Year of Release: 1968
Oh, of all the obvious records I could have picked... but it's high summer, nobody's dumping anything of much interest in the second hand record shops at the moment (this is a seasonal phenomenon, I'm sure, but don't ask me why) and taking a bit of a dip into the obvious backwaters of my record collection seems like the answer, even though I've had a copy of this little gem for years now.
The End are probably among the best-known "obscure" psychedelic bands in the canon, thanks to the involvement of a certain Bill Wyman who made them something of a pet project of his. Initially spotted by singer and friend-of-the-Stones Elkie Brooks, The End initially supported Jagger and co on tour in 1965 and had an accompanying 45 out on Philips entitled "I Can't Get Any Joy". When this bombed, it would take another three years before "Shades Of Orange" emerged into the sunlight with Wyman on co-songwriting duties and Charlie Watts on tabla. Recorded during a break in the "Satanic Majesties Request" sessions, it's actually - sacrilege alert - a lot better than the messy trippiness of much of that album, the A-side in particular showing a mellow restraint faintly reminiscent of the most laidback Barrett-era Pink Floyd output. If it has a fault at all, it's perhaps that it sticks stubbornly to its arrangement and theme throughout where some minor variations might have been welcome.
Whilst The End never did achieve success in the UK, they managed a top five hit in Spain with "Why" (unreleased on these shores) and actually decamped to that country to capitalise on their following there. Decca did put out their album "Introspection" in Britain, however, where it has gained a cult following as being a fine example of psychedelia, and an enormous collectible amongst Stones fans for the involvement of Watts and Wyman.
The band eventually became hard rock act Tucky Buzzard and released another three albums under Wyman's wing, as well as signing to Deep Purple's Purple label. All this high class patronage led to nought, though, and they too had all but dissolved by 1973.
Please note that most of The End's material is commercially available online and in good record shops, therefore I've just included a brief clip from each side of this single here. You can, however, hear both "Shades of Orange" and "Loving Sacred Loving" in full on YouTube.