Friday, July 8, 2016

Hal Blaine - 1967 - Psychedelic Percussion

Hal Blaine 
Psychedelic Percussion

01. Love-In (December) 2:18
02. Freaky (January) 2:23
03. Flashes (February) 2:23
04. Kaleidoscope (March) 2:20
05. Hallucinations (April) 2:23
06. Flower Society (May) 2:27
07. Trippin' Out (June) 2:36
08. Tune In-Turn On (July) 2:14
09. Vibrations (August) 2:15
10. Soulful (September) 2:21
11. Inner-Space (October) 2:18
12. Wiggy (November) 2:12

Electronics – Paul Beaver
Keyboards, Organ, Electric Piano – Mike Lang
Percussion – Emil Richards, Gary Coleman
Written-By, Arranged By, Producer, Percussion, Drums, Gong, Xylophone, Organ, Bongos, Congas, Timpani – Hal Blain

Calling Hal Blaine a drummer is like calling Elvis Presley a singer. Blaine may not be a household name, but trust me, if your thirty or over, you have heard tons of his work.
And there is tons. In the 1960s and 1970s, if you were a vocal group in LA and did not have a permanent band, chances were you were using Hal on drums. The Fifth Dimension, The Mamas and the Papas, the Association, the Carpenters, The Monkees, Tommy Roe: Blaine has a body of work so big, I just gave you a pinky nail. Turn on any oldies station for an hour, and it is almost a sure thing you will hear Blaine at work. And if you are an old FM guru, listen now to any of the above music.
You may not like the groups, but the drumming is top tier. Listen to Blaine blaze with Joe Osborn on bass on the 5Ds "Let The Sunshine In," and in a different context, his playing could be a funk jazz jam worthy of any progressive band from the era.
Psychedelic Percussion is all the proof you need that Blaine was far hipper than the top forty hits he banged out all the way to the bank. This `1967 Dunhill album in a sense seems like a novelty album, but I prefer the word project.
The drums and sound effects are a product of era, but LISTEN to this guy. His flexibility, his speed, his light but potent touch shows him to be one of the best around, and not just in terms
of skill. He is tuneful, melodic, and has an incredible feel for his drums as a MUSICAL instrument, not a percussive one.
We can all as listeners and musicans and music writers learn a hell of a lot from ANY record Hal Blaine played on, but if your not ready to disect the finer points of 1960s LA top forty, although you should be, start with Psychedelic Percusion.

You’ve gotta love this! A dozen, two-and-a-half minute drum excursions peppered with all manner of psychedelic trimmings – from spacey, echoed sound effects to dissonant, disembodied accompaniment. Having originally missed out on this LP in the 60s, I’ve never had any clue if drummer Hal Blaine’s Psychedelic Percussion was just a marketing concept or if Hal was actually, personally influence by the drug culture – breathing Brian Wilson’s air as much as he did for all those years. But, you’ve gotta suspect the former, as Hal’s 1963 solo album was timely titled, Deuces, T’s, Roadsters and Drums, and his 1966 effort was Drums! Drums! A Go-Go. Making it apparent that Blaine was intent on keeping thematically current with whatever fickle trend was passing by. Still… this record is a bona-fide trip! These days, of course, we all live in a drum ‘n’ groove-driven culture. Raw beats backdrop a lot of what we hear on TV and in movies. But in the 60s, people were still largely expecting “songs” when they bought an album, so this one must have confounded non-connoisseurs. Modern ears will surely be more adept. Twelve tracks, each between 2:14 and 2:37 in length, and all aptly demonstrating Blaine’s drum chops in “psychedelic” settings, with electronics provided by Paul Beaver (of Beaver & Krause). Drums, Drums, Drugs might have worked as a title, too. There are a few different LP covers for this release, including a bland 2008 CD reissue with Hal in a bow tie, and a close-up variant of the very cool original Dunhill LP jacket you see above. For you purists, this is a vinyl rip



  2. great album! thank you

  3. Thanks, superb drummer I wasn't familiar with.