Year of Release: 1967
Keith Shields is admittedly less of an enigma than some of the sixties artists we've looked at over the last couple of years, but still, the available information is rather patchy to say the least. Beginning his short career in the music industry as a guitarist for Marty Wilde's Wildcats, he was then groomed for solo stardom by fellow Wildcat (and eventual member of The Animals) Hilton Valentine.
Whilst The Animals are known and loved globally for a series of snarling, aggressive, blues-based pieces of proto-Doors rock (and anyone who believes that The Doors don't owe anything to The Animals at all should probably leave the room now) Keith Shields has only a footnote in the encyclopedia of psychedelic pop. Much of that admittedly limited acclaim is down to this one single, which is a double-headed wonder. The A-side "Hey Gyp (Dig The Slowness)" is a Donovan song reimagined as a pounding piece of twanging, footstomping beat pop, all erratic bass guitar runs and belted vocals. If your hands aren't compelled to clap along, then there is no joy left in your bones.
Acting as the yin to the commercial side's yang, "Deep Inside Your Mind" is a piece of mellow, slow and shimmering psych, where the Shieldsmeister encourages us to explore our inner thoughts with the aid of deep basslines and a hammer dulcimer accompaniment. There is some dispute amongst collectors as to which side is best - balls to such futile debates, say I, both are solid pieces of work in very, very different ways.
Shields eventually recorded a solo folk album in 1970 appropriately entitled "All In Your Head", and unless anyone can prove otherwise, that seems to have been the end of his career. As ever, if any of you good readers have heard the LP and have any opinions on its contents, I'd be happy to hear them.
Both sides of this record are commercially available, and Hey Gyp can be found on YouTube. Many thanks to Dripser for the upload.