Saturday, November 26, 2016

Endle St. Cloud - 1970 - Thank You All Very Much

Endle St. Cloud
Thank You All Very Much

01. Piano A Tempo
02. Street Corner Preacher
03. Piano Scherzo
04. Who Would You Like To Be Today?
05. Piano Tranquillo
06. This Is Love
07. Piano Allegretto
08. Professor Black
09. Piano Diminuendo
10. Piano Agitato
11. Laughter
12. Piano Adagio
13. Jessica
14. Piano Con Brio
15. Come Through
16. Piano Andante
17. Like A Badge
18. Piano Teneramente
19. Tell Me One More Time (What’s Happening To Our World)
20. Quest For Beauty

Alan Melinger (aka Endle St. Cloud) — lead vocals, piano
Peter Black — guitar
James Harrell — bass
David Frederick Potter — drums, vocals

Formed in Texas in 1968 by Alan Melinger (ex-Iguanas), a.k.a. Endle St. Cloud, David F. Potter (ex-East Side Kids) and Peter Black (Lost And Found), the group released their debut single under the name Endle St. Cloud In The Rain.

A little later, just prior to recording this album, James Harrell (Lost And Found) joined the group. Most of the album’s songs have a spoken introduction over a piano backing (each in a very different style), whilst the music itself ranges from good time blues to country rock with a leaning towards the heavy, not unlike that of their West Coast comtemporaries Moby Grape. Theirs was the last album to be released by International Artists.

Although the label is best known for the output of its flagship act The 13th Floor Elevators, between 1966 and 1970 the label also released another eight albums of ground-breaking Texas psychedelia. Endle St. Cloud were formed in Texas in 1968 and Thank You All Very Much was the group’s only album, released by International Artists in early 1970. Endle St. Cloud’s sound ranges from good time blues to country rock with a leaning towards the heavy, not unlike that of their West Coast contemporaries Moby Grape.

A typically freaky 1968 release from the estimably freaky Texas label International Artists, Thank You All Very Much is an all-over-the-map blend of guitar-based heavy psych, early country-rock, and an oddball music hall sound possibly influenced by the Kinks (especially on the jaunty "Jessica") and certainly unusual for a Texan group of their era. Singer and pianist Endle St. Cloud (it's also the band's name, à la Brinsley Schwarz) has an unusual voice with a heavy vibrato and often a higher-than-normal pitch; he sounds a bit like a slightly less-elfin version of T. Rex's Marc Bolan on a lot of tracks. The songwriting is kind of uneven, with the second side, featuring the loosey-goosey groove rocker "Like a Badge" (which has a fake-out turntable-slowing-down ending) and the tense "Laughter," better off than the first. The album's oddest feature has to be the piano solos between each track, which feature St. Cloud performing a variety of hectoring monologues in various character guises. Thank You All Very Much is that rarity, an obscure psych-era platter that's actually worth the trouble it takes to track down.

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