Home Hear Random Number: Edwards Hand | Magic Car

Random Number: Edwards Hand | Magic Car

This wonderfully silly British pop nugget was produced by the one & only George Martin.

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A couple of months back, I downloaded a compilation called Try A Little Sunshine: The British Psychedelic Sounds of 1969. It’s the third instalment in a series on Grapefruit Records, following Let’s Go Down and Blow Our Minds: The British Psychedelic Sounds of 1967 and Looking at the Pictures in the Sky: The British Psychedelic Sounds of 1968. Those other two were packed with weird and wonderful tracks I hadn’t heard before and instantly wanted to hear again — which is something I always look for in an anthology. This number definitely fits the bill. Performed by Edwards Hand — which sounds like the title of a Hammer horror film but actually refers to the duo of keyboardist Rod Edwards and guitarist Roger Hand — the wonderfully silly Magic Car was produced by none other than George Martin during a break from working on The BeatlesWhite Album. It’s hard not to think he could have found better ways to use his time. But I’m glad he didn’t — his gorgeous production (which presumably includes the stately horn and string arrangements) might have been the thing that kept this loopy song about a flying car from ending up in the dustbin. It sure wasn’t saved by lyrics like, “Taking a ride along with me, in my magic car / We can go to where you live, nowhere is too far / Nothing is too far.” I’m still not sure if it’s magnificently awful or if it’s so awful it’s magnificent. Either way, it makes The Who’s Magic Bus seem like a work of genius. Amazingly, Edwards Hand went on to make two more albums with Martin, along with a musical version of the best-selling kids’ book The Butterfly Ball and the Grasshopper’s Feast that included performances by Judi Dench. That sounds like it might be even more awesome than Magic Car. But here’s the thing about Try a Little Sunshine: There’s about 70 more tracks like Magic Car on this compilation. Some are by acts you’ve probably heard of, like Spencer Davis, The Pretty Things and Procul Harum, while others are by artists even more obscure than Edwards Hand.  I might cherrypick some more over the next few days. But first, take Magic Car for a test drive — preferably while sporting a paisley shirt, crushed velvet pants and teeny-tiny purple sunglasses.