Posts Tagged ‘ 1970 ’

Country Funk “Country Funk”

Country Funk was a folk-rock/country-rock group whose members at one point played in earlier psych pop combo Adam.   The group materialized in Los Angeles but then moved out to Boston where they played all the well known venues of the day. Country Funk shared the stage with many of rock’s biggest names and because of their affiliation with Beantown, the group are usually remembered (unfairly so) as part of the Bosstown Sound.   From 1968 to 1970/1971 they recorded quite a bit of studio material, enough to fill out two albums.  In 1970, Polydor would release Country Funk’s only album in a generic blue sleeve with a black and white photo of the band.  While no classic, Country Funk is still a very good album (kind of a mini gem) thats appeal lies in its consistency (no weak tracks) and timeless sound – think Buffalo Springfield, The Byrds, CSN&Y and Poco.  The group clearly had a knack for blending the blues, country, hard rock, folk, and psych into something that’s refreshing.  The members of Country Funk could also play and write with the best of them, never overextending their songs or falling prey to dated 60s cliches.

The album opens with “Apart of Me,” a track that was issued as a single in 1970 and some years down the line, sampled by alternative pop star Beck Hansen.  Clearly one of the LP’s highlights, this excellent track begins as a care-free country folk-rocker, exploding midway through into a soulful fuzz guitar rave-up.  The vocals are a dead ringer for Stephen Stills circa Buffalo Springfield Again – definitely a compliment here.  Other winners are the trippy folk-rock of “Phoebe,” a track that recalls David Crosby’s work on the Byrds’ Younger Than Yesterday and the spritely country-rock of “A Way To Settle Down.”  Country Funk tempers the album’s softer moments with hard edged fuzz tone guitar workouts such as “Another Miss” and “When I’m Without You.”  These cuts give Country Funk an attractive classic rock/psychedelic edge.  Also, songs like “Poor Boy,” “For Me,” and “Really My Friend” deliver the classic West Coast style folk-rock goods with aching melodies and harmonies to spare – not to mention tambourines and fine, world weary vocals.  Given the quality of Country Funk, one wishes the group had stuck around long enough to record a follow up to this very promising LP.

Solid songs and thoughtful songwriting, succinct guitar solos, good use of fuzzbox and spirited vocals make Country Funk one of the finer, unsung American LPs of it’s time.  Its been reissued no less than three times but our nod goes to British label Slipstream, who is now offering a group authorized version of Country Funk, which includes the single sides by precursor group Adam.  In addition, CDBaby offers a CDR version of Country Funk on their website while the Fallout reissue from a few years back is an unauthorized vinyl rip bootleg.

mp3: For Me
mp3: Apart Of Me

:D Reissue | 2012 | Slipstream | buy from slipstream ]
:) Original | 1970 | Polydor | search ebay ]

Bill Fay “Time of the Last Persecution”

Bill Fay’s is a name that has crept back into the underground consciousness in recent years due to some unexpected word-of-mouth publicity which has culminated in a series of commendable reissues of the artist’s work. Going into Time of the Last Persecution, however, I was unaware of such recent windfalls and totally unprepared for what I was delving into save for having read a record store tag-line which compared him to Ray Davies and Bob Dylan, or something along those lines. Sounded like hype of the highest order, but I was willing to take a chance; it was a somewhat impulsive bargain-bin purchase, anyways: cut-out bin at $2.99, and with a stark photograph on the cover that was hard to ignore.

At first I was a little uncertain as to Fay’s songwriting, which is quite strong in exploring the author’s religious ideologies, but that hurdle was quite quickly cleared. The truth is that Fay does not preach or praise so much as pray for understanding and salvation; here is the same tortured spirituality that haunts such landmark recordings as Satan Is Real or Dave Bixby’s Ode To Quetzlcoatl. For example, if it were not for the cracked desperation in Fay’s voice, a line like “Satan is in the garden shed, he’d like to screw you all” might come off as ridiculous. As it stands, however, it is both surreal and terrifying. Fay invokes all sorts of twisted black imagery here, from mental collapse to ecological disaster to chemical warfare. The music is a dynamic tapestry of melancholy piano tracks and heavy psychedelic guitars, often exploding into free-jazz inspired chaos as in the incredible title track. Guitarist Ray Russell is sure to blow your mind over the course of Persecution, capable of shifting between savory Nashville accents and volatile Sharrockian squalls. Horn players Tony Roberts, Nick Evans and Bud Parkes help to underscore the occasional free aspects here – this is the kind of jazz-rock fusion I’ve always hoped to hear. Mahavishnu, eat your heart out.

Most of the time, however, the sound of The Last Persecution is closer to Ernie Graham’s equally underrated self-titled record in that it blends elements of British folk-rock with imported American weariness. Alan Rushton and Daryl Runswick make for a crisp rhythm section whose propensity for laid-back grooves is not too far removed from Rick Danko and Levon Helm’s work in The Band. Runswick’s melodic playing on “Dust Filled Room” is a particular delight, though I’m surprised to find that his own artistic background actually extends the record’s free-jazz connections: he has spent time with Ornette Coleman, of all people! Which is all to say that these are some serious musicians, and even if you have trouble latching onto Fay’s songwriting or reedy voice there’s an entire world of delicacies to be tried within the music. Just take a listen to the frenzied coda to “Release Is In the Eye,” with Russell painting lightning all up and down his fretboard as the rhythm section latches on to a droning freight-train pattern.

Eclectic Discs reissued Time of the Last Persecution back in 2005 and did a beautiful job of it, too. This is a unique and heartfelt statement of a man searching through the darkness and while it may not be easy listening, its grooves are full of rewards for the dedicated listener. As Fay himself writes in Eclectic’s liner notes, “I worry to an extent about its ‘heaviness’ circulating out there in a small way, but at the same time I feel there’s maybe something of a therapeutic release in some of the intensity of the music,” which is about as fitting a description as I could ever think to assign.

mp3: Release Is in the Eye
mp3: Time of the Last Persecution

:D Reissue | 2005 | Eclectic | buy ]
:) Original | 1970 | Deram | search ]
8-) Spotify link | listen ]

Donovan “Open Road”

Open Road was Donovan’s first album of the 1970’s.  Here he was backed by a sympathetic group of the same name (Open Road) and this change made all the difference.  Gone are the psychedelic trappings of previous years and in their place are a collection of sharp Celtic influenced folk-rock tracks.

The lyrics and backing band are straight forward and direct, giving this album a back to the basics feel (there are no sitars, horns, harpsichords or elaborate studio productions) – so in the case of Open Road, less is more.  While there are no huge hits in the order of “Mellow Yellow” or “Sunshine Superman”, Open Road rates as one of Donovan’s most consistently enjoyable sets.  To these ears tracks such as “Curry Land,” “Celtic Rock,” “Roots of Oak,” and “People Used To” are some of the most powerful music of Donovan’s career.  “People Used To” features gutsy slide guitar while “Roots of Oak,” “Curry Land,” and “Celtic Rock” are outstanding compositions that could hold their own with any authentic, critically praised UK folk-rock act of the time or place.  These mesmerizing tracks are a unique mixture of traditional Irish folk, hard rock, roots music and the dying embers of psychedelia.

The album’s most popular song and minor hit, “Riki Tiki Tavi,” is a jaunty studio jam with politically charged lyrics and a playful vibe.  Other winners are the punchy pop-rock opener “Changes”, sensitive folk-rock numbers “New Year’s Resolution” and “Season of Farewell” and the whimsical throwback “Joe Bean’s Theme.”  Donovan would never record anything like Open Road again.  Not only is this one of Donovan’s most mature records but it’s also one of his best – surely an underrated LP that deserves recognition.

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“People Used To”

:) Original | 1970 | Dawn | search ebay ]
:D Reissue | 2000 | Repertoire | buy ]
8-) Spotify link | listen ]

Slade “Play It Loud”

No one can blame you if you dismiss Slade’s Play It Loud out of hand. After all, Slade was the original hair metal band, launching a thousand ill-begotten covers, their originals just as bombastic, screeching and spelling-challenged. Yet, the Slade catalogue is full of buried treasures; nearly every one of the band’s 70s albums contains at least one song worth the price of admission, from “Gudbye to Jane” to “How Does It Feel,” and in the case of Play It Loud, an entire album’s worth of great songs.

Released in 1970, Play It Loud is the band’s second proper album, and the first released under the name Slade; one previous album had been released under the name Ambrose Slade, yet another as the N’ Betweens. While the two previous albums had relied heavily upon covers and songs by outside writers, Play It Loud was composed almost completely by drummer Don Powell, bassist Jim Lea, and singer Noddy Holder. It’s Slade before they were all crazee, before the platform boots and shiny spacesuits, more early Deep Purple than Gary Glitter.

The name Play It Loud may be a sad predictor of the type of albums the band would release later on, but it’s apt nonetheless. You can’t help but want to play this one loud; on an iPod or tinny computer speakers, it’s impossible to appreciate the wallop Slade packs.  It’s rough, garage-y and artless – like a collection of the best songs culled from Slade’s later albums and B-sides.

The best tracks on the album are those written by some combination of Powell, Lea and Holder. The rollicking opener “Raven,” the Black Sabbath-esque “See Us Here” and solid rockers “I Remember” and “One Way Hotel” are Slade with more grit than glitz, but the unexpected tenderness of “Dapple Rose” and the bluesy “Pouk Hill” show surprising range and depth. A standout is the album closer “Sweet Box,” which rolls as much as rocks, showing Slade’s nascent talent for a great groove.

A few covers pop up, too, such as the almost-psychedelic version of  Mann-Weil’s “The Shape of Things to Come,” and Neil Innes’ “Angelina,” a boozy bar-room blues.

Both “The Shape of Things to Come” and band original “Know Who You Are” were released as singles, with “The Shape of Things to Come” getting the Top of the Pops treatment. Neither single went anywhere; despite being aligned with producer/manager/ex-Animal Chas Chandler, Slade seemed destined for obscurity. However, a string of singles – including “Get Down,” “Look Wot You Done,” and “Coz I Love You” – that combined the band’s hard-rocking sound with glammy, slick production and hideously bad grammar soon shot the band to stardom. Not surprisingly, from 1971 on, the band would become primarily a singles outfit, with most later albums built around a single already on the charts, and the straight-ahead, correctly-spelled rock of Play It Loud relegated to b-sides and album tracks. More’s the pity.

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“Sweet Box”

:) Original | 1970 | Polydor | search ebay ]
:D Reissue | 2006 | Salvo | 2fer | buy ]

Rick Nelson & the Stone Canyon Band “Rick Sings Nelson”

Rick Sings Nelson, Rick Nelson’s first studio album with the pioneering Stone Canyon Band, really does deserve the reputation of “stone-cold classic”. Expanding tenfold upon the razor-sharp music and harmonies of the Stone Canyon’s debut record, In Concert, Rick Sings Nelson was actually the singer’s first album of wholly original material (hence the title). It’s unbelievable that it took him this long start laying his songs on the public like this, because they’re pretty great, and certainly miles above lots of the crud he had been running through for the preceding decade or so of his career.

One of the principal strengths of Rick Sings Nelson is that, though brimming with Southern California pop, it never strays too far from earthier roots. Former Buckaroo Tom Brumley proves to be one of the band’s strongest assets in this regard, always anchoring the music in Bakersfield country whether he’s laying down weeping leads on “Anytime” or conjuring up rolling rhythm figures on “Sweet Mary”. The layered interplay between him and Stone Canyon guitarist Allen Kemp really reaches some soaring highs here, and though they were never really given all that much room to stretch out and jam in the studio Brumley has been quoted as saying that his years spent in the Stone Canyon Band were the most enjoyable of his career.

If there’s any clunker on Rick Sings Nelson it’s in “Mister Dolphin,” which illustrates Nelson’s penchant for writing the occasional awful song. Any cut opening with the line “I just talked to a dolphin the other day” is going to be a little hard to take, and when said dolphin tells Rick sagely to “open up your mind” and love everyone, well…let’s just say that if he had really been dead set on including a cosmic dolphin song here he may have been better served cutting Fred Neil’s folk-rock standard “Searching For the Dolphins” and leaving things at that (or hell, throw us a studio recording of one of those beauties off In Concert like “Easy To Be Free” and keep the album title intact).

All things considered though, Rick Sings Nelson remains a landmark collection in the history of country rock, and even though it failed to offer up any hit single it’s loaded down with memorable songs. The record has been reissued by Beat Goes On Records alongside it’s follow-up, Rudy the Fifth, which is best known for its pair of Dylan covers, but which also includes many other Nelson-penned jewels.

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“Sweet Mary”

:) Original | 1970 | Decca | search ebay ]
:D Reissue | 2002 | BGO |2fer | buy here ]

Comus “First Utterance”

Quite reasonably described in recent reviews as “acoustic death metal” and “too weird for folkies, too folky for weirdos”, it would be hard to identify any album from the sixties/seventies cusp that was more wilfully intended to alienate the mainstream record-buying public than this totally unique progressive folk effort by Comus. First Utterance was, and still is, “difficult”. Fortunately today an appreciative audience exists for “difficult” stuff like this.

Kent-based art students Roger Wootton and Glenn Goring had played acoustic covers of Velvet Underground numbers in London folk clubs, thereby alienating the contemporary folk audience as early as 1968. Enlisting several classically-trained players, they became Comus, after the seventeenth-century masque (musical drama) by John Milton, and debuted at the Beckenham Arts Lab, the southeast London pub session hosted by a young David Bowie. The stage act now centred round Wootton’s lyrically-disturbing songs which drew from the themes of the original Comus – sorcery and attempted rape – and other similarly cheerful topics: murder, mutilation and mental illness. The accompaniment was fully acoustic apart from Andy Hellaby’s Fender bass, with Wootton on 6-string, Goring on 12-string and slide, Colin Pearson on violin and viola, Rob Young on flute and oboe and Bobbie Watson’s homespun vocals. There was no drummer but various band members contributed enthusiastic hand percussion when not soloing. Indeed, apart from Wootton’s lyrics the band’s other distinctive feature was the intensity and variety of sounds they conjured from their acoustic toolkit, matched by Wootton’s astonishing vocal variations which ranged from a demented Bolan warble via a Roger Chapman bleat to a John Lydon shriek.

A support slot with Bowie at London’s prestigious Festival Hall led to Comus’s signing with Pye’s adventurous progressive arm, Dawn, and a tortuous series of recording sessions. On its 1970 release the album received reasonable support, including a pre-release maxi-single comprising leadoff track “Diana” and two non-album songs plus a slot on the fondly-remembered Dawn Penny Concerts college tour. Despite this the album never appealed to other than a few wigged-out diehards, and it died an appropriate slow death, the band folding. In 1974, at the request of the nascent Virgin Records, Wootton, Watson and Hellaby reconvened as Comus with guest musicians to produce a more conventional folk-prog album To Keep From Crying, but this also stiffed and marked the end of the band until, thirty-four years later, the entire original outfit sans Young was enticed back together by a Swedish cult following for a live appearance at a Stockholm festival.

“Diana” conjures up the darkest of Dionysian images, operating around a disconcerting riff set off by cacophonous goblin voices and sweet atonal strings. “The Herald” is a serenely beautiful twelve-minute suite in three sections with allegorical day/night lyrics, lush woodwinds and a shimmering acoustic guitar centre section. By contrast the eleven-minute “Drip Drip” with its chilling references to nudity, bloody death and forest burial builds to a thunderous jam with howling strings and rattling percussion. “The Bite” chronicles the tortured nightmares of a condemned man’s final night of sleep to an inappropriately cheery guitar and flute backing reminiscent of Jethro Tull. The closing “The Prisoner” is a desperate cry for help from an inmate of a lunatic asylum which starts innocuously enough but progresses to a fractured, crazed finale. Subject matter notwithstanding, the quality of the music itself throughout makes it possible to appreciate the album without delving too deeply into the words, which suits me just fine.

First Utterance was reissued as a single CD by Phantom Sound & Vision in 2004, and is currently available as part of a comprehensive 2CD set Song To Comus on Castle that includes the whole of both albums and the maxi-single, both sides of a late Wootton solo single and an unreleased outtake plus an excellent historical booklet. All the Comus you could conceivably want, frankly. If you really need to digest the lyrics, visit Comus’s website.

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“The Prisoner”

:) Original |  1970 | Dawn | search ebay ]
:D Reissue | 2005 | Castle | buy here ]

Blue Mountain Eagle (self-titled)

Blue Mountain Eagle is a band with a tediously convoluted history. Though originally construed by former Buffalo Springfield drummer Dewey Martin as the New Buffalo Springfield, they went through a long series of lineup changes during their brief existence, the end result of which was Martin’s rather ironic expulsion. A pretty-much-inevitable lawsuit taken out against the band by Stephen Stills and Neil Young effectively barred them from performing under their rather awkward, hand-me-down moniker, so the group took on the name of a newspaper one of the guys had picked up while on tour.

What may have seemed like setbacks at the time, however, were for the best, as Blue Mountain Eagle deserved to be remembered as more than just a shadow of the Springfield. By the time of their debut record, the band boasted a strong line of musicians which included, oddly enough, the brothers of both Jim Price (horn-man with Delaney & Bonnie, the Stones, et al) and Bobby Fuller (who fought the law and lost). It seems to me that these cats couldn’t help but be overshadowed, whether through the ghosts of musical history or their own blood kin.

Taken as it is, the band’s 1970 self-titled debut comes on like a breath of fresh mountain air, boasting traces of influence from the old Springfield but a sound all unto its own. The band’s vocal harmonies and tight songwriting mesh beautifully with their heavy Pacific Coast sound. Many of the tunes here feature lengthy instrumental passages showcasing Bob Jones’ scorching electric guitar work, though no one song surpasses the five minute mark. Early Traffic shades the laid-back “Troubles” (that acoustic guitar opener sound familiar to anyone else or am I hearing things?) while a Moby Grape influence is all over “Feel Like A Bandit” and “No Regrets.” The choogling rhythm section, brash vocals and soaring guitar interplay are chock-full of the kind of drive that normally marked a band as future FM favorites. Despite Blue Mountain Eagle’s album selling moderately well, however, it just wasn’t enough to keep a band like this in the game for long. This proved to be their sole recording besides one obscure single, an early take on Stephen Stills’ “Marianne.”

Blue Mountain Eagle is currently out-of-print, but relatively recent reissues on both CD and LP are still easy to track down. There’s a lot to dig into here, and if you’re into west coast psychedelia I’d really recommend checking this group out. After the Eagle’s dissolution, members would go on to join such groups as Medicine Ball and even Arthur Lee’s reconstituted Love.

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“Troubles”

:) Original | 1970 | ATCO | search ebay ]
;) MP3 Album | download ]
8-) Spotify link | listen ]
Don’t buy the Fallout bootleg

Quill “Quill”

This one came as a total surprise package to this reviewer. On reading their unexpectedly extensive Wikipedia entry I found that they’d played at Woodstock despite being an unrecorded act; that they were a popular regional attraction around Boston and the northeast; and that virtually all of them were multi-instrumentalists with a penchant for swapping the instruments around onstage: guitarists and keyboardists switching to horns, woodwind or cellos at the drop of a setlist.

The Woodstock slot came courtesy of a well-received appearance in NYC, and on hearing of their impending festival appearance with its film and live album potential, Ahmet Ertegun signed Quill to Atlantic’s Cotillion subsidiary in the summer of ’69. The non-appearance of the band’s set in the Woodstock movie contributed to the label losing interest and the band’s insistence on producing the debut album themselves didn’t particularly help their cause with Ertegun either. Although it was released the following year it received next to no corporate support and quickly stiffed. Like many another unsuccessful opus of the period it lay doggo for decades until resuscitated for CD reissue by the excellent Wounded Bird imprint in 2010.

The music itself is also surprising, distinctively and wilfully strange, somewhere between the Doors and early British prog-rock. The band members are all credited under wigged-out pseudonyms, Beefheart-style, and the compositions themselves have similarly wacky titles. Sonically, it’s sparsely realised despite the multifarious talents of the musicians, populated by barely-audible organs and pianos and mixed-back guitars and drums – the most prominent instrument is often the bass guitar. The arrangements are of the apparently loose, adlibbed type that can only result from the most meticulous orchestration and rehearsal. The lyrics are far from the usual hippie abandon of the day, laden with social commentary, and the backings are full of irregular chord sequences and modulations. There’s no telling where it’s going from one track to the next, or sometimes within any given track.

After an unpromising raggedy-ass intro, the opening “Thumbnail Screwdriver” builds around a catchy Hendrixoid guitar riff and features a chiming solo by harmonised guitars. The nine-minute “They Live The Life” is a minimalist shuffle with warped Moody Blues harmonies and a sparse drum solo which builds into a collapsing cacophony of chanting and percussion, apparently a favourite concert closer. “BBY” showcases the alternative horn skills of the players and comes over like Zappa bowdlerising Chicago, while “Yellow Butterfly” uses only flanged, wah-ed guitar and sparse bass and has ghostly vocals redolent of Syd Barrett. The closing “Shrieking Finally” opens with a droll mock Gregorian chant which leads into a fragmented prog workout with distinctive piano trimmings. Although all the musicianship is excellent, it’s probably Roger North’s inventive and technically adroit drumming that stays longest in the memory.

It’s all wacky and it all works. You won’t whistle the melodies as you walk down the street, but without doubt this is another rarity that deserves its rediscovery.

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“Thumbnail Screwdriver”

:) Original | 1970 | Cotillion | search ebay ]
:D Reissue | 2010 | Wounded Bird | buy here ]

Rockin’ Horse “Yes It Is”

Jimmy Campbell was perhaps the most talented “unknown” musician to come out of the early 60s Liverpool scene.  One of his earliest bands, the Kirkbys, played Beatles’ influenced beat music and folkrock, releasing a few respectable singles in the mid 60s.  When psychedelia became the trend, Campbell put together the 23rd Turnoff, who released just one single, the excellent “Michaelangelo.”  In the middle of Campbell’s solo career (he released 3 albums) he took some time off and with the help of ex-Merseybeat Billy Kinsley put together Rockin’ Horse.  Most of the tracks on Yes It Is were written by Campbell with Kinsley contributing just 3 tunes.

Yes It is, released in 1970, is a mixture of power pop and Band influenced rural rock.  The Band influenced ditties are the weakest numbers (there’s just three) on the album with the notable exception of a very good rural track titled “Son, Son.”  The remainder of Yes It Is is first class power pop and probably the most powerful music of Campbell’s career.  Tracks such as “Biggest Gossip In Town” and “Oh Carol, I’m So Sad” hark back to Campbell’s early British Invasion roots.   These two gems characterize a unique album that has a  ragged, ramshackle feel – very intriguing.  Others songs like “Delicate Situation”, “Don’t You Ever Think I Cry”, “I’m Trying To Forget You” and the title track recall late period Beatles – think Abbey Road or Let It Be.

So with the exception of two duds, this is an excellent set of early 70s rock n roll by one of rock’s forgotten (albeit eccentric) talents.  Other notables:  the whimsical but tuneful “You’re Spending All My Money” and the rocking “Stayed Out Late Last Night.”  Rev-Ola reissued Yes It Is in 2004 with plenty of worthy extras.

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“Stayed Out Late Last Night”

:D Reissue | 2004 | Revola | get it here ]
:) Original | 1970 | Philips | search ebay ]

Taos “Taos”

Here’s an unusual jewel, released on Mercury Records in 1971. The band Taos was actually a quintet pieced together by a group of young men who had moved to the legendary Taos commune in the early 1970s, namely: Jeff Baker on guitar and vocals, Steve Oppenheim on keyboards and vocals, Albie Ciappa on drums, Burt Levine on guitar and banjo, and Kit Bedford on bass, with the occasional intermixing of instruments going on in between cuts. If the band’s commune connection leads you into expecting some sort of stoned, improvisational musical meanderings, however, you’re in for a surprise: their sole, self-titled record is pop music all the way.

Indeed, the band itself is surprisingly together, tempering mildly eccentric diversions into psychedelia and country music with a solid foundation in 1960s rock and roll. If there’s one band to which Taos owes its biggest debt, I’d say it would have to be The Beatles. Kit Bedford’s warm, melodic bass work channels Paul McCartney all the way, while the group’s vocal harmonies show a tendency to lean more towards the ragged schoolboy charm of the Four than the choirboy constructions of American groups such as the Byrds, or the Mamas and Papas. This influence is not to say that Taos lacks an identity of its own, however. On the contrary, they manage to take this influence in surprising directions, whether it’s the lonesome cosmic cowboy pastiche “After So Long” or the phased psychedelic boogie of “Twenty Thousand Miles In the Air Again”.

Despite the general cohesiveness of the album, however, there are the occasional faults, such as the unnecessary, repeating theme “The Day Begins,” which should have simply been turned into a full-fledged song rather than left as fragmentary interruptions in the tracklist. Every now and again the musicians also reveal a slight weakness in the vocal department, as the slightly squirrely lead on “Morning Sun” illustrates. Lastly, the song lyrics aren’t really worth shedding too much ink over – there’s certainly no metaphysical contemplation or social commentary going on here, whatever other Sixties sensibilities the record may boast. These latter complaints border on quibbling, though, because the music here is almost too much fun to criticize. Again, this is pop music, and should be enjoyed for what it is. I think that Taos is certainly consistent enough that, if you’re digging the tracks below, you’re gonna like what you hear the rest of the way through.

Unfortunately, Taos is currently unavailable digitally. Yeah, there had to be a bum note at the end of all this. It looks as if you all are going to have to search this one out on vinyl, though at the time of writing this article it looks as though there are at least a few copies haunting eBay for around ten or fifteen dollars apiece, which certainly ain’t bad. And speaking of the vinyl, this record comes adorned in a really great gatefold sleeve, with pictures of the band rehearsing and bumming around Taos. I’m almost tempted to imagine the psychedelic, southwestern Hard Day’s Night bouncing around in these kids’ heads.

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“After So Long (So Long)”

:) Original | 1970 | Mercury | search ebay ]