I have to start off this post by sending out thanks to my buddy Jeff Ash at AM then FM, who very kindly scored me a copy of this album a while back.
The Sopwith Camel were for a long time, one of those bands that I knew of, but hadn’t really heard, their name likely sticking in my mind via the Snoopy reference.
Then, back in the 80s I picked up a Euro import psych CD, that included the track you see before you today, the mighty ‘Cellophane Woman’.
As soon as I heard that, my eyes lit up and I was like “Gimme some more Sopwith Camel, baby!”
Then someone played their biggest hit 1967’s ‘Hello Hello’ and the light in my eyes went out, replaced by an arched eyebrow. I felt like the kid in the old Bob and Ray sketch who looks askew at Mr Science and asks if he’s being slipped “the old rubber peach”.
25-some years on, I have come to like ‘Hello Hello’ enough, but it still represents a sharp drop-off from the insane heat of ‘Cellophane Woman’.
The Sopwith Camel were one of the first San Francisco Bay area bands to have a radio hit, but seem almost to have been doomed by that very hit, dissolving later that year.
What I discovered when I finally got my hands on the LP, is that (fortunately) ‘Hello Hello’ is the anomaly in the Sopwith Camel arsenal.
‘Cellophane Woman’, which soaks a little John Lee Hooker in LSD and filters it through some garage punk, is an absolute killer (the guitar solo is especially groovy).
There are some other cool tracks on the album as well, including ‘Frantic Desolation’ and ‘Maybe In a Dream’.
The Sopwith Camel would regroup/reform at the end of the decade, eventually recording a second album in 1973.
I hope you dig the track, and I’ll see you all next week.