As we all know colour was invented in 1966. Before then everything in our day to day lives was black, white, and somewhat grey. That is how it stayed until something strange started bubbling on both sides of the Atlantic.
On one side The Beatles released Revolver, and on the other a whole generation realized that the times were indeed a-changin'. So called beat groups many of which, up until then, had their feet firmly in the R&B camp dropped the suits and adopted the look. The Psychedelic era had arrived. Nothing would ever be the same again.
The vinyl album suddenly morphed from being a collection of singles, b-sides, and other three minute creations into something quite different. I can remember the gasps of astonished wonder when we realized that Sgt Peppers seemed devoid of any gaps in the grooves between the tracks.
EMI’s Parlophone and Columbia labels had already provided the outlet for such bands as Sid Barrett’s underground Pink Floyd, and The Pretty Things. Meanwhile Decca’s Deram label had adopted The Move, Procol Harum, and The Moody Blues.
When Island Records, under the leadership of its visionary founder Chris Blackwell, added its weight behind the movement the more established labels began to hatch plans to launch their own progressive wings.
Pye, who had the likes of Donovan and The Kinks on their roster, were, in fact, one of the last to make this move. One act that Pye did have was The Status Quo whose early psychedelic singles “Pictures Of Matchstick Men” and “Ice In The Sun” began to shift the labels reputation away from being considered as the home of more conservative acts such as The Bachelors and Petula Clark.
In 1969 EMI launched Harvest as their progressive outlet. Pye followed when they created the Dawn label in October of that year. Acts like John Kongos, Donovan, and Man switched from Pye to Dawn and were later joined by new signings Mungo Jerry, Titus Groan, Atlantic Bridge, and Atomic Rooster.
Cave Of Clear Light is a beautifully presented 3-CD box set released by Esoteric Recordings that captures this extraordinary period in the history of not only that particular label but of music itself. The set arrives with superb artwork from Phil Smee of Waldo’s Design and Dream Emporium and contains a finely balanced selection of the best tracks to have made it onto the Dawn label.