Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Gandalf - 2007 - Gandalf 2 (1968-1971)

Gandalf 2 (1968-1971)

01. Bird In The Hand
02. Days Are Only Here And Gone
03. Smokey Topaz.
04. Ladyfingers
05. No Earth Can Be Won
06. Bad Dream (Demo)
07. I Won’t Cry No More
08. The Dance At St. Francis
09. Julie (The Song I Sing Is You)
10. Over This Table
11. Golden Earrings (Demo)
12. Tears Of Ages (Live)
13. Downbound Train (Live)

The exotic, mindbending sounds of Gandalf have long been one of the great lost treasures of the first psychedelic era. Featuring the breathy vocals and lysergic guitar of Peter Sando, the band’s only album, a delight from start to finish, has generated a fervent demand for more of the same.

Gandalf 2 is a return trip to the band’s garden of earthly delights. A thorough search of Sando’s tape vault revealed a fabulous stash of spellbinding demos and acetates, unheard for decades!

Guitar/vox Peter Sando was adept at crafting ornate, breezy pop gems, but only a couple of them made it onto the band’s sole album, which was stuffed instead with covers. Eight of Sando’s leftovers find their way 2, among them a folk inspired solo acoustic guitar/ harmonica mood piece, the spare and graceful Smokey Topaz. An elongated demo of Golden Earrings, which led off the official album, is of historical interest, as are three tracks recorded by Sando with the Barracuda, all written by Bonner & Gordon of Happy Together fame.

Gandalf - 1969 - Gandalf


01. Golden Earrings
02. Hang On To A Dream
03. Never Too Far
04. Scarlet Ribbons
05. You Upset The Grace Of Living
06. Can You Travel In The Dark Alone
07. Nature Boy
08. Tiffany Rings
09. Me About You
10. I Watch The Moon

Dave Bauer: Drums
Bob Muller: Bass
Peter Sando: Guitar
Frank Hubach: Piano, Electric Piano, Harpsichord, Organ

With spellbinding, atmospheric songs which spin from soft dreamscapes into blistering fuzz guitar breaks, Gandalf casts a powerful spell. Led by singer/guitarist Peter Sando, the group was signed by Lovin’ Spoonful producers Charlie Koppelman & Don Rubin & conjured their sole, self-titled album for Capitol in late 1967. One of the rarest major label psychedelic releases, Gandalf (not to be confused with the heavy metal outfit with the same name) features swirls of Hammond B3 organ, caressing vibraphone runs & electric sitar on Sando’s originals as well as imaginative recastings of songs by Tim Hardin, Gary Bonner, Alan Gordon & Eden Ahbez.

Gandalf’s self-titled album has some attractive baroque-psychedelia with a spacey air, though its quality depends very much on the standard of the material. Generally they’re better the more they rely on the slightly weird and spacey production, as on “Scarlet Ribbons” and their cover of Tim Hardin’s “Hang on to a Dream.” On tracks like “You Upset the Grace of Living” there’s a nice balance of melody and quasi-classical keyboards on the cusp between pop, progressive rock and psychedelia. “Can You Travel in the Dark Alone,” one of the few originals (by Peter Sando), is nice, harmonic sunshine pop with a slightly experimental feel, along the lines of some of the better things being done by Californian cult figures like Gary Usher and Curt Boettcher at the time. Other selections are nothing special, however.

Beautiful Sundazed reissue of this holy US 1969 psych album. Dreamy and trippy US '60s psych that has swirling keyboards and drifting guitars all over a selection of acidified melodic cover versions ("Golden Earrings" and "Hang On To A Dream") as well as brilliant originals ("Can You Travel In The Dark Alone"). An album that is worthy of it's reputation.

GANDALF, formerly the RAHGOOS prior to their LP release, appeared at various New York clubs throughout the '60's; such as "The Phone Booth", Scott Muni's "Rolling Stone", "The Electric Circus", Murray the K's "World", and the legendary "Night Owl Cafe" in Greenwich Village. It was there that the RAHGOOS met songwriters Garry Bonner and Alan Gordon who brought the band to the attention of record producers Koppelman & Rubin. K&R signed the band and immediately started work on an album for their newly formed "Hot Biscuit Disc Company" label which was distributed through Capitol. K&R suggested various name changes which did not sit well with the group. However, they ultimately decided to forfeit their name and local fan recognition to appease K&R.  During a gig at the "Rolling Stone", drummer Davey Bauer was passing the time reading Tolkien's "The Hobbit" while the rest of the band went through the ritual of brainstorming a band name. Davey chimed in, "How about "GANDALF AND THE WIZARDS".  That name stuck. The project was delayed after the deal with Capitol fell apart. In the interim, the band lost faith and also dissolved. Subsequently, K&R & Capitol parted ways with the agreement that two more LP's would be released on the Capitol label, and GANDALF was one of them. It was finally released in early 1969, with no band to back it and little promotion. Two songs were penned by guitarist Peter Sando and one, "Can You Travel in the Dark Alone", received a  flurry of FM play. The late Allison Steele, "The Nightbird", on WNEW-FM New York, would introduce the song with a lengthy dose of her inimitable psychedelic poetry.  The album has been bootlegged several times on vinyl, and finally legitimately re-released on CD by the UK based See For Miles label in 1997 and now, back in the USA on SUNDAZED in 2002. The single, "Golden Earrings", also appears on the UK Temple Records compilation disc "Psychedelic Frequencies" (TMPCD027). "Hang On To A Dream" is included in "Hippy Dip" on EMI (CDEM 1623).

Felt - 1971 - Felt


01. Look At The Sun
02. Now She's Gone
03. Weepin' Mama Blues
04. World
05. The Change
06. Destination

Superb turn of the decade psych rock from Alabama USA. Melodic Floyd-like progressive flourishes but with blistering acid guitar, soulful vocals and shimmering keyboards. Crashing riffs and peaceful waves abound. Originally on the same label as Electric Toilet. A good un'.

In 1971 a young man by the name of Myke Jackson (name sound familiar?) composed music, played guitar, and sang his way through this solid recording session of rock music excellence. The self titled "Felt" offered up some progressive rock sounds influenced by the blues. That strong combination gave this LP more than one leg to stand on in a musical sense of the word.

In the year 2000 Akarma Records reissued the forgotten classic to remind us all of the talent of Jackson and his group. As far as I know, this is the only release the group ever had. They made their mark, and impressively, then walked away from it all. Some of the members showed up in different groups over the years to continue their careers (Guitarist Lee would later go on to become a member of the punk band the Dickies in the late '70s).

Progressive rock fans will enjoy the heavy-duty guitar passages and whirling keyboards, while blues fans will hear the emotions and sounds of the blues soaked in every song. For me that was enough to impress, and it kept my attention from beginning to end. If you can feel the music, then consider yourself Felt.

Leonda - 1969 - Woman In The Sun

Woman In The Sun

01. Mist In The Sky
02. Somebody's Gonna Ask Me Who I Was
03. When I Lived In My Grandmother's House
04. Blue Diamond In A Platinum Setting
05. Mother In Love
06. Come Take A Waltz Through My Heart
07. Peace And Pipes
08. Zono My Bird
09. Head Country (To The Lost City Of Zoozoo)
10. Make It All Right

Though it was released on a major label (Columbia’s Epic subsidiary) in the late ’60s, Leonda’s sole album, Woman in the Sun, is extremely rare, and little known even among fans of singer/songwriters of the era. Because Leonda is Native American, and sometimes uses prominent vibrato in her vocal phrasing, she might generate comparisons to the most well-known Native American singer/songwriter of that era, Buffy Sainte-Marie.

Actually, however, she’s almost as similar to Annisette of Savage Rose or (more distantly) Melanie, or perhaps some of the gutsier woman singers from late-’60s West Coast rock bands. While Leonda has an appealing, somewhat raspy voice, her folk-bluesy material (with backup help from members Adam Mitchell and Skip Prokop of the Canadian rock band the Paupers) is less impressive.

The songs are fairly meandering and not all that tuneful, if good-natured with a vaguely hippie uplifting vibe. Things are better when she moves away from a blues base to a folkier one, as she does with the orchestrated “When I Lived in My Grandmother’s House” and the acoustic “Zono My Bird.” (Howard Hales Broom)

“Featuring superb backing from Skip Prokop, Adam Mitchell and Brad Campbell of The Paupers (see their posts from January 24, 2010 and the Pozo-Seco “Shades Of Time” August 3, 2010 post), as well as long-time Muddy Waters sideman Sammy Lawhorn, Ted Irwin (renowned for his early collaborations with Jake Holmes) and Brad Cambell (The Paupers, Janis Joplin), it features haunting acoustic tunes and Native American-themed lyrics that are sure to appeal to fans of female hippie rock.

Sad-tinged folk from Leonda, an artist who appears to have some Native American affiliations, at least from the themes of the songs — and who’s working here with backings that are well-done, but never too professionally polished!

The Paupers help out with a good deal of the instrumentation, and backings are usually gentle, but with some slightly complicated phrasings in ways that almost remind us a bit of Tim Hardin at times, but which come off quite differently given Leonda’s slightly bluesy vocal approach.

Also this is singer-songwriter related but with a somewhat bluesier and still soulful vibe. For many songs she keeps this bluesy style alive, with a mostly rather gently soft-rock moodily vibe. But there also a few more folkier, or calmer blues-of-heart personal songs, like “When I Lived In My Grandmother’s House”, with a more sad bluesy folk flavour, with a gifted voice for showing emotions in the song, or “come take a waltz through my heart”.

A musically more unique and distinctive track is “Peace And Pipes” a song with several musical references to native Indians, in the singing improvisations, with an open tuned guitar that adds more psychedelic parts, and a drum arrangement that clearly refers to a powwow drumming. Also “Zozo My Bird” continues just slightly this reference..before definitely returning to more direct bluesy folk associations.

Green - 1971 - To Help Somebody

To Help Somebody

01. All My Bells
02. To Help Somebody
03. She Don’t Love Me
04. Mary Magdalena
05. Can You See Me?
06. Teenage Women
07. Lady, Oh Lady
08. Big Dipper
09. High Time
10. Suzy
11. Funny Faces
12. San Fernando Valley Girls
13. Forest Lawn

*Gary Casebeer  - Percussion, Keyboards, Brass, Vocals
*Richard Gardzina - Reeds, Keyboards, Vocals, Brass
*Wilson Fisher - Strings, Vocals, Harmonica
*John Martin - Strings, Keyboards, Vocals
*James Neel - Brass, Keyboards, Vocals, Reeds
*Bobby Blood - Brass

‘Sounds like Buffalo Springfield, with horns and good lead guitar work’ – Fuzz, Acid & Flowers

One of the most unjustly-neglected bands of their time, Green got together at North Texas State University in the late 60s, and released a stunning psych-pop debut in 1969. Their largely-overlooked second LP first appeared in September 1971, and makes its long-overdue CD debut here. A classy combination of rock and roll and ballads, with acid-tinged guitar and tasteful horns, it comes across as an idiosyncratic amalgam of the Beatles, the Zombies and Buffalo Springfield, making it a must-have for fans of classic 60s psychedelia and early 1970s rural rock.

Following the release of their 1969 debut “Green”, the band struggled on over the next two years, undergoing various of personnel changes including horn player Bobby Blood being replaced by Jay Pruitt and his wife Kathy Kelsey Pruitt.

Unfortunately, 1971's self-produced “To Help Somebody” strikes me as being inherently weaker than the debut. With guitarist John Martin again responsible for the majority of the thirteen tracks, the sophomore efforts suffered from a number of ailments.

While the debut reflected a modest, but attractive mixture of pop, psych, and country-rock influence (back to The Buffalo Springfield comparison), here material such as the title track, ‘Big Dipper’ and ‘Lady, Oh Lady’ were blatantly country-ish.

Not only that, but this time around tracks such as ‘Teenage Women’ featured far more conventional and intrusive horn arrangements. Finally, the set just seemed to wander around without any real agenda and without the energy or enthusiasm that made the debut an unexpected find.

Of course there were a couple of exceptions. Even though it it sported a country sound and those ever-present horns, the lead-off rocker ‘All My Bells’ was infectious and the Mariachi-band horn propelled schoolboy’s dream story ‘She Don’t Love Me’ was entertaining.

Gothic Horizon - 1972 - Tomorrow’s Another Day…

Gothic Horizon
Tomorrow’s Another Day…

01. Thyme and Tied
02. Sydney’s Wharf
03. Beverley’s Song (Song For Beverley)
04. Baby, You Make The Sunshine
05. Lament (For Two Voices)
06. Sunny Day Parable
07. Song No.1
08. Girl With Guitar
09. If You Can Smile
10. Jefferson James
11. Thoughts
12. Tomorrow’s Another Day

Andy Desmond (g,vo,hmca)
Richard Garrett (vo)
Mike Simmons (g,hmca)
Paul Cartwright (ds,per)
Jim Mosley (b)
John Gosling (kbd)
Mark Helme (g)
Barrie Evans (g)

Gothic Horizon made two albums: 'The Jason Lodge Poetry Book' (Argo ZFB 26) 1970, which also gained an American release: ([USA:] London PS592) 1971; and 'Tomorrow Is Another day' (Argo ZDA 150) 1972. Their music is not gloomy, brooding, damp, ghoulish, dark, threatening, creepy, bloody, horrifying or any of the other adjectives which spring to mind when one thinks of "Gothic". Instead it is warm, chatty, light, breezy, informal, witty. The albums are sometimes hyped as "psych-pop" (the former especially on account of its convoluted title and colourful pop-art cover) or even "acid-folk", but essentially they are neither of these things; they tends mostly towards folk and acousticism. However there are some tracks here to delight the psychedelically-inclined. The title track of the first album, 'The Jason Lodge Poetry Book', is great. Complex pop of sufficient quality to delight the pop-syke faithful. 'Song For Susan' is so close in sound and style to Fairfield Parlour that it just about escapes charges of plagiarism. 'A J Lone's Dog' is ragtime pop; and unsurprisingly with a title like 'Willow Tree Vale Song' this song is folk. But 'A Third For Jason Lodge' is very weird. Bizarre changes and references to flying, mushrooms and toadstools!

Originally issued in the UK only in 1972, the second and final album by this British folk-pop duo finally returns to CD here. It has been compared to the work of Honeybus, Badfinger (whose Pete Ham puts in a guest appearance) and The Kinks (whose John Gosling also appears on it), as well as folkier bands like Magna Carta and Tir na Nog, and stands up well as a beautiful collection of pastoral songs with glorious vocal harmonies and intricate instrumentation.

‘A duo who played bright and breezy folk music’ – Fuzz, Acid & Flowers

‘They tend mostly towards folk and acousticism. However, there are some tracks here to delight the psychedelically-inclined’ – Sweet Floral Albion

Fred Neil - 1957-1961 - Trav'lin Man: The Early Singles

Fred Neil
Trav'lin Man: The Early Singles

01. You Ain't Treatin' Me Right
02. Don't Put The Blame On Me
03. Listen Kitten
04. Take Me Back Again
05. Heartbreak Bound
06. Trav’lin Man
07. Love's Funny
08. Secret, Secret
09. Slipping Around
10. You Don't Have To Be A Baby To Cry
11. Rainbow And A Rose
12. Four Chaplains

As the author of standards including The Dolphins, Everybody’s Talkin’ and Other Side To This Life, Fred Neil needs no introduction to music fans. But before becoming a folksinger and profound influence on Bob Dylan, Tim Buckley, John Sebastian and others, he worked as a jobbing singer, songwriter and session musician around New York. His early songs were recorded by artists including Buddy Holly and Roy Orbison, but his own six pop and rockabilly singles, released between 1957 and 1961, sold in tiny quantities and have rarely been heard since. They are gathered here for the first time ever, offering a fascinating and historically important insight into one of the most celebrated singer-songwriters of all time.

“A singer blessed with an impossibly resonant baritone without equal in music, and the writer of songs that will live as long as music itself” – Mojo

“Between 1957 and 1963 Fred Neil put out a half-dozen scarce singles for a variety of major and minor labels…” – Richie Unterberger, Urban Spacemen & Wayfaring Strangers

Tracks 5 & 6 arranged and conducted by Don Costa. Tracks 8 & 9 arranged and conducted by Chuck Sagle

Dulcimer - 1972 - Room For Thought

Room For Thought

01. To Need Her
02. Status In Maryland
03. Mr. Rip Van Winkle
04. The Planters Cottage
05. Running On Down The Road
06. Empty Hallways
07. Grey Lady Morning
08. Missing The Head
09. Mr. Time
10. Sandalwood Sailors
11. Scarlet Lady
12. But Maybe Not

‘If The Amazing Blondel were the voice of medieval England, then this trio can claim to be the poems of Thomas Hardy set to music, a spiritual evocation of a rural idyll that always had its dark side’ – Galactic Ramble

This legendary folk trio originally formed in Gloucestershire, England in 1967. Having been spotted by the actor Richard Todd, they signed to impresario Larry Page’s Nepentha label and released their classic debut album, And I Turned As I Had Turned As A Boy, in May 1971. It was well-received, and a follow-up was recorded later that year, entitled Room For Thought. Despite being a fine folk-rock collection and having finished artwork, it went unreleased at the time, and makes its long-awaited return here.

Denny King - 1972 - Evil Wind Is Blowing

Denny King
Evil Wind Is Blowing

01. Evil Wind Is Blowing
02. Bottle Blues
03. Desert Sand
04. Sunday Driver
05. Boogie Man
06. Bessie Mae
07. Lucille
08. Home Cooking
09. Go Down Moses
10. Putting Away The Blues

‘King’s vocals are in a Beefheart-out-of-Howlin’ Wolf mode… The album features cool harmonica and really hot slide guitar (courtesy of ex-Beefheart sideman Alex St. Claire). The rhythm section is stellar too’ – The Acid Archives

This superb blues-rock album was issued on Little Richard’s Specialty label in the summer of 1972, and has barely been heard since. Featuring the distinctive singing and guitar of Wisconsin native King, backed by early Captain Beefheart sidemen Alex St. Claire and Doug Moon, it’s a lost genre classic with unusually fine musicianship and an odd vibe all of its own.

Curt Newbury - 1970 - Half A Month Of Maydays

Curt Newbury 
Half A Month Of Maydays

01. S & C See Me
02. Christ, How Easy Could It Be?
03. To Marcia
04. Highchair Blue
05. Let’s Hang Some Pictures Tonight
06. Half A Month Of Maydays
07. Colonel Haygood
08. A Girl Is Just Too Much
09. Maybe Summer Bells
10. Private Jackson Regrets

All tracks by Curt Newbury

Curt Newbury – vocals, acoustic guitar, 12-string guitar
Mike Deasy – lead guitar, dobro, mandolin
Jeff Kaplan – rhythm guitar, pinao, organ, bass guitar
Pat Smith – bass, fiddle
Ron Johnson – bass
Rick Matthews and Coffi Hall – percussion
Paul Lagos – drums
Templeton Parsley – electric violin
Max Budhda – harmonica
Howard Johnson - tuba
Jeff Lasky – sax
Chuck Bennett – trombone
Richard Aplanalp – clarinet
Carol Connors and Marilyn McGinnis – vocals on track 9

Produced by Don Hall
Engineered by Dave Hassinger
Arranged by Curt Newbury and Jeff Kaplan
Recorded at the Sound Factory, Hollywood, California
Photography – Ed Caraeff
Original album design – Wayne Kimbell / Richard Edlund
With special thanks to Rick Heenan

“An interesting album of West Coast folk-rock with some brilliant guitar solos” – Fuzz, Acid & Flowers
Curt Newbury was a flying instructor, a licensed hypnotist and a gifted singer-songwriter. This unfairly-neglected collection – the only album he would ever release – originally appeared in 1970, and makes its long-overdue CD debut here. Featuring superb backing from members of US psych heroes Kaleidoscope, as well as legendary session guitarist Mike Deasy (who contributes some brilliant solos), it’s a varied and consistently enjoyable set that’s sure to appeal to all fans of acid-tinged folk-rock.


Meeting him, you’d say at once that he was shy and really pleased to meet you. Knowing him, you’re aware that he looks a little further into the same things you see. And liking him, you’d recognise Curt Newbury as a seeker after meanings – a poet on his way to wisdom.

Texas-born, he began picking folk guitar in college, playing the coffee houses. And he studied languages, perhaps because of the part of his childhood spent in Germany. And perhaps because he has abundant restless energy, and possibly because half of Texas is that huge, inviting sky, the language student became a flyer. A flying instructor. And, via equal parts of logic and mysticism, a licensed hypnotist, the better to teach student fliers...

Then, finally deciding: “Making music is what I’m supposed to be doing.” Gathering his songs. Making an album. Being unique. Being himself – Curt Newbury.

The Comfortable Chair - 1968 - The Comfortable Chair

The Comfortable Chair
The Comfortable Chair

01. Ain’t No Good No More
02. Child’s Garden
03. I’ll See You
04. Princess
05. Now
06. Some Soon Some Day
07. Be Me
08. Loved It All
09. Let Me Through
10. Stars In Heaven
11. Pale Night Of Quiet
12. The Beast (Kali Yuza)

*Tad Baczec (guitar),
*Greg Leroy (bass, guitar),
*Gary Davis (keyboards),
*Warner Davis (drums),
*Gene Garfin (vocals, percussion),
*Bernie Schwartz (vocals),
*Barbara Wallace (vocals).

“It has some very pleasant moments, similar to It’s A Beautiful Day and Peanut Butter Conspiracy” – Fuzz, Acid & Flowers

“An extraordinarily relaxed and relaxing bunch to listen to” – American Record Guide

Best-known for having been discovered and produced by members of The Doors, this Californian septet made some of the finest psychedelic pop / rock of the late 1960s, and stand up well alongside better-known contemporaries such as Jefferson Airplane, It’s A Beautiful Day, Sweetwater and the Peanut Butter Conspiracy. Their sole album was first issued in late 1968, and though they were acclaimed at the time as ‘an extraordinarily relaxed and relaxing bunch to listen to’, they split when it failed to sell.

What little attention this West Coast sunshine-rock band's 1969 self-titled album The Comfortable Chair has gotten seems to stem from the fact that it was The Doors' lead singer Jim Morrison who discovered them, while his fellow bandmembers John Densmore and Robbie Krieger served as producers for their sole 1969 album on Ode Records

It seems unfortunate that they were never a big band outside of the 60s California circuit since their set is actually quite impressive in its own right. Featuring all-original songs (virtually every band member contributing to the writing chores), the self-titled album bounces all over the musical spectrum.

Lead singers Bernie Schwartz and Barbara Wallace are both quite good, navigating through the different genres without any trouble. Highlights include the opening rocker Ain't No Good No More, Let Me Through, and the sweet ballad I'll See You.

The band made its film debut in the Bob Hope - Jackie Gleason comedy vehicle movie How to Commit Marriage (1969) and really shines in the film as a psychedelic-hippie rock band associated with the young people in the plot of the story.

This fantastic group did a wonderful music video-style presentation in the film, performing their charming hippie anthem, A Child's Garden. Exemplified by Some Soon, Some Day and Stars In Heaven much of the set features a lazy, dreamy aura that's quite captivating.

They were a band heavily influenced by the likes of It's a Beautiful Day, Sweetwater and Jefferson Airplane. Their one and only now-highly collectible record album was released on CBS-Ode Records in 1969

Caroline Peyton - 1977 - Intuition

Caroline Peyton

01.Still With You
03.Party Line
04.Donkey Blues
05.Call of the Wild
06.Just As We
07.You Too
09.All This Waiting
10.Light Years

Acoustic Bass – Paul Berner (tracks: 4, 6)
Acoustic Guitar – Brenden Harkin (tracks: 5, 9, 10)
Acoustic Guitar – Caroline Peyton (tracks: 5, 9)
Acoustic Guitar – Mark Bingham (tracks: 5, 10)
Backing Vocals – Bill Schwarz (tracks: 8, 9)
Drums – Jerry Deupree (tracks: 1, 2, 7, 8)
Drums – Steve Hanna (tracks: 3, 6)
Electric Bass – John Stith (tracks: 1, 2, 7, 8)
Electric Guitar – Brenden Harkin (tracks: 1 to 3, 7, 8)
Electric Guitar – Mike Wanchic (tracks: 1, 4)
Electric Guitar – TJ (tracks: 1, 2, 8)
Electric Piano – Gordon Lee (tracks: 1, 7)
Electric Piano – Tony Regusis (tracks: 3, 6)
Piano [Acoustic] – Tony Regusis (tracks: 4, 6)
Synthesizer [Arp] – Brian Paulson (tracks: 2, 3, 5, 6, 8 to 10)
Tambourine – Steve Hanna (tracks: 2, 5)

Awfully close to state of the art for an album by a pop female vocalist – Rolling Stone

Caroline Peyton sang with cult rural jazz-rockers The Screaming Gypsy Bandits and released a challenging solo debut (1972’s Mock-Up) before recording this superb collection for a local Indiana label in 1977. Boasting an eclectic blend of styles ranging from folk to funk, jazz to pop and even disco, Intuition has attracted ever-greater interest in recent years, being featured on compilations and championed by cutting-edge DJs. It makes its long-overdue CD debut here, complete with biographical liner notes, and is essential for all connoisseurs of 70s singer-songwriting.

Caroline Peyton was born in Brookhaven, Mississippi in 1951, but moved to Charleston, West Virginia when she was six. Much influenced by Joni Mitchell, at 11 she began to teach herself guitar and singing, as well as performing in church choirs and innumerable local theatre productions. In 1969 she graduated from George Washington High School and went to Northwestern University in Illinois to study acting. Music, however, was her first passion, and she devoted much of her time to singing in clubs around Chicago. After two semesters she dropped out of Northwestern to form a duo with singer-guitarist John Guth, before a fateful meeting with lyricist Mark Bingham prompted her to move to Bloomington, Indiana – home to America’s largest music school, at Indiana University. Though not formally enrolled there, she began to study electronic and classical music and recorded three albums of Bach cantatas as part of a choir that also visited Europe under conductor Helmuth Rilling.

Her heart wasn’t in classical music, however, and as 1970 drew on she gravitated towards the Needmore Commune outside Bloomington. There she and Bingham hooked up with the Screaming Gypsy Bandits, whom she joined as well as releasing her solo debut, 1972’s challenging Mock-Up. She was acclaimed in Downbeat at the time for having a voice that’s ‘virtually inhuman, an instrument of intense abstraction, summoning fantastical imagery’, despite her occasionaly tendency to sing through a vacuum cleaner pipe. The band opened for acts including Captain Beefheart, the Mahavishnu Orchestra, Jefferson Airplane and Sly Stone (often at Indiana University), but only released one album of skewed rural jazz-rock, 1973’s In The Eye. While working with the Screaming Gypsy Bandits she’d also been studying singing, and when they split she continued to perform in numerous genres, including soul, folk, jazz and even opera, though another four years passed before she released another album.

Intuition appeared in September 1977, and was described in Rolling Stone as ‘awfully close to state of the art for an album by a pop female vocalist’. Produced by Bingham, it was a typically eclectic collection that received universally warm reviews. The Chicago Sun-Times perhaps encapsulated why it didn’t sell as well as it deserved, however, in describing Peyton as ‘a major talent on a minor label’. Early in 1978 she embarked on a tour opening for King Fu actor David Carradine, whose shambling performances stood in stark contrast with hers, but interest from Clive Davis at Columbia never translated to the major-label deal she deserved. In the 1980s she toured as Linda Ronstadt's understudy in a production of The Pirates of Penzance, as well as singing on Broadway and contributing vocal parts to 1990s Disney hits including Beauty and the Beast, Aladdin and Pocahontas. In 1998 she released another album Celtic Christmas Spirit, though it’s markedly different to her earlier output. As she told the LA Weekly Times in June 2006: “I put my guitar down and never picked it back up.”

Buzz Linhart - 1968 - Buzzy

Buzz Linhart

01. Yellow Cab
02. Willie Jean
03. Step Into My Wildest Dreams
04. Wish I Could Find
05. Sing Joy
06. End Song

Recorded at Chappell Recording Studios, London, October 1968
Produced by Lou Reizner
Engineered by John Timperly
Tape jockeys - Nick, Richard and John
Photography by Dunstan Pereira

Rhythm guitar and vocals – Buzz Linhart

Sing Joy features ‘Big’ Jim Sullivan (sitar) and Keshav Sathe (tabla). Instrumental backing on all other cuts by the Eyes of Blue (Raymond ‘Taff’ Williams - lead guitar / Ritchie Francis – bass / Phil Ryan – organ and mellotron / John Weathers - drums and timpani).

Spiritual advisors – Gary Pickford, Wyndham Rees

Special thanks for their unexpungable formestulous sentations Footso and Mr. Felix Lurch

“You have nothing to fear from the poet but the truth” – Ted Joans

A veteran of the New York coffee house circuit who went on to record with Jimi Hendrix, Buzz Linhart recorded this classic debut in London in 1968. Featuring backing from Welsh psychedelic favourites the Eyes Of Blue, it’s a superb collection of acid-influenced folk and pop, including the epic, sitar-tinged raga Sing Joy, and is sure to appeal to all fans of hippie singer-songwriting.

“Buzz Linhart came out of the legendary Greenwich Village coffee-house period of the early to middle 60s, when Tim Hardin, Fred Neil and John Sebastian (amongst many others) were finding themselves, influencing others, and being influenced (as often as not by each other). It was a period of hanging out, of song-writing, of soaking in everything from folk to blues to rock. Like Fred Neil, who taught him a lot, Linhart has a strong, gritty, emotional voice. Like Hardin, his life has been racked with almost insurmountable personal problems, and his voice and lyrics reflect it. In 1968, after a long absence and with many of the personal problems apparently solved, he made some brief appearances in New York, where critical reaction was consistently favourable. He’s also much sought after as a sidesman on vibes” - Lillian Roxon’s Rock Encyclopedia, 1969

Buzzy Linhart was born to musical parents in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania on March 3rd 1943. He was already a multi-instrumentalist by the time he left high school, and after an unproductive stint in the US Navy, he gravitated towards Florida in 1962 (where he hooked up with Fred Neil), and then to New York. In Greenwich Village he roomed with John Sebastian and played in the same clubs as future luminaries such as Bob Dylan, Tim Hardin and David Crosby. As well as playing folk, however, Linhart also developed an interest in Indian music well before it entered the mainstream, honing his raga skills in late-night jam sessions at legendary venues including the Night Owl and the Café Wha? After a quartet he’d formed, the Seventh Sons, didn’t work out (though they recorded a superb, visionary LP for ESP), he impressed hitmaker Mitch Ryder sufficiently to be invited to travel to Europe as his opening act. In London he hooked up with producer Lou Reizner (for whom he’d recorded some demos in New York, and who was now Mercury’s UK A&R chief) and soon arranged to cut his debut LP.

Buzzy was recorded in October 1968, with backing from Welsh psych-rockers the Eyes of Blue. As 16 magazine put it that November: ‘It’s finally beginning to happen for super-talented singer-composer Buzz Linhart. By the time you read this, he will have played (along with Mitch Ryder) the Royal Palace in Portugal, have done a tour of England, and starred for two weeks at Revolution, the Beatles’ new disco in London.’ Nonetheless, the album – a classy mixture of acid-tinged singer-songwriter fare and raga - did not fare well on its February 1969 release, prompting Linhart to return to the US. There he released a string of further LPs, as well as contributing to recordings by Jimi Hendrix, Carly Simon, Barry Manilow, Bette Midler and others, and is still playing as much as ever today.

Brothers Unlimited - 1970 - Who's For The Young?

Brothers Unlimited 
Who's For The Young?

01. Who's For The Young?
02. A Change Is Gonna Come
03. Got To Get Over
04. Hey Little Rich Boy
05. Get Away
06. Life, Dreams, Death
07. Spoonful
08. Take Me Back
09. What We Need Is Harmony

Produced by Earl Cage, Jr. and Robert Owens
Recorded at Fame Recording Studios, Muscle Shoals, Alabama and Memphis, Tennessee and Ardent Recording Studios, Memphis, Tennessee
Engineers: Mickey Buckins, Sonny Limbo & Terry Manning.
Cover Photo: Bill Speer

Here’s one of the most sought after funk/soul albums ever made, with two fantastic crossover soul tunes in “Got to get over” & “Take me back”, a great cover of the classic Sam Cooke’s “A change is gonna come” and my personal fav “Life, Dreams, Death” – a funk rock cut with killer organ, psych vocals and early 70’s war vibe.

This is the real real thing. Real fine, funky, hard-driving, up-tempo, contemporary, down-home, nitty-gritty solid soul from Muscle Shoals and Memphis. If you wanted to give this sound a label, it would have to be one of those hyphenated ones – something like soul-pop-contemporary folk-rock. The basis is definitely country – cotton-row-feet country. But it's also incredibly complex, sophisticated, right-now, urban-international. Organic. And original. And yet it sounds a bit like everything good you've ever heard. The Brothers Unlimited are not ordinary musicians – vocal and instrumental. They are twelve very specific guys who have worked together for the past year, playing on sessions at Fame Recording Studios in Memphis. They are very tight – personally and professionally – and working this way with their producer, they’ve developed a thing of their own that’s unique. The music is alive. It breathes and sweats. These are the sounds and the cries of youth – of empathetic everyones – today.

Leon Aldridge – bass. He has what others are still looking for. Also sings. Curtis Johnson – vocal. They call him ‘Master Groover’. He's also an arranger & writer, and plays bass, piano and organ. Alvin Potts – organ. Very talented. Also plays sax, drums and trumpet. He's played the Memphis club circuit. John S. Harris – vocal. Better known as ‘Cousy’. Also wails on washboard and tambourine. Allen Gary, Jr. – doesn't play anything. He's a friend. A caterer — Huey's Place, Memphis. Say Earl Cage sent you. Ronald Echols – baritone sax. Call him ‘Eck’. He's the dancer onstage. He really gets the audience jumping. Also sings. Jerry Jones – vocal. Also plays trombone. Lee Cox – tenor sax. Also sings, writes and arranges. Oscar Smith – guitar. Plays with pure soul. He is one of the chosen few. A guitarist who stands alone in the music field. Charles Allen – trumpet. Better known as ‘Beau Brummel’. Also plays guitar, organ and sings. Charles Aldridge – drums. Leon's brother. Also arranges and plays a pretty mean guitar. Earl Cage, Jr. — producer. He co-wrote ‘Hey Little Rich Boy’. Has written and produced many hits. Also arranges. Harold Johnson – vocal. Known as ‘Quake’. Master Groover's brother. Has a special groove all his own. Also plays tambourine. Larry Lee (out in the alley when the photographer snapped. them) – guitar and vocal. Formerly with Jimi Hendrix. Very funky underground sound.

I think you can look at the fantastic cover art and know how good it is, although I guess I wouldn't have expected a 14-piece soul combo to sound this loose and reasonable. Large funk or soul groups can get pretty airtight, locking into huge swingin' grooves, losing all the looseness and grit that makes this kind of music so rich. But the Memphis-based Brothers Unlimited mostly avoid this problem, laying down Southern-soulful psychedelic funk-rock that's both tight and loose, deep with layers of production that take a lot of spontaneous turns and contain a lot of surprises. There are a lot of boys in this ensemble, but they aren't all just piling on the rhythm section with horns. They are up to tricks in there.

The "social consciousness" tracks are the strongest element here. They aren't particularly profound in their message, but they don't need to be. Like many groups of the era, these guys were just trying to tap into the zeitgeist of the early days of the Black Power 70's and that alone lends the work content and makes them interesting. Of course it wouldn't matter if the music didn't sound so hot n' fresh, but luckily it does. The opening track, "Who's for the Young", an earnest anthem of soulful black rock with nasty guitars, huge organs, and shades of the Isley Brothers, is the standout track- but it's no isolated incident. The blend of styles is successfully pulled off many more times on the record; in the hectoring "Hey Little Rich Boy", the rock-tinged southern soul of "Get Away", the cosmic, searching, mind-blowing "Life, Dreams, Death" (which almost sounds like a super-groovy Uriah Heep song or something), and a version of "Spoonful" dipped deep in psychedelic echo. Not every track is a winner-- "Got to Get Over" is the worst, bland to the point of dire-- but even some of the misses are interesting. A version of Sam Cooke's "A Change Is Gonna Come" is so inferior to Baby Huey's that it's hard to even hear, but it's still a fine version of a great song, and the album closer "What We Need Is Harmony" tries for another huge anthem and falls a bit short. Again, though, it's still pretty good.

The peaks of this record are sky high, making it extremely worthwhile, and I recommend it very highly to anyone who enjoyed Black Art + Machine Gun Funk or Purple Image, or anything else in the glorious intersection of funk&black rock. Get on it and let me know what you think.

Bob Smith - 1970 - The Visit

Bob Smith
The Visit

01. Please
02. Don´t Tell Lady Tonight
03. Constructive Critique
04. Ocean Song
05. The Wishing Song
06. Can You Jump Rope?
07. Latter Days Matter
08. India Slumber
09. Source You Blues
10. Sunlight Sweet
11. Of She, Of Things
12. Mobeda Dandelions
13. The Path Does Have Forks
14. Try, Try To Understand Yourself

‘The music is in a wide range of late 60s / 70s psych genres, from hard rock to upbeat folk-rock to jazzy experimentation. The arrangements are always interesting… This album is chock-full of great songs and great moments’ – The Acid Archives

‘Most of the music is instrumental, achieving a mystical and psychedelic atmosphere… A must for fans of psychedelia’ – Fuzz, Acid & Flowers

Recorded in Los Angeles over four months in 1970, this double album is one of the most personal and involving statements to have emerged from California’s psychedelic underground. Backed by a fine band including Daryl Dragon (later to find fame as half of The Captain & Tennille) and Frank Zappa sideman Don Preston, Smith shows himself to have been a remarkably wide-ranging and appealing songwriter. This timely CD reissue comes complete with liner notes, filling in the background to the album.

 Singer guitarist Smith was apparently a member of various Los Angeles-based bands including The Lid and Silverskin.  It would also be interesting to learn how he came to be signed by the L.A.-based Kent Records which was better known for it's R&B recording roster.
Although 1970's "The Visit" featured support from eight musicians (including Darryl Dragon (credited as Captain Keyboard)) and Mothers of Invention keyboardist Don Preston), the focus was clearly on namesake Bob Smith.  In addition to handling all of the vocals and lead guitar, Smith wrote all 14 tracks, arranged, directed, and along with Mark Taylor, co-produced the album.

Musically the set was quite diverse, taking credible stabs at pop, blues ('Source You Blues'), hard rock, psych, jazz ('Ocean Song') and even occasional detours into outright experimentation.

Luckily aural experiments such as the instrumental 'Indian Summer' were far and few between, leaving most of the set with a surprisingly commercial sheen.  Exemplified by tracks like the harpsichord-propelled 'Please' and 'The Wishing Song' Smith had one of those flexible and likable voices that allowed him to find a nice balance between commercial and non-commercial moves.

Material like 'Constructive Critique' and 'Source Your Blues' also demonstrated Smith was quite an accomplished guitarist.  Personal favorites included the opener 'Please', 'Don't Tell Lady Tonight' and the scorching rocker 'Can You Jump Rope'.   (Anyone seen the John Kress poster insert that came with the album?  It's supposedly quite cool.)    Bottom line; this one's a keeper that should be in every psych collector's stash.

Blackwood Apology - 1969 - The House Of Leather

Blackwood Apology
The House Of Leather

01. Medley: Swanee River Overture / House Of Leather Theme
02. Do You Recall The House Of Leather?
03. Recess With Mrs. Grim
04. Graduates Of Mrs. Grim’s Learning
05. There Is Love In The Country (On The Donny Brooks Farm)
06. Here I Am
07. She Lives With Me
08. There’s Love In The Country (On The Donny Brooks Farm) – Reprise
09. Time Marches On
10. Dixie And The War
11. Death And Reality
12. Sarah’s On Her Knees
13. Theme From House Of Leather (Epilogue In Suede)

Bass – Ron Beckman
Drums, Vocals – Dennis Craswell
Guitar, Vocals – Dale Menten, Tom Husting
Organ [Pipe Organ Effects], Keyboards [Additional] – Greg Maland
Organ, Vocals – Bruce Pedalty
Piano, Vocals – Dennis Libby

‘An odd rock concept album about the Civil War. Pretty good’ – The Acid Archives

The brainchild of 23 year-old writer / guitarist Dale Menten, The House Of Leather is a rock opera set in a bordello during the US Civil War. It was originally released in December 1968, shortly before it was staged as a sell-out rock opera in Minnesota. A fine mixture of acid-tinged pop-rock and ballads, it makes its long-overdue CD debut here – together with liner notes that tell the story of the production’s ill-fated move to New York in 1970.

 The first time I heard House Of Leather, at first I was not very impressed by it. The vocals sounded too “pop”; like something the Association would have recorded, and the recurring themes and overtures sounded like space fillers. But I could not deny even then that the electric guitar playing was arresting, and the organ playing weaved its way expertly through the various arrangements, providing a distinctive connecting strand. The Blackwood Apology definitely had their own sound.

For greater atmosphere, they also throw in instruments like acoustic guitar and even pipe organ. The arrangements on the album are complex, and it is cleverly structured so that by the end of the record, the piece has returned to its starting point, meaning that you can put the album on shuffle play and listen to it as an endless loop on your MP3 player should you so choose.

I am not so dedicated as to want to do that, but I did find myself coming back to this album again and again over the 20 years that have elapsed since I bought it. In addition to the advanced musicianship, my main focus was the lyrics. Even with the full text provided on the inside cover (along with an elliptical explanatory note on the instrumental depiction that the album provides of the American Civil War), the words are perplexing.

As someone on the Internet wondered; is the House of Leather a cathouse? The images on the cover suggest it is a house of ill-repute of some sort. And why is it the house “Of Leather”? Was it some sort of kinky B&D joint where moustachioed gents went to get their jollies in unorthodox ways?

Finally, after 20 years of scratching my head, I sat down and listened to the lyrics, and not just once but several times, in an attempt to get to the bottom of what this perplexing album is about.

The story starts “down along the Swanee River”, where we are introduced to a young lady named Sarah Jane who has “got love to send you… straight to heaven where she comes from”. We move on to a reminiscence of the House of Leather, where “the pretty young things all got together” to dance, among other things.

We are then introduced to one Mrs Grim, who appears to be the matronly figure in charge of the House of Leather, and the narrator reminds her of Donny Brooks, a farmer who she used to know in one capacity or another, and obliquely makes mention of the town’s mayor, a man by the name of Ramsey.

A little bit further on, we find out that the House of Leather is a school of some sort, and Sarah Jane appears to be a teacher there (teaching what exactly? – again, we don’t know), who both Donny Brooks and Ramsey have fallen in love with. The outcome of this love triangle is that Sarah Jane ends up with Donny Brooks the farmer, and they settle down on his farm, where she ends up bearing him a child.

Then along comes the US Civil War, in which her husband and child (a boy) are both killed. After the war, Sarah Jane stays on at the farm, which Ramsey, the mayor, now owns. The album concludes with the words “Sarah’s on her knees… building dreams… begging for love”, and “if you’re ever…. way down along the Swanee River… you’re not far from the House of Leather… where I was born….”

Well, that’s all perfectly clear, isn’t it? So the narrator is the offspring of Sarah Jane and Ramsey… or is he? And if he was their child, why was he born in the House of Leather and not down on the farm? Was she kicked off the farm and ended up having to work for a living? But working in what capacity? And exactly what sort of education is offered by an institution that ventures to call itself the “House of Leather”?

All That The Name Implies - 1968 - All That The Name Implies

All That The Name Implies
All That The Name Implies

01.Lemon Train
02.Your Day
03.Simply Implied
04.So Am I
05.Dedication: Fred Neil (River Trilogy)
06.Red Ball
08.The Bells Of The Mountain
09.Mary Maybe
10.August Pine
11.Black Tuesday
12.So Am I
14.August Pine

Roy Jiminez – vocals
Marlene Ryan – vocals / 6-string guitar (on track 2)
Nick Feva – vocals / 12-string guitar
Allan Bree – vocals / guitar
Melinda Parkes – vocals

Congas by Emile Latimor
All tracks arranged by Nick Feva except track 2 (arr. Jiminez)
Special thanks to Leo Rovain and his Waikiki cuties
Personal management by B. Bradin

This mellow collection of communal US hippie folk was recorded and barely released in 1968, and went undiscovered for decades. Featuring male and female vocals, strummed 6 and 12-string acoustic guitars, congas, flute and tambourine, it’s a lost underground gem that’s bound to appeal to fans of stoned rural psychedelia. The songs range from touching ballads to whimsical ditties and a highly unusual medley in tribute to folk giant Fred Neil. It makes its CD debut here, and comes complete with all four sides of their equally rare and obscure 45s.

Alan Trajan - 1969 - Firm Roots

Alan Trajan
Firm Roots

01. Speak To Me Clarissa
02. One Tends To Get Bitter Now And Again
03. Thoughts
04. Highway 51 Blues
05. This'll Drive You Off Your Head
06. Mental Destruction
07. Time
08. Down River
09. Corinna Corinna
10. This Might Be My Last Number
11. Girl From The North Country
12. Charles Russell

Features Davy Graham

“Heavy songs with a funky feel and fiery guitar licks” – The Tapestry Of Delights “Introverted acoustic flutterings, explosive guitar, lovely keyboard playing, tub-thumping piano and some truly excellent lyrics, all wrapped in a cloak of darkness. Captures that hung-over bad trip downer vibe of 1969 in ways few albums ever managed” – Sweet Floral Albion Scottish keyboardist Alan Trajan’s 1969 album, an unsettling collection of rock songs and ballads featuring prominent organ, fiery guitar licks, soulful vocals and acoustic picking from folk legend Davy Graham, has become one of the rarest singer-songwriter recordings of the period. This is its long-awaited CD debut, and comes complete with explanatory liner notes. Frustratingly little is known about Alan Trajan, whose sole LP has become one of the rarest singer-songwriter recordings of the late 1960s. Born Alan Robertson in Livingston, outside Edinburgh, he became an accomplished barrelhouse / boogie-woogie pianist in his teens and was part of Edinburgh’s fertile music scene in the late 1960s, where he made friends with David McNiven, leader of the much-loved folk trio (later duo) Bread, Love & Dreams. When Decca producer Ray Horricks (perhaps best known for his seminal work with guitarist Davy Graham) spotted the latter at the Edinburgh Festival in 1968, he signed them up, and McNiven introduced him to Robertson. Much taken by his distinctive keyboard style and soulful voice, Horricks offered him the chance to record too. Featuring heavy organ and searing electric guitar parts on tracks like Speak To Me, Clarissa (addressed to a girl who has OD’d) and the propulsive One Tends To Get Bitter Now And Again, mellower numbers such as the beautiful Thoughts (featuring Graham) and a heartfelt cover of David Ackles’ Down River, as well as three good-timey Dylan covers, which reflected his long apprenticeship playing in pubs, it’s a varied and unusual collection whose surreal lyrics and frequently despairing atmosphere ensured poor sales when it appeared on MCA in 1969. Robertson was prevailed upon by his manager to change his name to Trajan for the LP’s release (he believed Robertson sounded too Scottish, and decided that the expansionist Roman Emperor’s name was more distinctive), but neither it nor the extracted 45 (Speak To Me, Clarissa / This Might Be My Last Number) sold, and he soon reverted to his real name. Having contributed memorable organ parts to Bread, Love & Dreams’s classic Amaryllis LP in 1970, he went on to forge a partnership with Scottish blues singer Tam White, with whom he made a musical TV series for Grampian in the early 70s, before relocating to London. There he played in innumerable pubs and became part of legendary jazzer George Melly’s band for many years, but his hard-drinking landed him in prison and he died of liver disease at the start of this century. It is to be hoped, however, that this first CD issue of Firm Roots will focus attention on his overlooked gift as a musician and singer-songwriter, one whose idiosyncratic compositions straddled soul, folk, pop, psychedelia and progressive rock at a time when few were daring to be as diverse.

Aaron Lightman - 1970 - Aaron Lightman

Aaron Lightman
Aaron Lightman

    Out Of The Morning
    They Call Me Traveler
    None For Me
02.On Monday Me
    I Have A Little Friend
   (Take 74 Interlude)
03.Little Girl
04.The Morning After
    Down To The Sea
    Something Simple
    Now Is The Time

Words and music by Aaron Lightman / interludes by Ronald Frangipane and Dean Christopher

Woodwind – Romeo Penque, Irving Horowitz, Phil Bodner, Joe Grimm, Leon Cohen, George Berg / French horns – Don Currado, Joe De Anglis / drums – Al Rogers / bass, concert bass – Joe Mack / harpsichord – Ronald Frangipane / electric guitar, harmonica – Hugh MacCracken / solo classical guitar – Sal Di Troia / violin – Max Ceppos, Irving Spice, David Rothschild, Joe Mallen, Manny Green, Gene Orloff, Lou Stone, Arrianna Brun / viola – David Saxon, Seymore Burman, Harry Lefkowki / cello – Seymour Babarb, George Ricci, Charles MacCracken / harp – Gene Bianco

Produced by Ronald Frangipane, Dean Christopher and Neal Ceppos
Arranged by Ronald Frangipane and Dean Christopher
Engineered by Neal Ceppos
Recorded at Bell Sound Studios, NYC
Original album design by Milton Glaser

“The thoughts and voice of one man as he journeys through the timeless flowing of the mind to discover his humanity” – original album notes

Little is known of this unusual Philadelphia singer-songwriter, whose delicate vocals and catchy tunes have earned him comparison with Donovan and the Bee Gees, winning him a considerable cult reputation in the process. His sole album, which blends melodic folk-pop with extravagant orchestral interludes, first appeared in 1969 and makes its long-overdue CD debut here.

“Aaron Lightman is a young singer-composer-actor from Philadelphia. Although in his twenties, his child-like appearance and slight build (100 pounds soaking wet on a good day!) tend to make people think he is much younger. Realising that we are all children in an ageing world, his songs are like his appearance. They take delight in simple things: a misty dawn, merry-go-rounds, rainy afternoons, a young girl’s hair, summertime, squirrels and the sea. Some of these songs were brought to the attention of the producers, who were looking for a vehicle to unite their classical background with popular music. The result is this album; a modern cantata utilising a chamber orchestra instead of a vocal choir; a flow of undefinable music telling a story that need not start or finish in any specific time or place or travel along a precise linear road; the thoughts and voice of one man as he journeys through the timeless flowing of the mind to discover his humanity” – original liner notes

Aaron Lightman is likely more well known in contemporary times than when he was an active musician. Hailing from Philadelphia, his slight and short build portrayed him as a much younger person, with a supposed childlike appearance and slight hundred-pound build, which also typified his singing style. Lightman's voice itself was described as a cross between the Gibb brothers from the Bee Gees and Donovan Leitch. Owing no small allegiance to the '60s psychedelic era, Lightman's music was very orchestrated, similar to certain songs of the Beatles or the Moody Blues in a melodic baroque pop vein. He co-wrote songs with Dean Christopher and with producer Ron Frangipane, who also worked with Melanie, Janis Ian, the Monkees, John Lennon, Dusty Springfield, and the Rolling Stones. The Poppy label, distributed by MGM, issued his eponymous debut album in 1970, and the single "Down to the Sea" b/w "Now Is the Time." He worked with string players Gene Bianco, George Ricci, and Gene Orloff; drummer Al Rogers; flutist Romeo Penque; and acclaimed jazz woodwind player Phil Bodner. Lightman's record does not seem to have attracted much attention when it was first issued, but upon its reissue in 2008 by the Fallout label, Lightman enjoyed renewed interest. Another factor in his reemergence is that his niece is contemporary pop star Toby Lightman. She dedicated her second album, 2006's Bird on a Wire, to him.

Yuya Uchida & The Flowers - 1969 - Challenge!

Yuya Uchida & The Flowers

01. Combination Of The Two
02. Intruder
03. Summertime
04. I’m So Glad
05. Greasy Heart
06. Hey Joe
07. White Room
08. Hidariashi No
09. Piece Of My Heart
10.Stone Free

Following his self-imposed exile in Britain, soon-to-be FTB leader Yuya Utchida embarked on the task of creating a hand-picked band in the hope of achieving a home-grown outfit to rival groups he’d been listening to in London. Legendary guitarist Hideki Ishima was his first recruit, followed by steel guitarist Katshiko Kobayashiand then the bravest move of all, the beautiful vocalist Remi Aso was asked to front the band, now named The Flowers. The band’s  debut LP completely changed the Japanese musical scene, featuring as it did, hard covers of Big Brother, Cream and Airplane songs, and it’s ground-breaking cover, featuring the band’s members, including Miss Aso, naked in a cornfield, changed the musical landscape for ever


Strawberry Path - 1971 - When The Raven Has Come To Earth

Strawberry Path
When The Raven Has Come To Earth

01. I Gotta See My Gypsy Woman
02. Woman Called Yellow “Z”
03. The Second Fate
04. Five More Pennies
05. Maximum Speed Of Moji Bird
06. Leave Me Woman
07. Mary Janes On My Mind
08. Spherical Illusion
09. When The Raven Has Come To The Earth

- Shigeru Narumo / guitar, acoustic guitar, hammond organ, piano, bass, backing vocal
- Hiro Tsunoda / drums, percussion, lead vocal, backing vocal

Strawberry Path was the first band created together by Shigeru Narumo & Hiro Tsunoda. Under this moniker they recorded only one but highly entertaining album called "When the Raven Has Come to the Earth". How to describe music included on this disk? The easiest way could be to say: mix of Jimi Hendrix and Procol Harum plus a spoon of Led Zeppelin and Deep Purple. Doesn't sound very "progressive" for you? OK, I admit that it's far away from being typical symphonic/progressive album but I can assure you that this raw, hard, psychedelic but in the same time still very "artsy" staff will stuck in your brain for a long time after you listen to it!

From its extremely cool front cover to the last track, this is an album that will appeal to garage fans, psych heads, mondo music lovers and acid freaks alike, merging as it does a variety of Western influences, ranging from Jimi Hendrix (check out Shigeru Narumo’s hard psych guitar)to Black Sabbath, Led Zeppelin and Deep Purple Originally relased in 1971, Strawberry Path were the forerunners of Japanese Flied Egg, one of the most influential Japanese prog bands to emerge in the ‘70s. This is hard psych rock at its best, and an album which
has soared in value over the last few years. Highly collectable and highly listenable

 Strawberry Path was the first band created together by Shigeru Narumo & Hiro Tsunoda. Under this moniker they recorded only one but highly entertaining album called "When the Raven Has Come to the Earth". How to describe music included on this disk? The easiest way could be to say: mix of Jimi Hendrix and Procol Harum plus a spoon of Led Zeppelin and Deep Purple. Doesn't sound very "progressive" for you? OK, I admit that it's far away from being typical symphonic/progressive album but I can assure you that this raw, hard, psychedelic but in the same time still very "artsy" staff will stuck in your brain for a long time after you listen to it!
And now the tracks:

1. "I Gotta See My Gypsy Woman" - LP kicks off with very Hendrix-like song full of fuzzed electric guitar & heavy Hammond floods (keep in mind that Shigeru Narumo's playing both instruments!). It it based upon rather slow, bluesy tempo which can crash you like a tank! Hiro's voice is really similar to Hendrix's and I can say that his accent is even better than Jimi's, very British! Guitar solo in the middle is truly spaced out, full of strange "once loud-once calm" effects. Fantastic heavy psych.

2. "Woman Called Yellow 'Z'" - slightly repetitive boogie hard rock but I truly love it. Such mix of Jimi Hendrix and Led Zeppelin, this time without any keyboards but "only" with great guitar lines. In fact all the time you can hear 2 completely different guitar lines here: one plays riffs and solos, while the other usually creates psych noises and background rhythms. Bass work (also Shigeru Narumo) is truly spectacular too.

3. "The Second Fate" - it's instrumental track completely different then 2 preceding tracks. "The Second Fate" has nothing to do with hard rock, it's a very melodic piece of music dominated by lush Hammond organ sound with additional rhythmic piano and electric guitar fills. Sounds like lost "Procol Harum" composition from their early, classic period.

4. "Five More Pennies" - the longest song of this album begins as a bouncy hard rock tune full of extremely engaging guitar and organ riffs. After that drums stop and Shigeru Narumo proceeds to slightly tiresome guitar soloing clearly influences by the most self-indulgent moments of Ritchie Blackmore. But after a while guitar is jointed by powerful drum beat again and Narumo's solos became much more interesting. Brilliant, flashy performance! And all of these noisy organ slides in the background, really great!

5. "Maximum Speed Of Muji Bird (45 Seconds Of Schizophrenic Sabbath)" - just splendid 45 seconds of beautifully played organ melody. Hammond sounds almost like real pipe-organ here and the whole piece resemblance similarity to some church music composed by J.S.Bach.

6. "Leave Me Woman" - definitely my favorite song of Strawberry Path and maybe even my favorite track in Narumo's career at all! Highly energetic track in the tradition of Deep Purple led by totally amazing, over-driven organ chops! Hammond B-3 solo in "Leave Me Woman" is also long enough to show all breathtaking tricks & ultra speedy melodies. Jon Lord would be proud to play such solo! Definition of heavy prog for me.

7. "Mary Jane On My Mind" - ultimately atmospheric ballad with very pleasant melody and female choirs in the background. Hiro Tsunoda's voice sounds enough passionate too. Strings arrangements and lush organ sound is another highlight here. And this catharsis, tear-jerking guitar solo... Good job! When I listen to this piece I can hear clear "Procol Harum" & "Brian Auger & The Trinity" influences

8. "Spherical Illusion" - it's definitely the least interesting piece on this LP. Main guitar riff sounds like directly stolen from one of Hendrix's albums but it's not the biggest problem here. The worst thing is that 3/4 of this track is occupied by long, tiresome drum solo. Huge misstep guys!

9. "When The Raven Has Come To The Earth" - beautiful instrumental with melody very similar to song "Mocking Bird" recorded by Barclay James Harvest. Melancholic flute, delicate piano, tears inducting weeps of the guitar and lush Hammond waves. Highly recommended autumn music :-).

In general "When the Raven Has Come to the Earth" maybe isn't as compelling piece of art as LP "Dr. Siegel's Fried Egg Shooting Machine" recorded by these guys (+Masayoshi Takanaka) under Flied Egg moniker, but it's still definitely this kind of recording which you just have to check if you're fan of 70s prog/psych/art rock. Especially if you're fan of Jimi Hendrix, Procol Harum and Deep Purple, Strawberry Path can be "your thing". If you're a fan of Strawberry Path's style of rock, I can also recommend you to check other early 70s Japanese artists like: Speed, Glue & Shinki, Shinki Chen & Friends, Kuni Kawachi, The Happenings Four and - more experimental one - Food Brain.

Speed, Glue & Shinki - 1972 - Speed, Glue & Shinki

Speed, Glue & Shinki
Speed, Glue & Shinki

101. Sniffin' & Snortin' Pt. 1 (Vitamine C) (3:48)
102. Run And Hide (4:47)
103. Bad Woman (4:34)
104. Red Doll (4:54)
105. Flat Fret Wing (4:42)
106. Sniffin' & Snortin' Pt. 2 (Vitamine C) (2:36)
107. Don't Say No (5:35)
108. Calm Down (4:50)

201. Doodle Song (1:32)
202. Search For Love (8:50)
203. Chuppy (1:42)
204. Wanna Take You Home (5:58)
205. A) Sun, B) Planets, C) Life (13:16)
206. Song For An Angel (4:22)

- Shinki Chen / guitars
- Masayoshi Kabe / bass
- Joey Smith / drums, vocals

This remarkably progressive creation in the early seventies would get very little appreciation nor commercial success in Japan - and sadly the project broke up in a very short time.

Joey went back to the Philippines and started the power trio Juan de la Cruz Band, Masayoshi would win fame with the band Pink Cloud, while Shinki retired from the music world after his first solo work.

In spite of their short-lived activity, Speed, Glue and Shinki were important, first and foremost as a pioneers of the Japanese psychedelic rock scene.

This far flung, double yellow Tiger bomber wrapped brown bag in paper was unleashed in Japan on Atlantic Records, Speed, Glue & Shinki’s second album did the impossible by being even more of a wrecked and loose a masterpiece as their previous album, “Eve.” Two separate LPs came tethered together in the oversized obi enclosure of one wraparound brown paper bag sleeve designed by the Taj Mahal Travellers’ self-made instrumentalist Michihiro Kimura. And the album’s lyric and credits sheet were littered with typos, crossed out words and all the reproductive cut marks, tape and detritus no white-out or non-repro blue zone exposure of all fuckups unmasking. And most of the music here on their final and eponymous named effort mirrored this, comprised of one-takes mishandled with searing guitar overdubs, occasional phasing on the drums and a direction mapped out not by some flimsy, preconceived fad but by a truly unselfconscious and of-the-moment reaching, succeeding and staggering just over the finish line in such a sublimely wrecked and burnt manner that it made an art form out of just teetering on the edge of falling apart altogether. It’s a miracle it was ever played and recorded, let alone released for Speed, Glue & Shinki were loose cannons on the loosest ship of the loosest navy ever and seemed more like three stringless kites that soared so high upon the currents of Rock they never came down. Nothing was ever a big deal for these guys, they were so damn loose.

Speed, Glue & Shinki were a highly unorthodox trio comprised of three rock’n’roll kings of oblivion disguised as Pacific Rim gipsy mongrels who already had spent nearly a decade apiece performing a succession of groups and loose musical configurations. Previous bassist Masayoshi “Ruiseruis” Kabe had spent several years in the successful Group Sounds outfit The Golden Cups before subsequently joining fellow Yokohama native, guitarist Shinki Chen, in the premier Japanese supergroup Food Brain. And Shinki himself had cut his teeth in innumerable blues-based bands, the “New Rock” group Power House and many sporadic live jam sessions. By the end of 1970, Shinki quickly recorded his solo album “Shinki Chen & Friends” with various Power House members and included Kabe on bass on the album’s one true classic: the distended, 13-minute freak out, “Farewell To Hypocrites.” By this time, Shinki had already checked out Zero History, a Filipino quartet hired to perform in a circuit of Tokyo department stores. Although their repertoire was primarily cover versions of psychedelic top ten hits, it was the unforgettable power of longhaired vocalist/drummer Joey Smith who caught Shinki’s attention. Shinki performed several times with Zero History, and once Food Brain was no longer a going concern, Shinki invited Smith to form a band. Once Kabe was tracked down, the trio was complete. Smith’s pedigree went as far back as the late fifties performing as vocalist, drummer and sometimes both through a succession of popular Filipino rock’n’roll bands that were virtually all but unknown outside The Philippines. The best-known were The Downbeats, who scored a coveted opening slot for The Beatles at their notorious concert in Manila on July 4, 1966. And Smith’s vocals grew to be a yammer of a soul hammer while his drum fills were deft, hit hard and oftentimes spun out exaggeratedly as if replicating the sound of a sack of potatoes being flung down a corridor lined with floor toms and set-up crash cymbals and laced with extra volleys of spud-lobbing galore.

And on “Speed, Glue & Shinki” it was different kettle of mess boiling all over the kitchen to match the Little Rascals’ surprise cake, for the group were augmented by a further trio of musicians; the most prominent of which was drummer/vocalist Joey Smith’s longtime friend and bandmate Michael Hanopol, brought in to replace original bassist Masayoshi “Glue” Kabe at the onset of the album’s recording. It would be an inspired choice as Hanopol not only evenly matched Smith’s contributions song for song and brought to the shebang heavy bass, heavier vocals and the heaviest lyrics for tracks of the heaviest sludge properties, but also contributed occasional keyboards and even co-wrote side four’s synthesizer suite with Smith. And as the new Glue in town, Hanopol helped drive the band to their very outermost limits: igniting Shinki’s guitar playing to unlock his inner Jimi and through his re-connection with his previous Filipino Rock Brother No. 1, drove the drumming, lyrics and (especially) the vocals of Joey Smith right up the wall, and into an overall lower, larynx strangulating register.

When the world tries to make one feel meaningless of life, to join their robot parade, crank the music of the hard rock idiom loud to chase bad vibes off the cliff and reinforce inner fortress of mind, heart, spirit. For too soon are we all crushed into dust. Live we must. Love we trust. Hate is a bust. Break the crust. Blow out the must. Shake off rust. Pant with lust. Woman is all inside, outside log waits to jam up inside cream with flesh rag and dance continues. The people of big hassle remain balcony hidden with cheat masks of extra bad actor faceless like a sore crack in hell.

The air becomes heavy: feeling the energy which it tries probably to create good ones. The vigor fullest capacity is with the sound, which overflows. Rock soul is felt in the performance which is made dark slippery. When such dark sound is decided, it becomes the pleasant sensation which is hard to change into many things -- In the vocal which is approached to the force perfect score darkly with thick voice; it is the case that the timbre of the functional guitar keeps being covered. Speed, Glue & Shinki have something to say, and say it over and over to make it stick. And it would, anyway: Woman do Joey wrong, so he sings pain how it is. You know. Terror you want no one to know, and tears well in your heart to stretch out time to infinity between minute and second hands of heart clock within and nothing familiar seems real or comfort provide as life merges into constant corner of crushing no change where once was only life: sun; with face. Then rain, on your head and all free forever.

Tiger Album the FirstSides 1&2 of Tiger Album the First starts off with sniffing, snorting and overall gleeful knocking stuff all over the place during a bargain basement jumble in the dark for “Sniffin’ & Snortin’ Pt. 1 (Vitamine C)” barges in and kicks down the door with a sonic moronic display driven off the edge with Shinki’s buzz-sawn-off Chuck Berry riffing shot up with immediate stomp appeal and Joey Smith’s lead foot kick drum stepping on the gas and bashing out at all around him...And to think that this is only a warm-up exercise for once the faders and mental house lights go up on “Run And Hide,” the band are firing on all cylinders at once, cutting loose like a retarded version of “The Immigrant Song.” Backwards. And slowed to 8rpm. Minus a handful of random notes. Sort of. Cradled in woman’s arms and your broken head. Forever. Joey sings like he plays drums; crude and willful to make a stand for himself and the people in the streets (IN THE STREETS!) but not bitter: rather, knowing ultimately of compassion not himself only but for all living things and none surviving impact of tsunami culture war but for all living things and no surviving brain cells. Shinki Chen rips and tears through the track like Food Brain LP never was but only looked: charging drunken elephant sleeve with big tease Amon Düül the Second gatefold masking a dozen overplayed Zoot Money overdrafts from the Hammond B-3 bank. Over-amplified bass dump from Kabe and Shinki’s alternating buzzsaw rhythm and multi-dubbed soloing like tattooed brain of small but effective “Electric Ladyland” detailing in both production and guitar. “Give us back the night..!” barks out Joey into the impending dusk, the sinking sun and the dying embers of old land.

The first of Michael Hanopol’s contributions enters with “Bad Woman”, setting Speed, Glue & Shinki off into West, Pappalardi & Laing territory but with half the calories, the map being read upside down and topped off with the stinky tiara of “Mississippi Queen” and Hanopol handling the Steve Knight role on organ. And with its Leslie (!) speaker-filtered guitar solo, tops off an already overqualified Mountain metaphor about as unwieldy as the Les Weinstein of old hisself. Hanopol lets loose a bevy of insane bass propulsions near the coda, and it’s equally weird that this is the sole song of Hanopol’s that Smith sings -- and in his newfound slow and strained, near-Louis Armstrong holler.

“Red Doll” is another Hanopol composition, performed at the speed of burning barge and oozing kooze with Hanopol on accompanying spook-o-rama spidery organ fills following his overdubbed bass propulsions following Joey Smith’s raining blows of sticks upon his tiny kit, clearing a 2mph riff and drumming to approximate a desert belly crawl with no oasis sighted for days and at the speed of surgery at the pace of exhaustion that presses on regardless. In all certainty, if it stopped for one moment to think it would perish outright. Shinki tosses in a Leslie-fed guitar solo, flanked by Smith’s errant drum fills that always fling themselves just across the tempo’s finish line every damn time. And although sung by Hanopol, the character here is Joey, for:

I always imagined Red Doll is ginger lady Joey walks to over his bed to kiss naked and only he cares and Joey and her both know but no bother for Speed brother. Red sister and Joey draw together and big bang later make them both go dead to disperse bad world silt from their ocean souls. They want whole world to get tired so they sleep in each others hair and walk better as people. You kiss a red hair sister and hair fire shoots into your belly and her body lays fine and two breast shine below only moonlight attic window in Joey’s crash pad. It’s dark and next morning not so and Joey smokes big cigarette to make things whole and light again. Red woman is circle unbroken for Joey. Not clean, but cleansed. Apple woman she says take a bite, my wound is your head inside, then we fall. Fire in the darkness from red sister spark cream delight inside. Rejoice. Joey Smith: motherfucker drummer with two team totem pole sticks twice as big as wood, looking through the knothole of goddess unblinking and rolling a jay. Heaving big log in forest of silence only he hears, up against open seam of woman and push into love dish of sugar outside in the rain. Stay and awake the stamen.

Album side the Second of Album No. One begins with a gradual build of super-phased drumming that projects outward through a massive mushroom cloud exhalation of cannabis sativa and they’re off and walking through “Flat Fret Swing.” Joey’s vocals once more swell like a big Louis Armstrong (and a little headstrong Mark E. Smith) soul holler lodged in the throat against the horizontal, mid-tempo backing. Joey’s trying to get his head together for the umpteenth time, and the greatest lines of the album are: “And leave all the miseries behind me/Cradle all of the good things in mind...” Joey’s thinking things over and hanging out, making air whistle out of his head and trying to figure out how to get up off the floor and leave so he can get back once more to some more good times. At first listen, I never thought too much of this track, but it’s now grown to anthem proportions in my head. Forever.

A reprise of the opener, “Sniffin’ & Snortin’ Pt. 2 (Vitamine C)” follows and bears about as much resemblance to the version on the previous side as the two versions of “Revolution” by The Beatles...Which is to say, they’re night and day and this one’s high noon and with a far wilder speed differential to and all the while continually cops successive quick feels off of Jimi’s “Come On (Part 1).” It’s probably Masayoshi Kabe pounding out the bass here, for his style always easily reached those rave up qualities of an amphetamine’d Paul Samwell-Smith channeling through Jack Bruce’s amplification. As it races into hyperspace stereo “War Pigs” tape-sped warp conclusion, the soothing Shinki Chen instrumental “Don’t Say No” wafts in like a summer breeze through opened window. In your head. Forever. Shinki collaborates here with drummer Hiroshi Oguchi and keyboardist Shigeki Watanabe (two musicians he’d team up with the following year in the short-lived and unrecorded band, Orange.) It gathers together becalmed organ buoyancy floating above the surface of low slung bass, drums as a wordless wail of content melodiously sounds over the instrumental’s slow and measured paces like “Careful With That Axe, Eugene” in dub and capturing that same heartfelt sense of farewell Steve Winwood channeled through his organ playing so poignantly well on “Sea of Joy.” It approximates that feeling of being suddenly caught within the cool shadow of a huge, dark and imperceptibly moving cloud formation on an otherwise clear and sunny day. Oddly, there’s only one appearance from Shinki’s guitar here and it is a single, small but perfectly placed overdubbed ‘woman tone’ solo -- inserted like a perfect crystal within this organically framed setting.

The entire scene turns upside down with the entry of “Calm Down” as wave upon wave of crazily hit fills and cymbals part for a two-toned BRAANNGGG-INGGG guitar to steam shoveling all to the side in its wake all silence up against the wall and out of existence. Guitar tone is a loud and bronzed blur, fried from the sun, hallucinogens and who the fuck knows what else. Tremendous wah-wah guitar from Shinki over a second fuzz rhythm combined with Hanopol’s piledriving bass with a vocal delivery that sidles right up against the rhythm and feels it up just to get off. Here, my mind is already drowning in all the colours, especially with a musical bridge cut from the most rudimentary material I’ve ever heard. Giddily, the song falls away and into a drum solo like no other: Namely, taking its fucking time taking a major tumble down a ravine while going out of its way to hit as many branches, boulders and rocky outcroppings as possible before finally landing crumpled on the valley floor two miles down.

Tiger Album No. TwoSides 3&4 of Tiger LP No. Two begins with a word from behind the now streaming, sweaty and belaboured kit of Smith after downing a long, tall cool one. Smacking his lips, he do declare “That’s the best wine I’ve ever tasted” and he’s already crashed into his cymbals, prefaced with another quick drum roll and is already headlong into his Armstrong-along-60-second-long holler, “Doodle Song.” After which, they just grease most of the album side out in the most wrecked and transcendental way possible. Smith calls out to regroup with a “Right!” “Yeah!” and “Ya ready?” and they break directly into the epic “Search For Love.” Oh, Motherfucker. What a track. The running time sez 8:44, which is ridiculous: for time seems all but suspended for the duration of the raging depths of this howling, sprawling track. The intro to “Moby Dick” off “Zeppelin Album No. One” is all but hustled roughly into a burlap sack with the drum solo thrown off the back of the Speed, Glue & Shinki 18-wheeler as they head steaming down the highway on 24 hour beaver patrol: But at 80mph in fourth gear with their collective scroti dragging behind them alongside a case of empty Sapporo beer cans and 12 drained plastic gallon jugs of Happy Sunshine cough mixture marked ‘For Institutional Use Only’; set off by two oversized silver foil pinwheels that catch, refract and shine into all eyes of creation sun’s bright rays of illuminated genius at the gates of dusk as impromptu sunspots get caused by residual white powder still alighting on the surface from the previous night’s snort-sesh. The main part is hazardously heavy and simple and Hanopol brays out the vocals swaggering all the way. All else cuts out during the guitar solo number 1: overlaid with the very same number 1 and staggered directly at the only point where it could and does extend into a 3D topographic mind map of the DNA emotion spiral in ancient memory banks’ nighttime deposits of the contact high as exquisitely overdriven bass amplitudes in a howling buzz discharged from the belching innards of Rock Behemoth until all fades out to leave Shinki alone perched upon a cloud with his guitar, plugging into the rising sun rays extending from behind as they exchange complimentary, throbbing hues and using them as amplification. It all vanishes like the techincolour daydream it is, awakening back to the “Moby Dick”-ed up introduction and the vocals. Bass resounds, thunder craps, rain and wind storm and through this weather pattern breaks through another insane guitar solo. Out cuts a trap door from within and TADA out falls Joey Smith still rapping out his spastically insistent drum heads while Pinoy brother Michael brays out his will to get woman, get high, get good and stoked and fucked. Enter guitar solo two number up causing heavens to thunder and split and crack open with rain to make the parched drains green with moss and make love grow in one’s head, body caught in uncontrollable shudder, to shake your brains to the core, body to the mantle and spirit out of baked seasonal crust. Dough girl smiles from within, winking. Me, too...a pinky. Thunderclaps drown it out as crickets and other mossy denizens resound in humid black air.

Dropping in for a brief, mood-breaking baroque keyboard not unlike the “Lake Isle of Innisfree” upchuck on Sir Lord Baltimore’s “Kingdom Come” is the nonplussing “Chuppy.” This hiccough sounds nothing like the rest of the album and is a saccharine-sweet nightmare performed on cembalo; a keyboard that looks like a spinet (apparently), sounds like a harpsichord and is entirely incongruous to its surroundings. The only annoying moment of the album, “Chuppy” is light years away in approach from Shigeki Watanabe’s far more subtle and unstudied keyboard performance on “Don’t Say No.”

“Wanna Take You Home” commences as the final blare’n’bump’n’grind of the album, as well as being the slowest moment of the album outside of the near-standstill “Red Doll.” Originally written and recorded in 1969 by the obscure San Franciscan trio Fields as “Take You Home,” here it’s appropriated by Speed, Glue, Shinki & Friends, which is more than all right: ‘Specially as Fields’ version was nothing less than taking Cream’s cover of Albert “Flying V” King’s “Born Under A Bad Sign”, dropping a few notes, adding new lyrics and PRESTO came up with this bird-doggin’ come-on supreme for all the sweet young things of heaving nubile bosom with stars in their eyes at their West Coast ballroom gigs opening for John Mayall (This track would also spill over into a third version by Juan de la Cruz, the Filipino power trio Smith would form the following year back home with Hanopol and guitarist Wally Gonzalez.) The Blue Cheer sand in the grease grinding of the original is greatly adhered to, especially since it was already such an integral part of Speed, Glue & Shinki’s lexicon of sound and a long lost cousin that they could’ve written, anyway. Michael Hanopol, with a fantastic sense of the appropriate and appropriation judged it as worthy noise to work into the loose collage that is this huge and expansive double album. Because:

Where there’s nothing left and day is caught darkness on its tail, the last people left waiting dazed are collected up and into black drug pit at nighttime Texas Pop Festival ’69 when Zeps unfurl “Dazed And Confused” for people who forgot their name yet remember nighttime soul and no hangnail hang-ups on monkey’s uncle backside besides. Evening is balm to head, silence no longer crazy and no mystery any longer left: so Joey Smith reminds heaven and earth through tinny portable sounds Grundig machine and he grokks and all are zonked as well: remembering their reason for being by taking a form under circling sun so many times half in darkness left.

Completing an ingenious album that is one of the best records of the hard rock idiom stoned emperor 100 percent comes the run-on suite of “Sun”/“Planets”/“Life”/“Moon” and “Song For An Angel” performed on Moog synthesizer for Side four’s entire seventeen minute duration. A lift-off from all earthly desires prostrate on the floor as a series of charged electronic trajectories waft and smear together. Even on Moog synthesizer, Joey Smith makes it as Rock as his vocals, drumming and guitar playing because his attitude is so strong, careless and perfect, discharging a slow motion round of rocket launchings, pink noise twittering and knuckle dragging undertows as the air-locked elevation of soul continues to jettison all with Moog starship to lift-off beyond prefecture of asteroid, stratospheric inner space where neurons circle and spark brain coral of interior pink neon to litter all around sensation’s head quarters to ultimate collision with your only self. Self and soul unite. In your head. Forever.