It's strangely like hearing a wonderful new album - but one you already intimately know! Double album of unreleased alternative versions and different mixes of daevid's first solo album. We thought "it's there in the can but it needs to be out there, heard and enjoyed" - so we're releasing it all. There's nothing more, the Stoned/Banana cupboard is now bare. The design and layout, which cleverly uses daevid's original artwork as well as previously unseen drawings and artifacts of the time from the Gong archives, is by Peter Hartl with a little finishing by the ex-Invisible Clive Buckland-Bork. It is a triple-fold card sleeve with 12 page booklet. Respect is due to Brian 'Zero' Abbott who not only did a first class mastering job, but has been a patient source of information and encouragement in helping to finally realise this release.
It seems that at one point during it's gestation daevid's first solo album was to be called 'Stoned Innocent Frankenstein'. In fact on the original BYG vinyl pressings the tracks on Side 1 are headed 'Bananamoon' and those on Side 2 'Stoned Innocent Frankenstein' Somewhere along the line 'Bananamoon' became the official title, no-body seems to remember why. It's certainly a more 'cuddly' name, but I think 'Stoned Innocent Frankenstein' moniker suits the edgy, almost one-take, psychedelic/garage music of the album much more. daevid even got as far as drawing up a record label for that title and a spooky photograph of daevid's shadow in a pose similar to that of the silent film classic 'Nosferatu' was taken and used perhaps working towards a cover concept which never quite coalesced. Maybe that's when 'Bananamoon' as a title was decided upon? It was during the recording of these tracks that daevid first met a youthful Tim Blake, almost two years before he joined Gong. Tim was an engineer/tape op/keen studio helper.
The audio is a different, more clear, crisp and dynamic take than that of the classic daevid album. The tracks are akin to original pencil drawings and initial vibrant oil sketches which were eventually over-painted to create what became the full oil painting, covered in the required layers of 'varnish', to complete a final album suitable for 1970 consumption. Consequentially it makes all the other versions sound rather muddy by comparison. Illuminating and revealing would be ideal terms to describe these recordings.
Disc 1 follows the order of the original 'Bananamoon' album using alternative versions and alternative mixes, none of of which have been available before, in fact until the tape was unearthed in daevid's collection I don't think they had been heard by anyone for more than 25 years. Each track brings a new, fresh perspective.
The first disc alone would be an notable and intriguing Planet Gong archive release event, but there's disc 2 as well. The second CD will obviously directly appeal to the more seasoned Gong/daevid allen sonic co-traveller, consisting as it does of some deep tape-loopery and 3 different slices of the title track, one of the most out there, but oddly honest tracks daevid ever recorded. Actually there are enough juicy, innovative sections for anyone with an inquiring musical mind to enjoy, not just deep Gongsters and staunch Allenites.
- It's The Time Your Life (alternate mix) C. Tritsch
A much brighter mix with daevid's vocals and the guitars leaping out, all is sharp, clear and fresh - and for those who know there is no 'mountain climbing' at the close.
- Memories (alternate mix) R. Wyatt/H. Hopper
Who wouldn't be happy with an un-heard mix of Robert Wyatt singing Hugh Hopper's beautiful song with clearer vocals and guitar.
- Out Of Here (alternate version) C. Tritsch
The most startling difference here the use of Robert Wyatt's high, angelic-sounding solo vocal for the chorus line as a counterpoise to daevid's deliberately gruff, rough delivery of the verses. On the released version that idea was abandoned and daevid sang all the lyrics in the throaty style.
- Fred The Fish (alternate mix) d. allen
This track always reminds me of the Small Faces in their full-on 'cock-er-knee' music-hall mode. The top and tail of the track is different and once more the balance of guitar and vocals creates a much brighter dynamic.
- White Neck Blooze (alternate version) d. allen
daevid's best Kevin Ayers impersonation. This is a much longer version than the original track which was 5.46 long including the 'Codeine Coda' end-piece which is not on this version. 'Codine Coda' appears in it's original form in the 'Flips From The Loophouse' selection of loops on CD2.
- Stoned Innocent Frankenstein (Too Much For You - alternate version) d. allen
On this track daevid uses an almost completely different set of lyrics. The song 'Stoned Innocent Frankenstein' developed from, 'Too Much For You' (hence the sub-title), which was first recorded by the Bananamoon Band and appears on 'Je Ne Fume Pas Des Bananes'.
- And His Adventures In The Land Of Flip (alternate version) d. allen
The final, Bananamoon album version of 'And His Adventures In The Land of Flip' was a composite using elements from each of the different layers and mixes which appear on this release, including this one, a largely vocal-less version in which the complete balanced music rings out loud and clear and reveals some great, previously obscured passages of playing.
- I Am A Bowl (alternate version) d. allen
A more clean, simpler version with much clearer vocals and with no trombone overdub - plus at one point someone appropriately enough repeatedly rings a china bowl with a spoon, well that's what it sounds like.
- Poet In The Land Of Flip d. allen
The prime, daevid voice-rich layer with some radically different vocals including previously un-released verses. This is also the most lead guitar heavy layer with daevid's intense, cutting and rather special playing to the fore. We almost used this version on the CD1 're-make', but were finally seduced by the version chosen, it was a near run thing though.
- Instrumental In The Land Of Flip d. allen
The clarity and crispness of Robert Wyatt's drumming and Gerry Field's violin playing are the standout features on this layer of the 'Land of Flip' strata, in essence it's the drum track. The drumming is so good and sharp that it makes one wonder that had this been available years ago would it have become one of those eagerly sampled drum tracks?
- Flips From The Loophouse d. allen
A grand grab-bag of treated loop experiments created by daevid for the Bananamoon album, from the album sessions themselves. A technique daevid has always been very fond of and all done in the days when you needed patience and a sharp razor-blade. The original 'Codeine Coda' loop, which eventually ended up as an end-piece to 'White Neck Blooze', can be found here. These were never meant to be consumed in one sitting so may just possibly suck your brains out through your ears - quite a mesmeric trip. The loops have not been further edited in any way, they are completely as discovered on the tape.
- Bass Flip d. allen
Step forward the late Mr. Archibald Legget for the bass rich layer. Includes daevid's secondary vocal and guitar tracks.
- daevid allen guitar, glissando guitar, vocals
- Christian Tritsch bass, guitar 1
- Archie Legget bass
- Robert Wyatt drums, vocals 2, backing vocals 3
- Gerry Fields violin
- Gary Wright piano
- Pip Pyle drums 1
- Gilli Smyth space whisper
- Maggie Bell & Barry St John chorus