Phil May of England's legendary Pretty Things and King Penguin bassist Bill Sweeney discuss their involvement in Fruits de Mer Records release "Sorrow's Children" at Fruits de Mer All Day Psych Festival in Soho (London) on Aug. 10.
Another ensemble much admired around these parts are King Penguin, who set about dusting down "Dear Eloise" and through the shimmer of sitars recalibrate it in a sumptuous glow that much recalls some kind of weird fusion of the Byrds' ‘Clark / psych / Parsons’ variations.
- Mark Barton (The Sunday Experience) reviews 'Re-Evolution: FdM sings the Hollies.'
King Penguin’s ”Dear Eloise” is one of the album’s finest pieces with its sitar and orchestration. Once again a total success by Fruits de Mer and the talented modern age musicians that they have been drawing like a magnet during the recent years! - PsychotropicZone
King Penguin are from the New York City area and do a very interesting take on Dear Eloise. It starts off with a country-rock feel, then veers off into sitar and tabla driven Eastern influenced psychedelia ... a very cool transition. - Aural-Innovations
Featuring King Penguin on 'Dear Eloise'
The Hollies - Manchester's answer to The Beatles, and a bloody good answer at that. Great songs, great vocals, great band - so why are they so massively underrated? Their albums, especially from 66-68, were minor masterpieces, but their record label seemed obsessed with singles success, so the albums were underpromoted and many of the songs rarely heard. Fruits de Mer is doing its bit to redress the balance with an LP + 7" extravaganza that showcases 16 songs, reinterpreted by FdM artists from the UK, USA, Russia, Sweden and Portugal, including The Higher State, The Bevis Frond, Us and Them, Beautify Junkyards, Hi-Fiction Science, King Penguin and The Electric Stars.
All housed in a stunning gatefold sleeve designed by Frank Suchomel (who also designed 'Sorrow's Children', so you just know it's going to be good)....
It started out as a four-track ep and just grew and grew..
FdM asked artists old and new what The Hollies would have siounded like if they's spent more time East of Darlington, Graham Nash hadn't packed his kaftan and left for the West Coast and EMI had given them all unlimited time in Abbey Road, unlimited quantities of drugs and unlimited access to Norman Smith - the results might not sound much like that - but it was a start-point...
It's taken nearly a year to come together, but i think it's been worth it - i hope you do too. More details soon, but meanwhile please email me for pre-ordering details and to get on the FdM mailing list for future releases.
- Keith, Fruits de Mer
From Mr. Phil May,
'I was pleased and flattered. Dick and I came up with the album’s title, ‘Sorrow’s Children,’ we had our heroes that inspired us, so if through ‘S.F. Sorrow’ we’ve passed on the baton to the current crop of musicians, great. I think it’s a very interesting project and I hope all the bands have put something of themselves into their versions of the songs.' — Phil May, the Pretty Things
mr. atavist: A labor of love
and an excellent one at that
You can argue S.F. Sorrow was the first concept record, the first rock opera,a pre-cursor to Tommy, The Pretty Things’ finest hour…what you can’t argue is that Sorrow’s Children: The Songs of S.F. Sorrow is anything but a labor of love and a damn excellent one at that. ... King Penguin, who did The Byrds justice with the stellar Thoughts and Words from Keep Of The Grass, give their royal treatment to Old Man Going, one of the finest tracks from S.F. Sorrow. King Penguin capture all the melancholy disillusionment of Sorrow while somehow making the whole affair seem celebratory and almost angelic in its longing and crippled dreams.
King Penguin appears in 'Sorrow's Children," a tribute the father of all rock operas, 'S.F. Sorrow.'
Album includes closing track by the masters themselves, the Pretty Things!
THE SONGS OF S.F. SORROW
Mark Barton (Thesundayexperience)
More progged out loveliness arrives courtesy of King Penguin’s masterly coverage of ‘Old Man Going,’ the sighing and weeping string accompaniment exacting upon it a richly tailored tear stained head bowed hollowing.
'S.F. Sorrow' - IS THE classic rock opera/concept album, the iconic, groundbreaking 60s psychedelic rock album; It represents the Pretty Things' finest 40 minutes (although 'Parachute' ran it bloody close).
For over a year, Fruits de Mer been working on a compilation of covers of songs from this fantastic album. It's finally come together, it's sounding great and we EVEN have an exclusive Pretty Things live version of 'Loneliest Person' as a bonus track plus an interview with Phil May and Dick Taylor for the sleeve! And May and Taylor have given the album its all too fitting name.
For more information on tracks, bands and availability, CLICK THE COVER OR HERE
Mark Barton at The Sunday Experience
THOUGHTS AND WORDS
THOUGHTS AND WORDS
Opening with some chiming guitar and hand drums, King Penguin sound
languid and reasonably stoned on 'Thoughts and Words', the sound of a
sitar giving that authentic sixties ambience, a great start.
Your take on the Byrds tune was great, maybe even better than the
original. I remember specifically, when I first heard it, thinking
"Yea this is going to be a good project!"
kick off a double album!
King Penguin cover of the Byrds' "Thoughts and Words" appears on the first track on "Keep Off The Grass," a double LP, vinyl compilation from England's Fruits de Mer Records. Sorry, the set is already completely sold out. King Penguin and Fruits de Mer do have plans for further projects so stay tuned!
Talk to the Penguin about booking, this site or anything at all. Make sure to get on the mailing list.
↓↓Plenty of King Penguin music and news up and down the page. Please keep going to bottom and then sign guest book.↓↓
King Penguin, formerly known as Grey Matter, is just taking flight in the Long Island area and beyond. Mixing classic covers with original tunes, King Penguin is equally at home playing clubs, parties and concerts.
King Penguin stands as a long-delayed reunion of a high school band known as Grey Matter. Lanny Sichel (lead guitar and vocals), Gary Mohran (vocals and guitar) and Bill Sweeney (bass) got back together for the Internet recording project a tribute to Gene Clark of the Byrds. Another friend, Bill Intemann (drums and vocals), was added and the two resultant songs, You," and have been played on WFMU in Jersey City and Stony Brook's WUSB.
(Note: Before clicking on these tracks or any other KP media, please remember to turn off the background music with the control located at very bottom left of this page.)
The name change came when it was realized there were many Grey Matters, past and present. King Penguin was chosen as more reflective of the current group's jingly-jangly nature. Recordings featuring original material are to follow. Meanwhile King Penguin is busy hitting area stages such as Mulcahy's in Wantagh and the Triad in Manhattan.
On Feb. 7, King Penguin hosted a benfit for the family of Hector Feuntes, a sanitation man who was killed in an accident on the streets of Northport.
It was held at Gunther's on Main Street in Nortport and the turnout was tremendous. Also featured were MacMurrays and Thunderstorm, as well as special guests.
King Penguin would like thank all involved for helping to make the night a musical, emotional and financial success.
King Penguin members and special guests hit stage for good cause as (from l.) Funky Ray Lambiase, Lanny Sichel, Greg Meade, Bill Sweeney and Don Gabis jam into evening.
Not to be outdone, Bill Intemann keeps it moving under watchful eye of a Jack Kerouac poster while Gary Mohran (below) hits night's high note.
King Penguin donates a Fender Squier 51 that is raffled off at the Fuentes family benefit, Mini-Jerry included.
Bill celebrates birthday bash at Gunther's with unexpected artistic addition to drum set.
The new drum head in action at Sunset Grill. Thanks to Greg Meade for the original and to Dennis Nobile
for the "The Penguin Variations."
Long before King Penguin is hatched, Bill I. (l.) and Lanny join forces in country-rockin' White Line Fever at Goody's in Central Islip, and shortly thereafter Bill trades guitar picks for drumsticks. Some time earlier, Bill S. and Lanny find a cure for the Summertime Blues as Moonshine storms Holy Trinity HS in Hicksville.
Well maybe not actually in the The Times but certainly on its Web site. A selection from King Penguin's forthcoming release, "The Sub-basement Tapes," can be heard intro-ing and outro-ing a companion slideshow to a Travel Section story on Ken Kesey and his forced flight to Mexico. Author Lawrence Downes narrates the multimedia presentation and a button to it is on the left side of the page. Click there and also make sure to read Downes' fine story. Remember, you're either on the bus or off the bus.
Were you at Watkins Glen? At least two members of King Penguin were and we will try to recreate that experience on Oct. 25 in a benefit for the Helen Keller National Center. It will be at Whoville in Bethpage and we will do a special tribute to the Band, one set beginning at 10:45. The event is sponsored by the good folks at Retro69.
Check out their Web site for more info.
There's a prequel to the King Penguin story and it begins in Levittown (where else?).
Accordionist extraordinaire, folk music aficionado and all-around cut up Don Wechter plays his part by introducing Lanny Sichel to idle drummer Jon Sayward. Those two discuss musical theory during lunch at now defunct Levittown Memorial High School (whose initials happen to coincide with those of Lennon, McCartney, Harrison and Starr, and in the correct order!).
Jon knows a singer/guitarist, Gary Mohran; Lanny is aware of a bass player, Bill Sweeney. Lunch is over but the discussion is not. Jon says, "We should talk about this over dinner one night."
The evening arrives and the scene is the Pancake Cottage on the corner of Hempstead Turnpike and Southbury Lane. It is there, over a stack of blueberry flapjacks for Lanny and walnut waffles for Jon, that Grey Matter is formed.
Lo these many years later, Grey Matter is reconstituted (minus Jon, plus Bill Intemann) and eventually renamed King Penguin. The Pancake Cottage becomes Faddy Malone's. And now it's one of King Penguin's favorite places to play. See you there next time.
March 28 - Eleanor Rigby's, Mineola - 516-739-6622
April 5- Faddy Malone's, Levittown - 516-470-1946
April 12 - Gunther's, Northport - 631-754-9659
June 6 - Brightwaters Inn, Brightwaters - 631-665-9599
June 12 - Sunset Grill, Seaford - 516-785-4952
July 11 - Gunther's, Northport- 631-754-9659
Aug. 8 - Sunset Grill, Seaford - 516-785-4952
Aug. 28 - Waterfront Tavern , 245 Woodcleft Ave.
(on the Nautical Mile), Freeport - 516-608-5026
(Special early start of 7 p.m.)
Sept. 26 - Gunther's, Northport- 631-754-9659
Oct. 2 - Eleanor Rigby's, Mineola - 516-739-6622
(Special early start of 8:30 p.m.)
Oct. 10 - Faddy Malone's, Levittown - 516-470-1946
Oct. 30 - Sunset Grill, Seaford - 516-785-4952
Nov. 28 - Gunther's, Northport- 631-754-9659
Dec. 19 - Faddy Malone's Christmas Spectacular
Levittown - 516-470-1946
Jan. 15 - Gunther's, Northport- 631-754-9659
King Penguin hits the big stage at Mulcahy's in Wantagh in Hope For Stroke Benefit. Sharing the bill in the March 15 event is The Pants, whose Dave Ball and Steve Sollog (yes the former Sheik!) also help out on our set, as does Rich Terrana of The New Trinos. Yet another featured guest is Jim Treutlein of the Treutlein/Novak Band. Thanks guys, we couldn't have done it without you. Day is a tremendous success with funds raised, prizes given, autographs signed and Pants lead singer Chris Ball, a stroke survivor himself, rallying the troops.