Review of The Pretty Things (Arts Centre)
“THE last time I saw them was 42 years ago,” says a friend during the pre-gig pint. Reading University, 1971!
On their 50th anniversary tour the Pretty Things, led by founder members Phil May and Dick Taylor, dipped heavily into the lean r‘n’b from the days of the British beat boom when they were genuine rivals to the Rolling Stones.
They play at least 20 songs during a riveting, two-hour set which never flags.
The drummer, quite literally, bleeds for the cause. Early hits Rosalyn and Don’t Bring Me Down – both covered by Bowie on Pin Ups – are mixed with forays into late Sixties psychedelic-pop.
Taylor – who famously rejected the role as the Stones bass player – is a phenomenal guitarist, whether on acoustic Robert Johnson slide, or ascending into the psychedelic stratosphere on numbers like LSD.
In his recent autobiography this is what Keith Richards said of Dick when he first knew him in 1961. “He was the real thing, a good player; he had the feel.”
He still has Keith. He still has!