Touch “Touch”

Touch

Touch’s sole album was released in early 1969. Prior to that, the band’s leader, Don Gallucci, had been in the Kingsmen and later on with Don and the Good Times. With the Kingsmen ,he co-wrote and played electric piano on Louie Louie, the most legendary of junk rock classics. Don and the Good Times were a Portland based rock & roll/pop-rock group who had a few small local hits in the mid 60’s. In 1967 the band’s old school style of pop had become passe, a change was needed, and in a fit of inspiration Gallucci wrote Seventy Five. This track would prove to be the centerpiece on Touch’s only album.

The lineup that recorded Touch was Don Gallucci (vocals, keyboards), Jeff Hawks (vocals), Bruce Hauser (vocals, bass), Joey Newman (vocals, guitars) and John Bordonaro (vocals, percussion). The group rented a castle in the Hollywood Hills in which they would rehearse and invite interested record company executives who would see them play live. With numerous record companies competing for a contract, Coliseum/London Records finally won the bid with a record breaking $25,000 advance. The band began recording at Sunset Sounds but sessions were soon plagued with hype and out of control partying. Word quickly spread about the mind blowing music Touch had been recording at Sunset Sounds. Grace Slick, Mick Jagger, and the great Jimi Hendrix stopped by the studio to witness Touch in action. What they heard on those sessions was thankfully put down to wax and released at the tail end of the decade.

The Touch album is graced with the adventurous spirit of the 60s, a record overflowing with ideas, killer musicianship, and great performances. It’s one of America’s first progressive rock albums albeit one that still has a strong psychedelic hangover. The above mentioned track, the nearly 12 minute Seventy Five is one of the great early progressive rockers with a fabulous guitar solo and a wonderful, atmospheric vocal performance from Jeff Hawks. Seventy Five is often described as a theatre-of-the-mind epic but is by no means an overblown ELP keyboard extravaganza. Two straight ahead rockers, We Feel Fine and Miss Teach, are really good and distinctive too, with confident vocals, great guitar work, and well written lyrics. Other songs are more psychedelic like the piano dominated Friendly Birds, the classically influenced ballad Alesha and Others, and the experimental Down At Circe’s Place. Down At Circe’s Place is an underrated psychedelic classic with flanged vocals, a great spaced out guitar solo, powerful drum work, trippy sound fx ,and noisy keyboard work – it’s got everything you’d want from an album like this.

Touch hangs together as an album quite well and never succumbs to endless jamming or unfinished ideas. This is a great album and one that deserves its classic status. Gallucci would go on to produce the Stooges’ Funhouse but Touch is probably his finest hour as a musician. Touch has been repressed numerous times but the best reissues in recent years have been by Wild Places and Eclectic.

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“Alesha And Others”

:D CD Reissue | 2008 | Rock Candy | buy from amazon ]
:) Original Vinyl | 1969 | London | search ebay ]


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15 Comments.

  • ib

    Great, informative post, Jason; this is another album I can’t believe I’ve never heard. I didn’t make the Don Gallucci / Funhouse connection, and I’m glad I made it through the first two songs before you drew a line through the dots.

    From the first lazy piano notes on “Alesha and Others” I was hooked. There is something eerily familiar about the sound but I couldn’t put my finger on it. My brain is itching. “Down At Circe’s Place” threw me completely, but the intro to it is almost superfluous, I think. There is a Santana groove to that track, vaguely, but that’s still not it. I even found myself liking “Miss Teach” even though it’s much more conventional.

    Really interesting. I’m still trying to put my finger on what I like about it. Is it Cream ? The Beatles (again) ? Fuck knows, but I do like it.

  • I loved this album, especially the tune “75”, as a teenager in the 70s. Along with Ultimate Spinach, Fever Tree, Electric Prunes, Silver Apples, Illinois Speed Press, The Hobbits, Mandrake Memorial, Mad River, Pearls Before Swine, Incredible String Band, SRC, Lily & Maria, Blue Cheer, Camel, The Smoke, 50 Foot Hose, Everything is Everything, Ken Nordine, etc.

    It’s been a dream to recapture this vinyl. Found it at local hippie store, slightly used, for only $5, with a sticker on it “Rare Psychedelic”.

    I Googled the keywords Touch Coliseum records, and found this post. Thanks for the info.

  • Mesha

    Thanks for posting. Do you know where I can an mpe of Touch’s song Seventy Five? I’ve looked all over and can’t find it anywhere. Thank you.

  • I wish I knew. I’m not good at finding such things.

  • Mesha

    That was supposed to be “where I can “find” an “mp3″… :-l But I guess you figured it out. :-) Thanks for replying.

  • Mesha

    One more….. ? Does anyone know where I can get the lyrics to Seventy Five by Touch?

  • I have the lyrics to 75, as printed in the Touch LP. I can post the lyrics on my Pluperfecter blog later. Will post here when it’s done. http://pluperfecter.blogspot.com

  • Mesha

    Terrific. Thanks much!

  • I have put the lyrics to “Seventy Five” on my Pluperfecter blog. Sorry it took so darn long. I have a bad back that prevents me from getting around sometimes. Peace!

  • Mesha

    Got ’em. THANKS! : )

  • Martineaux

    A friend who used to cover some Touch tunes in a band in New England was raving about this album last night, said this was one of the 1st Quad LPs.
    So I was researching them this morning, and Amazon & AmazonUK have screwed up, and instead of the 1969 band/album Touch, they have a 1979-80’s NYC hair band of the same name & album title.
    At least Amazon has the reviews for the correct band, but when you listen to the samples, you know there’s something weird. The hair band Touch sounds like someone that wants to be a combo of Yes, Journey, & Starship

  • Len Liechti

    I found the original 1969 Touch album on Amazon.co.uk today, no problem, and on the strength of the above glowing review I’ve bought it. Yes, folks, watch out for the hair band Touch on Amazon with the same album description as the original – splendid balls-up, Amazon. A combination of Yes, Journey and Starship sounds truly horrible.

  • Jason

    You lucky bastard…..I hope it wasn’t too expensive. It’s a quality record….You are in for a surprise….

    Eventually I am going to post an lp by Spirit of Christmas. They put out a really good progressive rock album in 1974, Lies To Live By, one of the better unknown albums of it’s kind. We also need a decent King Crimson post. I’ve heard they reissued King Crimson’s mighty debut with lots of bonus material – If I am correct it’s a multiple cd version with one disc devoted to that live concert they played with the Rolling Stones – dvd footage I believe. I’m not sure on the specifics but I received an email from Burning Shed regarding the Crimson debut and briefly read it. Also, someone should think about posting Captain Beyonds great debut!

  • Len Liechti

    £12.99 GBP for a used-but-as-new CD reissue copy of Touch, Jason. Haven’t played it yet but very much looking forward to doing so this weekend. Look out for a comment.

    You’re right about King Crimson, and in fact just about anything else Robert Fripp’s turned his hand to. I was at the Stones concert in Hyde Park in 1969 and Crimson, of whom I’d then never heard, played a stormer. Perhaps one reason the Stones were so off colour that afternoon was that they had to follow KC. I have In The Court Of The Crimson King on vinyl from that year, and also on CD reissue from a few years ago (no bonus material). It still sounds timeless today, if you enjoy the occasional rambling prog opus, as I do. I’ll willingly do a post on it within the next week. Watch this space.

  • Len Liechti

    Fine prog indeed, Jason – dense, intense and anarchic, and like all the best music certainly repaying repeated listenings. No wonder they declined to tour it – imagine having to produce such a performance night after night. For me the high points are Jeff Hawks’s voice, like Frankie Valli on speed; Don Gallucci’s acoustic piano, uncommon in progressive music of the time, and reflective of twentieth-century art music such as Milhaud and Boulez; and the layered harmony vocals which must surely have influenced Queen’s material of half a decade and more later. Certainly a year or more ahead of its time when compared with contemporaries such as King Crimson: in fact any comparison with Crimson is a bit strained, as the KC of 1969 was still working out of simple traditional song structures with the improvs added as interludes. The playful nature of Touch also contrasts with the rather lugubrious mien of Crimson and most other prog bands. Sometimes it sounds as if the spirit of Frank Zappa is lurking inside the mixing desk. Yet another fine product that I’d never have discovered without The Rising Storm.

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