You have to give me a little latitude here to rhapsodize about The Creation; my love for them spans more than 30 years, since I first discovered and heard the 1982 compilation How Does It Feel To Feel?. My first band used to cover them; we actually made up our own Creation t-shirts and always tried to preach the gospel about this wonderful band who we were so smitten and influenced by. They were a bit rougher; in some ways more powerful than The Who and they had this incredible sense of danger and free-for-all in their music. In short, they were one of the most perfect bands a bunch of teenagers could hope to find from a bygone era.
The Creation had a few scant singles released in the United States but drew no attention; their producer and mentor, Shel Talmy, was the same man who discovered and help usher The Kinks and The Who to success. The Creation was solely his band; they were signed to his Planet Records label and put out several stunning releases: “Making Time”, “Painter Man”, “How Does It Feel To Feel?”, “Life Is Just Beginning” and had no chart successes. Line-up changes happened with frequency; Kenny Pickett (who shared co-writing credits with extraordinary guitarist Eddie Phillips) was ousted and replaced by bass player Bob Garner who was then replaced in the rhythm section by Kim Gardner. One album, We Are Paintermen, was released only in Germany. By the band’s end phase in 1968, Ron Wood joined the band on guitar (yes, THAT Ron Wood) and Kenny Pickett had returned. The Creation were always in some state of chaos but always made great music, even with the turmoil.
Now, the good people at Numero Group are set to unleash Action Painting (a quick word on the title: during their live shows, singer Kenny Pickett would spray paint a canvas and set it on fire, calling it an “action painting”), a 2-CD or 2-LP set, which brings the entire recorded output by The Creation together. This fine compilation also includes the four tracks recorded and released in England for Mercury by the pre-Creation version of the band, The Mark Four. Unquestionably, this is the most comprehensive package bestowed upon The Creation. With a hardcover 80-page book in a slipcase, extensive liner notes from Alec Palao and Dean Rudland and fresh/previously unavailable stereo remixes, it’s not only a dream for die-hard and longtime Creation fans, it’s a perfect opportunity to introduce a new, younger generation to this band.
Although the original line-up (Pickett/Phillips/Garner/Jones) reformed and released an album in 1995 (Power Surge on Alan McGee’s Creation label), sadly, Kenny Pickett died in 1997; Kim Gardner lost his battle to cancer in 2001 and Bob Garner passed away in 2016. Thankfully, the memories are here for all time with an incredible musical legacy and the music and spirit of The Creation lives on. As Shel Talmy said, “My biggest regret is that they didn’t achieve the standing they should have. I truly believe they could have been as big as The Who.”
Once you hear The Creation, you will then truly understand that yes – their music was “red with purple flashes”. It needs no explanation beyond that.
HIGHLY RECOMMENDED – ESSENTIAL LISTENING
Action Painting will be released on Friday, March 10th, 2017