Plastic Penny

Band members               Related acts

- Mike Grabham -- lead guitar

- Brian Keith -- vocals

- Tony Murray -- bass

- Nigel Olsson -- vocals, drums

- Paul Raymond -- vocals, keyboards




- Chicken Shack (Paul Raymond)

Cochise (MIck Grahham)

- Nigel Olsson (solo efforts)

- Procol Harum (Mick Grabham)

- Savoy Brown (Paul Raymond)

- Spencer Davis Group (Nigel Olsson)

- The Troggs (Tony Murray)

- The Universals (Mick Grahham and Nigel Olsson




Genre: progressive

Rating: *** (3 stars)

Title:  Two Sides of a Penny

Company: Page One

Catalog: POLS 005

Year: 1968

Country/State: UK

Grade (cover/record): VG/VG+

Comments: UK pressing

Available: 1

GEMM catalog ID: 4204

Price: $150.00

Cost: $86.70


I stumbled across this LP at a yard sale and bought it based on a combination of  the unique cover and the fact I recognized most of the band line up (guitarist Mike Graham, singer  Brian Keith, bassist Tony Murray, drummer Nigel Olsson and keyboard player Paul Raymond).  So what do these guys sound like?  


Want a two word review?  Procol Harum ...  Seriously, the first time I played 1968's "Two Sides of a Penny" it repeatedly reminded me of Procol. To my simplistic ears the comparison was spawned by Raymond's organ (which recalled Gary Brooker), Graham's thick distorted guitar which recalled Robin Trower and Keith's vocals which occasionally bore a resemblance to Gary Brooker (check out 'It's a Good Thing').  Produced by Larry Page (by coincidence the band happened to be signed to Page's Page One label), the album's actually surprisingly impressive.  Making it clear the Procol Harum comparison isn't meant as a criticism, Keith and Raymond both had likeable voices that were well suited to the band's mix of pop (Take Me Back), lite-psych (the bizarre 'Mrs. Grundy') and rock moves ('I Want You'). Full of nice melodies, interesting instrumentation (Graham's guitar was a standout) and great harmonies, the only real artistic missteps were needless and largely rote covers of The Association's 'Never My Love' and The Beatles 'Strawberry Fields Forever'.  Sure, they did a nice job on the covers, but what was the point? 


"Two Sides of a Penny" track listing:

(side 1)
1.) Everything I Am   () - 

2.) Wake Me Up   () - 

3.) Never My Love   () - 

4.) Geneviene   () - 

5.) No Pleasure Without Pain My Love   () - 

6.) So Much Older Now   () - 


(side 2)
1.) Mrs. Grundy   () - 

2.) Take Me Back   () - 

3.) I Want You   () - 

4.) It's a Good Thing   () - 

5.) Strawberry Fields Forever   (John Lennon - Paul McCartney) - 

In spite of the fact the sweet ballad 'Everything I Am' b/w 'No Pleasure without Pain My Love' (Page One catalog number POF 051), provided the band with a top-10 UK hit, the parent LP proved stillborn and is now fairly rare.  I've only seen two copies in 25 years. Maybe not the most original item in our catalog, but a worthy addition to anyone collecting UK psych/60s rock ...