As a follow-on to my article the other day about The Glitterhouse — and a related story I wrote here on Audiophile Review several years ago about them and another artist — I felt it only appropriate to continue my exploration of music rarities in the streaming universe. In this case that “other” artist is none other than Billy Nicholls!
Billy who, you say?
Well, actually, Billy did work with The Who ultimately but in 1968 he was backed by no less than The Small Faces on this incredibly rare and overlooked gem of English sunshine paisley pop. Click here to read my earlier article which explains the connection and its significance in much greater detail. This record is considered by many to be the rarest psychedelic record in history as only a small quantity of the vinyl was actually pressed back in the day.
Bottom line, this follow on review-of-a-sort is mostly here to let you know that you can hear Billy Nicholl’s lost psychedelic gem Would You Believe? on the Tidal streaming music service in 16-bit, 44.1 kHz, CD quality.
I have only heard this album from the CD which itself is pretty rare these days (current offerings, some of dubious origin, are up on Discogs and eBay). Its pretty pricey even on Amazon (click here and here)! There is one vinyl copy going for $15K on Discogs (click here)!! Apparently 100 or less copies of the album were made back in the day…
If you have a subscription to Tidal you can jump to Would You Believe? by clicking here.
How does it sound? Well, again, since I don’t have this on an original LP and its only streaming in CD quality I can only imagine that this particular stream sounds a bit on the bright side for a recording of its particular vintage. That is not a deal breaker at all, mind you. But it is one of those “it is what it is” scenarios. We’re lucky that its even streaming on Tidal at all! Alas, I have not found it on Qobuz…
First and foremost the music on Would You Believe? is a fun throwback to another time and another place. Had this music been released fully in 1967 it might have had a chance on the pop charts but by 1968 I suspect it came across as a bit twee. In 2019 however, we can enjoy all probably stand to bask for a while in some sunshine-bright twee-ness while catching a breath of innocent air amidst our turbulent times.
Songs like “Life Is Short” could fit easily on period radio alongside hits by The Beach Boys, The Zombies, The Association and others. “London Social Degree” remains a fun insider reference even though the music is no where near the trippy bench mark of The Beatles’ “Lucy In the Sky With Diamonds.” The connection of course between the two are the initials L.S.D., in case you missed that detail….
If you have Tidal and like your 60s pop sunshiny and paisley tinted, do check out the stream of Billy Nicholls’ Would You Believe? Ands while are at it, if you like that do also check The Polyphonic Spree which have moments that are very much in the same wheelhouse, updated for the 21st Century of course. Click here for my review of their last album, Yes Its True. Fun stuff!