Queen Anne’s Lace



The dichotomy between “Hard Rock” and “Soft Rock” has always been easy for me – and for the larger society:  There is no “Soft Rock Café” that I have heard of, but one of our more prominent casinos here on the Coast includes a Hard Rock Café.  Still, there are times when softness can be just the thing, and QUEEN ANNE’S LACE really goes down nicely.  The band is apparently the duo of William B. Phillips and his (apparent) wife Anne Phillips, whence (again, apparently) came the name.  Though the word “psychedelic” is thrown around rather loosely these days (not that there is anything wrong with that), this album could be described as “pop-psychedelic”. 
The band’s only album, Queen Anne’s Lace was released in 1969 on Coral Records, a label already in severe decline and very much of the old school, where it was the song and not the singer that was important.  Four of the five songs on Side 1 are covers, and familiar ones at that:  “The Fool on the Hill” opens the album and is a fine if spare rendition of the Beatles song that was almost lost among the torrent of creativity that was the Magical Mystery Tour album of 1967 – besides the songs from the ill-fated Beatles TV movie of the same name, Magical Mystery Toursome of the band’s best singles were also included:  “Strawberry Fields Forever”, “Hello Goodbye”, “All You Need is Love”, and others.  It probably would have had a shot at being a successful single, except that “The Fool on the Hill” had already been a Top 5 hit in 1968 for Sergio Mendes and Brasil ’66 (a self-defeating band name that had already been renamed once from Brasil ’65).  Though Mendes was basically piggy-backing onto the success of Herb Alpert, the co-founder of his label A&M Records, the Latin-lite sounds were better than nothing for a pop-music mainstream that, for too many years, had been just a little too white-bread, at least in retrospect.  The sole original song on the first side, “No Worry Tour” appears almost to have been named after the title of the Beatles album. 
Side 2 is more interesting, both in terms of the choice in covers – Paul Simon’s largely overlooked “Dangling Conversation” is the only high-profile song on this side – and in the original material.  There are two cool “flower power” songs written by singer-songwriter Peter Cofield (whose first album came out on Coral the previous year), “Thank the Beautiful People (Thank the Young)” and “The Power of the Flower”.  These songs celebrate the best of the hippie spirit at least as well as the Tin Pan Alley-ish San Francisco (Be Sure to Wear Flowers in Your Hair)” (written by John Phillips – no relation, once again apparently – of the Mamas and the Papas and beautifully sung by Scott McKenzie).  My favorite song on the album, “The Happiest Day of My Life” is a wistful, almost melancholy song taking a view from a considerable distance that is not at all the sugary confection that one might expect.  This song was included on a garage rock compilation album called Soft Sounds for Gentle People, Volume 2 that came out in 2003
Anne Phillips has had a varied career as a performer and songwriter and in advertising; a venerable Pepsi-Cola jingle, “Taste that Beats the Others Cold” is among her work.  However, her website www.annephillips.com/ only mentions Queen Anne’s Lace in passing, with no details at all.  Her husband Bob Kindred though is prominently featured on the website; whether or not a bad marital breakup is behind the omission, this band was evidently her only foray away from her jazz roots.  Her first album, Born to be Blue came out 10 years earlier (in 1959); and her second solo album, Gonna Lay My Heart on the Line didn’t appear until 2001.  Anne Phillips’ eclectic work includes inner-city children’s jazz choirs, an Easter Mass that was first performed at St. Patrick’s Cathedral in New York City, a children’s musical called The Great Grey Ghost of Old Spook Lane, and a Christmas album, Noel Noel
Of interest to some I imagine (certainly me):  Anne Phillips’ great-great-grandfather Rev. Aldert Smedes founded St. Mary’s School for Girls (later St. Mary’s College) in Raleigh, North Carolina.  His surname surfaced in the name of Raleigh Mayor Smedes York, the son of prominent real estate developer J. W. York (whose own name graces a local elementary school).  Ford S. Worthy, Jr., the founder of the real estate company where I spent the first half of my career as a real estate appraiser, Worthy and Company (later Worthy & Wachtel), worked for J. W. York for several years before starting his own firm. 
My fondness for this album is echoed in an even better and much more obscure album that is among the greatest treasures that I have rescued from the mud of Katrina:  Nachgedanken by Schattenfreiheit.  Like Queen Anne’s LaceSchattenfreiheit is basically a male/female duo.  Their album is self-published with amateurish drawings on the cover (including the band’s name written in the shape of a performing porpoise) and is a luscious pop-psychedelic masterpiece that is probably my favorite rock album that is sung in a foreign language (as is apparent from the long words, that would be German).  According to Google Translate, the band name means something like “shadowy freedom” (though maybe it is really “freedom from shadows”), while the album name is “after thoughts”; most of the Internet translation devices don’t seem to know either word though. 
Speaking of under-appreciated, the article on the Beatles album Magical Mystery Tour is short and fairly well hidden on the Allmusic website, but there is a long dissertation on the curious song “I Am the Walrus” from that album/film.  There is a listing for Queen Anne’s Lace on Allmusic, but with hardly any info.  On Wikipedia, “Queen Anne’s lace” is identified as a common name for any of several plants, including wild carrot – and there is a band called Wild Carrot that is described.  Anne Phillips also has a Wikipedia listing, but this one is a professor.  Finally, there is another band called Queen Anne’s Lace of more recent vintage that performs at Renaissance Fairs; but beware:  Their website, www.qalace.com/ is booby-trapped. 
(August 2010)
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Items:    Queen Anne’s Lace 
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Flashback:  The Under Appreciated Rock Band for August 2010QUEEN ANNE’S LACE 
Queen Anne’s Lace is a cool pop-psychedelic band that I really enjoy hearing; my favorite song on the album, The Happiest Day of My Life was released on Soft Sounds for Gentle People, Volume 2.  Unfortunately I have been unable to find any songs by the 1960’s band on YouTubethough there are several by the more recent band called Queen Anne’s Lace which appears regularly at Renaissance Fairs
I also included a description in that article of a similar album that I truly love:  Nachgedanken, by a German band called Schattenfreiheit.  Like last month’s UARBDead Hippiethere was virtually nothing about this band on the Internet until fairly recently.  (Oddly enough though, this was one of the first albums where I was able to find images of both sides of the album cover; images of back album covers are much more available now but were quite rare 5 or 6 years ago).  I am really not trying to show off in my writings about Under-Appreciated Rock Bands and Rock Artists, but I mostly want to showcase bands and artists that people might actually be able to locate on CD or YouTube or at a used record store or whatever, rather than albums like this that are crazy-rare.  Needless to say, there is nothing on YouTube by Schattenfreiheit either. 
(August 2012)
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Photo Gallery:  The Under-Appreciated Rock Band of the Month for August 2010QUEEN’S ANNE LACE 
I mentioned Queen Anne’s Lace in passing earlier as well.  This is the cover on the album that I have; of course, I only have the disc itself now: 
There is an alternate cover of the Queen Anne’s Lace album: 
This album, Soft Sounds for Gentle People, Volume 2 is one of a series collecting psychedelic pop songs; the Queen Anne’s Lace song “Happiest Day of My Life” is included on it: 
Here is a head shot of Anne Phillips back in the day: 
This is Anne Phillips’ first LP, Born to be Blue
By the time her second album, Gonna Lay My Heart on the Line came out, only CD’s were being made; this is Anne Phillips’ most recent album Ballet Time
This is a more recent photograph of Anne Phillips
(August 2013)
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It was about a year ago that I started my series on Under-Appreciated Rock Bands of the Month (including one Under-Appreciated Rock Artist of the Month), to celebrate the more obscure albums and bands in my record collection that had not yet been profiled in Wikipedia.  The list shows a wide-ranging list of types of music I think: 
December 2009 – BEAST1960’s hippie-flavored rock band (2 albums) 
January 2010 – WENDY WALDMAN, 1970’s singer-songwriter (6 albums) 
February 2010 – CYRUS ERIE1960’s garage rock band (single) 
March 2010 – BANG1970’s hard rock band (4 albums) 
April 2010 – THE BREAKAWAYS1970’s power pop rock band (several singles; retrospective album) 
May 2010 – THE NOT QUITE1980’s psychedelic revival rock band (3 albums) 
June 2010 – WATERLILLIES1990’s electronica rock band (2 albums) 
July 2010 – THE EYES1970’s punk rock band (several singles) 
August 2010 – QUEEN ANNE’S LACE1960’s pop-psychedelic rock band (1 album) 
September 2010 – THE STILLROVEN1960’s garage rock band (several singles; retrospective album) 
October 2010 – THE PILTDOWN MEN1960’s instrumental rock band (several singles; retrospective album) 
November 2010 – SLOVENLY1980’s indie rock band (5 albums) 
(Year 1 Review)
Last edited: March 22, 2021