Among Ace Records' recent releases is a collection that just might make you scream - make that "Primal Scream" - with elation. Bobby Gillespie Presents Sunday Morning Comin' Down is a mix CD curated by Primal Scream founder/Jesus and Mary Chain drummer. The Glasgow-born singer/songwriter/musician has selected 20 of his favorite tracks for Ace, and the result is a set that not only illuminates Gillespie's influences as an artist but stands on its own with thematic and sonic coherence. In Gillespie's remarkable musical world, soundtracks sit alongside haunting psychedelia, California pop, Texas garage rock and yearning Americana.
Sunday Morning opens with The 13th Floor Elevators' psychedelic mantra-style "May the Circle Remain Unbroken" before segueing to three tracks from The Beach Boys. Gillespie's trip into the heart and soul of the extended Wilson clan comes with the extended alternate mix of Brian's wrenching "'Til I Die" ("white psychedelic gospel" per Gillespie in his track-by-track liner notes), his brief, quirky single "You're Welcome" (another mantra-like song) and the a cappella mix of Dennis and Gregg Jakobson's rough-hewn yet lushly romantic "Forever." Much like The Beach Boys, The Byrds successfully blended the light and the dark ("They embody that transcendent, ecstatic joyous sound but at the same time the songs of Gene Clark are sad and dark," Gillespie writes). Instead of a Gene Clark song, however, Gillespie has selected the band's adaptation of the folk song "Scottish Mountain Thyme," recorded after Clark's departure from the group. Clark gets his moment in the sun with his later solo track "American Dreamer."
Both The Byrds and Gene Clark melded folk, country and rock influences; another onetime Byrd, Gram Parsons, famously did the same with his own brand of "cosmic American music" represented on Gillespie's compilation by his cover of Boudleaux Bryant's standard "Love Hurts." Little Feat also followed in The Byrds' country-rock footsteps; one of its frontman Lowell George's most famous songs, "Willin'" is heard here. Though branded as part of the "outlaw" country movement, Willie Nelson stretched the boundaries of country himself by taking in sounds ranging from psychedelia to Tin Pan Alley. Gillespie has selected his "Precious Memories," a lengthy spiritual meditation. Jerry Lee Lewis melds genres, too, with his pure country makeover of Harold Arlen and E.Y. Harburg's "Over the Rainbow."
Gillespie also salutes some of his favorite songwriters including Kris Kristofferson with the title track and Carole King with the Toni Stern co-write "As We Go Along" performed by The Monkees for their trippy film Head. Diverse offerings abound here, from film maestro supreme John Barry (his wistful theme to Midnight Cowboy) to Evie Sands' rendition of Chip Taylor's rhythmic ballad "Any Way That You Want Me." There's yet more psychedelia from Tim Buckley ("Phantasmagoria in Two") and Skip Spence ("War in Peace"), and rock and roll from Ronnie Wood ("Breathe on Me") and Link Wray (the rootsy "Ice People"), in this kaleidoscopic trip through Gillespie's record collection.
The Phil Spector influence on The Jesus and Mary Chain was never in doubt, and Gillespie has long championed the producer's 1970s work with Dion. From Dion and Spector's joint masterpiece Born to Be with You comes the album's dramatic and lengthy title track ("one of the greatest f--k you records ever made") ; Gillespie brings everything on the disc full circle with one track from Primal Scream - a cover of the Mary Chain's "Darklands."
Bobby Gillespie Presents Sunday Mornin' Comin' Down includes a 16-page booklet with track annotations and Gillespie's own notes on each track. Nick Robbins has remastered all songs. You can order this eclectic and wide-ranging set at the links below!
- May the Circle Remain Unbroken - The 13th Floor Elevators (International Artists 126, 1967)
- 'Til I Die (Alternate Mix) - The Beach Boys (Capitol CD 72434-96391-2-6, 1998)
- Forever (A Cappella Mix) - The Beach Boys (Capitol CD 72435-31583-2-3, 2001)
- You're Welcome - The Beach Boys (Brother 1001, 1967)
- Wild Mountain Thyme - The Byrds (Columbia LP 9349, 1966)
- Born to Be with You - Dion (Phil Spector International LP 2307 002, 1975)
- American Dreamer - Gene Clark (Mediarts LP 41-12, 1972)
- Midnight Cowboy - John Barry (Columbia 44891, 1969)
- Sunday Mornin' Comin' Down - Kris Kristofferson (Monument 1210, 1970)
- Ice People - Link Wray (Polydor 24-4064, 1971)
- As We Go Along - The Monkees (Colgems LP 5008, 1968)
- Love Hurts - Gram Parsons (Reprise LP MS 2171, 1974)
- War in Peace - Alexander "Skip" Spence (Columbia LP 9831, 1969)
- Phantasmagoria in Two - Tim Buckley (Elektra LP EKS 7318, 1967)
- Any Way That You Want Me - Evie Sands (A&M 1090, 1970)
- Willin' - Little Feat (Warner Bros. LP BS 2600, 1972)
- Breathe on Me - Ronnie Wood (Warner Bros. K 16463, 1974)
- Darklands - Primal Scream (Creation CRE 284, 1997)
- Precious Memories - Willie Nelson (Columbia LP 34112, 1976)
- Over the Rainbow - Jerry Lee Lewis (Elektra LP 6E 291, 1980)