Released over a year after their formation, “Never Never Land” is one freakin’, rockin’-rollin’ monster. The group formed in early 1970 around ex-Deviants Paul Rudolph (guitar and vocals), Sandy Sanderson (bass), Russell Hunter (drums) and the recently ex-Pretty Things drummer and vocalist, Twink. At their first gig at The Roundhouse, April 5, 1970, they were met with thunderous applause before they had even played a note, and their continued support from the London underground press helped their already heavy underground credentials, dubbing them as “The People’s Band.” Their first single, “The Snake”, is -- I won’t mince words here -- complete punk rock for 1970, and seven years before its time. John Lydon once referred to The Pink Fairies as his “favourite of the old wave rock bands” and once you hear “Never Never Land” or “The Snake” single, you’ll understand why. Paul “Black George” Rudolph commands his Baby Gibson Les Paul effortlessly into virgin, un-navigated realms of controlled noise from pure silk to raw power as Tony Iommi, Jimi Hendrix and Pete Townshend (circa “Live At Leeds”) all take roost in his head and the complete abandon of his dosed-up guitar guides the whole ensemble into a series of abandoned freak and rolls previously unheard of in England.
The album opens with “Do It”, the inflammatory, Twink-penned anthem that was the B-side of the previously mentioned “The Snake” single, here remixed and with an additional opening acoustic intro. It takes off into a get-off-yer-ass blistering rock out, Rudolph’s stunningly raw guitar builds and builds into a blinding coda that kicks everyone’s ass twice. Twink’s other tracks (“Heavenly Man”, “Wargirl” and “The Dream Is Just Beginning”) are quieter forays by comparison, but in no way any less addled.
“Say You Love Me” and “Teenage Rebel” are but two further examples of the tight but raw rock’n’roll that get spilled out at high speed, with Rudolph’s gruff vocals bayed over the ensuing loud, stomping free festival stomp-outs. An extended double-drum solo bridges into “Uncle Harry’s Last Freak Out”, their free festival closer. Running anywhere from 10-30 minutes live, it’s a little brief here at a mere 10 minutes 49 seconds but no less raw or hectic. The double-drumming builds up a buffalo stampede in the background that drowns out Sanderson’s polite bass, but Rudolph’s guitar is too over the place, far too loud, and rocketing from speaker to speaker with stereo panning to meet a similar fate. It’s also filtered through Binson Echorec, distortion, wah-wah and infused with such a spirit of going for it that the surprise synthesizer chord that breaks in gets you every time, bursting in like a manic pixie throwing fairy dust right between your eyes. It then starts up again, but the echo unit is still on so high a setting that it captures every single wisp of riffing and amplifies it into a freight train running through your head. It can only settle down from here so it does with Rudolph intoning: “Everyone should be so happy/Everyone could be so merry/You and me could be so fairy…” After taking itself way down, it begins to rise slightly, where every small strum across the guitar bridge is a huge riff across the sky, the Binson on far too high. Before the other three Fairies know it, Rudolph is storming across the heavens in a chariot, and they’re holding onto the back of his black t-shirt for dear life, cause the echo is causing all his frenetic riffing to sound like hundreds of Rudolphs playing at once and they can barely keep up. But they relax as all smears into a single mandied and echoed haze-out.
“Never Never Land” originally came in a beautiful fold out 12” x 24” double-sided poster encased in a heavy, silk-screened PVC sleeve, and is a killer testimony of psychedelic punk rock.