Desperately Seeking Rajput & the Sepoy Mutiny – Biography

I’ve had a fascination with Rajput & the Sepoy Mutiny for many years now. They first came to my attention when my girlfriend was given a compilation CD that was recorded for her. She particularly wanted me to listen to a god awful instrumental version of Up Up and Away. From that moment I was hooked. There was no track listing on the CD as her friend who gave her the copy didn’t have the details as her own copy was a duplication in the first place.

On and off for a few years I tried to track down the artist to no avail, but the track was always at the front of my mind because I played it every week during a community radio show I was involved in for over a year.

Then about two years later I finally managed  to track it down and it must have been gaining a small following online because out of the blue I discovered the track correctly listed on a website forum. This information wasn’t there previously, but now it was.  Apparently DJ and TV host Howerd Stern played it on his Howerd Stern TV Show when he discussed anything remotely Indian.

Once I had the name Rajput & the Sepoy Mutiny in my greasy palms I was able to have a firm grip of what I wanted and lo and behold not only were they mentioned on a website they listed the tracks of an album. A whole album? My mind went into overdrive thinking of such a thing of beauty.

Unfortunately I couldn’t get hold of it. There was nothing on amazon and the only copy I did manage to track down on eBay was a vinyl copy selling for £35. Plus £12 packaging from Australia. I really didn’t want to spend that much money on something that could potentially be crap. Also due to moving too many times and not having the space in my current living quarters, my record player along with all my vinyl is now residing in a friend’s parent’s attic somewhere not in London.  I.e, it’s gone and lost forever.

Every now and then I would check to see if one was available and eventually I found a naughty copy that someone (I won’t say who due to copyright and legal reason) added the whole album to download on a blog they’d written. They didn’t advertise the fact, they just so happened to have a link you clicked on and it took you to another website where you download it for free. Don’t bother emailing me for the link, I’ve checked recently and they’ve removed the link.

The album was made in 1968 (or 1967 depending on where you look) on Design Records.  Design Records were a cheaper division of Pickwick Records which sold cheap records in the first place, so that kind of explains a lot.  In 1966 western culture, the sitar was suddenly all the rage.  The Beatles used it in Norweigian Wood from Rubber Soul, The Rolling Stones on Paint it Black from Aftermath and Ravi Shankar was beginning to gain world wide recognition for sitar stylings. There’s a common phrase, where there’s a hit, there’s a writ. Meaning if anyone writes a great record, there’s usually someone around the corner trying to make out it was stolen from them. But there’s a phrase I coined a while back, Where there’s a hit, there’s a shit (record)

And this where Flower Power Sitar comes into its own. As far as I can tell, there is no information about this album. All I can guess is they were just a bunch of session musicians brought in by Design Records that wanted to cash in on this new sitar phenomenon. Thus was coined the term Sitar-Sploitation. There were other albums out roughly at the same time from such “luminaries” as Lord Sitar (AKA Big Jim Sullivan) and Chim Kothari who would add Beatles songs such as Eleanor Rigby and I am the Walrus to their repertoire to add to the selling power of their albums.

As of writing it has never been released on CD. However the lovely people that wrote and compiled the CDs and Book Incredibly Strange Music have added Up Up and Away to one of their compilations.

And that’s it. That’s all I can tell you.  This scan of the back cover give you absolutely no information.  It’s just a bog standard back cover they put on many Design Records back covers.  Proving it to be even cheaper than Pickwick Records.

And this is the cover.  Isn’t it gorgeous.

Please email me if you can add any more light to the situation
email@mikebelgrave.co.uk

  1. Flower Power
  2. Flower Bed
  3. I String Beads
  4. Do It With Flowers
  5. Lullaby For Flower Children
  6. Up, Up And Away
  7. Beautiful, Beautiful Flower
  8. Flowers, Flowers Everywhere
  9. Ragadelic
  10. Child Of Love

SDLP-280

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About Mike Belgrave

I am Mike Belgrave, stand up comedian. animator, outsider music musicologist, shambolic ukulele player and music video director extraordinaire.
This entry was posted in Mike Belgrave's Outsider Music blog, Outsider Music. Bookmark the permalink.

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