'Strange but (mostly) true psych-folk memoirs' Five stars
'Synonymous in most heads’ heads with Island’s 1969 Nice Enough To Eat sampler, Dr Strangely Strange may strike the unenlightened as too meagre a topic upon which to base an entire book. However, [the book] is a rewardingly rich feast. The Strangelies’ main players – Ivan Pawle, Tim Goulding and Tim Booth – were/are unusually artistic and literate characters, whose idiosyncratic perspective and bohemian lifestyle would mark them out as “enigmatic” were it not for the personable, playful disposition which seemingly underscored their every thought, deed and utterance.
'Also, the picture painted of Dublin’s fecund counterculture scene, and the lot of itinerant musicians at the turn of the 70s as they barrel between polytechnics, folk clubs and arts labs, is as detailed and illuminating as any sociological tract – and a million times funnier/more poignant. Phil Lynott, Gary Moore, Joni Mitchell and The Incredible String Band drift through the narrative, set against a Withnailian backdrop of cold crash pads, disorderly road trips and hallucinogens.'
Oregano Rathbone, Record Collector (see cutting below)
'Wonderful illustrations - those atmospheric group shots and outtakes, the record sleeves, cartoons, posters, tickets and other bits of ephemera, all sublime. It's like a Mojo feature brilliantly sustained for 300 pages. A real labour of love. You want to dive into the pictures and join the band.'
Mark Ellen, former editor of Mojo and Word Magazine
'Joining the dots between Ireland in the rare old times to the emergence of a real counterculture in the 1960s, [this} is a much-needed book that delves into Irish pop culture like no other, and that highlights a psych-folk group we should all start listening to again.'
Tony Clayton-Lea, The Irish Times
(The review won't be published till May, so this is a preview quote)
'Just want to say that the book is utterly wonderful and can't-put-downable... What a fabulous read - one of the very few music books that make you feel like you were actually there. Or to be more exact, wish you were there, as part of that circle.'
Ian Anderson, fRoots Magazine
The Incredible String Band really kicked the doors open in the late 60s, and the most obviously stringy of their many followers were undoubtedly Dublin’s brilliantly named Dr Strangely Strange. Writer and Shindig! contributor Adrian Whittaker is a fount of knowledge all things ISB, having penned the ﬁrst and ﬁnal word on them, beGlad. That he should tackle the similarly counter-culturally enhanced story of their forebears makes utter sense. [This] is essential reading for all acid-folk fans… following the protagonists’ stories from kids through to their heady emergence into the LSD-enhanced spawning ground of 1967 and eventual hook up with Joe Boyd and Witchseason. Naysayers may well say that DSS were the result of Boyd following his ISB formula as a cash-in, but for those who like such things that matters little. ‘The Orphanage’ was to DSS what 2400 Fulton St was to Jefferson Airplane, the band’s shared counter-cultural residence whose heady ambience, forward thinking mindset and psychedelic stimulation bore the music that was to follow. It’s key to this story, and delightfully told and illustrated. Numerous fellow Dublin heads crop up, including Phil Lynott and Gary Moore, as do hippie royalty and inspirations, and later collaborators, ISB. Grass, acid, intelligent youth, and the freedom to do what you want drive this coming of age tale. It’s all here. Heady, innocent days.
Jon ‘Mojo’ Mills, Shindig!
'The book is not just a history of DSS but of the Dublin music scene at the time: participants, musicians come and go, sometimes returning…A splendid read, there are some excellent stories throughout the book: touring Europe, touring with a horsebox, lysergic experiences, mushrooms and a comeuppance for the Edgar Broughton Band… I don’t want to say too much as I recommend reading this yourselves if you don’t know the story and let’s face it, very few do. DSS were hardly a name band, though they have attracted some well-known fans... Illustrated throughout with drawings from the band and photographs at various stages of their ‘career’. Love the phonofiddle.
'Adrian Whittaker has done the band proud, letting them speak in their voices, remembering events slightly differently from each other. ‘There are no facts, only versions’ (of each other) as it says at the book’s beginning. I typed this up having just read the opening again and added the words ‘of each other’. Thus is memory changed. Read and enjoy.'
Hubert Rawlinson, The Afterword
'Heroic retrievals, digging and sifting the mists of memory, reveal the secret history of a Dublin band finding themselves, and the words and sounds of that city's emerging subterranean moment.'
Iain Sinclair, writer, psychogeographer and Dublin contemporary of the Strangelies.
'Adrian Whittaker has hacked through the undergrowth and rediscovered a forgotten wonderland of the weird folk underground. Rich in colourful half-memories and eccentric detail, this telling playfully reanimates a dormant British/Irish counterculture, with its dreams of the curiously curious and the abnormally odd.'
Rob Young, The Wire and author of Electric Eden.
'I strongly recommend this large, thoroughly researched and copiously illustrated book. Even if you’re not a great fan of Dr Strangely Strange, it offers a huge amount of information about Dublin in the 1960s, the emerging ‘acid folk’ orbit and so on.'
Richard Morton Jack, Flashback magazine
'A great read - you don't have to even know the music of Dr Strangely Strange to enjoy this evocation of a more innocent time and their often laugh-out-loud adventures as they transformed from playing small Irish pubs to much larger venues all over the UK supporting top flight rock bands. Would you do all that whilst struggling in and out of gigs with a heavy harmonium aptly referred to as 'the f*cker'?
'A large size and great quality paperback, it powerfully conjures up Dublin in the 1970s and the awakening of the psychedelic years there, even as the majority of live music was still provided by Irish showbands. This is the world that produced Dr Strangely Strange, and Adrian Whittaker brilliantly fleshes out the cast of characters surrounding the band, previously known to fans like me only as misty legends or simply as names in the songs. The book is full of marvellous photos from the band's glory years in the 70s. The book has been written in conjunction with all the members of the band and their authentic voices make up the main body of the book. Dr Strangely Strange's music has a unique take on Irish-psych-folky-rocky-and-many-more genres. At the same time they seem to have developed their own serious/comic philosophy of life, the universe and everything. The Tao of Dr Strangely Strange. Count me in!'
Sean Kelly, Goodreads
‘Wer eine ungewöhnliche Geschichte über eine ungewöhnliche Band lesen will, findet sie in diesem Buch.’ This means: ‘If you want to read an unusual story about an unusual band, you will find it in this book.’
Good Times magazine, Germany
'...a book honouring their halcyon days... a detailed account of the Dublin scene centred around two high-end crash pads, known as the Orphanages'
Jim Wirth, Uncut magazine
Record Collector review cutting below