A mythical and misplaced masterpiece of lost soft rock and acidic folk funk by a one-hit wonderer lost in the wilderness for four decades. From the producer of Margo Guryan, writer behind Wool, Gerry Mulligan collaborator, Tarantino soundtracker and Wendy & Bonnie confidant, ‘Paint A Lady’ now emerges from folkloric obscurity, to bring a wash of soft psychedelic colour to your vinyl collection and quench the repeat requests of a thirsty new found audience waiting for the rain.
Within certain record collecting circles, especially those who gather under the umbrella that covers fragile niches like ‘acid folk’ and ‘soft rock’, it’s difficult to imagine a time when the legendary Susan Christie album didn’t exist. When Finders Keepers Records first shared the unheard 60s songs like ‘Paint A Lady’, ‘For The Love Of A Soldier’ and ‘Echoes In Your Mind’ with a wide-eyed audience thirsty for organic soul and festival friendly acoustic funk, Susan’s new found fanbase instantly felt like they had known these songs all of their lives. Which is why it’s hard to believe that the music on this lost 60s acetate was only pressed 12 years ago.
As the label’s lucky seventh release in an international discography that now surpasses the 100 mark (and one of a small clutch of English language recordings on the label), ‘Paint A Lady’ has slowly become one of Finders Keepers’ most requested re-releases and with this 2018 edition it is technically accurate to say that this pressing is the first-ever reissue of this elusive and essential album.
The oft overused term ‘mythical’ applies to this album on many levels. Perhaps it’s the woozy nostalgia found within the pop craft of ‘Paint A Lady’ that has led to false rumours that original 1960s copies used to exist on the collectors market, or the bizarre claim that songs like the head-nodding title track and the acid-drenched sound effects on ‘Yesterday Where’s My Mind’ were just a product of a contemporary studio band trying to create a fake folk funk red herring. As a result, Susan Christie and her producer and husband of 40 years, John Hill, have happily taken the repeated phrase ‘unbelievable’ as a compliment to their songwriting skills and foresight.
In all fairness, with a decade to ponder, the original 1969 song titles alone do seem custom- built for the nostalgia market: ‘No One Can Hear You Cry’ might lament the unrequited yearning for a record deal which never quite followed Susan’s won one-hit wonder novelty hit ‘I Love Onions’; similarly, ‘When Love Comes’ might allude to the subsequent 35 year wait for the right label to eventually come along.
‘Echoes In Your Mind’ and the aforementioned ‘Yesterday...’ could easily allude to the haunting melodies that sat in the can on John Hill’s studio shelf while his projects for Margo Guryan, Wool and Pacific Gas & Electric sat proudly in record racks before benefitting successful French cover versions or making their way on to Quentin Tarantino soundtracks. The track ‘Paint A Lady’ itself, complete with its future-proofed sample-worthy rhythm section, seems like the perfect title for a mock rock pseudo psych contender, at which point you eventually step back and see the bigger picture.
These guys were simply one drop too far ahead of their time; a family force of experimental pop perfection that late 60s America simply wasn’t ready for. It is just over 12 years since champion record rustler Keith D’Arcy (who you’ll meet on the inside sleeve) stumbled upon one of the original acetates that led to the final release of ‘Paint A Lady’ and it’s almost a longer 50 years since Susan and John added their final touches to these recordings that tragically went into hibernation for over four decades.
Whether this album has been on your wish-list for what seems like a lifetime, or you are taking your first plunge into this deep puddle, when the needle drops on the first track you’ll find that Susan Christie, John Hill and Finders Keepers have been saving up for a very rainy day.
Paint A Lady
For The Love Of A Soldier
Ghost Riders In The Sky
Yesterday, Where’s My
Echo In Your Mind
When Love Comes
No One Can Hear You Cry