Saturday, January 30, 2016

Ant Trip Ceremony - 1968 - 24 Hours

Ant Trip Ceremony
24 Hours

01. Outskirts (1:38)
02. Pale Shades of Gray  (4:28)
03. Hey Joe (4:14)
04. Four in the Morning  (4:34)
05. What's the Matter Now? (2:43)
06. Elaborations  (7:14)
07. Riverdawn (3:33)
08. Violets of Dawn (4:30)
09. Locomotive Lamp (3:41)
10. Little Baby (3:01)
11. Sometimes I Wonder (3:48)
12. Get Out of My Life Woman (3:04)
GEORGE GALT gtr, vcls, hrmnca, bs
GARY ROSEN bs, gtr, vcls
MARK STEIN ld gtr, flte, bs

NB: (1) reissued on Resurrection (R1). The vinyl reissue is exact and indistinguishable from the original except for the fact that it's on dark blue vinyl and must be held to a bright light to check. If you can't see colour through it, it's probably an original. (1) reissued on CD by Anthology (Ant 2311) 1995, with a newly designed cover. (1) reissued legitimately on CD by Collectables (Col-CD-0717) 1999 but with a different running order.

Steve Detray, a student at Oberlin College in Ohio, took a break in 1966 and early 1967 to spend time in Logan, Utah with his brother. While out there, he formed a band which he named Ant Trip Ceremony after a suggestion from a local English professor who had seen the term in a novel. The phrase was a description of modern human society and Detray thought it an appropriate name for his band. Before he returned to Oberlin for the 1967/8 academic year, Steve disbanded the band but retained the name when he formed a new electric rock band at Oberlin. Gary Rosen, George Galt, and Mark Stein had been playing together in a blues band. Stein was a flute major at Oberlin, Roger Goodman was also a student, and the only non-college member was the drummer, Steve Williams, a 16-year-old local kid who had some jazz-drumming experience.

The band mainly played gigs at Oberlin and were noted for long improvisatory jams. Their album was recorded in two sessions, the first in February 1968 and the second some months later. Steve Detray was only present for the first session as he left the College in the Spring of 1968. Technical faults affected the recording: the KLH deck used for playback had a faulty right speaker and the mixdown was affected as a result with vocals sounding further back in the mix than originally intended. The producer, David Crosby, was a fellow-student at Oberlin and contrary to legend is not the David Crosby of The Byrds/CSN&Y fame. Only 300 copies of the album were pressed and sold around campus.

A blend of folk, blues, jazz and Eastern psychedelia, the album is at its best on the more meditative pieces like Pale Shades Of Gray with it's eerily beautiful snakecharmer melody and What's The Matter Now which is based on on a reflective "Goodbye Pork Pie-Hat" riff. Four In The Morning and Riverdawn are also in this lullingly insistent vein whilst Elaborations is a lengthy raga-ish instrumental with some very effective flute. Some of the covers like Get Out Of My Life Woman and Eric Andersen's Violets Of Dawn are no more than adequate, but their version of Hey Joe is much more exciting.

The band disbanded as the members left college. Steve, George, Gary, and Jeff still perform while Roger is retired from teaching college. Steve Williams later played with such greats as Clark Terry, Al Hall and Herb Lovette, whilst Rosen was a Bluesbander prior to his conversion to folk music. Goodman came from England originally.



  2. Looking forward to hearing this - like the new look btw