Poe “Up Through The Spiral”

Up Through The Spiral

This is a pretty good late period hard rock psych concept LP that few people know about. Poe originally were the Playboys of Edinburg, a McAllen Texas band who began releasing singles in 1965. The Playboys of Edinburg released 7 or 8 singles in various pop rock styles (garage, beat, folk-rock and hard rock) throughout the 1960’s and eventually relocated to Houston.

For this 1970/71 UNI release the Playboys of Edinburg changed their name to Poe and created this concept lp. Many of the songs were written and arranged by band members McCord and Williams. The album chronicles the life and thoughts of Edgar Cayce, a man who could put himself into some kind of self-induced sleep state by lying down on a couch, closing his eyes, and folding his hands over his stomach. This state of relaxation and meditation enabled him to place his mind in contact with all time and space.

No song better illustrates this theme than the great Up Up Thru The Spiral. This track opens with classic paisley guitar riffs and one of the all time great opening psych lines which refers to Cayce’s incredible ability. Up Up Thru The Spiral is also notable for a horn arrangement, distorted vocals and what sounds like tape loop experimentations. This is flat out a great psych pop track with an English sound similar to that of the Move. Other tracks like the futuristic psych of Automatic Writing, Tune In, the furious Sons of Belial, and Fallin’ Off are pretty vicious and rock hard. Fallin’ Off is more than a nod to English rock group Free, with it’s great, heavy guitar riffs, gritty vocals and sound fx explosion mid way thru the track. This song sounds like a lost classic rock radio hit and had considerable pop appeal, it’s definitely a good one! The lead off track, There Is A River reveals a strong gospel influence and has George Harrison style guitar playing and Beatlesque harmonies. Another reflective number, Debt To Pay is a really good acoustic song with sweet, sugary harmonies and a personal favorite.

This is a solid set from an unknown band who can balance soft reflective tunes with druggy, stoned hard rockers. Vinyl orginals are somewhat cheap although the album saw a cd reissue in 2006 off the Mr. Nobody record label.

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“Up Up Through The Spiral”

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  • Charo

    I wonder where the Williams brothers are today? I lived next to James and Marsha in Houston.

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