Sunday, May 31, 2020

"San Francisco Street” (Steven Lancaster)

Artificial flowers growing/in a hot and smokey breeze/Fluorescent sunshine glowing/indicating names of factories..../But don't go away/Just smile everyday/Wear love in your heart/Wear a flower in your hair and you'll see.../Anywhere can be San Francisco (2x)/Anywhere can be San Francisco Street/Come with me, and retreat/to my world and you'll see...

There may be no green grass growing/only hard black tarmac road/Where you'll see people going/Through the world that they don't really know/You don't have to roam/Just stay right at home/Wear love in your heart/Wear a flower in your hair/And you'll see...Anywhere can be San Francisco...

Sweet music playing/in the dimly lit cafe/The steamed-up windows/where the people's fingers play/writing names, playing games, writing names...Anywhere can be San Francisco Street...”

Another look at the Summer of Love's Ground Zero from across The Pond, similar to that of “Let's Go To San Francisco”, this song proposes the idea that, no matter how urban-unrenewed and depressing your home burg might be at times, you have the cheering, fantastical option at one's disposal of creating a tie-dyed, paisley and patchouli oasis.

Indeed, San Francisco is all in the mind. (And keep in mind that, by the time this song came out, the bloom was starting to fade off the actual Haight Street rose.)

Produced by Yank expat Shel Talmy, this hopeful, folky pop confection - replete with 'ba-ba-ba' vocals - was a decided departure from the usual brash soundscapes he created for the early Who and Kinks.

Steven Lancaster was the nom de rocque for one Len Moseley, who would go on to a similarly sunshiny psych-pop vocal group called Wild Silk, releasing a sole, rather charming single, "Toymaker", in 1969. Moseley also wrote the song “The Night Before” for Lee Hazlewood.

Listen to “San Francisco Street” here:

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