“S.F.Sorrow” took 6 months and was recorded between 1967 and 68 at the Abbey Road studio 2. The album was produced by Norman Smith. It was recorded in “layers” and because of the limitations of 4-track tape recorders there was plenty of nifty editing too. They had never played it live, not even in the studio. But 1998, 30 years later, the group played “S.F.Sorrow” live at Abbey Road studio 2. There is a DVD from the concert, released by Snapper.
“S.F.Sorrow” is a masterpiece of psychedelic music, a must for me to review the best tracks.
Somehow the first song “S.F.Sorrow Is Born” with the Sitar in the background reminds me of “Rubber Soul” or “Revolver”. The middle part of the song, where the Mellotron and the guitar solo begins, has similarities to Pink Floyd’s “Arnold Layne”.
“Bracelets Of Fingers” has fantastic background voices. Listen to the Sitar in the middle part of the song and the tremolo effect in the guitar chords. In the end the tremolo effect comes again but now with the vocals.
In my oppinion “She Says Good Morning” has more the hard-rock feeling, which fits better to their next album “Parachute”. Another great album, which gets well compared with the Abbey Road album from The Beatles, but that’s another story.
“Private Sorrow” has lots of different Mellotron tunes like high Flutes, even they combined them with real Flutes. The other Organ sounds tune so hard like Mellotron sounds too, but I can’t really say which Mellotron tapes they used. This repeating crystal 8-tune melody tunes like a Moog Synthesiser but I either think they used again some special Mellotron tape, mixed with a high pitched Harpsichord, Harp or another stringed intrument. Again the vocals here in this song are fantastic, especially when they sing “Seashell whistle”. The sound effect of this vocal phrase tunes as if you really put a seashell to the ear and hear their voices through it!
In “Death” they used Dulcimer and Sitar again. A low pitched Gong makes the song more dark. The bass gliding melody wows and flutters deeply.
“The Journey” has fantastic background vocals, which tune like they were sung backwards.
“Trust” is my favourite song of the album and it’s the most positive song on the album.
The offbeat bassline gives the exact balance to the guitar and piano rythm chords. There’s a high fuzzy distorted, but set very smooth and warm, gliding guitar lead in the background, which tunes like an unidentifying instrument again. There’s an interesting asking and repeating voice melody with a background choir on each phrase. The main voice melody (asking) starts with “Excuse me please as I wipe a tear away from an eye that sees there’s nothing left” and is sung always on the same tone. Only the last two tunes “…to trust.” is sung on a higher tone. The guitar and piano chords fit so well together, as they were one intrument. All in all this song is an outstanding composition, which is even more complex and mindblowing than Brian Wilson did on “Pet Sounds” and “SMiLE” or The Beatles have done on “Sgt. Peppers Loney Hearts Club Band”.
1C 062-04 004 (EMI Columbia/Germany/1969)
If you prefer the CD then check the 2003 reissue. It is 24-Bit remastered and comes in a repackaged deluxe Digipak. It includes four very important bonus tracks: The mind-blowing “Defecting Grey”, “Mr. Evasion”, “Talkin About The Good Times” and “Walking Through My Dreams”.