Kaleidoscope was an English pop-psych band that released two albums on Fontana: Tangerine Dream (1967) and Faintly Blowing (1969). In 1970, they issued From Home to Home on Vertigo as Fairfield Parlour. Their proposed fourth album (a double) was recorded in 1970/71 but vaulted until 1991, when it appeared as White Faced Lady.
Members: Peter Daltrey (vocals, keyboards), Eddie Pumer (guitar), Steve Clark (bass), Danny Bridgman (drums)
Kaleidoscope formed in late 1963 as The Sidekicks, a London R&B/beat group comprised of singer Peter Daltrey, guitarist Eddie Pumer, bassist Steve Clark, and drummer Danny Bridgman. Their initial set consisted of Rolling Stones, Muddy Waters, Howlin’ Wolf, and Mose Allison covers. In August 1964, they demoed four songs: “The House of the Rising Sun,” “Mona,” “High Heel Sneakers,” and the band original “Drivin’ Around.”
In February 1965, The Sidekicks played the Starlite Ballroom in Greenford as the opening act for Van Morrison‘s Them. On April 5, they opened for The Who at the Lakeside Club in Hendon, where Peter Daltrey lent his tambourine to Who frontman Roger Daltrey (no relation), who smashed it mid-performance. After an unsuccessful audition for Kinks producer Larry Page and a sequence of false starts, The Sidekicks renamed themselves The Key in November 1965.
During 1966, The Key developed a set of originals composed by Pumer (music) and Daltrey (lyrics). They demoed “You’re Not Mine,” “Holiday Maker,” and “Cold Sunday Morning 6:15,” but the tapes were confiscated when talks collapsed with the financier. After months without live work, they opened for The Mojos at Brunnel College that September. Their new stage act featured smoke bombs, blood capsules, and a poetry-reading girl. Late that year, their demo impressed music publisher Dick Leahy.
On January 2, 1967, the group signed to Fontana under a new name, Kaleidoscope, inspired by the burgeoning psychedelic movement.
1967: “Flight from Ashiya”, Tangerine Dream
Kaleidoscope debuted with “Flight from Ashiya,” a lumbering waltz with droning bass and ringing guitar tones. The title comes from a 1964 Yul Brynner movie about a US Air Rescue Service mission from the Ashiya Air Base in Japan. However, the lyrics concern the impending crash of a commercial plane: “visions of childhood rush past my eyes, in seat number 30 somebody cries.” The song appeared as a single in September 1967, backed with the uptempo, brassy “Holidaymaker.”
Both sides of the single appear on Kaleidoscope’s debut album, Tangerine Dream, released in November 1967 on Fontana. It features eleven Daltrey–Pumer originals, including “Dive Into Yesterday,” “Dear Nellie Goodrich,” “The Murder of Lewis Tollani,” “Please Excuse My Face,” “(Further Reflections) In the Room of Percussion,” and the band’s theme song.
Leahy produced Tangerine Dream between February and September of 1967. Clark plays flute in addition to bass. Daltrey and Pumer share keyboard duties.
Tangerine Dream sports a cover photo of Kaleidoscope in patterned psychedelic garb and accessories (beads, scarves) against a cellophane backdrop with orange bubble lettering. The back cover features liner notes by Daltrey, who offers a fantasy account of the band’s story, wherein the members (identified as Petre, Enak, Dios, and Santeeze) fish for musical notes in the Sea of Silk to write songs for a festival, arranged by King Kyzanzeer for the village of Now.
1968: “A Dream For Julie”, “Jenny Artichoke”
In late January 1968, Kaleidoscope issued their second single, the non-album “A Dream for Julie” (b/w “Please Excuse My Face”). In September, they released two non-album sides: “Jenny Artichoke” — inspired by Donovan‘s “Jennifer Juniper” — and “Just How Much You Are.”
The three 1968 non-album sides, along with a mono version of the first single, are included on CD pressings of Tangerine Dream, starting with the 1998 German reissue on Repertoire Records.
1969: Faintly Blowing
In March 1969, Kaleidoscope issued their fourth single, “Do It Again for Jeffrey,” backed with “Poem.” The b-side appears on Faintly Blowing, released the following month on Fontana. The albums features eleven additional Daltrey–Pumer originals, including “Love Song for Annie,” “Snap Dragon,” “A Story from Tom Bitz,” “Black Fjord,” “The Feathered Tiger,” and the title track.
Sessions took place the prior winter with Leahy and engineers David Voyde (Czar, Harsh Reality, Magna Carta), Peter J. Olliff (Dusty Springfield, Scott Walker, Uriah Heep), and Roger Wake (Ambrose Slade, Beggars Opera, Cochise, The Move).
Faintly Blowing sports a gatefold sleeve designed by Robin Nicol with photography by Johnny Clamp. It shows Kaleidoscope in a foggy forest with assorted characters from a Renaissance fair, including a green-clad elf (overhead) and a young woman in Alice in Wonderland garb. The inner-fold features a rust-tinted photo of the forest congregation, overlaid with Daltrey’s lyrics in white-type and the name+title in nouveau font.
BBC DJ David Symonds wrote the liner notes, where he goes on bizarre tangents before stating “Hear for yourself and fatten your cerebrum… Two flowers in a field could not be sweeter, nor breezes in the blue, higher than you… faintly blowing.” Symonds — who recently tried his hand at singing with the 1968 Philips single “Here Is the News” (b/w “Don’t Worry About a Thing”) — became Kaleidoscope’s new producer and manager.
In July 1969, Kaleidoscope issued the new a-side “Balloon,” backed with the Faintly Blowing track “If You So Wish.”
1970: Fairfield Parlour – From Home to Home
In April 1970, Kaleidoscope changed their name to Fairfield Parlour for the single “Bordeaux Rose” (b/w “Chalk On the Wall”), issued on the recently established post-psych label Vertigo. In July, they issued a maxi-single with four songs: “Just Another Day,” “Caraminda,” “I Am All the Animals,” and “Song for You.”
“Chalk” appears on From Home to Home, the group’s third album and their only one under the Fairfield Parlour name. It features eleven additional Daltrey–Pumer compositions, including “Emily,” “Sunnyside Cirkus,” “By Your Bedside,” “Soldier of the Flesh,” “In My Box,” and “The Glorious House of Arthur.” The album appeared in August 1970 on Vertigo.
Symonds produced the album with engineer Jerry Boys (Al Stewart, CMU, Steeleye Span, Trúbrot). Sessions took place at Morgan Studios, London, with featured guests Gran Bridgman and Zap & Nicola. Bridgman plays pedal tympani and tubular bells in addition to drums. Daltrey and Pumer both handle mellotron, organ, and harpsichord.
From Home to Home, has a textured gatefold cover that shows an old man seated at a desk in an attic (front) with the band in an adjacent space (back). The design and photography are credited to Keef (aka Keith MacMillan), the artist behind most Vertigo album visuals of the period.
“Free” appears on Vertigo, a 1970 cassette-only label comp with cuts by Affinity, Black Sabbath, Colosseum, Cressida, Gracious, Juicy Lucy, Manfred Mann Chapter Three, May Blitz, Nucleus, and Rod Stewart.
The same month as From Home to Home, the group assumed a third name, I Luv Wight, for the single “Let the World Wash In” (b/w “Mediaeval Masquerade”), the intended theme for the upcoming Isle of Wight Festival 1970, a five-day August event (Wed. 26–Sun. 30) with performances by Black Widow, Donovan, The Doors, Emerson Lake & Palmer, Free, Gary Farr, Hawkwind, Heaven, Jethro Tull, Jimi Hendrix, Joni Mitchell, Mighty Baby, Miles Davis, The Moody Blues, Pentangle, Pink Fairies, Shawn Phillips, Sly and the Family Stone, Supertramp, T2, Ten Years After, Terry Reid, and The Who.
As Fairfield Parlour, the group opened day three (Friday the 28th), which also featured sets by Cactus, Chicago, Family, Lighthouse, Procol Harum, Taste, and the Voices of East Harlem.
CD pressings of From Home to Home add “Bordeaux Rose,” the maxi-single, and the I Luv Wight single, plus the tracks “Baby, Stay for Tonight” and “Eye Witness.” “Baby” appeared on the flipside of a 1976 reissue of “Bordeaux.”
1971: White Faced Lady
Kaleidoscope self-financed their fourth album, recorded at Morgan with Symonds during late 1970 and early 1971. Despite the promise of a deal for the finished product, the offer collapsed and the album was shelved until 1991, when the band self-pressed it as a 60-minute conceptual double-album, White Faced Lady.
The album features 18 Daltrey–Pumer numbers, including “White-Faced Lady,” “Nursey, Nursey,” “Picture With Conversation,” “Song from Jon,” “Standing,” and “The Locket.” The songs chart the story of Angel, a frosty-skinned misfit girl who rises to fame as an actress and later meets a tragic end. Track three, “Angel’s Song: Dear Elvis Presley…,” is a call-out to the icon. Pumer handled string arrangements, as heard on “Overture” and “Epitaph.”
Kaleidoscope gave their final performance of the era in 1972 in Bremen, Germany. While there, Bridgman engineered Ausschuss, the second album by Kraut rockers Eulenspygel. He plays percussion on two tracks: “Teufelskreis” and the 22-minute “Abfall.”
Nothing was heard from the band until the 1991 release of White Faced Lady on Kaleidoscope Record Company.
In 1995, Daltrey emerged as a solo artist with the CDs English Roses and Dream On. In the 2000s, he issued six discs on Chelsea Records; three in collaboration with American musician Damien Youth.
Clark died in a 1999 Chelsea Bridge auto accident.
In 2003, archivists Circle issued Please Listen to the Pictures, comprised of the group’s 1967—71 BBC radio sessions as Kaleidoscope and Fairfield Parlour.
The surviving members of Kaleidoscope regrouped in 2013 for live shows. Pumer died in September 2020.
- Tangerine Dream (1967)
- Faintly Blowing (1969)
- White Faced Lady (1991 — recorded 1970)
- From Home to Home (1970 — as Fairfield Parlour)
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1 thought on “Kaleidoscope”
Original draft (2018):
Kaleidoscope were prominent purveyors of Pepper-esque pop exotica. The band’s music often features phased-out, tremolo-laden instrumentation crossed with fantasy/fairy lyrics — an approach best exemplified in the psych classics “Dive into Yesterday” and “(Further Reflections) In the Room of Percussion,” which both appear on their 1967 Tangerine Dream LP.