Record Collector Magazine - August 2012 -Feature:  Memories of the Free Festivals

Album Review - Boris & His Bolshie Balalaika

Psychic Revolution 

(LP Delerium, DELECLP 014 1994)

 

Feature:  Memories of the Free Festivals

Album Review - Boris & His Bolshie Balalaika

Psychic Revolution

(LP Delerium, DELECLP 014 1994)

Jah Free, DJ and worker on Wango Riley’s Travelling Stage grins: “Boris and his Bolshie Balalaika, he was quite cool, what a shock!  He’d just turn up with his balalaika and all these effects pedals… ‘Hello everybody… I’m Boris and this is me Bolshie Balalaika.  I’d like to play you Voodoo Chile!’  He made Voodoo Chile sound wicked, that balalaika sounded like Hendrix’s guitar through those pedals… he was gone, mate!  He looked so strange, but he was a really good in-between act.  Whilst he was at the front doing his one-man thing, we’d be rearranging the stage for the next band.”

Richard Allen recalls: “I never saw Boris live.  He contacted us and sent us a tape – he was more active in the events up North – but he appealed because I liked things that were off-the-wall.  It was an interesting experience presenting that one to the distributor’s sales reps, trying to explain the benefits of selling this album!  The best thing I could come up with was that it had a Hendrix connection – they looked at me like I was a lunatic” 

Interview – Richard Allen (Delerium Records)- In pursuit of posterity

Richard Allen’s Delerium label was instrumental in ensuring that the musicians of the Free Festivals – Omnia Opera, Mandragora and Boris and his Bolshie Balalaika among them – were captured for posterity, though it’s particularly remembered for releasing Porcupine Tree’s early records.  Record Collector talked to Richard Allen about the label’s history:

“Delerium came out of Freakbeat magazine, we did out first release Psychedelic Psauna because we had so many bands that we wanted to put out on flexi disc that myself and Ivor Trueman, who started Freakbeat, decided on this compilation instead.  We sold about 6000 copies and that started the label.  After that I wanted to put out records by bands that hadn’t released albums but who were well-known in the festival scene.  At that time everyone was putting cassettes out.”

“None of these projects really made any money; it was a labour of love.  What kept us going was out mail order (Freakbeat emporium) and Porcupine Tree.  Boris might have sold 1000 on vinyl and another 1000 on CD, Omnia Opera probably shifted about 5000, whereas by the late 90s Porcupine Tree was doing 20000-30000 copies.  My intention was never to put out things that sold a lot, it was to capture things that I was personally into and to create a label that had integrity in terms of its underground credentials.

Review of Last Daze of the Underground – Classic Rock present Prog magazine

Issue 15 – March 2011

“Boris and his Bolshie Balalaika – a festival favourite oft described as George Formby on Acid”