J.K. & Co. “Suddenly One Summer”
This is a good, semi well-known psych album, indeed there aren’t too many 60s rock fans that dislike J.K. & Co.’s Suddenly One Summer. It’s the only album this group would release. Prior to Suddenly One Summer, Jay Kaye had been in the Loved Ones, though I don’t think this band released any singles.
Jay Kaye was only 15 years old when he recorded this album in 1968. The lyrics, vocals, songs and musicianship are remarkably advanced for someone who was so inexperienced in the studio. Jay Kaye made the trip from Las Vegas to Vancouver, Canada to record the lp with top flight session musicians (among them members of noted Vancouver band Mother Tucker’s Yellow Duck). The album was inspired by recent Beatles’ masterpieces and of course LSD, so it’s not surprising that much of this record is full of orchestral psychedelia and heavy studio effects – music with a spiritual slant. Another teen, Robert Buckley aided Jay Kaye with many of the album’s arrangements and psychedelic effects. It was he who created the decaying backward effects on the masterful “Fly,” a track that sounds well ahead of its time and similar in feel to prime-era Radiohead (though 30 years prior).
Suddenly One Summer was conceived as a concept album and briefly featured in Billboard claiming “to depict musically a man’s life from birth to death.” At least half the album is full of great psychedelia. “O.D.” features wild guitar playing, great drug addled madness, and soaring vocals, “Fly,” as mentioned before, is an all-time psych classic, and “Magical Fingers Of Minerva” is a great sitar based rocker that usually ends up on trippy compilations. Other compositions of note are the gorgeous acoustic track “Nobody,” a great pop rocker titled “Christine,” and the dramatic finale, “Dead.” The LP plays from strength to strength and never falls off into the deep end.
J.K. & Co.’s album was a decent size underground hit in California, leading White Whale to release a single to capitalize on the group’s popularity. They chose the 36-second album opening intro which at the time was seen as a major marketing disaster. In the end, White Whale’s terrible management blunder would halter the career of Jay Kaye and also hurt the company’s ability to market J.K. & Co as a serious group. After the record’s release Kaye had even put together a band with his Cousin John (bass) and friend Rick Dean (drums) to promote the LP’s songs live but success eluded them. In 2001 Sundazed released this great conceptual acid album through their BeatRocket label.