The dichotomy between 'Hard Rock' and 'Soft Rock' has always been easy for me ' and for the larger society: There is no 'Soft Rock CafÁ©' that I have heard of, but one of our more prominent casinos here on the Coast includes a Hard Rock CafÁ©. 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 only album by Queen Anne's Lace, 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 Tour, some 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 Records 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. (Peter Cofield has a prominent jingle to his credit also: 'The Big Red Song', used to advertise Wrigley's Big Red gum for almost 20 years). However, her website 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, Queen Anne's Lace 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 Lace, Schattenfreiheit 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, is booby-trapped.
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The Honor Roll of the Under Appreciated Rock Bands and Artists follows, in date order, including a link to the original Facebook posts and the theme of the article.
Dec 2009 ' BEAST; Lot to Learn
Jan 2010 ' WENDY WALDMAN; Los Angeles Singer-Songwriters
Feb 2010 ' CYRUS ERIE; Cleveland
Mar 2010 ' BANG; Record Collecting I
Apr 2010 ' THE BREAKAWAYS; Power Pop
May 2010 ' THE NOT QUITE; Katrina Clean-Up
Jun 2010 ' WATERLILLIES; Electronica
Jul 2010 ' THE EYES; Los Angeles Punk Rock
Aug 2010 ' QUEEN ANNE'S LACE; Psychedelic Pop
Sep 2010 ' THE STILLROVEN; Minnesota
Oct 2010 ' THE PILTDOWN MEN; Record Collecting II
Nov 2010 ' SLOVENLY; Slovenly Peter
Dec 2010 ' THE POPPEES; New York Punk/New Wave
Jan 2011 ' HACIENDA; Latinos in Rock
Feb 2011 ' THE WANDERERS; Punk Rock (1970's/1980's)
Mar 2011 ' INDEX; Psychedelic Rock (1960's)
Apr 2011 ' BOHEMIAN VENDETTA; Punk Rock (1960's)
May 2011 ' THE LONESOME DRIFTER; Rockabilly
Jun 2011 ' THE UNKNOWNS; Disabled Musicians
Jul 2011 ' THE RIP CHORDS; Surf Rock I
Aug 2011 ' ANDY COLQUHOUN; Side Men
Sep 2011 ' ULTRA; Texas
Oct 2011 ' JIM SULLIVAN; Mystery
Nov 2011 ' THE UGLY; Punk Rock (1970's)
Dec 2011 ' THE MAGICIANS; Garage Rock (1960's)
Jan 2012 ' RON FRANKLIN; Why Celebrate Under Appreciated?
Feb 2012 ' JA JA JA; German New Wave
Mar 2012 ' STRATAVARIOUS; Disco Music
Apr 2012 ' LINDA PIERRE KING; Record Collecting III
May 2012 ' TINA AND THE TOTAL BABES; One Hit Wonders
Jun 2012 ' WILD BLUE; Band Names I
Jul 2012 ' DEAD HIPPIE; Band Names II
Aug 2012 ' PHIL AND THE FRANTICS; Wikipedia I
Sep 2012 ' CODE BLUE; Hidden History
Oct 2012 ' TRILLION; Wikipedia II
Nov 2012 ' THOMAS ANDERSON; Martin Winfree's Record Buying Guide
Dec 2012 ' THE INVISIBLE EYES; Record Collecting IV
Jan 2013 ' THE SKYWALKERS; Garage Rock Revival
Mar 2013 ' THE GILES BROTHERS; Novelty Songs
Apr 2013 ' LES SINNERS; Universal Language
May 2013 ' HOLLIS BROWN; Greg Shaw / Bob Dylan
Jun 2013 (I) ' FUR (Part One); What Might Have Been I
Jun 2013 (II) ' FUR (Part Two); What Might Have Been II
Jul 2013 ' THE KLUBS; Record Collecting V
Aug 2013 ' SILVERBIRD; Native Americans in Rock
Sep 2013 ' BLAIR 1523; Wikipedia III
Oct 2013 ' MUSIC EMPORIUM; Women in Rock I
Nov 2013 ' CHIMERA; Women in Rock II
Dec 2013 ' LES HELL ON HEELS; Women in Rock III
Jan 2014 ' BOYSKOUT; (Lesbian) Women in Rock IV
Feb 2014 ' LIQUID FAERIES; Women in Rock V
Mar 2014 (I) ' THE SONS OF FRED (Part 1); Tribute to Mick Farren
Mar 2014 (II) ' THE SONS OF FRED (Part 2); Tribute to Mick Farren
Apr 2014 ' HOMER; Creating New Bands out of Old Ones
May 2014 ' THE SOUL AGENTS; The Cream Family Tree
Jun 2014 ' THE RICHMOND SLUTS and BIG MIDNIGHT; Band Names (Changes) III
Jul 2014 ' MIKKI; Rock and Religion I (Early CCM Music)
Aug 2014 ' THE HOLY GHOST RECEPTION COMMITTEE #9; Rock and Religion II (Bob Dylan)
Sep 2014 ' NICK FREUND; Rock and Religion III (The Beatles)
Oct 2014 ' MOTOCHRIST; Rock and Religion IV
Nov 2014 ' WENDY BAGWELL AND THE SUNLITERS; Rock and Religion V
Dec 2014 ' THE SILENCERS; Surf Rock II
Jan 2015 (I) ' THE CRAWDADDYS (Part 1); Tribute to Kim Fowley
Jan 2015 (II) ' THE CRAWDADDYS (Part 2); Tribute to Kim Fowley
Feb 2015 ' BRIAN OLIVE; Songwriting I (Country Music)
Mar 2015 ' PHIL GAMMAGE; Songwriting II (Woody Guthrie/Bob Dylan)
Apr 2015 (I) ' BLACK RUSSIAN (Part 1); Songwriting III (Partnerships)
Apr 2015 (II) ' BLACK RUSSIAN (Part 2); Songwriting III (Partnerships)
May 2015 ' MAL RYDER and THE PRIMITIVES; Songwriting IV (Rolling Stones)
Jun 2015 ' HAYMARKET SQUARE; Songwriting V (Beatles)
Jul 2015 ' THE HUMAN ZOO; Songwriting VI (Psychedelic Rock)
Aug 2015 ' CRYSTAL MANSION; Martin Winfree's Record Cleaning Guide
Dec 2015 ' AMANDA JONES; So Many Rock Bands
Mar 2016 ' THE LOVEMASTERS; Fun Rock Music
Jun 2016 ' THE GYNECOLOGISTS; Offensive Rock Music Lyrics
Sep 2016 ' LIGHTNING STRIKE; Rap and Hip Hop
Dec 2016 ' THE IGUANAS; Iggy and the Stooges; Proto-Punk Rock
Mar 2017 ' THE LAZY COWGIRLS; Iggy and the Stooges; First Wave Punk Rock
Jun 2017 ' THE LOONS; Punk Revival and Other New Bands
Sep 2017 ' THE TELL-TALE HEARTS; Bootleg Albums
Dec 2017 ' SS-20; The Iguana Chronicles
(Year 10 Review)

Last edited: April 7, 2021