Pawed by Mott the Dog
re-mastered by Ella Crew
What a band. Everybody loved the Fairies. On their night -
the best band in the world; on their off days - well, the least said the better.
They played every free festival there was, always turning up for them, but
sometimes forgetting to turn up to the ones that they were supposed to be paid
for. Touring with the equally infamous Hawkwind, ending every concert with a set
of “Pinkwind”, where everybody got up on stage for a jam that would either
be marvelous or, depending on the state of the respective band members, a
The Pink Fairies were well known for their excessive Rock
‘n’ Roll lifestyle, ultra cool looks (denim, leather, very long frizzy hair,
cowboy boots and eternal shades), couldn’t care less attitude, and excellent
musicianship. Unfortunately the later was generally ignored by the press, but
mind you, they didn’t exactly help themselves with their barely concealed
contempt for the press or the music business hierarchy in general.
This dog’s favorite Fairies’ story is that of turning up
at Maidstone Civic hall to witness the Fairies in motion. After a very
under-rehearsed Fairies had blown the roof off with a ramshackle 40 minutes set
including encore (“City Kids”, “Lucille”, “Johnnie B. Goode”,
“Well, Well, Well”, “The Snake” and a 10 minutes “Uncle Harry’s
Freak Out”), we were greeted by a very annoyed looking Larry Wallis announcing
from stage that the management had told them they were booked for 90 minutes and
if they didn’t play 90 minutes they wouldn’t be paid. The band then came
back on stage and played exactly the same set again, only with “Uncle
Harry’s Freak Out” including an extra 10 minutes drum solo. So the band got
paid, management were happy, and the audience all got to see the Fairies twice.
This album under review, “The Kings Of Oblivion”, was the
Pink Fairies third official release (after “Never Never Land” in 1971 and
“What A Bunch Of Sweeties” in 1972). But to say the lineup had been
consistent was like saying that the English cricket batting lineup was reliable.
Already come and gone through the revolving fairy door had been ex-Pretty Things
drummer Twink (off to play in “The Stars” with fellow spacemen Jack Monk and
Pink Floyd’s Syd Barret), ex T. Rex man, Steve Peregrine Took, Trevor Burton
of Move Fame, Mick Farren, and Larry Wallis (who both came back), Paul Rudolph
(lured away by promises of fame and fortune by Hawkwind ... another fine mess)
and Mick Wayne, who, although only in the band for 6 to 7 gigs, wrote their
surprise hit single “Well, Well, Well”.
But when Mick Wayne was kicked out, this left the way for the
glorious return of Larry “Lazza” Wallis, who’d been showing off his wares
with “Blodwyn Pig” and “U.F.O.” (Wallis’ parting shot to U.F.O. after
being fired for not turning up to rehearsals had been “You May Rehearse, I
Create”). Joining the nucleus of Duncan Sandersand on bass and Wildman of Rock
Russel Hunter on drums, the Fairies then enjoyed a period of stability (18
months) during which they recorded this remarkable guitar driven album.
There is no doubt that this is Wallis’ album, having a hand
in writing all the songs, singing, playing guitar, production and engineering
The album opens with the classic “City Kids” (which
Wallis was to take with him when he formed “Motorhead” with Lemmy after he
was kicked out of Hawkwind. All gets very incestuous, doesn’t it?) here in its
original version, all crunchy guitars, rock solid bass and drums with a catchy
chorus, which you are singing along second time around. All the songs here are
24 carat solid gold easy action; it is one of rock music’s great injustices
that this is not regarded as one of its all time classics.
Out of all the Fairies albums this is possibly their best,
certainly their most refined studio effort. But it should be played at 11 for
Over the years there have been many Pink Fairies reformations
and comebacks, at one time there were four different versions of the band on
tour, plus up to eighteen albums released under the Fairies banner. But take my
word for it, anything with Larry Wallis on it is sheer class.
As for “The Kings Of Oblivion”, who can resist a cover
with three flying pink pigs on it, all wearing shades?
Larry Wallis - Lead Guitar, Big Guitar, Lead Vocals
Duncan Sanderson - Bass Guitar, Lead Vocals
Russell Hunter - Drums
1. City Kids
2. I Wish I Was A Girl
3. When’s The Fun Begin?
4. Chromium Plating
7. Street Urchin
To contact Mott the Dog email: [email protected]