Back in 1968 pyschedelia was at its peak in the UK, with The Pretty Things' dense concept album 'S.F. Sorrow' providing the bitter side to the sheer joy of The Zombies' 'Odessey And Oracle'. Somewhere in between falls 'A Teenage Opera', a concept album delivered by songwriter in-chief Mark Wirtz helped by members of Tomorrow and choirs of young children. Wirtz will probably be remembered as the man behind the Top 3 hit 'Grocer Jack', a sad tale of a bastion of the community who only seemed to have been appreciated posthumously. Yet the real tragedy is that the intended musical was never released and all that is left is a few singles and some unreleased demos. Pleasingly, although much of this collection is made up of instrumentals the pick and mix of tunes hangs together rather well, delivering a rich tapestry of colour and diversity, so vocal-less pieces like 'Glory's Theme', 'Love & Occasional Rain' and 'Farewell To A Broken Doll' remain just as important in generating atmosphere. If 'Grocer Sam's production sounded ambitious then '(Here's Our Dear Old) Weatherman' with its attendant children's choir, experimental backward instruments and a full string section is era-defining. The Kinks would have been proud of the Englishness and character-based lyrics of 'On A Saturday', 'Auntie Mary's Dress Shop' and 'Shy Boy'. Admittedly 'Sam' sounds like a pale retread of 'Grocer Jack' but it is one of few false dawns on a highly promising affair overall. It is our loss that the soundtrack never saw the light of day originally but thanks to this reissue the listener can imagine how wonderful the final version might have been.