BAKER KNIGHT and the KNIGHTMARES – \’Hallucinations\’ / \’I Feel Sick About The Whole Thing\’ (Reprise 0554) February 1967

I first became aware of this mammoth psychedelic tune via Rhino\’s 2004 CD compilation titled \”Hallucinations: Psychedelic Pop Psych Nuggets From The WEA Vaults.\” They liked it so much that the set was named after Baker Knight\’s song and it was placed as the CD opener to superbly get the listener in \’hot psych action\’ mode.

Over the years I\’ve been tempted to buy an original copy of the 45 to add to my psych archive and earlier this week that\’s just what I did, and as you know, I\’m now trying to find out as much about Baker\’s \’psych\’ period of songwriting as possible.

\’Hallucinations\’ is a thrill trip of lysergic pop moves where much of the credit must go to producer Jimmy Bowen. The following information has been taken from the liner notes of the previously mentioned Rhino CD comp.

Believe it or not, Thomas Baker Knight was 34 years old when he wrote and recorded this psychedelic workout. Even more unbelievable is the fact that his very aptly named backing band, The Knightmares, was actually formed way back in 1956.

No doubt that this 1967 Reprise single was a long way from Knight\’s rockabilly past, when he opened for the likes of Carl Perkins and wrote songs for Ricky Nelson (\’Lonesome Town\’). By the mid 60s, Knight had fallen in with industry mover and shaker Jimmy Bowen and was writing songs for teen trio Dino, Desi & Billy.

Baker Knight:
\”Hallucinations was recorded in a small studio on Melrose Avenue. I played some of the less prominent guitar parts and Gerry McGee (Monkees sessioner and later a member of The Ventures) played the lead guitar. Jimmy Bowen, the producer, got a neat idea for recording the background vocals. He mic\’d me with a stage type mic connected to the input of a very large guitar amp.

The amp had a tremolo, which was turned on at a high depth level. They mic\’d the speakers on the amp and fed that signal into the studio board.

I thought it was a pretty good record, so did Bowen. I tried to make it sound a little Beatle-ish.\”   

The flip \’I Feel Sick About The Whole Thing\’ is by no means a throwaway cut. Baker Knight is obviously going for a Lovin\’ Spoonful vibe here and in my opinion is successful in doing so. This song has yet to make a compilation appearance.

from the Rhino CD booklet

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