments) before exiting in 1965.
He went on to conduct the orchestra on the live satellite broadcast of the Beatles ‘All You Need Is Love’ and record in a variety of solo settings.
One of them was the Baker Street Philharmonic.
They were not a one-45 outfit. There were – between 1969 and the mid-70s – a number of LPs released under that name, in a variety of pop instrumental styles.
There are purely “easy” selections, library-style efforts, Moog synthesizer features and more adventurous cuts, like the track I bring you today, ‘Tycho’.
‘Tycho’, marked by heavy guitar, organ and sweeping strings was a 45-only release, backed with a retitled version of Serge Gainsbourg’s ‘Je T’aime’ called ‘Love at First Sight’.
While I’m not sure, it seems that ‘Tycho’ may have at one time been a part of what has been referred to as the ‘moon suite’ from the first Baker Street Philharmonic LP. This was a tribute to the moon landing that included tracks like ‘Ocean of Storms’ and ‘Sea of Tranquility’ (Tycho being a major crater on the surface of the moon).
‘Tycho’ is in turns poppy and atmospheric, especially when the strings come in.
It has an almost cinematic feel, as if it were composed as a TV or movie theme, which is fitting as Vickers went on to compose pieces that would be used for the TV game show ‘Jackpot’ and ‘The Week In Baseball’.
It is a very interesting piece of music, as well as a look into the diverse, post-Manfreds career of Vickers.
I hope you dig it, and I’ll see you all next week.