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The Perennial Enigma
Big Boy Pete
2006. Angel Air Records CD

1.The Demo
2.Get Up and Dance
3.The Farm
4.All Down the Road
5.Havana Juana
6.Rudy's in Love
7.My Place
8.Who Stole my Garden?
9.Bolenya
10.Pig
11.The Prayer
12. Guitar Center on a Saturday Afternoon
Musicians:

Keyboards: David Merrill.
Tenor Sax: Ray Moseley

Upright Bass: Sean Silverman, Bing Nathan
Fender Bass: Chuck Dagit, Chuck Foley
Drums: Rob Anderson, Mike Moore, Carl Tassi
Background Vocals: Terry Dowling

All tracks engineered and produced by Pete Miller at his Union Street studio in San Francisco
in the mid seventies.

All songs written by Peter Miller
P. C. Sheena Music 2006 (BMI)

This album is dedicated to Pookie McDougal.

ALBUM REVIEWS:

"Lost In The Grooves" review by Gary "Pig" Gold

For Pete’s Sake!

While what’s left of those Brothers Gibb may, whenever asked, still like to refer to themselves as the Enigma (Cucumber Castle) with the Stigma (Saturday Night Fever) (for starters), may I posit the REAL, TRUE, ORIGINAL Great Big Rockin’ Rolling Enigma is none other than the one, the still and only, Big Boy Pete Miller.

Why, armed with little more than his twin-tone green ’61 Gretsch guitar – name of Henry, btw – and a clutch of equally vintage recording equipment (including a Goobly Box and genuine Humbert Humbert by way of very special effects, I kid you not) Pete has, since 1959 and counting, been in dozens of bands (the so-aptly-named Offbeats, Peter Jay and the Jaywalkers, The Fuzz, even Buzz), toured everywhere with everyone (Beatles, Stones, Kinks et al all round Swinging Sixties England, not to mention the wilds of the Orient – with his trademark electric wah-wah sitar -- during no less than the Vietnam quagmire), composed beyond-numerous neat numbers for Freddie and the Dreamers, Damned, and the (original) Knack, and most notably of all as it turns out churned out literally thousands of recordings in studios worldwide these past four-plus decades with, for and/or alongside the likes of Marty Wilde, Peter Frampton’s Herd, Ramblin’ Jack Elliot, Murray the K, Arlo Guthrie, Elvin Bishop, The Avengers, Tuxedomoon, Roy Loney, Marshall Crenshaw, Johnny and the Potato Chips, and even our good buds The Squires Of The Subterrain, very roughly chronologically speaking indeed. And now! The good folk over there at Angel Air Records ("Where the Artist Has a Voice“) have gone and collected a dozen of some of Pete’s prime early-Seventies San Francisco productions neatly together right here upon one perfectly titled The Perennial Enigma CD.

Thrill, as I repeatedly have already, to The Great Joe Meek / Marc Bolan Tape that Got Away ("The Demo“), the absolute biggest hit Dave Edmunds somehow never had ("All Down The Road“), and a mere two-minutes-twenty- five called ‚Get Up And Dance“ which finally fills that socio-musical gap between The Swinging Medallions and your very first Elvis Costello long-player.

Elsewhere, Harry Belafonte makes an extremely wrong turn †straight down into Lee "Scratch“ Perry’s sub-basement ("Havana Juana“), "Who Stole My Garden?“ asks the kind of musical question even those Bonzo Dogs seemed incapable of, and "Rudy’s In Love“ – not to mention "The Prayer“ – makes one wonder why in holy heck that Plastic Ono Lennon’s Rock ‘n’ Roll album didn’t, or should I say COULDN’T, sound half this coooool ??

Not to fret though: For while the inimitable Johnny Rhythm may no longer be with us, Big Boy Pete is still sitting tight there in Frisco, safe and stereophonically sound within his esteemed Audio Institute of America, demo-ing up his next several hundred severely-high-fidelity musical marvels. So until they too begin trickling out upon us Lost Groovers, I’d suggest you grab your own Perennial Enigma toot sweet, awreet?



"www.cdreviews.com" by Scott Homewood [1.31.07]

Forgotten Brit-psych legend coughs up some gorgeous "lost" studio tracks.

Just when you thought every scrap of great music had already been reissued along comes grade-A material by an artist who should have been famous but instead wound up helping many other artists and producers achieve the long-term success he could never attain. Though it's doubtful you have ever heard of Big Boy Pete, it is almost a guarantee you have heard the work of some of the recording studio operators he has trained at his engineering school in California, the Audio Institute of America. While his own career has doubtlessly ended up being very rewarding and influential in a roundabout way, it is a far cry from what this one-time peer of the Beatles (he toured with them in the mid-60's) and psychedelic rock pioneer (he released what is commonly referred to as the first psychedelic rock song Cold Turkey) should have been able to accomplish.

Big Boy Pete, nee Peter Miller, has seen all forms of success in music from the front lines and from behind the scenes, and one can only wonder what this talented artist thinks of his own career being shrouded in mystery. After doing plenty of recording in the '60's with his early band Peter Jay and the Jaywalkers and then solo, Miller spent his time in his studio crafting these pop masterpieces for himself, not only to keep his musical chops sharp but also to help himself learn the ins and outs of the recording studio process as he was soon to open his soon-to-be prestigious engineering school. It is the lessons he learned watching legendary British producer Joe Meek when Meek produced the Jaywalkers that Miller mixed with his own pop sensibilites and crafted these songs (and others soon to be released) that have helped a couple of generations of recording engineers begin influential careers of their own and delighted music fans just now enjoying these long-hidden works.

For his part, Miller's music is definitely influenced by the Brit-psych he was in the midst of during his tenure as a rock heartthrob in Britain. Not only a peer of the Beatles and Stones, he was also in their circles of friends, and cut his teeth playing to the same hipsters and tastemakers the so-called big boys were playing to. Truth be told, Miller was as respected as anyone at that time and was groomed to become a leading hitmaker. Possessor of a killer guitar-playing style and capable of writing swirling, expansive yet immediate rock songs, Miller was considered to be the future of British rock. That he never did quite break through remains a mystery to anyone lucky enough to hear some of Miller's work though at the tail end of his career there he started to be reluctant to tour, falling in love with the recording studio and even sending other singers out to impersonate him and sing his songs. The resulting confusion over who actually was "Big Boy Pete" no doubt detracted from his career and befuddled his possible fanbase, just one of the reasons this CD has such an apt title.

Nevertheless, this collection of "forgotten" tracks from back in the day show Miller's instrumental and compositional talent in spades. Most of Miller's legendary tracks come from a fertile period between '66 and '69, but these tracks are totally unknown, originating from his first few years in the US while he set up his Institute. Beginning from the first track "Demo", which is quite possibly the best track on the album, Pete brings the rock but also manages to infuse it with a wonderful songcraft usually missing from other artists' psychedelic efforts. His music is not just fuzz-tone sturm und drang but melodic, expressive art combined with piercing guitar work with an eye for the greater good - a song with the possibility of achieving immortality. In this album's case, most of these are stripped-down rockers, with little of the layering Miller used in the past. Even so, Miller's genius is evident and these songs sparkle in the light of the new day this album gives them.

As more of his work gets discovered (thanks to all the collectors who have suddenly started digging under every thing not nailed down for unreleased and rare psyche) and released Pete Miller may yet claim his crown as the king of British psychedelic rock.

"Maelstrom Magazine" review by Avi Shaked

Big Boy Pete (real name: Pete Miller) is a British, underground, psychedelic legend who has earned his degree by delivering some adventurous songs in the ‘60s, but has been active ever since as both a performer and a producer. However, little of the hallucinogenic, layered characteristics that Big Boy Pete is renowned for are present on this release, The Perennial Enigma. Served with lots of humor and moderate jams, the mischievous songs that are found here appeal in their underground nature, as they are basically four- and eight-track selections culled from Miller’s first U.S. recordings in the early ‘70s; as such they manage to evoke engaging, vintage charm in spite of being rather basic rock songs that mix power psychedelia with reggae and early rock and roll ala Elvis. The people at Angel Air did a wonderful job supplying us these recordings in authentic sound and with an impressive booklet. (6.5/10)

"The Lance Monthly" review by Beverly Paterson

Big Boy Pete "The Perennial Enigma" (Angel Air Records) Big Boy Pete (aka Pete Miller) is a living legend. In the early sixties, he handled lead guitar duties for Peter Jay and the Jaywalkers, a boss English band that shared turf with the likes of the Beatles, the Rolling Stones and countless other movers and shakers. Pete is also the voice and creator behind "Baby I Got News For You" and "Cold Turkey," two singles from the late sixties that have rightfully earned their keep in the psychedelic garage punk hall of fame. Over the past few years, a smattering of Pete's unreleased goodies from the swinging sixties have been issued on various labels, which naturally grants him even more exposure. Sporting a resume longer than the Mississippi River, he has additionally produced dozens upon dozens of artists. Not one to rest on his past laurels, Pete continues to write, record and twiddle knobs.

His recent accomplishments include collaborations with Bill Bonney from the Fentones and Squires of the Subterrain that retain his sixties roots, be it guitar instrumentals or flower pop. Comprised of some of the first tracks Pete laid down when he migrated to America in the seventies, "The Perennial Enigma" is a full on home run. A herky-jerky new wave tenor invades "The Demo" and "Get Up And Dance" is a quirky little pop number. As a matter of fact, the majority of songs on this album can be classified as quirky little pop numbers. Accented by choppy melodies, peculiar lyrics and nagging arrangements, these tunes are fun and playful.

However, the closing cut on "The Perennial Enigma" swerves in an entirely different direction. An instrumental, "Guitar Centre On A Saturday Afternoon" cleverly blends oddball cocktail jazz doodlings with mock acid-rock noodlings.

Brilliant stuff from a fellow who has always stuck to his principals and believes in the music he makes. www.angelair.co.uk


"Ear Candy" Internet review

BIG BOY PETE: The Perennial Enigma (Angel Air Records) www.angelair.co.uk Armed with little more than his twin-tone green 1961 Gretsch six-string ‚Henry,“ the enigma-and-a-half highly known to those in the know as Big Boy Pete (Miller) has spent the last half century spreading the rock AND the roll all the way from swinging mid-Sixties road tours with the Kinks and Stones to the jungles of war-wracked Vietnam to the Bay Area punkabilly scenes of The Avengers, Roy Loney, and of course Johnny and the Potato Chips. Although only tipping the Big Boy’s musical iceberg, Angel Air Records (‚Where the Artist Has a Voice“) have at long last gone and gathered a dozen of the best of the man’s Seventies-era productions and packaged them lovingly alongside a bulging twenty-four page full-colour booklet. Together, this all presents the undeniably most ear-bending, mind-warping, yet perennially entertaining musical anti-history lesson you’ll hear in 2006 or any year you care to inhabit. - Gary Pig Gold - January 2007

 

"Le Cri Du Coyote" Magazine.
Now here is a total UFO: Who has heard of Big Boy Pete? Veteran and semi-obscure figure from the San Francisco scene, he is the writer of ‚Cold Turkey“ and has toured with the Beatles and Stones. The label Angel Air digs up a very obscure LP from 73 -- it is very paradoxical music for its time -- dry rock'n'roll, reggae, spacy organ. Not the slightest trace of patchouli oil or glam rock. Musically, they are not miraculous tracks, but the album’s title makes me think of sleepy beautiful days from a certain school of rock'n'roll 10 years earlier. A visionary --with glasses, like Elvis Costello and Buddy Holly. And why not?


"Oldie-Markt" Magazine
As a living musician, a "legend to be“ could mean that he was never very successful. This title has been stamped on this veteran rock ‘n roller from England, who was produced of Joe Meek. His music has always been off-the-wall, and consequently he has never had any big hits. This compilation of tracks, are taken from the 70’s and were recorded in his own studio in San Francisco. They are not bad songs, but they are somewhat normal and a little boring. Only the rock n ' roll comes over well.


"Feedback" Magazine

Big Boy Pete (Pete Miller) first came to fame as guitarist with The Jaywalkers, and also releasing what is viewed by many as the first UK psychedelic single, "Cold Turkey“. He later moved himself to the States where he established both a studio and The Audio Institute of America, an educational school for recording engineers. This 12 track (35 minutes long) album was recorded in the early Seventies and is the first of what could be a great many albums if Pete decides to release all that he has recorded but not released. Unfortunately, by far the best part of this album is the extensive booklet which is almost a book in itself with the amount of detail that it provides, along with loads of photos. There is even a reproduction of a piece where Pete Miller and Keith Richards interview each other and turn out to be fans of each others playing. Musically this sounds like an album that was recorded in the Seventies, but with many throwbacks to the Sixties, and while it is pleasant enough there is little here to grab the listener.

That is, apart from the opening number "The Demo“ which sounds as if it should have come out during the power pop/punk era when it could have done very well for itself. It tells the story of everything that goes wrong during a recording, and is musically very catchy as well as being great fun. The rest of the album just doesn’t quite live up that promise. www.angelair.co.uk



POPDIGGERS Magazine
(August 2013)
Armed with little more than his twin-tone green 1961 Gretsch six-string “Henry,” the enigma-and-a-half highly known to those in the know as Big Boy Pete (Miller) has spent the last half century spreading the rock AND the roll all the way from swinging mid-Sixties road tours with the Kinks and Stones to the jungles of war-wracked Vietnam to the Bay Area punkabilly scenes of The Avengers, Roy Loney, and of course Johnny and the Potato Chips.

Although only tipping the Big Boy’s musical iceberg, Angel Air Records (“Where the Artist Has a Voice”) have at long last gone and gathered a dozen of the best of the man’s Seventies-era productions and packaged them lovingly alongside a bulging twenty-four page full-colour booklet.

Together, this all presents the undeniably most ear-bending, mind-warping, yet perennially entertaining musical anti-history lesson you’ll hear in 2006 or any year you care to inhabit.

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