Pysch-Pop Notes: Turquoise and the Tales of Flossie Fillett

Listen: turquoise-tales-of-flossie-fillet

[Please note, I am asserting my fair use right to this material, as it is provided here as a necessary sample to supplement the educational and editorial purposes of this post, is posted at a severely degraded 64kb/s, and is posted for a limited period of time. See for more details.]

I’m kind of “written out” on educational technology at the end of the day. So I figured I’d take a page from Jim Groom and write on a subject close to my heart.

For me, right now, my particular obsession right now is psych-pop. And for whatever reason, I’ve decided to make my first post on psych pop on Turquoise. Turquoise only put out a couple of singles, but they were quite good, both on the A and B sides.

Flossie Fillet was the B side of thier first single (Decca F 12756), released in March of 1968. I’m not aware of it placing on any charts, and wonder if given Decca’s venture at that time into the Deram label had overextended some of their resources, causing them to reduce the payola some material. David Kubinec has indicated this was the case with The World of OZ’s Muffin Man single, which was released a couple months later through Decca, and it might help to explain why a band who had their demos produced by Dave Davies and John Entwistle seems to have gotten no radio lift at all from a solid single.

There’s a couple things I like about this single. It’s got a nice tight, restrained intro, with a bit of decent studio work — it comes down from a simple guitar riff to that big chord low on the piano backing it up. And typical of the Kinks style this song embodies, it doesn’t expand on that much, repeating it twice and then launching straight in.

Once in, it jumps into a nice tight snare beat, but the really catchy bit is when they pull out of the tight snare verse into the chorus where the song opens up. There’s a bunch of things at play here that make it an appealing shift:

  • The lyrics move from the crowded, polysyllabic verses to a nice simple monosyllabic chorus with some length to the notes.
  • Melodically, you can hear this effect pretty easily — listen to what a jumble of consonants the verse sounds compared to the chorus.
  • The chorus operates on the typical “verse as narrative / chorus as reflection” distinction, but brings with it that British pop irony as well – it’s the first subjective assertion in the song, and there’s at least that appearance of complexity that light irony creates.
  • The notes appear to be left open in the chorus — if there is a piano in the verse, it’s dampened, but here it opens up and fills in the white space, to accompany the less constricted drumming.

On the whole the song, which some suggest as being about a flea circus, fits in with the general psych-pop standard trope of birth-school-work-death from 5,000 feet on hallucinogens. Besides the payoff of the chorus, the real climax of the song is where we learn that the Tales of Flossie FIllett “all happened in a day.” It’s a weak payoff, but decent enough in light of the execution of everything that surrounds it. It doesn’t hurt that it repeats the song title in this bit “the tales of flossie fillet/ all happened in a day” — as a listener your waiting for that title in a song like this as a key to what the heck is going on.

The one thing I find a little disappointing I suppose is I’d rather see it go out on the chorus, rather than descend into this list at the end (and a list that just sounds too novelty pop at that) — but I suppose that would mess up the focus on the “all happened in a day” lyric — as the song is here, that lyric is the last verse line before the chorus, so it doesn’t really compete with other lines for focus.

Since I can’t find the lyrics online to link to I figured I’d type out what I could here:

It all happened so many years ago
Nobody knows, because nobody wants to know
Barbara Boffman (???) and [unintellible] Sand
They’re the founding members, the leaders of the land

It’s very sad
That they should spend
All of their lives
Then it should end

Flossie Fillett, she has just been born
And so has Hector, and friendly Percy Porn
When they’re forgotten, who will take their place?
Another Flossie, with a different face.

It’s very sad
That they should spend
All of their lives
Then it should end

If they could see
The lonliness that surrounds me
If I could go
To stay at 15 Antrim Road

As we leave them, the band presents a tune
[Unintelligble] on the xylopohone, Bessie on bassoon
You’ll never believe, what I have got to say
The tales of Flossie Fillett all happened in a day

It’s very sad
That they should spend
All of their lives
Then it should end

Flossie Fillet, it’s time for her to go
Say goodbye to moon the loon, and Digger and Dr. Dose
Don’t forget the little man who couldn’t pronounce his name
Johnny Too-Good in a car from going round and round
[????] is in a kilt and going up to tune
Anita Gray and Catherine Day have come to take a bow
All effects are face to face, who did it we don’t know how
[and so on…]

One thought on “Pysch-Pop Notes: Turquoise and the Tales of Flossie Fillett

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