Initially coming together during a Fontana-era lull in The Pretty Things’ prodigious career, the band’s now-legendary body of work for music library de Wolfe as The Electric Banana saw their alter-egos become parallel universe superstars, their work utilised by film and TV producers in everything from soft-porn skin-flicks, a Norman Wisdom vehicle and horror classic Dawn Of The Dead to small-screen ratings winners like Dr. Who, The Sweeney and Minder.
In the Sixties, the Banana recordings mirrored British pop’s gradual evolution into rock, courtesy of brass-led Swinging London ravers (Walking Down The Street, Danger Signs), primal garage punk (Street Girl, Love Dance And Sing) and maximum psychedelia (Eagle’s Son, Alexander). They switched gears again in the Seventies, confidently mixing swaggering bar-band hard rockers (The Loser, Sweet Orphan Lady), putative terrace- anthems (Whiskey Song), metal-based rock (Maze Song, the Hendrix tribute James Marshall) and jangly, Byrds-inflected power pop (Do My Stuff).
Taken from the original master-tapes, the 3-CD set The Complete De Wolfe Sessions represents a number of firsts: the first-ever legitimate CD issue of these recordings (authorised by both The Pretty Things and de Wolfe), the first time that the Banana’s Sixties and Seventies work has been made available under one roof, and the first time that the karaoke-anticipating backing tracks have been made commercially available.
Housed in a clamshell box that includes a lavish illustrated booklet, The Complete De Wolfe Sessions incorporates the original albums artwork, an extended essay on the band, quotes from pivotal members Phil May, Dick Taylor and Wally Waller, and some priceless photos of the classic Even More Electric Banana line-up, taken from the summer-of-’68 Swinging Southport film What’s Good For The Goose.
More than forty years after The Pretty Things last donned the Electric Banana mantle, this long-overdue complete package is the final, definitive word on these seminal and much-loved recordings.