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 60’s 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 fan base instantly felt like they had known these songs all of their lives, and with a single needle drop we saw the birth of what could rightfully be described as an “instant classic”. Which is why it’s hard to believe that the music on this lost 60s acetate was only pressed 12 years ago. As our 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 our 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 LP.
The oft over used 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 1960’s 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 repeat 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 it’s 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 60’s 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 which 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 a plunge into this deep puddle for the first time, 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.