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3 June 2013
Richard Kneeland
Now Playing: Creation Of Sunlight
Topic: Addition

Here's a recent discovery (I think) that was recommended to me by a rare LP dealer, and not without reason.

Present Your Errors 1976 (Gothic Records NCR 12--1171) 

Right out of Bobb Trimble country, except a few years earlier, comes young master Kneeland, who despite his youth has enough tricks up his sleeve to keep the listener intrigued. At first the album seemed kind of disjointed in its mix of singer-songwriter and atmospheric instrumentals, and there was no obvious 'signature' song to grab onto as an initial reference point either. Yet something in there demanded repeat plays, and I ended up keeping the disc on my turntable for a couple of days, flipping it over and over for scrutiny or simply to enjoy. It's familiar terrain for '70s private press collectors, a semi-electric production with guitar-picking, bass but no drums, and occasional flute and Arp synth supporting Kneeland's rather agreeable voice, or in the case of the instrumentals, successfully instilling a thoughtful nocturnal mood. The vibe I get is a college student home for Christmas sitting in his old room and brooding over the past and the present--it's not neurotic or suicidal but a more complex, reflective state of mind. Kneeland's self-confidence carries the album and allows him to open side 1 with a nonsensical little instrumental ditty, and there are quirky moments scattered throughout that keeps one guessing. Soundwise it could be compared to Carl Erdmann for the instrumental passages, while the dominating s-sw style reminds me a bit of Communication 1, or a more experimental and less rootsy Millard & Dyce. Most of all it simply sounds like Richard Kneeland, and if you're like me you will award it enough spins needed to get to know him. It's clearly better than something like Chris Yates, and as good or slightly better than Carl Hakansson. Specialists in local s-sw and moody '70s private press albums need to check this out. The cover is pretty amusing and contributes to the clever, slightly ironic impression of the artist (who also reported the press size in an internet post). [PL]

Posted by Patrick at Lysergia at 22:50 MEST
Updated: 19 December 2013 20:21 CET
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1 June 2013
30 Years of Being Ugly!
Now Playing: Richard Kneeland LP
Topic: Minor change or comment

A note now to champion the 30-year anniversary of the leading '60s-oriented fanzine in the world, Mike Stax' UGLY THINGS. Those who know the zine well are likely to have noticed the grand celebrations recently held in honor of this great publication, with everyone from '60s pop stars to '90s neo-moptops paying tribute.

As testified in some of the articles I've written about the garage scene of the mid-1980s, Ugly Things has been a big deal to me personally, first inspiring and guiding me as a moptopped teenager, and more recently allowing space for several of my reviews and articles (the Mel Lyman piece in #22 was my first, the Perth County Conspiracy in #30 the most recent). Founder and editor Mike Stax has been encouraging throughout, and as you might guess, becoming a writer for a magazine that had been a formative influence in one's youth is a slightly surreal experience.

Most timely, the new Ugly Things issue is out, as big, comprehensive and cool as ever. I managed to close a cycle by reviewing a retrospective LP with the infamous Stockholm garage punks the Crimson Shadows, i e: the same guys that I idolized (and soon got to know) at the very same time that I first discovered Ugly Things magazine! Whether it's 1985 or 2013 doesn't matter, Mike Stax and his creation make their benign presence felt in my life.

Posted by Patrick at Lysergia at 21:51 MEST
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19 May 2013
Mystery EP 'The American'
Now Playing: The Ones on Ashwood House
Topic: Addition

This has to be one of the most obscure items ever in my possession. I spotted it on eBay a couple of years ago with no info attached, but the seller's suggestion that 'one track sounds like David Crosby' was enough for me to take a shot. Scrutinizing the record and the other material clarifies a thing or two, but I've been unable to find any references to this at all.

So what is it? Well, first there's a sturdy, black outer slipcase in roughly quarto format, showing a big sun which turns out to be an orange-tinted image of a meditating hippie. The slipcase holds a printed magazine whose cover at first glance seems to be completely blank. Looking closer one can make out the words 'THE AMERICAN' embossed in white-on-white, and at another spot is a printed serial number. This may sound very much like The Beatles' White Album, which obviously is the intention. Looking for production year yields an early 1970 date from various clues, making the White Album reference seem a bit dated.

The magazine, apparently called 'The American', turns out to be a typical college yearbook thing from an obviously free-spirited, or even anarchaic instititution. It's a thick, generous mag with nice print quality, though only black and white. The contents are the usual mixture of poetry, political rallying calls, absurd prose snips, underground comics and similar brainstorms from any and all students who wanted to take part. I've gone over it cursory and saw nothing that seemed particularly different or psychedelic. The most interesting question is the geographical origins, which wasn't entirely easy to figure out. From what I gathered I am however pretty sure that this emanates from The American University in Washington DC.

Now, here's what's really interesting, and the reason I bought this. Along with the year-book came a 33 rpm flexi-disc featuring three tracks. The credits are scant, but a couple of names overlap with the staff at the college magazine, so it's obviously a campus production. The appearance of the text 'The American' seals any doubts on its relationship to the slipcase and magazine, into which it was slipped when I found it. Although the two clearly belong together, there is no reference in the magazine to the flexi disc, from what I can see.

In any event, the flexi comes housed in a rather attractive monochrome art sleeve which is full of nicely drawn mushrooms, palm tree-size cannabis plants and some psychedelic patterns. The back cover is blank. The flexi disc itself is two-sided and credits 'Earth Matrix Ltd' as the (probably fictious) label. Side 1 has two shorter tracks, clocking in at a total of 6.5 minutes, while side 2 has one long track of almost exactly the same length, suggesting that this may have been a technical limit set for the flexi production.

Now, I wouldn't have bothered writing any of this if the music had turned out to be some generic, mediocre campus folk thing. Luckily it is not, although the second track on side 1 fails to breathe any particular life into the IRA folk hymn "The Patriot Game", the melody which Bobby Dylan borrowed for "With God On Our Side". Preceding it we get "Come Into My Garden" credited to Susan Manning, a risqué, or more precisely downright dirty little Judy Collins parody featuring various sexual invites from Ms Manning. I wonder how her friends reacted when they heard her gladly proclaiming that the visitor could well "enter through the rear gate". Let us hope her parents were kept unaware of this special class project of Susan's.

OK, so side 1 is student zeitgeist nonsense, but what it's really all about is the long track on side 2, the one that was said to sound like David Crosby. Well, in short, it does sound like David Crosby, his late '60s mood of flowing oceanic hippie psych mystique to be precise. I've uploaded a 75-second clip so you can get an idea about this number, which is titled "Gently All Around (Warmth)" and credited to one Wall Matthews with assistance (probably second guitar) by a Mac Walter. None of these names appear in The American magazine, or on the tracks on side 1. So the mystery is at its thickest just where the music is the best, a phenomena familiar to many veteran record collectors. There is a tempo shift with an intense acoustic guitar break before the Crosby ocean flow returns and the song ends. Due to this being a flexi the sound isn't all that great, but all in all this is one of the more interesting things I've found of late. In terms of obscurity few can top it, so if you know anything about this artefact or the people involved, please post a comment below and I'll contact you.

The American 1970 (Earth Matrix Ltd)
  [33 rpm 7" 2-sided flexi]
Songs credited as follows: "Come Into My Garden" featuring Susan Manning; "The Patriot Game" featuring Jack Purdy, David Taylor & Donald Colwell; "Gently All Around" featuring Wall Matthews with Mac Walter.  [PL]

Is that you, Susan Manning? And is this me?

Posted by Patrick at Lysergia at 00:41 MEST
Updated: 19 December 2013 20:23 CET
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13 May 2013
Art Of The Gifted
Now Playing: "Albedo", ambient sampler on Ultimae
Topic: Addition

I wrote about this on the Waxidermy several years ago, and it keeps popping up now and then so I figured I'd recycle it here within the Acid Archives domains, even if it violates the time constraints.

Art Of The Gifted 1988 (no label)


There’s lots of records by crazy people out there, but albums made by real mental patients are considerably fewer. Here’s one, recorded in 1985 by clients at various mental health facilities in Colorado. The project was the brainchild of Dr Alan Melinger, who also inserted a few numbers of his own creation into the mix. This is less odd than it may seem, as he had been in noted '60s Texas bands the Iguanas and Endle St Cloud (IA). His tracks lean towards an unexceptional '80s Springsteen/Bon Jovi muscle rock sound, and include the 45 pick “Live For A Friend”, composed and sung by the bearded Dr Melinger. However, two thirds of the album consist of creative outpourings from patients, and some of these are rather remarkable. “Secret Of The Night” is dark singer/songwriter with an instant appeal, while “We Too Care” is a spoken word female lament over moody keyboard backdrops, reminding us that people with mental problems also care about things such as Christmas. Then there is the “State Hospital Tune” by one Jean M, and here we enter some truly strange domains. In a somewhat toneless voice, Miss M delivers a rhymed poem which mentions a lot of her psychiatrists by name, and not all that respectfully either, followed by strange narrative jumps and 30 seconds of French chanson singing. As often within the field, it’s hard to tell where irony ends and true pathology begins. Before the therapy project had been completed the 38-year old Dr Melinger died of a heart attack. Out of respect for his efforts, the album was pressed up and released privately in 1988. Oddly, the cover opens at the top rather than on the right. Here you can find some snips from the LP. [PL]

ADDENDUM I (with special thanks to Rockadelic Rich)
As we discovered while looking into this rarely seen LP, Alan Melinger was a former member of Texan 60s garage legends the Iguanas (“I can only give you everything”; “Black Suit”), after which he joined Endle St Cloud, who released a circa 1970 album on International Artists (of 13th Floor Elevators fame). It seems that he in fact was Endle St Cloud. In a 1984 garage fanzine interview he testified on being strongly influenced by the Elevators during his Iguanas tenure. He had also been the owner of a 6-foot Iguana which named the band. At one concert he held the iguana by its tail and swung it over his head, but it slipped out of his grip and flew out into the audience. The Art Of The Gifted back cover obituary contains no such information.

After Mr Show'n'tell helpfully assisted in hooking us up with Alan Melinger's partner in the Art Of The Gifted project, Dr Dave Babak, some new info came to light and the few remaining copies (5) were aquired for the fringe collector market. The record is not for everyone but remains unique, with must-hear peaks in the two tracks on side 1 mentioned in the review. Since then, Dave Babak too has passed away.

R.I.P Alan Melinger and Dave Babak.

Posted by Patrick at Lysergia at 15:42 MEST
Updated: 13 May 2013 15:46 MEST
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7 May 2013
Akashic Readings from The Eternal Now (part 1)
Now Playing: Paul Revere & The Raiders old mix-tape
Topic: Minor change or comment

As I mentioned earlier I used to run The Eternal Now, a webpage column (or blog) long before blogs existed, and over its 7-8 years in existence quite a bit of esoteric information appeared there. The page is still up and will remain so, as a kind of Akashic Library, but I intend to recycle some of the more interesting tidbits from there into this current blog. Not all of it will be immediately Acid Archives-related, but all of it will be immediately psychedelic.

from The Eternal Now, 2004:
...Moving upwards and then to the right we end up in Oakland, where a bunch of heads known as DIRTY FILTHY MUD held the population hostage with strange sci-fi music and even stranger behavior... their "Forest Of Black" 45 is one of the freakiest and most highly rated acid music 45s of all time, and thanks to info provided by Dave Baldwin I am able to reveal the following: 1) the blurry color design of their art sleeve is in fact a flashlight shining through a hippie shirt; 2) the band cut a whole bunch of unreleased tunes, incl an 11-minute version of "Forest Of Black" with acid guitar leads throughout... aargh... 3) the band were buddies with none other than the 13th FLOOR ELEVATORS during their Bay Area stay (Fall'66), and the amazing oscillator fx on "Forest" were in fact a tribute to TOMMY HALL's psychedelic jug... speaking of the Elevators, the wellknown "Avalon '66" tape that has been bootlegged by everyone and his attorney since 1978 derives from a broadcast of old ballroom live tapes on KSAN in the Bay Area; first mention of the Elevators tape I've seen comes from early 1978, suggesting the broadcast happened in late 1977; anyone know for sure?... the Elevators were just one of many vintage psych-era tapes broadcast by KSAN, and despite being traded for 25 years now most of these have never been properly released and they include killer stuff like '66 ragarock by the FINAL SOLUTION... [since then, the Avalon recording has of course been legitimately released on the British box-sets, via a tape provided by me to Elevators caretaker Paul Drummond]

Posted by Patrick at Lysergia at 23:24 MEST
Updated: 7 May 2013 23:27 MEST
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Phantasia & Phiphth Pipe Dream
Now Playing: Kris Kylven & Syb-Sonic "Forgotten Souls" xlnt psybient
Topic: Minor change or comment

A couple of quick but vital points... one of the oft-mentioned but hardly ever seen stickers that was supposed to come with the classic Fifth Pipe Dream sampler finally popped up, not exactly a feast for the eyes but cool to finally see. 

I think there is another one in another color, and there are definitely promo stickers in the same 'series' for Tripsichord Music Box and other Katz sweatshop acidrockers. 

Regarding Phantasia, noted collector Juan in Spain points out that his copy of the rather severe Graal that is their first demo LP comes with a lyric sheet insert. This is not mentioned in the Acid Archives book, and I'm unsure whether all or just some of the copies found included this lyric sheet. The tracking story of Phantasia, if I remember correctly, is that the main Ton Um Ton guy in Austria found the band some time around 1990, and extracted a few remaining copies of the 2-sided and 1-sided demo albums, which were then sold to well-heeled European collectors. Very few copies have been seen since, and in view of the reported 25-copy pressing, won't be seen either. You know the music, of course... here's side 1 of the lyric insert so you can sing along to "Transparent Face".

Posted by Patrick at Lysergia at 00:10 MEST
Updated: 7 May 2013 00:12 MEST
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5 May 2013
The Name That Tune 2013 Contest has begun !
Now Playing: Juventus celebrating a new scudetto
Topic: Minor change or comment

Following last week's Lesser Mysteries, we have now unveiled the full trip of the Greater Mysteries. The Name That Tune website contains all the vital information and music you need to join the contest. $100s of dollars and some great records can be yours, if you can Name That Tune!

Posted by Patrick at Lysergia at 16:57 MEST
Updated: 5 May 2013 16:58 MEST
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3 May 2013
Now Playing: Tourniquet
Topic: New review

This obscure late '70s release on the haunted RPC custom label appears in the Acid Archives 2nd Edition with what is basically a place-holder entry, as we were unable to find a copy or dub thereof. At long last a helpful collector forwarded me a rip, so here goes:

You never know what you're going to get on RPC, and if anything the diversity among the releases seemed to get ever greater as the years passed. From the final days you have things like fringe boner Tone The Bone and the seriously timewarped MHS Rock, and you also have the oddly named Tourniquet. It took several plays for me to wrap my head around this album, not because it is particularly strange, but because it doesn't sound like a custom label disc at all. To begin with, it sounds fairly professional; not quite major label-worthy, but with more time in the studio these guys could probably have worked out the wrinkles (some weak vocals and less than ideal mixing). For the most part Tourniquet sounds like one of those new wave-era bands who could pull almost anything out of the hat and sneak it past the trend jury, as it was modern and genreless enough to seem "OK". So, depending on your politics and mood, Tourniquet sound either like a  melodic AOR band or ambitious power-poppers. There's plenty of guitar in the mix, some of it pretty edgy, and also strongly late '70s/early '80s-flavored keyboard (and synth) used mainly for embellishments to the succinct, guitar-driven tracks. The vocals, some solo and some ensemble, are generally pretty good and adequate to the musical style. The lyrics have enough quirky personality to grab your attention after a few plays (I particularly enjoy the second track and it's sugary "You're boring, boring" chorus), and give a certain identity to a disc which runs the risk of sounding like an imitation of a trendy major label band, c1979. My mind wanders towards things like Sniff'n The Tears or the Motors, but it's more a generic period style than anything else. What confused me most were a couple of tracks that sounded quite different from the rest, such as a '60s-flavored number with fine female vocals that pops up out of nowhere (Blondie-inspired?), and two heartfelt ballads with keyboards upfront. The diversity briefly had me thinking of a various artist album like North County Rock Association, but ultimately I think it's clear that Tourniquet is the product of 2-3 guys in New Jersey, who may have recorded this primarily as a demo album; at least that's what it sounds like. One of the main guys apparently received some encouraging feedback from hip UK record label Stiff, which seems reasonable given the modern (for the time) sound and respectable songwriting heard on the album. Some interest in the power-pop/new wave axis is required; despite its utter obscurity there is nothing psychedelic or underground about this. [PL]


Together with a local NYC collector I've attempted to contact the Tourniquet guys, and while they all seem to live in the New Jersey area, no response came to our inquiries.

Posted by Patrick at Lysergia at 21:21 MEST
Updated: 7 May 2013 23:28 MEST
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1 May 2013
Mystery Image Unmasked!
Now Playing: Eclipse (US 1983)
Topic: Minor change or comment
And here it is, the entire mystery image unmasked! I had intended to award 1 point of good karma to a single winner, but as it turned out the point will be split between Paul Glavin (who right off the bat guessed right on the content) and Ian Johnson (who first deciphered the key texts). 0.5 karmic points to Paul and Ian each. These may come in handy when the actual Name That Tune competition begins. More on this soon...

Posted by Patrick at Lysergia at 19:02 MEST
Updated: 1 May 2013 19:04 MEST
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30 April 2013
Charlie Bleak / Hoi Polloi 45
Now Playing: Charlie Bleak 45
Topic: Minor change or comment

For more than 10 years we at Lysergia have championed Ohio's Charlie Bleak as an undiscovered talent of national magnitude, and it's pleasing to see the persistent interest in both Bleak and the Hoi Polloi LP, which will see a vinyl reissue shortly.

For Charlie Bleak (pronounced like 'Blake') the Hoi Polloi project at Earlham College was just one stop in a long and varied musical career that began in the '60s garage era. Some day, maybe not too far in the future, I suspect that it will all be excavated and documented with the attention it deserves, preferrably by some young musicologist in the Ohio/Indiana area. While waiting for that I keep chipping away at my archivist contributions, from which now a useful addition can be reported. After reading some years back that Charlie Bleak had some session hours logged at the Owl studio where several Ohio artists recorded, I figured there might be a release somewhere between Hoi Polloi (1972) and Bleak's mainstream album Let Me In (1976). And indeed there was, more precisely a 45 which was recorded locally and self-released by Charlie, with a picture sleeve even. I was lucky to find a copy fast once I knew what to look for, and here it is.

The presumed A-side "Love Is On The Way" is melodic '70s pop with a breezy feel, very much in the McCartney mode where one often finds Bleak as well as other local '70s talents. It's a well-written, well-arranged song which is so succinct in its action that it only lasts 90 seconds! It still has all the elements of a 3-minute pop song, which tells you something about Bleak's modus operandi. Both verse and chorus are agreeably catchy without being silly, I just wish there was a bridge section so one could enjoy it a little longer. The B-side "Never You Mind" is a longer song that leans more towards a CSN type dreamy westcoast vocal harmony sound, and none the worse for that. Not as radio-friendly upbeat as the A-side but for a 2013 listener, about as good. In short, Bleak does not disappoint with this 45, but confirms his standing as a terrific songwriter and all-around music pro, seeing as how he both arranged and produced both tracks. Anyone smitten with his Earlham College work will want to add this 45 to the collection, at least until that groundbreaking Bleak retrospective album comes around some day.

A final note, unless I've mentioned this already--the story on how Bleak came to play bass (under an alias) on the One St Stephen LP is that they lived in the same building and Charlie got tired of hearing 'Stephen' rehearsing the same tracks over and over, so he brought him to Owl studios to get the songs out of his system and on to vinyl.

Posted by Patrick at Lysergia at 00:54 MEST
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28 April 2013
Preparation for the Mystery Rites -- have a guess!
Now Playing: Torino-Juventus
Topic: Minor change or comment
Taking a break from interviewing Merrell Fankhauser (aye) in order to present the blog readers with a little mystery that I've concocted. This mystery is in itself the prologue to a much bigger mystery which will be presented in time. For now, the game begins with the Lesser Mystery:

Every day in this coming week I will post 4 different parts of the same image. These parts are like pieces of a puzzle where the full image is unseen and unknown. As new parts of the image are added each day, the complete picture gradually becomes more clear. Once it is entirely clear, it will signal the beginning of the Greater Mystery.
If you can post a reasonably accurate guess as to what the picture contains, you will be awarded a bonus point which can be very valuable in the next and much heavier part of the Mystery.

 (note: if the 'post comment' option doesn't work, send me an e-mail at renaissancefair*, replacing the * with @).

This countdown will continue for a week, beginning now. And remember, future events such as these will affect your life in the future.

Countdown Image part 1:

Posted by Patrick at Lysergia at 16:12 MEST
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17 April 2013
Morly Grey counterfeit deconstructed
Now Playing: Morly Grey
Topic: Minor change or comment

Inspired by a recent internet discussion I decided to try and put an end to the old wives tale about the Morly Grey counterfeit once and for all. This is addressed in the Acid Archives book, but pictures speak louder than words.

Posted by Patrick at Lysergia at 23:18 MEST
Updated: 17 April 2013 23:37 MEST
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15 April 2013
Riverson redux with no resolution
Now Playing: Ishq "Orchid"
Topic: Minor change or comment

As a final nail in the coffin for my neat theory regarding the manufacturing defect and the two different pressings of Canada's RIVERSON, my German connection now says that copies of the earlier '360 label' pressing do exist without the defect on S1T6; this was further verified by another European collector.

So basically we're back at square 1, but a good deal of confirmed data has nevertheless been produced. Riverson exists in two different pressings, but these both came from the same stamper, and the 'repeat skip' (or 'stick') error can be found with copies from both the first and the second pressing. Conversely, copies without this defect can also be found with both pressings, and this leaves the collector with the only option to actually play the disc in order to determine if the repeat skip is present (it is not visible to the eye).

Scroll down a few pages for more on this affair, but what you just read here represents the most recent word on the matter.

Posted by Patrick at Lysergia at 22:47 MEST
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4 April 2013
Now Playing: Hay! Kelly!
Topic: Addition

This one is not in the AA at all but clearly belongs, even without the recently observed $300+ going rate.

BLUEBYRD (White Bear Lake, MN)
Sweet Thoughts 197  (no label MT 1501)

An obscure private press with an unusual and attractive sound for local early '70s trips, the all-male Bluebyrd quartet delight the listener with a moody folk-pop sound seemingly rooted in the mid-'60s stylings of Peter & Gordon and Simon & Garfunkel. Recorded mainly as a demo for a studio project, the emphasis is on the songwriting and the vocal harmonies, both of which are quite attractive. While a rare style to pursue in later years, it is not completely unique, and the hallowed Schibbinz offer a good reference point for the best aspects of Bluebyrd. Comparisons could also be made to Lazy Smoke and Fredric, as long as one bears in mind that this is neither psychedelic nor underground, and does not offer much room for the secondary instrumentation beyond the distinct guitar-picking, and any 'trippy' production tricks are completely absent. The timewarp magic is disturbed by a couple of lesser tracks in a peppy '70s pop bag, one of which copies the melody to "Moondance". If these guys were bent they might have sounded like Dyckman-James, but they are straight as an arrow without sounding clinical. One of the more interesting Acid Archives type things I've run across in the last year or so. [PL]

Posted by Patrick at Lysergia at 00:09 MEST
Updated: 19 December 2013 20:27 CET
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31 March 2013
Spanky & Johnny
Now Playing: Perry Leopold
Topic: New review

One of the more expensive tax-scammers gets a real review, replacing the brief entry in the AA 2nd Ed.

Spanky & Johnny c1977 (Tiger Lily)

There really are a lot of very good albums on Tiger Lily, but listening to something like this makes me wonder how collectors would have responded to it if it had been the major label release the band probably intended. (A good example is Michaelo/Michael O’Gara, or the Steve Drake albums, where collectors ignored the cheap and easy-to-find major label copies of the very same music.) This is an odd and highly professional mix of soft rock and funky rock, with jazz flute (occasionally echoplexed) on some songs. There were some mainstream bands that sounded like this in the mid-'70s, and I can think of one collectable that resembles it at least a little bit (the album by Hollins & Starr), but this is still pretty distinctive. So, maybe collectors would have picked up on it even if it wasn’t on a collectable label. “Superstar” and “Winter’s Mourning,” in particular, have a cool dreamy soft-rock vibe that is in the same realm as some 70s psych bands, and there’s a pretty stunning little bass break in “Morning Song.” Two songs rock reasonably hard. There’s also some nice understated synth work in a few places. Overall, this is a strong album for sure, if you can swing with the cheesy bits. Lyrics range from the ethereal to the horny to one Christian song. I think they were just a step away from going disco, but I don’t mean that in a bad way. I don’t believe this is the same Spanky Lee who made a terrible AOR/metal album in the 1989. [AM]

Posted by Patrick at Lysergia at 01:07 MEST
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30 March 2013
Easter Everywhere!
Now Playing: Easter Everywhere
Topic: Minor change or comment

Easter Everywhere is one of the more important events in the psychedelic calendar and should be observed with proper hedonism and joy. From the egg into the flower:

Posted by Patrick at Lysergia at 21:36 MEST
Updated: 30 March 2013 22:35 MEST
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28 March 2013
Cellutron & The Invisible
Now Playing: Trees "Christ Tree"
Topic: New review

Here's a real review of Cellutron, replacing the incomplete one in the Acid Archives book.

Reflecting On The First Watch, We Uncover Treasure Buried For The Blind 1978 (Green Mountain Records)

This weird synth experiment can be most closely compared to the work of Nic Raicevic. It has the same basically random sound to it, and while it is more varied than Raicevic's work, it's also less hypnotic. The record is comprised of four "songs," which don't sound any more planned out than George Harrison's Electronic Sound album, but do have enough odd noises, and enough of a psychedelic atmosphere (lots of fading in and out) to make it pretty fun to listen to. Yeah, probably any of us could have done it, but it's still cool enough. The best moment is a bit near the middle of side two when the synths unexpectedly speed up. A bit of guitar varies the mood some, but this is still about as pure as synth music can get. Only one song has any vocals, and those are spoken. Though this dates 1978 , it definitely sounds more like a psychedelic record than anything else. There's absolutely no new wave influence here. It doesn't really hold up for 35 minutes, especially since there's no musicianship or melody to speak of, but a bit at a time, or as something that you let drift in and out of your consciousness, rather than listening to intently, it's more entertaining than a lot of equally inept albums by singer-songwriters or bands. [AM]

Posted by Patrick at Lysergia at 21:55 MEST
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27 March 2013
David Habeck
Now Playing: David Habeck
Topic: Addition

This obscure album was recommended for inclusion as a recent discovery, and why not.

The Circle Meets Itself Each Time Around 1981 (Makin' Jam 1001)

Little known acoustic rural folk/singer-songwriter LP from the tail end of the hippie era. Habeck sings in a high register yet manages to sound gentle and inviting, given ample support by acoustic guitar tapestries. It sounds like his voice is double-tracked, or else he's harmonizing with someone else, but the vocal richness helps steer the impression away from the dull solo loser folk, and towards more of a CSN vibe--something like "Helplessly Hoping" is not too far from Habeck's style. The overall vibe is a little like Michael Styers or John Villemonte, laidback and reflective, but the lack of amplification is a drawback. Still, a pleasant encounter.

Posted by Patrick at Lysergia at 23:06 MEST
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23 March 2013
Down by the Riverson (updated)
Now Playing: Bobby Dylan Live in Sydney '66
Topic: Entry data revision

One of several excellent obscurities on Canadian CBS, the increasingly popular Riverson may be headed towards the $500+ zones where label-mates like It's All Meat reside. However, few collectors outside Canada seem to be aware that there are in fact two different pressings of this LP, despite its rarity. The pressings are easy to tell apart, as the earliest one comes with the old CBS '360' label, while the second variant has the red label with circular yellow lettering that CBS used in the '70s (not sure how this label design is usually referenced).

Both discs were pressed at the same plant and reportedly display no aural differences, but the issue is still significant as most known copies have a pressing defect; a 'stick' or repeat skip on the track "Take Me" which closes side 1. The defect has been described as 'fixable', for those with steady hands and the needed cojones.

When I first posted about this I assumed that the second pressing, does not have this defect, since a few known copies of this run (yellow/red label), including my own, play with no notable problems at all. It seemed a reasonable theory that the repeat skip defect only affected the first pressing and was corrected for the second pressing, during which time CBS also switched label designs.

A neat theory--a little too neat, in fact, for the ever enigmatic domain of vinyl records. A German collector got in touch and pointed out that he knew of a second pressing with the repeat skip defect, which sort of ruins my theory. Things got increasingly confusing when we compared matrix numbers and found that the first and second pressing were manufactured from the same stamper; the dead wax notations are identical. I checked with a couple of other proud Riverson owners, and they confirmed that the dead wax data was the same (side A): 'ES-90136A-1A', and on opposite side 'C2-G' and some tiny squiggles.

In a nutshell, both pressings (with completely different label designs) were manufactured from the same stamper, yet some copies have the pressing flaw on S1T6, and some do not. It appears that all copies with the 360 label have the flaw, while some (but definitely not all) copies with the yellow/red label have the flaw. I see no reasonably simple explanation for this, theories are invited. It's not quite as mysterious as the Madrigal madness (see old post), but close. 

Regardless of the stamper mystery, the collector faces an interesting dilemma--the first pressing has the usual cachet of being the 'original' run, but has a rather troubling defect, which some copies of the less attractive second run lacks. So which one do you want? To complicate things further, it seems that the playability of the defective track differs between turntables, probably due to tonearm weight. As mentioned above, the Riverson pressings are otherwise identical, both are Unipak gatefolds.

On a related note, both Perth County Conspiracy's CBS debut and the Roger Rodier LP exist in two different versions, like Riverson, but PCC is the only one of the three where the basic pressings differ. The earliest PCC run from 1970 comes in a regular gatefold (later replaced by Unipak), is pressed on better vinyl than the 2nd press and includes a booklet which the c1972 reprint lacks (I think). In the case of Rodier it is simply a case of two different pressings, with neither defects or booklets to complicate matters. I hope.

Posted by Patrick at Lysergia at 21:46 MEST
Updated: 27 March 2013 22:28 MEST
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14 March 2013
The Santa Cruz Connection (part 2)
Now Playing: Bob Dylan "Live At Albert Hall" (TAKRL boot)
Topic: Minor change or comment

This story keeps jumping forth in bits and pieces, and it is probably necessary for someone to take the time to sit down and create a coherent picture from what has emerged. I'm only at the receiving end here however, and must settle for forwarding the data as it surfaces.

As noted in an earlier post, there is some connection between the Music Of The Santa Cruz Mountains sampler LP and notorious music biz hustler Johnny Kitchen. This is based on the fact that the Kitchen-produced 2nd Victims Of Chance LP (the one with the generic mill wheel cover) contains music lifted directly from the Santa Cruz album. See my previous post for details.

My Northern associate Jens U now forwards me a bundle of new info related to the Santa Cruz nexus, some of which is quite startling. First of all, to the existing spider's web we can now add the illustrious name of Eddie Callahan. Callahan is an Acid Archives alumni with a much loved private press LP under his belt. That he was related to the Santa Cruz LP, just like Johnny Kitchen, was however news to pretty much everyone. The connection is made clear via the track "Santa Cruz Mountains", which can be found on the SC sampler LP credited to J J Johnson AND on Eddie Callahan's False Ego LP under the same title but with songwriting credited to Callahan! It is clearly the same song, but in different recordings.

OK--so Eddie Callahan is involved here somehow. But wait--it gets even better. The next piece of info adds Bob Berry, of the very rare and highly rated Heavy Berry album, to this same Santa Cruz net! Berry is another Acid Archives graduate, and his demo LP is one of the more expensive finds of the 2000s. His name appears on the Santa Cruz sampler LP credits, but it was unconfirmed whether it was the same Bob Berry, or some namesake. Now, the reissue of the Eddie Callahan LP contains a reference to 'Robert Berry', and from this link and the overlapping "Santa Cruz Mountains" track, a puzzle with several interconnected pieces emerged. One of our knowledgable sources says that:

Bob Berry & Eddie Callahan had been in bands together in the late 60s, well before the Santa Cruz sampler LP or 'False Ego' were recorded. Since Bob was very behind the scenes on these releases (not even credited with playing on 'False Ego' originally) I'm guessing he co-wrote 'Santa Cruz Mountains' with J J Johnson and then offered it to Eddie. In both cases, the singers took full credit... The two versions of the song are quite different, with J J's version adding a couple verses, and Eddie's changing some words... Eddie insists the 'False Ego' recordings were just the trio of himself, his wife, and Bob.

Before moving ahead, I should mention that Bob Berry had also been in '60s garage band the 4th Street Exits who cut a highly rated garage 45, and whose members may figure in this story somehow. Regarding connections between the main protagonists in this saga, our source speculates that:

The real key here must be the band Mahatma which was Eddie Callahan's 5-piece rock band in the early-mid 1970s. They toured & played a ton, but never recorded. I believe Bob Berry was in that band, and I'm guessing J J Johnson was too... and possibly other names that would overlap with Victims Of Chance -- in which case the overlapping 'Santa Cruz Mountain' song could have been a Mahatma song that both singers then claimed as they own and altered in their own ways.

Another source believes that the guitar-player on the first three tracks on the Santa Cruz Mountains sampler (and Victims Of Chance) is the same as heard on the Eddie Callahan LP. As revealed via the reissue, Bob Berry partook in Callahan's recording, a fact which Callahan did not credit on the original. So here is yet more evidence of Berry's involvement with both Callahan, the Santa Cruz sampler in general (where he's credited repeatedly) and the opening J J Johnson tracks on the sampler in particular. The simplest explanation is stated above--Bob Berry, Eddie Callahan and J J Johnson were long-time musical comrades, and the multi-talented Berry emerged as a connecting link between the various LPs discussed here (including his own).

But the album where our Detective Columbo script took its beginning, the second Victims Of Chance with its confirmed Johnny Kitchen involvement and presumed tax scam origins, is left somewhat out in the cold by these cozy Santa Cruz weedhead collaborations. How did the material from the obscure Santa Cruz sampler end up in Kitchen's hands? Via Berry, Callahan, Johnson... or someone else? If they were involved, was it because they had submitted the sampler as a demo to some LA label, or did they willingly agree to the Kitchen tax scam?

This may be revealed in our next chapter. Meanwhile, here is a recap of the records and artists involved so far in the Santa Cruz Connection:

-- various artist sampler including J J Johnson, with Bob Berry credits

BOB BERRY : Heavy Berry 197? (no label)

EDDIE CALLAHAN: False Ego 1976 (Ocean)
  [reissue exists]

VICTIMS OF CHANCE: Goin' Home Blue 197? (no label 1014)
-- if one accepts the tax scam nature of this, the year is either '76 or '77

Possibly relevant 45 featuring Bob Berry, other members currently unknown:

Strange One / A Love Like This  1967  (Rowena 792) 


Posted by Patrick at Lysergia at 00:00 MEST
Updated: 14 March 2013 00:39 MEST
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