Retrospective: Dr Strangely Strange

Dr Strangely Strange.jpgTo this day I don’t know what made me buy the album.

It certainly wasn’t the cover art. A photograph of three guys and a girl sitting on rocks in the middle of what looks like a mountain stream doesn’t leap out at you screaming Buy me! Even if one of them seems to have a bird’s head for a hat. The Calendar sticker on the front indicates the Australian release was on one of the less-significant offshoots of Festival Records, so it wasn’t a case of deciding to take a risk on an album by a band you’ve never heard of just because it’s on a reliable label, which was, more or less, how I stumbled on Nick Drake.

I doubt the producer credit (Joe Boyd for Witchseason Productions) was the decisive factor, however highly I rate the gentleman's contributions with the benefit of hindsight - I don't recall hearing his name too often back in the day despite his connections to The Incredible String Band, Fairport Convention, Nick Drake, Richard Thompson et. al.)

I doubt that it was the band’s name, though Dr Strangely Strange could well be the sort of name that might prompt a punter to take a second look. It was a time for odd names.

It certainly wasn’t the album title, Kip of the Serenes, whatever that meant.

Looking back the only reason I can think of would have been some reference to the band as the Irish equivalent of the Incredible String Band, an aggregation that most of my mates seemed to regard as very much an acquired taste. It was, however, a taste I’d managed to acquire.

And it definitely had something to do with the price, since the album was sitting in one of the one dollar discount bins in Townsville’s downtown Woolworths.

We were fairly adventurous in those days and there was, for some strange reason, a lot of good stuff that seemed to find its way into those bins.


B© Ian Hughes 2012