One of my favorite things about being alive is discovering great music. I’ve been into it for so long I’m always surprised when I find something that’s been around awhile and has somehow eluded me. Kaleidoscope caught me completely off guard. It’s crazy that music this good could remain so obscure. All of their albums are well worth hearing. Recently, while I was painting a picture, I had them all on my mp3 player and listened non-stop for a week.
The English band KALEIDOSCOPE (not to be confused with American band KALEIDOSCOPE which existed at the same time, played basically psychedelic rock too, and were also ignored by the public) is an almost forgotten band from the late sixties and early seventies.
In 1967 they released Tangerine Dream. The album comprises fine psychedelic songs with experimentations and arrangements like many of the top psychedelic and early progressive bands from that age (THE BEATLES, PINK FLOYD, THE MOODY BLUES). They got lots of airplay and recorded many BBC sessions, but didn´t sell well. They eventually released more singles, like ‘Jenny Artichoke’, which was a success, but sold poorly, and another album, Faintly Blowing. It was released in 1969, showing a progression of it’s predecessor in terms of sound. Although still psychedelic, the compositions were getting more progressive. The album unfortunately failed to chart.
They released a final single, ‘Balloon’, before changing the name to FAIRFIELD PARLOUR and becoming totally progressive oriented. The band didn’t achieve success and they were unlucky at the time, failing to chart and having problems (including some sabotage) in all great gigs they had, including the famous Isle of Wight, which they were the responsible for the ‘Theme Song’ of the festival (released under the name of I LUV WIGHT).
Fairfield Parlour – “From Home To Home” (1970) was released to the same indifference as the others. For some reason there is no mention of it in the prog archives article I lifted. (Sorry the writing’s so bad, even after I practically re-wrote it)-Ed
WHITE FACED LADY was their last album, recorded in 1971 partly with the help of Mike Pinder, from THE MOODY BLUES. The album was a conceptual double-album with many orchestral arrangements. The band had a deal with Vertigo at that time, but they were dropped and moved to CBS, who refused to release it. It stayed shelved for twenty years, until 1991, when Kaleidoscope Records, a label created just to release the album, put it out under the name of KALEIDOSCOPE, although actually recorded by FAIRFIELD PARLOUR. The band split in 1972 due to the lack of success (they were offered less than 20 dollars to play the last gigs). So ended the career of a great psychedelic and progressive rock band which had the talent to be one of the major progressive rock acts of their age. Sometimes bad luck is all it takes. Kaleidoscope was even more unlucky than Big Star.