Julian Cope presents Head Heritage

The Sopwith Camel
Postcard From Jamaica/Little Orphan Annie


Released 1967 on Kama Sutra
Reviewed by Dave Furgess, 28/09/2000ce


The Sopwith Camel were a San Francisco Bay area group who scored a fluke hit in 1966 with the "good timey" Lovin' Spoonful-ish "Hello, Hello". They were in fact the first of the new San Francisco groups to have a hit single (not counting The Beau Brummels) and they were kinda snubbed by the SF underground elite. The truth was The Sopwith Camel were far from being teenyboppers and the word has it they were a bunch off full-time acidheads. You just wouldn't know it from their music which had more in common with The Youngbloods and The Nitty Gritty Dirt Band than the Grateful Dead or Jefferson Airplane.
"Postcard From Jamaica" was The Camel's second single and was also on board their fine debut album. It really wasn't much of a hit, yet I do remember a radio station in Hartford, Connecticut playing it often when it first came out. It's a pity it didn't get played because it's a wonderful song that is dripping with hooks. The lead singer sounds a bit like Donovan and the group provide pleasing background vocals and a smooth folk-rock beat. This is an incredibly uplifting song that will instantly brighten up the even the cloudiest of days. It's strange I can't imagine anyone these days making a record like this, today most groups seen intent on shoving their misery and psycho-dramas down your throat, which is getting to be a real drag!


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