This blog is an extension of the Psych Trail Mix fanzine that had a run of 10 printed issues from Winter 2008 through Spring 2016. The Psych Trail Mix archive of full, free PDF files of the printed zine will continue to be hosted at this link. Print copies remain of the last 3 issues (8, 9, 10), see the main PTM page to purchase copies.


09-09-2022 - Back To The Land: The Mystical, Bewitching Psych Of The Perth County Conspiracy (part 1)
This post takes on a bit of a personal significance for me. I've recently sold the home I've inhabited for the last 13 years, this place was just outside the city of Philadelphia. I was then fortunate enough to land a new home out 'in the country,' where I really want to be. In fact, launching this post the second weekend in the new place! It took a lot of work to get here, but it's pure joy to be away from all of the urban ugliness and just being so CROWDED on top of people essentially (row home life). The neighborhood wasn't getting any better either; a mugging on the corner in broad daylight, multiple shootings just down the road... Twas' certainly time to head for zee hills! So, I'm currently OUT here near the farmlands of Pennsylvania, MUCH more open space and room to BREATHE. It's a sort of a Relatively Clean Rivers Phil Pearlman-esque trip, as Patrick Lundborg once said; 'the fallout from the post-acid lifestyle, told from the third cardinal point,' ya dig? Anyway, this leads me to the main topic of this post, centering upon THE PERTH COUNTY CONSPIRACY. Richard Keelan, one of the founders of the group had been residing in Detroit, MI and he and his wife were witnessing the Detroit riots in 1967. Part of the neighborhood had been completely destroyed and in Richard's words, the 'pastoral peacefulness' in rural Southern Ontario sounded very appealing to him at the time. Richard and his wife Connie moved into Cedric Smith's farmhouse in Ontario, it was there that the early seeds of PCC were sown and some material started to be worked on. There's always been this notion of a COMMUNE, and when you look at the "Does Not Exist" album cover, it can be easy to see how that notion could be gleaned. However, instead of a single central 'commune' in the purest sense of the term, it was more of a commune of several different farms with people working together in a creative sense and even just as family; looking out for one another, sharing food from their farms w/one another, making toys for the children, meeting up at the local coffeehouse to perform together. It was in a sense like a society unto itself, w/many of the members seeking peace from the big city, or even fleeing the U.S. due to the draft. A 'back to the land' culture of like-minded folks who wanted to create their own culture rather than conforming to what society has deemed as 'normal' or appropriate.

PCC had signed a record contract with Columbia and recorded their debut album "Does Not Exist" at world renowned studio Toronto Sound with Terry Brown producing it and being much responsible for the magic in masterfully intertwining the collaging that PCC is known for within the songs. Believe it or not, this album has NEVER been released officially in digital form, or even a good proper reissue in fact. Also, I admit I had a vinyl rip in my possession for a number of years, but due to the poor quality transfer, I never really listened to it much. Flash forward many years later and I would be truly turned-on to this masterpiece like never before when a proper vinyl transfer/restoration was done by the incredible Poodle over at UPV (link coming in a bit here). Yes folks, sound quality matters! This record is unlike any other, it's like stepping into another world. Hearing a proper transfer of this album was breathtaking in that the QUALITY of the recording is just phenomenal. It's like the band is playing right in your living room if you blast this from some good speakers. The opener, "Midnight Hour," is a 6+ minute suite that immediately shows off PCC doing what they do best, and what was a staple of their live show during the time, that is melding together and 'collaging' multiple songs into one w/poetry, literature, various time and mood changes, and doing it surprisingly perfectly as if it was all meant to be. You'll hear sound effects peppered throughout the album that set the tone/mood such as a crackling fireside, sounds from the country and more. I find that the album succeeds in retaining a heady, tripped-out edge without the overly-psychedelic sounds effects that were prevalent back in the day (backwards tapes, sound effects etc.), this record is psychedelic in a sort of all-natural vibe, the PUREST psychedelia you can have my friends. The record is often what I call life-guiding, in that there's messages within that inspire. "Keeper of The Key" is one of these tracks, I remember during a rather difficult time of my life, I took a walk on a bright, sunny day along a path through the forest beside a creek and listened intently to the words and it all just sort of came together for me, centered my being and my soul, the warmth of the bright sun on my face and the awe of the cascading water over the rocks in the creek... 'the water of life does flow freely, said the keeper of the key, drink the light and be the music flowing forth in harmony...' 'be true to the virtue that you seek.' I find this track to be truly cathartic at high volume levels! "Don't You Feel Fine" - this is another, doesn't get anymore life-guiding that that one, many lessons within if you choose to turn-on an listen! Jan & Lorraine, whom were friends with PCC would cover this song on their "Gypsy People" album. "Truth & Fantasy" is another big standout here, again with the collaging that works just oh-so-well here on this song especially... This is another sort of multi-song suite that goes in some different moods and directions, even a fun little spoken-word piece before bringing it back to completion with how it started. A sort of orgiastic sing-along with Richard and Cedric's vocals complementing one another so brilliantly as they do on the entire record. The whole record is like a life unto itself, so unique in how it draws you in while at the same time having this sort of mystical vibe to it all like it's some lost key to the universe or something. "Trouble On The Farm" breaks things up with a jammy little groover about a pot bust that Cedric Smith endured when the cops busted him with a load of weed on his farm. "The Dancer" is a beautiful piece, this is another one I was in the forest hiking with, GREAT setting for this record if you're able... I was sitting upon an enormous rock overlooking the creek, the sunlight was creating prisms through the trees, little leaves and things were creating trippy ripples all over the water, the lyrics were just beautiful in this sort of meditative nature scene, then Richard's frantic chord progressions on the acoustic guitar to launch the song into the great beyond. Ahhhh, pure bliss. The closer, "Crucifixation Cartoon" is almost like a warning, at least to me, that it takes effort and work to reach the levels spoken about in previous songs, a sort of somber ending that works the more I listen to the album. So, like I said, unreal that an album THIS good has not seen proper reissue. But we're in luck as the Poodle over at UPV has ripped a copy from an Acid Archives contributor (full circle eh?), a copy with new stampers and improved sound over the 'two-eyed' originals - you'll hear more about the originals next in my interview with RICHARD KEELAN, yes you heard that right! In the meantime, go and get this NOW, you've never heard this record sound this good, BLEW ME AWAY and made me fall in love with this gem, shooting it right up into my favorite albums of all time - The Perth County Conspiracy - Does Not Exist (1970) [Canadian LP]

It took some time, but I finally tracked down Richard Keelan who was gracious enough to let me pick his brain about his band and their magical record that I've been madly obsessed with for the past couple years. Enjoy!

So you initially left the States for a more peaceful, serene setting in Canada on a farm? What ultimately led you to depart the States?

I had heard of Cedric some time before we met. In the early 60s he was playing a circuit of Midwestern US coffee-houses billed as Ric Smith, some of which i had also played. My playing journey saw me end up in Detroit in '64, where I lived for the next five years, eventually becoming an original member of The Spike Drivers, a psychedelic folk/rock band of considerable local fame. When that band devolved, two of us (Ted Lucas RIP and I) formed a duo we called the Misty Wizards, and in 1968 we were booked to play the Black Swan Coffee House in Stratford ON, which is where Cedric and I eventually met. Connie and i lived in a mostly black neighborhood in Detroit when the 'Black Day in July' erupted in 67, a sobering experience indeed! Our daughter Caitlin came along in '69, and we decided to emigrate to Canada that year. Cedric and his wife Joan offered to have us stay at their farmhouse til we soon found a place of our own. While we were at their place was when Cedric and I started tossing song ideas together and plotting our non-existent Conspiracy. The rest, as 'they' say, is history.

How did you first meet Cedric and what were your first impressions of him?

At the time we met, I already had a fair amount of original songs in my repertoire, while Cedric, up to that time, mostly performed some standard folk songs, British and Irish trad ballads and so on, but was also writing some original material. He obviously had a strong, vibrant voice, and we harmonized well together. He had interesting ideas for 'collaging' songs together; thus we came up with (best example) 'You've Got to Know,' a finished song of mine (Love to Make) with a mash-up of lyric snippets by Cedric in the beginning and middle to form the whole piece. We worked like that a lot of the time, sometimes improvising chunks live onstage which became set pieces along the way. Just about everything we ever recorded is now up on YouTube, with those who post it apparently earning ad revenue if they have enough subscribers... er something... We get little, if not nothing, from all that (my last payout from SOCAN songwriter royalties was .43 cents ... nuff said.) That said, here is a YT posting of our independent 'white album,' which I mixed down from two-track tapes taken from the soundboard on this Western Canada concert tour. I've always felt this represented our live shows quite well, although the audio quality isn't quite studio-grade... Good songs, improvised comic relief, and enthusiastic crowd
response. David Woodhead, bassist with PCC later on, transferred this
to CD a few years ago... have a listen.

How did you feel playing in the PCC versus the garagey-er Spike-Drivers & Misty Wizards? Did you find it easier to be creative in the smaller collaborative unit of PCC?

The two situations were completely different. The Spikes were already formed,
and I was the last to join. They already had a repertoire, and we added my already written songs to it; there was no co-writing going on. In PCCDNE, Cedric and I were collaborating as the group accreted around us, and we collaged more and more chunks of material as the collective grew, It was
a much more progressive improvisatory process.

Similarly, how did you find working with Reprise versus Columbia? Both labels seem to have aspects (at least) of extremely poor artistic management.

Artistic management?!! Surely you jest... Major labels don't - and don't care to 'manage' artists careers unless they're profiting from it - then they just manage the money. So, with a new artist/new contract, they're throwing artists and money against the wall to see what sticks. Without adequate financial returns, their 'investment' becomes a tax deduction, and so much for 'artistic management.' The artists slither down the wall to obscurity. The Reprise contract we Spikes signed in the U.S. in '65 stipulated: artists receive 8% of sales after expenses (studio time, promo, whatevs...), artists relinquish 50% of composers royalties and 50% of mechanical licensing royalties to Warner/Reprise publishing house. The Columbia (Canada) contract PCCDNE signed in 1970 was...(checking my notes).... yep - exactly.   the.   same. 8%, 50/50 on publishing and mechanicals. The main distinction was with Reprise, the Spikes only recorded singles - searching for a 'hit';  with Columbia, it was for making an album, which was progress, at least. In neither case did we ever receive any money from sales from either company. In fact, in Columbia's case, we told 'em to fuck off and didn't sign away half our publishing on our second album cuz we were not pleased with what they did with it. So they just dumped 'Alive' into the market with no real promo, and we parted company. At some later point, they sent us an invoice for $18,000 for 'expenses incurred' or some shit... We had a good laugh and sailed that invoice into the wastebasket. Never heard from 'em after that.

Did you guys come to record Does Not Exist with all the material prepared ahead of time? How much of the record was created on-the-fly vs. prepared upon arrival to the studio?

Yes, all the material was rehearsed and prepared for recording. I must point out that the recording engineer at Toronto Sound, Terry Brown, was key to how the album turned out. Once we helped him understand the 'collaging' aspect of how we combined song and spoken word with flights of fancy, his engineering wizardry resulted in the finished album having the impact it has had with folks like you and our fans over the last 50+ years. (if you google Terry, you'll find he later produced/recorded major Canadian acts like Rush and many others)

Were drugs often used when creating songs, or when in the studio?

If, by drugs, you mean cannabis - hell yes! I mean, I've been smokin' it from well before it was deemed 'medicinal'; for me, it was always the cure (read: medicine) for the accelerating insanity we've all survived through the 20th and into this 21st century... And yes, it played a part in the creative process. But sometimes getting high while recording, under the time restraints and money pressures, was not usually a good idea - it was work, and best to be efficient and workmanlike in most cases.

I was not able to find any advertisements for the band or album stateside. Did PCC ever have aspirations of a US tour?

Obviously Columbia (Canada) felt they weren't making enough profit off us to warrant US promo and/or release - which was fine by me; I like Canada, and there was plenty enough to do in this country.

Could you comment about each song on the album, what it means to you? In particular, I wonder what was going through your head when writing "Keeper Of The Key" and the poem that became "Crucifixation Cartoon" - if you could elaborate even more on those two in particular, that would be fantastic.

I must say up front: I've never felt any compunction to explain songs I write. Whatever I say in a song is for the listener to take whatever the words say to mean for themselves. And no two listeners will likely take the same meaning, IMHO. I don't want to tell people what to think, but to think! Interpret for themselves, apply to their own life...or not! Exercise choice.
That said, firstly, I'll offer no opinions or comments on Cedric's stand-alone songs, just as I won't for my own - except for the two examples you asked me to comment on. They offer the polar opposites of what I'm talking about: I had written 'Keeper of the Key' in Detroit, before I moved to Canada. That's nearly 60 years ago! I was a twenty-something, and have no fuckin' idea what was going through my head, other than the thoughts that produced the song. Frankly, I don't remember writing it... so there's that.
The other song, the one collaged into 'Crucifixation Cartoon,' was maybe
titled 'Love is not a Game,' can't recall, once it was subsumed into the
whole piece.  But a lyric like "love is not the same as acting in a play"
fit with our whole theatrical ethic in putting together 'scenes' within our
musical set pieces. The same idea would apply in the collaging of
'Truth and Fantasy,' with snippets of poetry cascading into Cedric's
'Goddess Fantasia' song, then the reprise of 'Truth and Fantasy' as a
closing parenthesis. Again, the idea applies to 'Listen to the Kids,' putting
that little kiddie ditty I'd written together with poems by children that
Cedric curated and were read by youngsters from our community... simple idea that worked. Oh yeah, I'd written 'Easy Rider' after seeing that movie, and the war scene at the end was a collage of an old Lord Buckley bit, plus
catastrophic sound effects... and the word 'AmeriCanadian' was actually a motto emblazoned across the top of my membership card in the local Canadian branch of the American Federation of Musicians! (I've long-since abandoned that union like they abandoned me) And that's about as much as I want to parse out our writings from half a century ago. I leave it to the listener to glean what they can, and search out their own meanings.

Thanks Richard! Any additional bits of information you'd like to share, please go ahead as the final piece of this interview.

There's one other ridiculous anomaly regarding this record's actual physical manufacturing. Columbia marketing guys came at us with this new 'microgroove process,' touting it excitedly as a way to get all the material we'd recorded onto one disc! Now, most vinyl LPs average 20 minutes per side, or about 40 min total. 'Does Not Exist' totaled... um ... 54 minutes or so. There was a huge flaw in this idea. The 'micro-grooved' discs began to break down soon after purchase quite quickly. We saw it ourselves, and others told us about it. So the irony there is that the audio messages of 'Does Not Exist' began to fade with every playing into the mode of doesnotexistance - because of Columbia's delusional incompetence. But they didn't stop there. After we had recorded two nights live in concert for our second album, those marketing guys decided to s-t-r-e-t-c-h the material out over a two-disc package - obviously to sell for a higher price. We objected; they persisted, and as noted above, we refused to sign away our publishing. In the end, the 'Alive' album tracked for less time over four sides of vinyl than 'Does Not Exist' did on two sides - and  'Alive' had just 3... three! cuts per side, fa'chrissakes... If i was easily given to paranoia, I'd suspect those marketing Einsteins were sabotaging us. But that would be giving them too much credit for being smart.

After all is said and done, I'll just quote Gregory Porter, who sings:

     "it's just water under bridges that have already burned"

*STAY TUNED FOR PT. 2 OF THE PCC STORY IN AN UPCOMING BLOG POST (near future, promise!) - in the meantime enjoy the remainder of this post below

Its been a long time since I've gone on a hunt for a live show video, unofficial live show video that is. This one proved to be quite the challenge. I'd enjoyed a live clip of The Red Telephone from youtube for a number of years, I always thought it was a primo live version of the song. I also always wondered if a FULL live version of this Love concert existed. I went on the hunt and found out that a FULL LIVE VIDEO of this concert was filmed - House of Blues - Aug. 19, 2003 in West Hollywood, CA! I began scouring the internet with deep searches of all kinds. It seemed every lead I got eventually led to nowhere. I was elated to have FINALLY found a dedicated Love fan who dug this out of his archives and uploaded the full, uncompressed DVD files for me. This show blew me away even more than I could have imagined. The official live Forever Changes DVD? I can't even see myself putting that show on anymore now that I've obtained this show. This is an audience-recorded video, but it's nicely done; filmed on a tripod, center-stage, tasteful close-ups throughout and nice full-stage shots. Nice, beefy setlist, but of course the centerpiece is the sublime, the timeless, the life-guiding majesty that is the great FOREVER CHANGES, and they play the album start-to-finish with a full orchestra just like the studio album to do it justice. You can tell Arthur is really feeling it here and in a fantastic mood, dancing about the stage and traveling the length of it, gyrating about. I got goosebumps throughout the set, no joke. "Old Man" was one of those moments, Arthur is brilliant in his tribute to the late Bryan MaClean, and at one point he's looking at the lyrics then just tosses them as if saying 'I don't need these.' After the FC set, they play some other favorites including the frantic "7 & 7 Is," and a couple of my faves off Four Sail including "August" and "Singing Cowboy." Unfortunately, the DVD ends just prior to Johnny Echols joining on guitar and Don Konka on drums for the encore, BUT this DVD has those two in some sweet bonus footage of a jamming a little "Smokestack Lightning" with Arthur in an intimate little rehearsal space. This is one for the archives folks! It took a bit of sleuthing, but it was worth every minute to track down this treasure. The link above (FULL LIVE VIDEO) goes into more detail on the personnell and a first-hand review of this show. And they also mention like I do how THIS show is worlds better than the officially released "Royal Festival Hall" DVD. A shame the pro cameras weren't there to capture THIS night instead, but this is a MORE than watchable live show video that's well-shot indeed and we should be forever grateful to the dedicated fan who recorded this legendary gig. I can see repeated viewings of this well into the future.

Michael Stuart Ware was the drummer for Love from 1966-1968. He wrote "Pegasus Epitaph" about his experience in the band and the music industry in general. This differs from the "Forever Changes" book in that it's a book all from someone with FIRST-HAND experience in the band. I like Michael's style of writing, he's got a great, sort of natural flow to his writing, and he does a good job in taking you back in time to the 60's... Jesus, working with Arthur sounded like a real pain in the ass... Hard to believe that someone who wrote something as mind-blowingly beautiful, eloquent and timeless as Forever Changes had so many demons... Well, I guess a lot of genius artists are like that. If you love LOVE as much as I do and insist on gobbling up any worthy reading on the band like myself, then I highly recommend adding this to your reading list. So far it's the only book I'm aware of written solely by an actual member of the band.

On a more somber Love note, we lost a great this past year. You've likely read my post praising Love's "Four Sail," especially the guitarist on that record, the great Jay Donnellan and his acidic-freakout guitar solo on the song "August," it truly elevates your being and leaves you befuddled and speechless afterwards. ALL his guitar is TOP on Four Sail, without him the album simply would NOT be the same. We lost that great psych-guitar wizard this past year. I had tried to secure an interview with Jay a few years back but was informed by family that he was in an assisted living home at the time. I would have loved to have had a convo and picked his brain about Four Sail. Jay, I hope you're shredding those leads up in the great beyond, you will live on forever through your music. Click the image below for the best article you'll read on Jay Donnellan, from Melody Maker, 1973.

Wildfire - Smokin' (1970)
If you're just looking for some killer HARD rock with RIPPING guitar work, this album is where it's at. These guys hailed from Austin, TX and Laguna Beach, CA. Apparently, they played LOUD and their massive Quilter amplifiers are what gave them their sound, built specially for them in Pat Quilter's garage. This album was recorded at Sonobeat Records in Austin, TX, produced & engineered by Bill Josey Sr. Hey, wonder if they ever ran into the Cold Sun crew? Would've been right around the same time-frame. This record has been criticized for its songwriting/lyrics, but I think they're just fine for what this is. A great record to put on an just rock out with loads of killer fuzz guitar leads that sound so tasty BLASTING out of your speakers. Yeah, play this one LOUD! The opener, "Stars In The Sky" is my favorite track off the record. Stinging fuzz guitar throughout with heavy, pounding drums. Simplistic lyrics, but I think they work nicely and convey a cool message, dare I say 'life-guiding,' a pondering of life then a sort of ode to all to just be fucking cool... to look at the beauty in things. Simple, but effective. The first handful of songs are my favorites and "Down To Earth" is another great one - a bit more mellow than the opener, but still rocks pretty hard. Simple lyrics, sure, but like I said before, they work for what this is. You'd have to be a total snob not to take at least SOME enjoyment out of this album. And believe me, I've been called a music snob on more than one occasion in my life! "Free" is another standout for me - starting in typical Wildfire fashion w/Grand Funk-style heavy jamming, but then it breaks into this gorgeous piece a little over a minute and twenty secs in with some acoustic guitars and sounds of birds chirping, ya know I always love a bit of contrast like this. I have the 2006 reissue on cd, self-released by the band themselves, which is sourced from an 'open reel dub' of the master tapes which were apparently lost years ago. This discs sounds plenty good to my ears. Snag it if ya don't have it and CRANK IT!!!

Krokodil - Invisible World (1971)
Here we've got a Swiss band that started in 1969, apparently getting their name from their guitarist who kept a young crocodile as a pet! Their first couple of records are a more bluesy/garagey sound, still great records, but this one is my favorite as they get bit more tripped-out and experimental, diving into the psych waters and other-worldly for our listening pleasure. The album opens with one of the band's best - "Lady of Attraction," effect-laden vocals from Walty Anselmo, flute, and some harmonica in there. Yes, harmonica is not abandoned from the band's earlier bluesy output, but they do it tastefully and I think it workss quite nicely and fits the mood. "Looking At Time" is a lengthy 14-minute track, but it does not bore and I never found myself reaching for the skip button. It's done nicely with a contrast of acoustic/electric guitar combo and some tasty leads, floaty Gilmore-esque leads at one point, trippy/contemplative lyrics.. An excellent track indeed. Also, possibly my favorite on here is the 15+ minute "Odyssey In Om," I highly suggest dimming all the lights, lighting up the lava lamp and listening intently without distraction to this one as it gets quite heady my friends; loads of tripped-out sitar, background sounds coming from all-around, and again that lovely flute... Doesn't flute work so nicely in psych music when done properly? "Odyssey In Om" also includes a heady little spoken word piece close to 10-minutes in that gives vibes of Group 1850 'Agemo's' era, yes this song has all a head could ever ask for! This record makes you feel like you're in another land, perhaps that freaky album cover at times... then the inside gatefold at other times where the band is all sitting with multiple candles lit in a somber-looking foresty cemetery. Anway, no great digital version exist, so The Poodle at Ultimate Psychedelic Vinyl HQ transferred an original M- pressing so we can all hear this gem how it was meant to be heard. Hi-Res scans of the brilliant album artwork also included! Grab it here: Krokodil - An Invisible World Revealed (1971) [German Original]

Twink - Think Pink (1970)
This is one that I can't believe flew under my radar for so many years. Twink was no stranger to psych-rock, he was in the band Tomorrow of "My White Bicycle" fame among others, he also played drums on a few tracks off the Pretty Things "SF Sorrow." Oh, his name comes from a brand of hair used for perms, referencing Twink's curly hair and not the slang used for a slim, fem-boy type of male! It's 2022, and this album was released in 1970, slang has changed a bit! This one was recorded in '69, released in '70 and features a recognizable crew including the great Viv Prince from the Pretty Things on "Mexican Grass War," Mick Farren from the Deviants doing some vocals, who also produced the record, and even Steve Peregrin of T-Rex! The album opens with an acid-freakout sound collage "The Coming Of The Other One," this could be seen as a bit goofy and self-indulging upon first listen, but it sets the mood for the killer songs laden with acid-guitar that make this album a joy for all heads from all around the globe. Next up is my favorite track on this record and what initially drew me in - "Ten Thousand Words In A Cardboard Box" - dark-acidic lyrics with loads of delicious, unrelenting fuzz guitar accompanied by pounding drums that are nice and up front in the mix. Yes, this is heady, dark psych my friends... Here we have English psych that is not about auntie's tea-sipping and scarf-knitting, this is stuff you wouldn't blast around old gam-mah." "Tiptoe On The Highest Hill" is another big favorite of mine on here; heady, sort of contemplative big-picture lyrics, and a hazy-stoned vibe throughout. Starts with the mellow sort of hazy-stoned vibe I mentioned, then a couple minutes in some killer swirling fuzz guitar comes in and out of the mix, this is like the coming-down of an acid-trip, sitting on a hill and realizing how small you are and contemplating life, the universe and all of its creations. The two songs I mention are by far the best that grace the record, but the rest is no slouch either. "Fluid" is a great instrumental, again with some great experimental acid-guitar, dual guitars in fact in each channel, really dig this one. "Rock & Roll The Joint" is another great instrumental with lots of fuzzed-out wah guitar and feedback. "Three Little Piggies" is really the only dud on here, a total unnecessary, goofy throwaway that should have been saved for the 'bonus' outtakes track on a cd reissue decades into the future or something! The first cd reissue from 1991 on World Wide Records is the one you want to go for as far as excellent sound quality.

The Travel Agency - s/t (1968)
Formed in San Francisco, this group released their one and only record on Viva in '68. Now, the album cover might be deceiving to say the least. I could see being in a record shop on Haight St. back during this time and without a doubt thinking this could be something that's going to be so tripped-out that I might need to make a night out of it, BUT that's not the case here. With that being said, there's still a great album that has gone fairly under the radar as far as I can tell. It's more of a pop-rock album, but there's some tinges of psych peppered in here and there. The first few tracks are the best, and the album opens with a haunting, moody keyboard intro with tripped-out sound effects on "What's A Man," before launching into a killer guitar riff. Great anti-war lyrics that are sadly still quite relevant. They don't mince words on the lyrics here - "we've got to fight them while they're small, or they're disease will soon be spreading, and then we then we'll never kill them all." Whoa! Bit of a Beatles Revolver-era flavor in spots here, including "Sorry You Were Born," with its great message of 'just find something that you can do, something that you enjoy will do.' A simple sort of life-guiding message that many of our fellow talking apes should start following! "Cadillac George" is a fun little goofy tune, great for anyone who enjoys brain-massaging fuzz! "Lonely Seabird" is probably my favorite on here, and the most PSYCHEDELIC, probably the one TRUE psych song on the entire album. A breezy, floaty, mesmerizing piece of psych that in my opinion stands up with some of the best breezy/light psych of the time. "So Much Love" is a nicely done little acoustic piece, more despair than the title would lead you to believe. "Make Love" is rather cheesy I must admit, but the only one that's a sort of throw away on here in my opinion. No other tracks stand up to the first handful, but I dig "I'm Not Dead," it's catchy and enjoyable, again with a sort of Beatles flavor. "She Understands" is another very catchy, enjoyable song that stands out side from the creme de' la creme of the first side. "Come To Me" is also another great pop track. Come to think of it, I think a few songs on side one outshine things on this record so much that it leaves much of the rest of it unappreciated. They should have spread these songs out differently perhaps! As per usual, with many of these old 60's records, a quality digital reissue has yet to see the light of day, but the great ThePoodleBites at UPV has ripped us a nice mint copy for our listening and archival pleasure. Full hi-res scans and all here: The Travel Agency - self-titled (1968) [US Original]

West Coast Pop Art Experimental Band - Part One (1968)
After having only owned the Sundazed reissue of the stereo debut of WCPAEB, I was delighted to see that the Poodle over at UPV ripped us a white label promo of an original MONO pressing! For a while this was my favorite WCPAEB album, but in recent years I've come to enjoy what are what I feel their more heady output, that being Vol. 2 and Vol. 3. But I still love this record. This one always made me feel like I'm on a desert trip or something, just the feeling it gives me. It's like this breezy sort of vibe. It's mellow and heady, gets plenty weird... They cover Zappa's "Help I'm A Rock," and while not as far-out at Mr. Zappa's original, I still quite enjoy it. This tripped-out 'breezy' vibe I speak of is most prevalent on tracks like "Shifting Sands" and "Transparent Day." "Will You Walk With Me" is another one in this vein, a beautiful piece with some violin and chimes. I won't go too detailed in my review of the music here b/c I have reviewed it in past issues of Psych Trail Mix, back in the days of the actual print copies, but I had to get this review in to recommend the punchier mono mix here provided by the great/talented Poodle, see the link with his review to see the details of actual differences between the mono and stereo versions, full hi-res scans too, with an album cover like that, those are essential! The West Coast Pop Art Experimental Band - Part One (1967) [Mono Mix]

Nurt - s/t (1970)
This is a band from Poland, they've been described as prog-rock, but I think that sort of does a disservice to their sound. I'd equate it more to hard-rock with psych elements peppered throughout, some jazz elements as well. Guitarist is incredibly talented and one of the main draws of the album, and ya gotta love that fuzz bass! "Synowie Nocy" (English translation: Sons of The Night) is one of my favorite songs off the album - some groovy wah guitar jamming, then it breaks into some tasty sitar that sends you to liftoff. That's one of the things I really dig about this album is its diversity in that it can rock hard, then it has some beautiful mellow pieces as a contrast, it all blends quite nicely. "Holograficzne Widmo" (English translation: "Holographic Spectre") - just killer winding, wah guitar work and that drummer really shines, trippy effects peppered in with a few mood changes throughout the song, certainly a trip I must say! The closer, the 9-minute epic "Syn Strachu" (English translastion: Son of Fear) is another highlight - some tasteful trumpet throughout, which actually works quice nicely, again with all the time-changes throughout, these guy knew their craft and were not novice by any means. Not a dud on here really, super enjoyable start to finish. You'll see a few different reissues of this, but the one you want is the cd on Yesterday from 2003, the sound quality clearly outshines all other relases.


08-06-2021 - These Trails: Continuing The Quest For Inner-Peace In A World Gone Mad
This blog post is a bit like a continuation of the last one. NATURE again playing a dominant theme in much of the beef of this post, as you'll see. I've since expanded my hikes to even vaster landscapes, including sort of meditative sessions at creeks and on rocks, and again I must say that after 4 years of an incompetent buffoon as President of USA, a worldwide pandemic, and a violent insurrection at our U.S. capitol (yeah, shit's been weird for us 'Muricans folks), NATURE has proved to be beyond therapeutic. There's no better "getting away" from it all than ignoring your cell phones and any of the other screens of your countless devices and just getting out in the woods, on trails and bathing in the sunshine. Normally, the birdsong and sound of the babbling creek is enough to induce the near narcotic-like, inner-peace effect desired on my journey, but sometimes you get that itch for some MUSIC on your travels. So I've always got a loaded portable music player for my trek chock full of all the greats for nature; Donovan, Byrds, Rick Saucedo, Creation of Sunlight, Relatively Clean Rivers and yes... THESE TRAILS! I've got quite the surprise, a real treat for everyone here as I continue with some These Trails material for this post: an exclusive interview with Patrick Cockette - writer, guitar player, tabla player and vocalist of These Trails! A super cool guy who was beyond friendly and open in providing well thought out answers to my questions. I'm proud to present the first interview to grace the PTM blog here, the first since the old days of printed versions of my zine, ENJOY!

How did you first meet and get to know Margaret Morgan?

I was born on Kauai. Although Margaret is from Oahu, her mother’s family was from Kauai. We used to spend summers in Hanalei Bay, which is where I met Margaret. Her family had a beach house not far from ours. She was maybe 12 or 13. We were friends and enjoyed the beauty of Hanalei. And so it went. We would see each other during the summer. Then one year Margaret showed up playing music. Things changed.

What was Margaret like as a person, could you please share some memories of her?

Margaret was zany. You would not expect her to be the author of her music and journals. When she showed up as a musician she was playing “Excursions” by Samuel Barber. She also was playing the guitar. So we started playing music. And eventually wrote the songs for These Trails. She was a wonderful swimmer and bodysurfer. Yogini. We were together off and on through the years. Her mother had a significant effect on her. To my mind, it was not good. She threatened to sue me because I let Drag City release the album. I could tell even her lawyer didn’t like her.

How much of an influence was the nature surrounding you guys in Hawaii on the music, it surely comes through in the tunes.

Margaret loved to climb trees. She was always up in them. She liked to sit in groves of trees, balancing equations, as she called it. Natural images support her lyrics. Garden Botanum is totally about nature. We wrote the lyrics driving from Lihue to Hanalei one day about a garden we lived in on round top drive, Honolulu.

You mentioned that you only released the "straightest" of the material you recorded. Would you mind sharing some details on the other songs like song titles and how those unreleased songs sounded?

There were other songs recorded with Carlos Pardeiro. He now owns a TV station in Tennessee and is still releasing his music. However, our producer, Peter, said no mas. We recorded a song called "Majagua" that was not released. I really liked this one. some nice guitar interaction. I only remember the first line - 'there's a way through the bush back to home, leave your two shoes behind, shed a glass eye.' Another song about cactus: 'Cactus storing the drink I must win. You whisper damp secrets, you're living in unliving skin. Let me come in.' As with all her songs, musical surprises abound. Another title - "Cat Among Caladiums". Karen (Margaret's sister) might have the words. My favorite song by Margaret is one I played at her funeral. I don't think her mother got it. "Far Away" - 'There's a shadow losing ground, falling from mother's eye, once did please her sky. Now she knows to rain down. / The longest night could it be approaching light/the moon ceases to fight/her sinking into some sea/some see the         light/some see the one/is only one the way to shine the light?/come be my fondest star/be near from far/far away/come on and sweep me away away
I got this song back. So interesting. I may record a version. Margaret was really prolific. She continued writing songs all her life. In my opinion, the songs she was writing early on were the ones that were so extraordinary.

Click the above image to check out a hand-written note by
Margaret to Patrick, reminiscent of what Margaret's lyrics are like in a way (courtesy of the private collection of Patrick Cockette)

What was the vibe like in the studio recording the songs for the album? Can you share some memories of the recordings?

Although it was Peter's studio, the main man was David Choy. David was very eclectic - like doing Beijing Opera. He is responsible for the Arp synth.
At the beginning, we were just laying down the acoustic tracks. David wrote some string parts for Waipoo. It was fun and exciting. Margaret and I spent a lot of time rehearsing. Think we were staying in a teepee on Maunalani Heights. Then we moved to the end of Kalihi Valley road. I came home one day and Margaret was gone. Her mother guilted her into going back to school at Dominican College. Luckily, we had all the main tracks. So then it was me and David finishing it. This part of the production was pretty stoney. In retrospect, it was probably not a good idea to mix on elephant weed.

Click the above image to check out hand-written dulcimer tunings by
Margaret. Note the "Official Mind Bending Dulcimer Tunings" written by Margaret at the top (
courtesy of the private collection of Patrick Cockette)

What are your favorite tracks from These Trails?

I like all of Margaret's songs and Waipoo.

Any old stories of hanging at Rusty's house?

Rusty Miller was a famous surfer before he moved to Hanalei to join Joey Cabell. I surfed with those guys. Rusty's house was a caretaker's cottage for the Allerton estate. It was perfect for him. Long trail along the stream, lovely seclusion. We played a lot of music on his porch. He was a drummer and harmonica player. At that time, Hanalei was a slower and mellower place. He has a book called Turning Point II about those days. It really was a remarkable time, with great uncrowded surf.

Admittedly, I didn't know much about Frank Zappa, but once I saw the trailer for Alex Winter's "Zappa" doc, I knew it was the perfect place to start when it came to expanding my knowledge of the man. Alex Winter is a man of eclectic and very good taste, so it's no surprise he'd be up for tackling this project on the great FZ. We all know Alex from Bill & Ted, but he also directed a much-watched short film from my youth - "Bar-B-Q Movie" that featured a spoof of Texas Chainsaw Massacre where the psychos are the Butthole Surfers! The cult classic "Freaked" is another great and oft-watched film from my youth by Alex Winter. There was much I didn't know about Zappa that I learned from this well-done doc including the time he set up his own recording studio only to be run out of town after being stormed by a vice squad who accused him of making porn! He was actually convicted of a felony and sentenced to six months in prison. I also had no idea that some asshole in the crowd ran up and shoved him off-stage, leaving Zappa with injuries that would plague much of his life. Jesus... no shortage of assholes on this planet, even back then. Alex Winter had full access to Zappa's vaults, which are seen in the film, and my God.. that guy documented EVERYTHING. So much of the footage you see in the doc was previously unseen. You also get from watching this that Zappa was an ARTIST to his CORE, even up until his last breath essentially as we see footage of him continuing to work even when visibly ill and weak. He was a truly fascinating guy and I highly recommend this documentary. We can only hope for a DVD or Blu-Ray release featuring FULL-LENGTH performances which understandably couldn't be squeezed into the doc format.

Relatively Clean Rivers - s/t (1976) [Original US Private Press]
This is big... Like HUGE. I've written about this album in previous blog posts, but one of the main things about it is that it has never been given a proper reissue. So unless you had loads of cash to drop on an original pressing, you're stuck with the mediocre (to put it VERY mildly) bootleg copies that are out there. The original pressing is the only way to hear this psychedelic masterwork, its clarity unmatched. But even if you got your hands on an original, there's about a 101% chance that it's warped, with varying degrees of warp. Let me cut to the chase, your listening experience with this album changes now. An original M- pressing from the first 100 run, with the most minor of warps (corrected in the restoration by the way), has been handpicked by Phil Pearlman himself, straight from Phil’s goat farm and sent to ThePoodleBites over at Ultimate Psychedelic Vinyl HQ for a full restoration, and even given blessings by Phil himself to be presented freely for all of us to hear in stellar sound quality. This project is many years in the making - seeking the perfect copy for the restoration. And when finally obtaining a suitable pressing, no corners were cut in the full restoration of this masterpiece. This is likely as good as you will ever hear this album, for various reasons pointed out in the blog post link at the end of this review. Like I said, I have reviewed this album in previous blog posts, but let me just touch upon a few key elements. This is essentially like the fine wine of psychedelic music folks. The effects and things aren't over the top and in your face, but interwoven into the music in an almost subtle, sexy sort of classy manner. It has a very reflective feel to it throughout, and it's one of the type of albums that I like to call “life guiding.” Its been accurately penned as a rural-psych album with an acid-vision for the fallout of the post-60’s days of the original psychedelic era. Again, no corners were cut and it's truly a revelation when you  hear this album in pristine quality. The restoration also includes full high-res scans of all the album artwork and more. Bootleg copies contain hazy artwork at best, the scans within this presentation will blow you away. And let's be honest, that beautiful multi-colored psychedelic album cover deserves to be treated with full respect. This is something that I thought might never happen, so it's truly a joy that this is now a reality. You'll see Psych Trail Mix name-dropped in the post, something that I'm not shy to say that I'm a bit proud of, with being a part of at least the encouragement aspect over the years to make this happen. FINALLY, this psychedelic masterpiece has been properly digitally archived so that we can enjoy it for years to come:
Relatively Clean Rivers - s/t (1976) [Original US Private Press]

Linda Perhacs - Parallelograms (1970)
I'd heard this album name-dropped for years, but am just now getting around to checking it out. As usual with female singer-songwriters of the time, comparisons are drawn to Joni Mitchell, and you do get some Joni vibes at times. This one didn't really blow me away upon first listen as much of the gushing reviews would have you believe, I think this one is more of a grower, and grow it did. Like I said, you get some Joni vibes, but there's more of a sort of somber, reflective feel throughout the album, and yes it does fall into the folk-psych category. Folk-psych is a term that's bandied about a bit TOO much from what I see, so how is it PSYCH you ask? Well, its lyrical depth rings of an enlightened sensory-heightened state at times. Like on "Chimacum Rain" for example - "I'm spacing out, I'm seeing silence between the leaves," that definitely evokes a higher sensory level, no? The title track is also fantastic, its sort of geometric-freeform lyrics are quite trippy and the production of this track certainly give it a tasty psych edge that will satisfy many heads cravings for that sought out 'out-there' vibe. I really dig how the title track gets into that tripped out part in the middle section and then brings you back to base with Linda's singing, almost like the back and forth of a trip if you will. The 'folk-psych' label aside there are just some stunningly beautiful songs on here, "Dolphin" for example. Linda's delicate singing on this track just seduces me, it's like I'm wrapped in a warm blanket, getting away for a bit, life's daily responsibilities and mundane tasks vanish for a moment. Getting away, to where? Even in the lyrics, Linda asks "But what is there?" And "what good is back?" To me, it's a great song about just getting away, to somewhere else outside of your normal sort of daily actions and patterns and behavior. I have the cd from 2003 on the Wild Places label, apparently this is the version Linda herself recommends, I haven't compared it to any other reissues, so I can't give you a 100% answer, but the sound should be satisfactory to most.

San Francisco Sound - Fifth Pipe Dream - Volume I (1968)
Here you have a fantastic psych comp from 1968! I've heard several songs off of this comp from various sources, with many becoming favorites, but finally here we have a pristine transfer from an original M- pressing thanks to ThePoodleBites. 50 YEARS later this is still the only tape-sourced available release of the material within. The album starts off with a completely different version of "Bulgaria" by SF greats It's A Beautiful Day. This version is much different than what would ultimately end up on their album the following year, but it sort of gives off the same vibe lyrically in its message of inner-space and opening up your mind. Undoubtedly, some of the strongest material on here is by the great Tripsichord Music Box! Frank Straight's fuzzed-out guitar leads just ooze out of the speakers so deliciously on "You're The Woman." All three Tripsichord songs included on this comp are very strong, but I think the winner of the trio is the 8+ minute keyboard/guitar driven epic "Family Song." Definitely a Doors-y vibe here with those keyboards, then Frank Straight's guitar comes in and really gets you 'out there.' Mislabeled on the comp (thanks to Matthew Katz), are four songs by WEST COAST NATURAL GAS (NOT Indian Puddin & Pipe), along with Tripsichord, these are clearly the best of the batch here. "Hashish" has been a favorite of mine for many years, but it's a treat to hear the massive upgrade in sound quality here straight from an original pressing. Read a transcription of that song and all about its meaning in a free PDF of Psych Trail Mix #10. West Coast Natural Gas' sound is a rich, eclectic potpourri of organ, piano, 12-string guitar, bass, drums and fantastic vocal harmonies, it's easy to see why they remain big favorites for what would be the one and only "Pipe Dream" comp. "Hashish," as mentioned, "Beyond This Place," "Water or Wine," and "Two's A Pair" are all top-notch. A band called Black Swan are featured for a couple tracks, the standout being "She Encircles Me," and as pointed out in the blog post link at the end here notes, it sort of gives off the swirling psych sort of vibe with its stoned-out declarations of female beauty as compared to "She Lives" by the 13th Floor Elevators. Grab this perfect vinyl transfer/restoration here:
San Francisco Sound – Fifth Pipe Dream – Volume I (1968)

Truth - Of Them And Other Tales (1969)
Recorded in Chicago in 69/70, this music did not see the light of day until 26 years later in 1995! I'd be remiss if I didn't first thank Curtis Bachman for safely preserving the music (contained on half inch tape and acetate) for decades! Some Van Morrison fans identifying themselves as “Truth Seekers” had read about this music and went to the effort of trying to track it down, eventually making contact with Curtis. I was turned on to this gem just some months ago, and I can not believe I hadn't heard before. Apparently, leftover band members from an incarnation of Them. Stellar from start to finish, not a dud on the entire thing. Top-notch musicianship, and loaded with some great raga-psych guitar excursions that'll put ya right in the state ya wanna be in bub! What a perfect opening statement too - "Music Is Life." Just listen to the 10-minute epic "Archimed's Pad (Squared Room)," I'm not even a fan of wine (more of a beer guy), but I get this vibe that sitting down with some good wine and a few tokes might be the perfect concoction to enjoy this journey. "High" is another big favorite - starting off with the sound of feedback, then some stinging fuzz guitar leads, great lyrics and lovely vocal harmonies. The songs are breezy and sort of flowing, but they also have balls, a perfect balance. There's also a nice eclectic selection of instruments we're treated to with the flute and some tasty droning sitar to name a couple. Jim Armstrong is an unsung guitar hero in my opinion, this dude needs to be more well-known! At one point, the band and their music were featured in a film from 1970 titled “College For Fun and Profit.” I have searched high and low but it appears that a digital version of the film doesn't exist. From what I've read, it had maybe a one time theatrical showing at the now-demolished Playboy Theater in Chicago. The original cd put out in '95 by Epilogue sounds great and is from the master tapes, also including extensive liner notes of the full story of the band and the journey in getting out this disc. Check this one out if ya have yet to do so, comes highly recommended here at the Psych Trail Mix compound!

Oh Sees - Orc (2017)
You'll notice that it's fairly rare that I write about new music for this blog. So for me to tip my hat to something new, especially within the last few years, its really gotta “get me nice.” This album by the Oh Sees came out in 2017, and I think it's one of their strongest albums. Truth be told, I was turned on to this band after hearing that one of their main influences is the great acid punk band Chrome. Also, just this year they covered several Chrome songs in a live “Levitation” session, and they blew me away, giving the songs the respect that they deserve and doing them justice. I also think that witnessing this band live will make you a true believer. I watched several live videos of these guys and they really just give it their all on stage, with very high octane energy. I'm set in my first return to live music since covid started to see these guys play in about a month, and I am beyond excited to have their show as my first return to a venue to witness live, loud, in-your-face music, LONG overdue feeding of the soul. “Orc” is Is a good place to start as far as their albums. From the in-your-face acid-punk tinged “Static God” to the 8+ minute hypnotic psych rock journey of “Keys To The Castle,” the gamut of this album should itch every scratch you have. I actually recommend watching a live performance of this band PRIOR to listening to this album, and this one from just blew me away. You can't deny that John Dwyer is a phenomenal guitarist. So all you fellow old heads out there who are reluctant to check out newer music (I'm guilty as charged myself), take these guys out for a spin, you likely won't be disappointed.

Spirits & Worm - Spirits & Worm (1970)
Here we have a band that is aptly described in the blog post link at the end of this review as "think of the hard-edge psych guitar work of Kak uniting with the mesmerizing vocal harmonies of the Mamas & Papas." This one was brand new to me, and I'm glad my introduction of the album was this primo rip of a SEALED, MINT original pressing on A&M records! Also, as with A&M pressings, the sound quality is absolutely stellar. Original pressings of this are quite rare, so it's fantastic that this sealed copy was procured for a proper digital archive that we can enjoy for years to come. It's hard to pick favorites here with this diverse selection. "Fanny Firecracker" is a fantastic rockin' groover with back and forth sort of vocals and an upbeat mood. Anytime this song comes on I get the urge to just crank my volume dial on the ol' stereo into the red and let the neighbors hear some actual GOOD music for once in their lives! The guitar work on this really rocks like a mofo, just listen to those RIPPING leads on "Sunny Please Hold Me"! And the male/female vocals are just top-notch, right up there with the best of the California sunshine-pop-psych groups of the time. The title track is also a standout, and I love how that fuzz guitar in the left channel just seductively teases me and massages the brain ever so nicely, a little feedback to sweeten the pot followed up by the orgastic return of the ripping fuzz guitar! Ahhh yes, give it to me. "All I Need Is A Little You" is another personal fave and seems to get stuck in my head for days after a listen. This song features some fantastic flute that appears throughout this great album, and I just love psych records that incorporate the flute, especially when juxtaposed with the contrast of distorted fuzz guitar, it's such a winning combination that scratches all my itches. It's baffling how this band and this record didn't go further, apparently the LIKELY story is that the album was test marketed but no airplay/sales resulted from it and so it was shelved. Dealer hype over the years would like you to believe that it's because the album cover with the goats and headstone evoked satanic imagery! Anyway, read about that and more on the history of this record in the blog post over at UPV where you can grab the rip of an original MINT pressing:
Spirits & Worm - Spirits & Worm (1970) [USA Original]

Q65 - Revolution (1967) [Mono]
I’ve reviewed this record many years ago, however this first legit reissue of the essential mono mix put out by Pseudonym necessitates another review. Q65 were a group who were lumped into the category of “Nederbeat,” with “Neder” meaning Netherlands and “beat” being the beat music of the time. Many consider these guys to be a raunchier, nastier version of the Pretty Things and I agree. “The Life I Live” is the total quintessential party anthem. The fast-paced punked-out SNARL of “I Got Nightmares” is worth the price of admission alone folks. That's one of the things that really boosts the appeal of this album is the snarling, snotty vocals of Willem Biel. One of the things I also love about this record is the diversity, it's not just a collection of foot stomping R&B garage rock numbers (of which those included here are great), there's also some choice, mellow nugs in here as well like “Just Whose In Sight” with its classical guitar work and flute, giving off a sort of Eastern vibe. “Spoonful” is a great one to listen to on an outdoor wooden porch with an ice cold brew with that killer bottleneck guitar and those attitude-laden vocals of Biel. Really the only stinker is the final track which consists of a long blues jam. Anyway, I could go on, but go way back to Psych Trail Mix - Issue #2 If you'd like to read another review of this album. The main reason for this new review is the MONO MIX, which after hearing it proves to be THE mix you want for this. The PUNCH is what's needed for these songs. The high-end is there as well, apparently on original pressings the high-end was rolled off, so the reissue is actually the choice pressing for this album. Not a vinyl guy? No problem, the great Prof. Stoned has pulled through once again and provided us with a stellar rip of the mono reissue on Pseudonym: Q'65 - Revolution (1966) [Mono Version]



Well, what a year right? This has been an era like no other, and I'm sure all of you out there reading this have experienced loneliness and isolation due to this pandemic as every inch of the planet has been affected by it. Also, I'm sure most of you are burned out even thinking about it at this point, so I won't delve further into discussion on it, there are 24/7 news channels displaying various images to be bummed out about, in full technicolor! I did want to bring up the pandemic however, because once again the MUSIC has been THERE, as it always has been, and has been one of the major sources of comfort for me in these times. Music has gotten me through so many things in life, but this past year made me realize that it's even more valuable than ever before. Never before has it been so apparent that having a good record collection (or cd/digital in my case) is more than just a superficial thing to show off rarities to people on the internet, or those weirdos who leave their records SEALED and keep them as mantelpieces! Another revelation I've had in the past year is the importance of NATURE. This is another element that has aided in my dealing with the isolation of these Covid-days. I've been hitting nature trails as often as my current life situation allows me and it's always invigorating to breathe fresh air and take in the sunlight - and really just turn off electronic devices - just to think and BREATHE and just BE. This leads me to a specific album that has been particularly comforting this past year, the great Hawaiian folk-psych masterpiece: THESE TRAILS.

Best album in the folk-psych exotica genre? I think so. Some truly beautiful Hawaiian psych here with much of it thanks to Margaret Morgan whose enchanting, ethereal vocals really make this album soar to some heady, cerebral levels. They were clearly influenced by the beauty of nature that surrounded them in Hawaii and it shines through in the music and lyrics. One of the unique things about this album is the use of the Arp synthesizer which provides some awesome sound effects of wind, ocean and canyons. I always loved this record, but as mentioned earlier, with the isolation of everything this past year, I've grown to fall in love with it all over again. I realized in putting this album on that no matter where you are in the world, it's all in the MIND - with the music and right mindset you can put yourself into some very nice spaces. Especially on headphones with this one, find yourself immediately transported to a Hawaiian nature trail with birds singing, sounds of trickling water, or chilling on the deck of "Rusty's House" with a sea breeze blowing around all that pungent indica smoke swirling about as good times abound. I recently discovered a photograph of the actual house/porch they're speaking of in the song! Check it out below!

The album really has some heady cuts on it like the tripped-out "Share Your Water," again with that Arp synth really adding a sort of other-worldly edge to the overall sound of the song, this really gets into some deep sort of introspective moods. "Rapt Attention" has been a big favorite for me, just a stunningly beautiful love song with the sweet vocals of Margaret Morgan using metaphors of nature to describe aspects of a relationship. There's really not much at all out there when it comes to the history of this record, but there is one newspaper article from the Honolulu Register - July 30, 1973 that gives us plenty of insightful info about the players, the inspiration, the music and more. According to the article it took "over a year" and consisted of "thousands" of hours to create the sound you hear on These Trails. It also leaves my mouth watering for any of the outtakes that weren't used as it's quoted they chose the "least strange" of the cuts for the album! Click the thumbnail below to read this great article on the history of how this brilliant record came to be.

My go-to for listening to These Trails is the 1999 cd put out on Sinergia - this is directly from the master-tapes and sounds about as perfect as you can get, and it was put out by the band. This disc can be had on Discogs for under ten dollars, no-brainer really. Original pressings of this even in not that great condition will fetch several hundred dollars, so good luck finding or affording one of those! Speaking of, I did stumble upon a SIGNED original pressing, I can only imagine how much this went for! See it signed on the back by "Mars," which was Margaret Morgan's nickname at the time, the other signature I can't make out, I'm assuming another band member's signature. Check out that below as well as the rest of the images of this rare original pressing including the full lyric sheets:

In accumulating more survival tactics for this isolated, lonely year, the silver lining, for me at least, is enacting some better habits. One of those is putting down electronic devices before bed and picking up BOOKS instead. It has been infinitely more rewarding than mindlessly scrolling through social media feeds, plus I've slept much better. After getting into reading again, the first book I decided to pick up was one I read years ago, but fell in love with the band WAY more since reading it long ago - "Forever Changes: Arthur Lee & The Book of Love" by John Einarson. This is the most definitive book on Love you will read, giving loads of inside information on all the recording sessions for the various studio albums that had me not wanting to put the book down and probably staying up a bit too late on work nights. Arthur Lee was a genius, but with many geniuses there is often a dark element and inner-demons within, and Arthur Lee was no exception as the book delves into various personal demons he had through his life. The author also got exclusive access to Arthur's personal journals, so you'll see sections lifted from those included in the book with Arthur sharing info on what inspired certain songs and various other personal anecdotes. Most reading this will know the story of Arthur doing some years in prison, but the story ultimately ends on a high note with him being more determined than ever upon his release, eventually touring his life's masterpiece FOREVER CHANGES around the world. I paired this with watching the "Love Story" documentary from 2005, which was a nice Love combo. I was recently hooked up with a beautiful BBC live-stream capture of Love at the Glastonbury Festival in 2003 featuring an outdoor show with sunlight and some incredible shots of the sun beaming above Arthur's head. He even points to it during the "waiting on the sun" line in "The Daily Planet." I plan on indulging this in full shortly to top off my Love fest.

Another book I've completed in the rediscovering of my love for reading is the one below - Bob Dylan: Performing Artist - 1960-1973 - The Early Years. The late Paul Williams put this together, who if you didn't know, started rock music's very first fanzine entitled CRAWDADDY! right up the road from me at Swarthmore College in Swarthmore, Pennsylvania - this is about the only "local pride" you'll get out of me! You can tell that Paul is a MASSIVE fan of Dylan, and that comes across in the book as he writes with a ton of passion and mountains of enthusiasm. This book was published in 1994, many years before the internet REALLY took off and grew, but Paul seemed to have access to a load of bootleg live Bob Dylan shows from the early years which he often cites as reference points throughout the book, I recognized many from my archives and Paul was spot on in describing Dylan at the times of each era of said performances. That's the main theme of the book really, Bob Dylan as a "performing artist." I've read a handful of Dylan books in my day and I can tell you that Paul was one of the best when it came to interpreting Dylan's work and his lyrics. If you're a Dylan fan I HIGHLY recommend picking this book up, even if you already know a lot about the subject at hand. I'm still scratching the surface of Paul's work, I have a digital archive of all of his old Crawdaddy! magazines that I need to get to reading. OH, reminds me, I highly recommend his piece "Understanding Dylan" from the July 1966 issue of Crawdaddy!, full scans of that in my blog post below from 05/20/2017

This was a very brief flash-in-the-pan that some were maybe lucky enough to grab before the powers-that-be pulled the plug on it unfortunately. Perhaps the GREATEST psychedelic rock album... no I'll say it - THE GREATEST psychedelic rock album ever recorded: 13th Floor Elevators - Easter Everywhere was treated to the best digital transfer EVER and knocked the socks off of ANY officially released reissue of this psychedelic masterwork, and I think anyone that heard it would attest to that declaration. This was a true labor-of-love from the person who transferred and restored this from an original pressing from 1967 containing the ORIGINAL STEREO MIX. HUNDREDS of hours were poured into manual restoration that resulted in exceeded expectations all-around. There were several previous vinyl rips that were always go-to versions compared to the "official" reissues, and while they were definitely much better than those official releases, they suffered from various undesirable faults; EQ was applied to boost the highs and treble, resulting in a rather fake transfer of an album that in my opinion should NOT be tinkered with whatsoever, vinyl noise, and in the most recent rip, some very boomy bass. This latest "taken-down" transfer I'm speaking of was SMOOTH AS BUTTER. It had no EQ applied (wasn't necessary), and it was meticulously manually de-clicked and restored. Listening to this transfer, you never thought this album could sound THIS fucking good, no lie. MASTER TAPE sound. It's highly unlikely that this transfer will EVER be topped, unless the master tapes are discovered which is about as likely as a Qanon member accepting reality, and even if they were around they could be in some lame, greedy hoarder's clutches anyway who could give half a shit about the MUSIC and more about "I have this and no one else does HAHAHA," as he sits in his incel cave having no understanding of psychedelia whatsoever. If you were quick enough to snag this one then enjoy it, cherish it, relish in it as literal shivers run up and down your spine.

I leave you as I always do, ending with some album reviews and of course information and links (if applicable) to the best digital versions. Thanks for reading my blog and I really hope to make these posts more frequent than once every several months, so please check in once in a while as I plan to continue to post more entries.

Modality Stew - s/t (1978)
Here's a private press gem that's well worth your time. The word in the title, "Stew" is appropriate as you have a potpourri of various musical styles melded together within the grooves of this eclectic, diverse record. You've got a mix of vibraphone, Indian tabla drums, flute, banjo, acoustic guitars, washboard! I'm probably even missing some instruments here, but you get the idea! This is another one I've spun often during the isolation and loneliness of pandemic times - it just has this meditative, introspective, reflective sort of vibe that has been enriching during these times. Some of my favorites are the ones with the female vocals, or even the male/female vocals. "Karmic Strip" is great - I love the flute and those female vocals, and the lyrics are fantastic. Apparently, a lot of this was improvised, but it all seems to gel together and work nicely. "D-Sense/Descents" is another one that has been on my playlist a lot - more acoustic guitar and flute and those female vocals, more like a chanting almost than traditional VOCALS, and this song is one that fits in with the vibe I mentioned earlier of being a sort of meditative, reflective piece that has been comforting the past year. The album closer "Sultra Blues" is another absolute standout song here - awesome sort of existential lyrics, the male/female vocals, tasteful harmonica thrown in there. Just when you think this song can't get any better you hear the click of the fuzz-pedal activation, WHOA! I LOVE the line "And we both know, the release from pain comes from letting go." Those howling, almost shamanic-like vocals from the woman on this track combined with that fuzz guitar embodies the musical-freedom vibe of this album. Siddhi even mentions in the liner notes that he created this record after an unrewarding experience with greedy record labels and rigid environments, he was inspired on a spring day on a mountainside in Crete where "spring spoke." He returned home to nature to record this. A perfect transfer from a mint, SEALED original done by ThePoodleBites over at UPV with the full package (hi-res scans etc) is available here: Modality Stew - s/t (1978) [Private Press]

Sunlight - Creation Of Sunlight (1970)
A number of years ago I tossed this one to the side as it didn't hit me initially, but this great rip/restoration of an original pressing and the urging of a friend made me revisit it and give a proper full listen and goddamn am I glad I did! This is some of the most excellent sunshine psych-pop you'll ever turn on to! The ONLY stinker on it is "Sometimes A Woman," that's it! The rest is fantastic stuff. Most people seem to cite "David" as the best song on this, and while not a bad track, in my mind the clear winner is "Light Without Heat" - there's some flute in there that literally just takes you away, transporting... elevating you into this spacious realm of beauty and awe, and those backup vocal harmonies, wow! "Seven Times Infinity" is another favorite and includes some horns, but don't worry! I know horns can immediately turn off some heads when it comes to psych, but it's all done very tastefully here and on "Seven Times Infinity" it actually complements the guitar nicely, especially that little bit of wah-infused guitar work in the middle of the song, some tasteful PIANO thrown in there as well! There's some great musicianship in the grooves of this one that is undeniable. The album closer "Fun Machine" is probably my second pick on this, just a fast-paced fun song laden with good vibes and some fucking BEAUTIFUL vocal harmonies - "It's not a car, it's not a train, not even a supersonic aero-plane, it's a brand new thing, never thought before, takes a strange state of mind to even open the door," those are some beautiful vocal harmonies drenched in lysergia my friends. Tasty fuzz guitar and Hammond organ throughout, with upbeat vibes (much needed during these nutty times we're living through) and loads o' sunshine ;-) Excellent album for sunshine-summer vibes that are right around the corner! Once again, unless you have an original pressing to throw on, when it comes to digital versions, The Poodle over at UPV has transferred an original M- pressing on Windi Records, so go soak up the California rays with the most pristine digital version of this great album and grab it here: Sunlight - Creation Of Sunlight (1970) [Original Pressing]

The Paisleys - Cosmic Mind At Play (1970)
Some incredibly heady psych that is often underrated, possibly due to the 18+ minute single-song - "Musical Journey" that takes up all of side B. Honestly, side B isn't even BAD, and it's got some deep lyrics: "listen dear friends close your eyes, and take a trip with me, clear your head of all your thoughts, just set your mind at ease." If they shortened this song and condensed it then it would be a bit more appealing, but again - it's not terrible. Side A however, is all top-notch! "Now" is a highlight - a pounding groover with a constant flange and about the headiest lyrics any head this side of the crab nebula could hope for: "Now as we awake to the super-conscious state, now as were traverse through heaven's gate, arriving at last upon the radiant shores of the pure spritual realms." WHOA! I hate to be the guy that keeps quoting lyrics but another line from this one: "Now far away in the depths of infinity, now far away in the clear white light of reality, know thyself and abide forever in this tranquil state, know thyself and remember that it is all what you make." Sounds like a post-acid-trip reflection. Dig those heady existential lines in the title track: "Cause we're just actors in the show baby, the universe our stage, acting out our little parts baby, here in the timeless play." "The Wind" is another clear favorite, an atmospheric piece with some moody organ and some delicious, screaming fuzz guitar bouncing from ear to ear. Yes folks, back when men were men and fuzz was FUZZ ;-) "Smokey Windows" was sort of a soundtrack to me through the Coronavirus pandemic and it sounds like it was written today. A sort of tongue-in-cheek song: "well the strange times we're livin' in is all just a phase, we're surely glad to report, and we'll tell you everything although we don't know anything, and together we'll become alive again." Even musically it's a play on the Beatles "Obla-Di," which is mentioned in the song! Another line that still holds true today that rings of a post-vaccination hope that we all share: "Well the atmosphere's polluted and the rivers sure ain't clean, or is it only a dream? Well we know for sure that somewhere there's a place we all can be, and we'll all be reunited once again." Originals of this are nearly impossible to find, or find at an affordable price, but you're in luck with the Sundazed reissue from 2003, it sounds fantastic and true to the original pressing.

Country Joe & The Fish - I-Feel-Like-I'm-Fixin'-To-Die (1968)
This is a classic piece of American psychedelic rock here that most of you will already know about. I also find it to be the one that most of the "weekend hippies" know via the "Fixin' To Die Rag" from the Woodstock film, but the rewards of this album run much deeper than that my friends. I must admit that for quite some time their debut "Electric Music For The Mind & Body" was my favorite, but after delving into this one for a bit I'm finding they get MUCH deeper and headier than Electric Music... The debut may have had a flashier album title, but I've grown to loving "Fixin'" infinitely more. I mean just listen to the deep, heady introspection of "Who Am I," a stark contrast to their big anti-war opener, this one cuts deep. It's such a diverse, atmospheric record too - just listen to "Magoo" with the sounds of the thunderstorms, rain and the moody acoustic guitars, and again in a similar vein to "Who Am I" with the deeply introspective lyrics. I just get completely enveloped into this song when I listen to it. Wow, what a way to end the first side of an album! Next up is "Janis," one of my absolute favorites on this - Joe's love song to his ex, Janis Joplin. While not overtly psychedelic: no backward effects or studio trickery, this love song retains a psych edge to it in my opinion via the floaty sort of airy feel of the vocals and acoustic guitars combined with those lyrics that just paint visions of lysergic beauty: "Into my life on waves of electrical sound, and flashing light she came..." and "Into my eye comes visions of patterns, designs the image of her I see..." - Fucking beautiful! "Thursday" is another beautiful love song, this one gets a bit more instrumental and jammy as it goes on with some great organs and a lovely little jangly guitar interlude. "Eastern Jam" is just fantastic, and it JAMS, yep.. just like the title says, I never tire of this song. I LOVE right at like 2:59 you can hear the fuzz pedal kick on and we get some STINGING fuzz guitar with Melton meltin' the butter here. Ahhh bliss my friends. "Colors For Susan" is a beautiful closer and just perfect for this album, leaves you feeling great after this Country Joe trip. What makes this even better is that you can hear this in PRISTINE sound quality straight from original pressings in mono OR stereo. Both of the links below knock the socks off of any official cd reissue that has been released, be prepared to be blown away: Country Joe & The Fish - I-Feel-Like-I'm-Fixin'-To-Die (1967) [Original USA Stereo Mix]

Country Joe & The Fish - I-Feel-Like-I'm-Fixin'-To-Die (1967) [Original Mono Mix]

Dragonfly - s/t (1968)
BADASS acid-blues RIPPER here! There's some HEAVY fuzzed-out guitar on this one that will just rip your head clearly off your torso! Don't get discouraged with the reference of "blues" I made, no folks, there's also plenty of special effects, backwards guitar and surprises to give it a nice hard-PSYCH edge throughout. Hell, even "Hootchie Kootchie Man," which you expect to maybe be the snoozer of the album doesn't suffer at all thanks to those stinging FUZZ guitar leads throughout, and I absolutely love the ending of this song with the backwards vocals that melts right into the opening guitar note of "I Feel It," this is one of the perfect segue-ways I've ever heard when it comes to one song going into another on a record. "I Feel It" also has some cool Doors-esque keyboards going on, and I'll tell you, it's little surprises like this that just boost the album even more, you've got this ripping acid-fuzz guitar (courtesy of a Maestro Fuzz-Tone!) and then you're hit with various treats throughout. "Miles Away" closes out the album in spectacular fashion, starting out as a fast-paced nimbly-guitar number, then a BLAST of heavy distorted, delicious fuzz guitar, ending with a cinematic-like piece for the final two and a half minutes or so that I doubt would leave any head un-satiated. I originally had the first cd reissue on Eva from 1992, and it's not bad at all, actually way better than any subsequent reissue, but once again The Poodle over at Ultimate Psychedelic Vinyl HQ tops it with a cleaner, more pristine transfer straight from an original 1968 pressing from Megaphone. No EQ applied, or futzing around with the sound, just closest-to-master-tape quality you can get, grab that here: Dragonfly - s/t (1968) [US Original Pressing]

Captain Beefheart & His Magic Band - Safe As Milk (1967) [Stereo]
This record was already reviewed in the last blog post below, so check that out if you have yet to do so, that was as review of an unbeatable vinyl transfer of the MONO edition by Prof. Stoned, which is absolute MUST-HAVE. Another chunk of space here on the blog for this album was necessitated by a recent transfer of an original white label promo of the STEREO mix! I thought the mono was the forever go-to when it comes to reaching for this experimental blues-psych monster, but this is a case where BOTH mixes are essential to have at your disposal. There are various things buried in the PUNCH of that mono mix that are revealed with the stereo separation here. "Plastic Factory" with it's unrelenting, mind-blowing blues-riff is perhaps the one case where it's hard to make the argument that the stereo tops the mono mix, but just listen to "Zig Zag Wanderer" in stereo, if that doesn't make you a believer, then I don't know what will! Also, the songs with some psych-tinged elements like the theremin, given a bit of room to float around in the stereo mix, one could argue that the stereo mix is the more PSYCHEDELIC of the two. Anyway, you NEED both, so grab up this perfect transfer of an original white label promo from UPV and HEAR for yourself: Captain Beefheart & His Magic Band - Safe As Milk (1967) [Stereo]


7-03-2020 - Quarantined Psych Dreams: Four Sail Arthur Lee Mix, Private Press Holy Grails, Rolling Thunder & More!

I have to start this post out by saying that its been a YEAR since my last post. I intended on writing much more here and I plan on doing just that. So consider this post the kickoff to much more in the future. I believe that art and music are the best things for the soul and the mind during these crazy times and wild ride we're living through. There's always LOADS to ramble on about anyway. Plenty of time to write during this pandemic, that's for certain! All-right, let's get down to brass tax! This is something I must write about. As you know, Love - Four Sail is a BIG favorite of mine and I did an entire blog post about it, so I won't ramble too much about the album here. After hearing the unadulterated "original Arthur Lee mix" versions of a handful of the Four Sail songs from the "Love Story" compilation, I HAD TO HAVE the entire album in this VASTLY superior mix. All the shitty reverb that Elektra added to the mix was gone and it was CLEAR that the sound was superior in Arthur's original vision of the album. I tracked down everyone I possibly could to obtain this mix in full, but it always just lead to dead ends. I was BUMMED thinking I'd never hear this masterpiece in full with this superior mix. Well, last summer, July to be exact, I stumbled upon an Instagram post about this album and see the hype sticker with "Featuring the Arthur Lee Mixes" on it and I nearly leapt from my chair! After seeking these mixes in any possible way that I could, they seem to have just fallen in my lap! I found out it was on green vinyl which caused a bit of concern as colored vinyl is known to be noisy sometimes, but I purchased a copy and it played beautiful and clean. This was part of the Rhino "Summer of '69" set of releases to celebrate the 50 year anniversary of the year and Woodstock. This was also a limited edition VINYL ONLY release, but luckily my good friend ThePoodleBites over at the Ultimate Psychedelic Vinyl HQ did a beautiful rip of this from a virgin play, so cheapos like myself who don't collect vinyl can hear this and enjoy it for years to come. So I gladly shipped my brand new copy to The Poodle. This was truly an amazing thing to happen, the mix is CLEARLY superior, it's indisputable. All other versions including the original pressing are obsolete now. It's a beautiful thing to listen to this entire record in Arthur's original vision and in such better sound than any issues ever of what I believe to be the last truly great Love album. "I'm With You," one of my absolute favorites, was a true treat to hear in this mix without the added reverb, sounds almost like a totally different song! BE SURE to grab the rip from Ultimate Psychedelic Vinyl HQ: Love - Four Sail (1969) [Original Arthur Lee Mixes]

I was a bit surprised that I hadn't heard of this private press HOLY GRAIL of psychedelic rock before. Rick Saucedo - Heaven Was Blue was released in 1978 by get this... an Elvis impersonator! In fact he's still a very successful imitator of Mr. Presley to this day. I first heard this on youtube and was absolutely blown away even on first listen. There were zilch good digital releases of this album, a horrendous sounding one on a bootleg label was all I had. I then found that the Guerssen label put out a double vinyl set with bonus tracks and the works. I purchased a sealed copy of this reissue and sent it off to ThePoodleBites who very generously digitized it, so I now had a quality digital backup of this TOP psych grail. I'll cut to the chase at this point and say that a bit later an ORIGINAL PRESSING in M- condition was procured, and it turns out that as per usual, the original wins out in terms of sound quality. In fact, side 2 is much more dynamic on the original pressing AND side one is a completely different mix than the Guerssen. So the original mix is available on the original pressing ONLY, which can go for hefty sums, especially ones graded very high. I pitched in some cash for the project and once again ThePoodleBites pulled through with a PRISTINE rip/restoration, even correcting his system's frequency response, getting this about as close as you can get to hearing the original master reel. MUST HAVE: Rick Saucedo - Heaven Was Blue (1978) [Original Private Pressing] - Now the Guerssen is also essential due to some bonus tracks, especially "Oh My God," a song originally intended to be on the album but removed against Saucedo's wishes. Also, the Guerssen sports in-depth liner notes that are essential as well, just chock full of fascinating info. The music here is incredible, melodic, dreamy psych that will turn-on even the most jaded heads upon first listen. The late Patrick Lundborg summed it up nicely as "almost like a psych head's fantasy invention rather than an actual vinyl object." It opens with the tracks "Reality" and "In My Mind," which sound like they were meant to go together, just two pieces of absolutely spellbinding melodic psych genius. The next two songs are roots-rockers, long puzzling psych fans as to why they would even be included, tainting what is essentially a perfect psych grail, but these songs can easily be skipped/omitted (especially with the digital master referenced above). The final track is the 18-minute multi-part suite "Heaven Was Blue," WOW. It is easily one of THE most beautiful pieces of psychedelic music I've ever heard in my life, in fact it brought tears to my eyes during one of my earlier experiences with it. A swirling, enchanting, mesmerizing, dream world that encompasses everything that you love about psychedelic rock! It's a truly inspiring piece of music full of meaning and a plea for brotherhood and humanity, it circles life and death - just amazing. There's even thunder and rain sounds, howling dogs that come in sandwiched between the multi-dimensional dreamlike landscape of acid guitars and Rick's delicate, wistful vocals. It gives you goosebumps! I give this psych holy grail my absolute highest recommendation!

Admittedly, I was rather unfamiliar with this 1974-75 era of Dylan, the Rolling Thunder Revue. This film changed all that and once I watched this I was hooked! Rolling Thunder Revue - A Bob Dylan Story By Martin Scorsese was released on Netflix June of last year (2019). "Story" is a key word in there because some of the interviews with folks in this were completely fictitious and BS, to which was criticized widely upon the film's release. One example is Sharon Stone knowing Dylan and meeting him on this tour and going on the road with them. My view is that it was kind of silly and un-needed, but the BEAUTIFUL restored video footage more than makes up for it to the point where I don't care either way. The live footage is incredible and Dylan is absolutely ON FIRE in these intense, energetic performances. Highlights for me include a solo acoustic Dylan playing "Simple Twist Of Fate" that easily stands up with his live '66 solo acoustic sets he would play before the electric half of the performances, rollicking intense version of "Hurricane," "Knockin' On Heaven's Door" joined by Roger McGuinn contributing vocals and some majestic 12-string guitar work interwoven with an inspiring quote from Allen Ginsburg. That's just a few of the choice nugs within, you also get the band on the road and all sorts of backstage inside stuff, it's phenomenal, fascinating viewing. There's a scene in the living room of a house with Joni Mitchell playing "Coyote" accompanied by Dylan and Roger McGuinn on guitar. Over 2 hours and 20 minutes and worth every second of your time. Now we just need a film of equal length on Dylan's live '66 tour! Come on Dylan and the Scorsese camp, we've waited long enough!

Just when you think you've seen all the photos in existence of Texas psych outlaw heads the 13th Floor Elevators, Paul Drummond drops this on us just in time to peruse during a worldwide pandemic. 13th Floor Elevators - A Visual History contains a nice laid out presentation of 13th Floor Elevators photographs, gig flyers and plenty of reading on the incredible story of our beloved psychedelic outlaw legends. Drummond wrote "Eye Mind" some years ago, and I believe this new book is a more condensed version of that book, but essential for the incredible visual representation of the band within. Just to name a few things; some awesome unseen photos of Stacy Sutherland looking very stoic and angelic like he does, Tommy Hall smoking a joint in his San Francisco apartment post-Elevators 1974, for the first time ever reproduced in full - from Mother magazine 1967, the only interview with the band during the days they were active - fascinating interview with of course Tommy Hall doing most of the talking. I think this is well worth picking up for any fan of what are arguably the ultimate, original pioneers of psychedelic rock.

Lastly, time for some album reviews of what I've been digging on lately.

Jimi Hendrix - Electric Ladyland (1968)
For a long time "Axis: Bold As Love" was my favorite Jimi Hendrix album, but in the last few years Electric Ladyland has grown into my favorite as Jimi's definitive artistic statement. This double LP masterpiece was recorded from around the summer of '67 up until the beginning of April '68 at various recording studios. Hendrix had evolved much at this point and you can tell by the heady, deep compositions throughout, even starting off with the trippy intro "And The Gods Made Love," you know you're in for a ride. The album also includes maybe the BEST cover song ever recorded in Hendrix's nod to Bob Dylan with his ripping version of "All Along The Watchtower," Bob Dylan approved 100% and I believe even said something to the effect of "that's Jimi's song," a very high compliment from Dylan indeed. I've seen some claim this is overrated, absolutely NOT - for one thing I think this record is best digested as a whole, immerse yourself into it, to me it's a cohesive artistic statement from beginning to end. "1983" has got to be in the top 5 Hendrix songs easily, a heady orchestral experience containing backwards guitar, the sound of seagulls, feedback, a simple yet catchy main riff that just engulfs your mind into psychedelic bliss - and the LYRICS are genius, Hendrix paints a sort of apocalyptic vision of a world battered and torn with war and fighting, the lyrics are sadly still very relevant today. Ultimately, "1983" offers a positive vision of leaving those things behind and in an interview from 1969 he explained really how I personally navigate these times myself, with the music being the "something" for me: "something to keep your mind off what's happening … but not necessarily completely hiding away from it like some people do." I could ramble on an one about the music; the dripping acid psych guitar genius of "Voodoo Child (Slight Return)," the absolute guitar SHREDDING as Hendrix melts your mind on "Come On (Let The Good Times Roll)," the angelic psychedelia of "Burning of The Midnight Lamp," and so forth. Like always, if there's one out there I like to point you to THE best digital version you can acquire, and in this case it was done by the great Prof. Stoned. His source was the 2010 vinyl release from "Experience Hendrix" wherein all the edits between tracks are there, which apparently wasn't the case on most vinyl releases, and the sound is a beautiful, bright, clear, defined sonic glory. Prof. Stoned put this rip out a number of years ago, but recently did some minor mastering tweaks to make the sound a bit more neutral, making this even more so the DEFINITIVE way to to hear Jimi's final masterpiece, ENJOY: Jimi Hendrix Experience - Electric Ladyland (1968)

Los Impala - Impala Syndrome (1969)
Be sure to check this one out if you don't know of it, not a dud track on the entire thing really. The band was originally from Venezuela, but moved to Spain where they would record this album. Howbout' that perfect English they're singing in? Mix of garage psych rock with some killer fuzz guitar throughout. "Love Grows A Flower" and "Children Of The Forest" are a couple of my faves. Grab this pristine rip of an original pressing in M- condition, it sounds amazing! Los Impala - Impala Syndrome (1969) [US Original]

Anonymous - Inside The Shadow (1976)
This one from '76 is a fairly new record for me, but it's quickly growing into one of my favorites. I'd heard it name-dropped before and read the entry in Patrick Lundborg's Acid Archives, but never delved in. Such great music! One description that's fairly accurate is "Fleetwood Mac playing 60's psych." The musicianship is incredible and lyrics are very real, heartfelt, sincere, and deep, straight from the soul. I listened to this years ago and shelved it because it didn't grab me, but this album is the definition of a "grower" - it just gets better and better with repeated listens the more it seeps into your consciousness. Beautiful male/female vocal harmonies where Ron Matelic and Marsha Rollings even sound like they could be siblings, their voices just pair beyond perfect together. Blistering guitar work with JUST the right touch of fuzz where needed. All combined with deep, heady lyrics for the full package. This easily rivals any of the mainstream acts of the mid 70's, these guys really should have been bigger. An ORIGINAL PRESSING was transferred and restored to provide the ultimate digital archive and listening experience (all reissues pale in comparison to the sound of the original). Be sure to snag that pristine digital rip here - Anonymous - Inside The Shadow (1976) [Original US 1st Private Pressing]

J. Rider - No Longer Anonymous (1977)
I thought it wouldn't get near Anonymous (see above review), but after a proper full-listen of this, holy smokes! GREAT album! You still have all the essential elements intact; Marsha's vocals, Ron's guitar style and tones. The DRUMMING on this is unbelievable! Love it. Just to name a couple faves - the meditative, breezy, flowing "Pike River" washes over you with Marsha's vocals enveloping you like a warm blanket, clearing your head of anything else going on in your world at the moment, "We Got More," which I didn't think could be bested when it comes to the Anonymous version, but every time I hear this one those skeptical thoughts are questioned, and I must mention the ROCKING proggy psych of "Sunday's Hero." J. Rider was also clearly recorded better than Anonymous - Inside The Shadow. Hard to pick a favorite between the two honestly, "Inside The Shadow" may still take the cake for me as it retains a more mysterious sort of air in many places if that makes sense, whereas J. Rider gets a bit more hard-rock and loses a tinge of the psych edge that Anonymous retained, but BOTH are essential listening and compliment one another, outstanding albums indeed. The cd from 2000 on Aether Records combining this with Anonymous is the one to hear for THIS record as it's from the tapes and sounds perfect, but the Anonymous record must be heard from the vinyl rip/restoration of an original U.S. pressing linked to in the previous review above.

Bobb Trimble - Harvest Of Dreams (1982)
Hard to believe that a psychedelic masterwork such as this private press gem was created in the 80's! I had heard this years ago but didn't give it a true deep listen until recently. Bobb Trimble's lyrics are so incredibly sincere and real. There are some breathtakingly mesmerizing, lush, dreamy psychedelic soundscapes on this. A mix of both acoustic and electric instruments interwoven perfectly to put you in an immersive dreamlike dimension for the length of this incredible album. There's lots of experimentation also, Trimble uses lots of effects, even on his vocals. I was even getting some CHROME vibes in spots here. All reissues had EQ, compression & limiting done on them as is usually the case. Also, the original mix has never been released in full on any of said reissues. Finally, the original pressing in full, unadulterated high res sound has been ripped/restored from a beautiful RARE M- original pressing! HIGHLY recommend this one! The late psych aficionado Patrick Lundborg stated "Rated by most as the best psych LP of the 1980s. One of those obscurities (like Golden Dawn) that blows even non-psych fans away... an essential experience." Snag the pristine rip of an ORIGINAL pressing here: Bobb Trimble - Harvest Of Dreams (1982) [US Original Private Press]

T Kail - Somewhere, Sometime (1980)
This is one I was shocked was released in 1980 as it sounds like straight up west coast Jefferson Airplane style psych with male/female vocals, dreamy melodies and all! The female singer even has a strong Grace Slick vibe to her vocals, and I love the attitude. The only thing that distinguishes this record from the original psychedelic era is that the keyboards sound more modern and of the times, but they still sound cool and work with the music. "Peace Of Mind" opens the album and is one of my favorites for sure, great guitar and I always love lyrics with a message, I'm especially a sucker for lyrics about seeking peace of mind. "Somewhere, Sometime" is another one in the same vein, with an even heavier, deep message within about the chaos and troubles of the world and seeking peace within. There's a section in "Bye Bye" that has some of the tastiest psych/prog head-candy that would even give some similar Floyd material a run for its money! Ahhh yes, so tasty indeed.

Oliver - Standing Stone (1974)
Here we have another ones of those albums that leaves you thinking in your head 'why haven't I heard of this one before now?' This is a slice of U.K. psychedelia not to be missed, this ain't no whimsical auntie's tea drinking crap as a good chunk of psych from the U.K. was bub, no sir.  The songs are kind of split into 2 camps; one half is sort of folk-psych acoustic stuff, the other half is fuzzed out, effect laden driven psychedelic blues rock of the highest order! Some people complain that this makes for a inconsistent trip, but to me it all gels together nicely into a cohesive package, and I enjoy folk-psych. Admittedly, my faves are the fuzzed-out experimental psych trips like "Trance" with its phased/flanged guitar weirdness and Oliver's bizarre crooner vocals, and "Cat And The Rat" featuring some great guitar tones and effects with more bizarre effect-laden vocals from Oliver. Apparently, the man had massive disdain for the music industry as the experience is quite unique and experimental clearly drawn from the man's own artistic vision. The cd I have is on the Wooden Hill label from 1995 and really sounds fantastic, which is a great thing because original pressings are ridiculously rare and incredibly expensive if you were ever even able to find one.

The Fallen Angels - It's A Long Way Down (1968)
I had listened to this years ago and set it aside because it wasn't hitting me. I think the front cover threw me for a loop because I was expecting something harder and more fuzz-drenched. I recently spun this one again and I'm REALLY digging it! Instead of hard psych, it's more in the vein of a mellow, introspective, heady trip - think along the lines of Love's "Forever Changes" kind of vibe. In fact, this has been compared to that Arthur Lee masterpiece, and I definitely see the reasons why. Of course I wouldn't go as far to say that this is near the utter masterpiece of Forever Changes, those are shoes nearly no album in existence could fill, but this stands on its own as a fantastic late 60's psych album. They go deep for sure. I'm listening to the cd of this on the Collectables label (Roulette Masters Part 2), that is direct from the master tapes and sounds great to my ears. HIGHLY recommend this one if you haven't yet given it a spin!

The Beat Of The Earth - The Electronic Hole (1970)
Unlike Phil Pearlman's Beat of The Earth debut from 1967, consisting of free-form freakout, anything goes type jams, Electronic Hole consists of tunes with a bit more song-structure to them. Don't take "song structure" TOO much to heart though, this album consists of some droney, at many times rather lengthy trips. This was supposedly from 1970 (recorded at the end of '69), but didn't see the light of day until around 1999 when Pearlman sent a batch to a friend along with a note reading "peel slowly and see." Speaking of, Velvet Underground comparisons have been brought up by many with this record, and I happen to agree. You do get some VU vibes in spots for sure, maybe VU with a bit more psych influence I would say. There's a lot of speculation as to why Phil waited this long to unleash this, one theory points to legal issues that could have ensued due to the cover of Frank Zappa's "Trouble Every Day," great fuzzed-out wild cover of that song it is! There's stuff in here to surely delight any head including loads of sitars, organ, and some HEAVY fuzz guitar, particularly on the last track that was apparently created by Phil running his Fender guitar amp through the amp circuit of a child's chord organ! The last track is probably my favorite, a cathartic experience with that wall of thick fuzz and the heady, simple yet tripped-out lyrics that work just perfectly - "hey Molly and I, you got to go when I get high." The lyrics throughout the album are deep, trippy, and rather esoteric - perfect for a great long lost psych album, I can imagine the excitement when this hit the vinyl collectors circuit. No decent reissue has ever been released and originals fetch quite hefty sums when Phil puts them out there once in a blue moon in dribs and drabs. The album was released as a bootleg in 2004, but the usual noise-reduction and lazy methods were employed to quickly get it out to obtain quick cash. While a lo-fi recording itself, about a year ago ThePoodleBites obtained an M- original pressing to produce what is now (and likely in the foreseeable future) THE definitive digital archive release of this long lost psych gem from the great Phil Pearlman archives, in fact The Poodle's copy came directly from Pearlman's private stash! This rip/restoration is light years better than the bootleg and can be snagged here: The Beat Of The Earth - The Electronic Hole (1970) [Original Private Pressing]

Bob Dylan - The Rolling Thunder Revue - The 1975 Live Recordings (2019)
A massive 14 cd set of shows (and rehearsals to start) of Bob Dylan's Rolling Thunder Revue tour was released to coincide with the Scorsese film. Like mentioned earlier in this blog post, I was first turned on to this era of Dylan through Martin Scorsese's film on this tour, and after watching that I wanted MORE, and boy does this set deliver plenty of it and in outstanding sound quality! Dylan returned for this tour with a fire and intensity really only matched nearly 10 years prior during his 1966 "goes electric" tour. Some people ask the question "is there really a need for all those shows and 14 discs?" The answer is YES! The shows differ in experience and even in the setlist. Also, like I mentioned before, this is the first fiery, intense Dylan to emerge since his '66 tour, you can tell he was absolutely into it, he got that fire back for sure! One of the first things I did when I got this set was to immediately try and track down the performances I heard from the film. The breathtaking version of "Simple Twist Of Fate" for example is on disc #7 - Harvard Square Theatre in Cambridge, Massachusetts. Also, when you listen to these recordings they're of a different sound quality, better than what was in the film, the recordings in this set have everything much more up-front and in your face. That awesome version of "Knockin' On Heaven's Door" from the film is on disc #11 - Boston Music Hall in Boston, Massachusetts. In the film at one point Roger McGuinn breaks out into this beautiful little interlude on his 12-string guitar, and while perfectly placed, Allen Ginsberg pops into the picture with an inspiring quote about life and the tour, you miss a large chunk of the McGuinn 12-string segment. Well on the live recordings you get it all, uninterrupted and in fantastic sound. Just a couple examples, the live performances in the film are interrupted with people talking, but on this live set you can sit back and enjoy the wonderful music. Another reason you need all these sets is that the setlist varies between shows. "Simple Twist Of Fate" is actually only on one of the shows, "Tangled Up In Blue," an essential Dylan classic only appears at one of the shows and is a FANTASTIC live performance of that song. Also, the WAY the songs are played vary from show to show, maybe due to the large number of musicians Dylan had on stage with him for these gigs and the overall renaissance sort of vibe. Anyway, I think this is an essential set for the various reasons I've outlined.      



I have to start this post out by saying that we recently lost one of the true originators of psychedelic rock earlier this month. Roky Erickson, whom most reading this will already know was in the 13th Floor Elevators and had some of the best vocals in the history of not just psychedelic rock, but rock music all-together. Roky would deliver Tommy Hall's lysergic-charged pro-psychedelic message in a way that could only be done by Roky in his at-many-times wild banshee Texan wailing howl. I'm sure Tommy felt that no other but Roky could deliver his message with such urgency and at such soaring impressive heights. The 13th Floor Elevators have always been in my top 3 favorite bands of all time and I've done many features on both 13th Floor Elevators and Roky Erickson in print issues of Psych Trail Mix, so I'm not going to delve too heavily into the history of the band here, just check out past issues free in PDF format HERE - issues #4, #6, and #10 in particular have plenty on the subject. For me, the news of Roky passing stung more than any past musician's death than I can remember. Just knowing Roky's story, his recovery and the fact that he was out there still playing shows and doing well was a good feeling (I feel very fortunate to have witnessed Roky perform twice), knowing Roky was out there in the world and doing his thing in itself was comforting is what I'm trying to say. I noticed in reading the flood of posts on social media that a lot of people out there shared this same feeling about Roky passing. Roky of course will live on through his music, and he left us LOADS of incredible music, even his post-13th Floor Elevators days and beyond. The best way to pay tribute to Roky is to play his music. Rest In Peace Roky, never another like you...

I was recently reintroduced to Relatively Clean Rivers (1976), the creation of Phil Pearlman. I had heard this album briefly years ago, but I never really gave it a chance, and I just sort of tossed it to the side. Well, now I know what I've been missing after truly LISTENING to it from start to finish and really taking it all in. This album is a true grower. I get more into this EVERY time I hear it. It's like the more I listen to it and the more it soaks into my consciousness, the more it becomes part of me or something. Its majesty and psychedelic genius are also revealed the more I listen. This is what I call one of those "life-guiding" type of albums, it has a very reflective feel to it throughout and has accurately been penned as a rural-psych album with an acid-vision for the fallout of the post-60's days of the original psychedelic era, like Phil Pearlman has taken those ideals and virtues to heart and they've remained at the core part of his self. He has remained true to his core as the weekend hippies who were never into it for the right reasons anyway have passed him by and "moved on." The album has a very rural earthy sort of feel, and the psych elements are weaved in there in a sort of sexy, subtle kind of way making the whole thing a rather sophisticated sort of psych. This album is very REAL. The acoustic/electric combo in the songs have a beautiful, satisfying contrast to them and the synth/sound effects are perfectly placed. I'd be remiss if I didn't mention how GREAT that incredibly trippy multi-colored album cover is that perfectly encapsulates the feeling of the music. Steer clear of the garbage bootleg "reissues" on Phoenix/Radioactive records, as they're nothing but poorly done vinyl rips done from an original that was pressed off-center and very compressed/limited. No official reissue exists and you will not get the real deal from the above mentioned bootlegs. Your best bet is seeking out an original on Pacific Is or even a raw rip of an original in nice condition done on good equipment, which is what I've luckily found and is my go-to version to listen to this masterpiece. I highly doubt any official reissue will come from the mysterious Phil Pearlman as Phil prefers to leak maybe one original pressing or so a year through his friend/record-collector Clark Faville to sell on ebay.

While Relatively Clean Rivers may be Phil Pearlman's swan song, his other underground psych classics are totally worth seeking out as well. Beat of The Earth from 1967 was the first private press put out by Phil himself on his "Radish" label. BOTE is an unrehearsed, free-form acid jam with many interesting moments throughout and some great guitars and organ. The idea was that there be many people on the recording, all doing their own thing in this primitive, unrehearsed, primate 'beat of the earth' type sound. Same thing with BOTE - no official reissue exists, so you need to either hear the sub-mediocre bootleg of it, seek out a pricey original, or get a hold of a decent rip of an original. Recorded at the same time but not released until 1994 is another Beat of The Earth record entitled "Our Standard Three Minute Tune." These are outtakes from the original BOTE record and of much better sound quality. I'm happy to pass along a primo quality rip of an original pressing of "Our Standard Three Minute Tune," that was ripped on the record's virgin playing, you won't hear this sound any better than this quality digital download (credit @ThePoodleBites) - Beat of The Earth - Our Standard Three Minute Tune

Last, but most certainly not least in the underground psych gem rabbit hole of Phil Pearlman is Electronic Hole from 1970. This one I prefer over Beat of The Earth as the songs are just a hair more structured yet still very free-form and flowing. You even get a fuzzed out drone-psych version of Frank Zappa's "Trouble Every Day." Lots of cool moments with some HEAVY walls of fuzz and a Velvet Underground vibe at times throughout, some trippy sitar as well to get the groove flowing. Essential underground psych classic! Again, as with all the great psych nugs in Phil Pearlman's archives, no official reissue exists and you'll either need to fork out a mortgage payment for a decent original or be lucky enough to have friends with vinyl, good equipment, and ripping capability to be able to hear the album without the compression and sub-mediocre sound quality that the bootlegs offer.

*NOTE: for the one and ONLY article on Phil Pearlman, check out this Beat of The Earth article from late Patrick Lundborg's Lysergia website - THE LAMA WORKSHOP - The Beat of The Earth

I received my copy of What Does Regret Mean? recently, the new Butthole Surfers visual coffee table book. Visually lovely book of one of the best post-60’s underground psych bands, specifically their hey-day all through the 80’s. The book features loads of photographs spanning their entire career from the early 80’s all the way through present-day along with various quotes from other artists/musicians telling stories about the band, praising them, and citing them as inspirations to them. This is limited edition, not sure if copies are left, but snag one for sure if you’re a big fan of the band. For the actual HISTORY of the band, told in great detail, I highly recommend James Burns’ book “Let’s Go To Hell: Scattered Memories of The Butthole Surfers.” James is the true historian of the band and has put in the most homework out of anyone on the planet. James' book also contains some mind-blowing photographs and an extensive discog section in the back of the book. James and I both did featured pieces on the BHS back before it was cool, mine being issue #9 of my zine Psych Trail Mix, the Butthole Surfers Special which features loads of exclusives including an in-depth MUST read interview with the band’s long time drummer Teresa Taylor, snag your copy of that here - Psych Trail Mix - Butthole Surfers Special

While on the subject, it’s always a delight when some new footage surfaces of Butthole Surfers live shows from the 80’s, and recently a great video of the band playing at the I-BEAM in San Francisco in ’86 popped up and it’s a great shot with audio straight from the board, so this sounds fantastic! Be sure to check out this newly surfaced vintage BHS footage. The other footage I must mentioned has been the stuff of legend for many years, the "Ritz house-cam" videos, shows from The Ritz in NYC, recorded on the clubs cams with audio feed straight from the board. FINALLY a 9 minute piece of footage surfaced from these tapes and the footage is just a mouth-watering as you may have imagined when reading about these tapes. It's quite the tease though, we can only hope that one day the dorky hoarders will release the tapes from their greedy lame hands so that these legendary shows can be enjoyed before we all croak.

While we’re on the subject of a psychedelic acid-punk bands, I must once again bring up the great U.S. Chrome tour of last year and pass along links to downloads of some full live show videos that I was recently elated to be able to add to my Chrome/Helios Creed archives. Two INCREDIBLE live shows from Illinois I was recently hooked up with straight from the band. These are both balcony-shot videos, shot onHD cameras with excellent sound and I’ve been given permission from the band to share them with all. Both shows are beautiful documents of this already legendary Chrome tour that featured Helios at the absolute TOP of his game. The best of the two is clearly March 26, 2018 in Chicago, IL – a stunning balcony-shot video with plenty of multi-colored lights on-stage that illuminate Helios & the band throughout the entire show. The other is March 27, 2018 in Rock Island, IL - another excellent balcony shot, great stage lighting and plenty of close-ups. Be sure to grab these two excellent must-have live documents of Chrome in HD video! This Chrome tour produced some of the best live video documents of what I believe to be any Chrome/Helios Creed tour in history, so if you haven’t already snagged them, be sure to also grab these full live video downloads of shows from this legendary U.S. Chrome tour; 5-31-18 Philadelphia, PA & 6-4-18 Atlanta, GA

The reviews section here will be broken down into 2 sections; the first section "Heady Audiophile Psych Upgrades" contain links to excellent upgrades that were obtained of these albums, below that will be some new reviews to close out this blog post.


Autosalvage - S/T (1968 - MONO)
*see original review HERE

A nice copy of one of the more rare mono versions of the great Autosalvage was obtained. Mono really makes this record shine and rock HARD on a lot of these tracks, this mono mix is essential in addition to the stereo mix. Grab a great rip of the mono and hear for yourself (credit @ThePoodleBites) - Autosalvage - s/t (1968) [Original US Mono Mix]

Zerfas - s/t (1973)
This is a record that has only been officially reissued ONCE and only on vinyl. The bootleg versions on Radioactive sound like muffled garbage and can be used as Frisbees once you hear the 1st and only official reissue from 1994 sourced from the master tapes. The fact that this one and only official reissue came out on vinyl only required hunting down a nice unplayed copy for this rip/restoration. Originals of this are incredibly rare in good condition and very expensive if you can even find one, so this MASTER-TAPE reissue will be THE very best you'll ever hear of this fantastic private press release. (credit @ThePoodleBites)Zerfas - s/t (1973) [1994 Master Tape Reissue] {Official 700 West}

The Tea Company - Come And Have Some Tea (1968)
*see original review HERE

An original U.S. pressing was obtained and used to produce a quality rip that easily beats out the more compressed cd version of this, be sure to grab the rip
(credit @ThePoodleBites) - The Tea Company - Come And Have Some Tea With ... (1968) [US Stereo LP]

Frank Zappa - Alternate Freak Out (1966)
*see original review HERE

You've never heard Freak Out! with this much CLARITY, sounds like the Mothers of Invention are playing in your living room! Grab this indispensable version of Zappa's debut
(credit @ThePoodleBites) - Frank Zappa/The Mothers Of Invention - Freak Out! (1966) [Original Aborted Stereo Mix]

Love - Four Sail (compiled version)
*An entire feature on this album has been done within this blog previously - LOVE - FOUR SAIL: ARTHUR LEE'S UNDERRATED HARD-PSYCH MASTERPIECE

This is the "compiled version" and really the best way you'll hear this album in terms of sound quality. This compiled version consists of five songs that are considered "Arthur's unadulterated" mixes, these are untfutzed-with mixes that are Arthur Lee's original vision of Four Sail, and they are much clearer than the Elektra album version that you're used to, these original mixes were only ever included on the "Love Story" compilation from 1995, with the exception of "Singing Cowboy," in which Arthur's original mix was included in the bonus tracks of the 2002 reissue cd with slightly better sound quality than the one off of the Love Story comp from '95 (so the '02 bonus track version was included here). The remaining four tracks on this compiled version are from an original Monarch pressing from 1969. Be sure to grab the best way you'll ever hear Four Sail until (if ever) Arthur's original mixes are released in full
(credit @ThePoodleBites) - Love - Four Sail (1969) [Compiled Version]

Cold Sun (original Rockadelic)
*see feature on Cold Sun here - Psych Trail Mix - Issue #5
*see album review here - Psych Trail Mix - Issue #4

Most people these days are probably only familiar with the W.I.S. reissue of this record put out in 2008 and don't have their hands on one of the limited to 300 copy originals on Rockadelic from 1989. A lot of digital editing was done for the 2008 reissue and there's noticeable distortions throughout. One of the rare (and often quite expensive) originals on the Rockadelic label was obtained and a great many man hours was put into transfer/restoration of it so that it can be enjoyed by all in MUCH better sound quality. The DR (dynamic range) numbers beat the living crap out of the 2008 cd reissue, so don't pass up downloading the original of this dark psych masterpiece here
(credit @ThePoodleBites) - Cold Sun - Dark Shadows (1989) [Rockadelic RRLP-2.5]

Mad River - S/T (1968)
*see original review HERE

It was noted in Patrick Lundborg's great Acid Archives book that the German reissue of from 1979 of the '68 dark psych classic Mad River was a "slightly better pressing than the U.S. original," so a NM copy of German reissue, which can be had for a super cheap price (less than ten bucks!), was obtained for a primo rip/restoration. All other cd issues PALE in comparison to this rip of the German reissue. You may have thought (as have I) that your cd version (all sourced from vinyl rips) wasn't that bad, well wait until you're blown away by the rip of this German reissue!
(credit @ThePoodleBites) - Mad River - Mad River (1968) [1979 German Reissue]


Buffalo Springfield - Again (1967)
Buffalo Springfield's second album, and arguably their best. Some lovely earthy/rural vibes on songs like "A Child's Claim To Fame" and "Rock & Roll Woman," to full on 60's fuzz tone delights with "Hung Upside Down." I must say that my favorite tracks are the full-on psychedelic head-twister "Mr. Soul" and the breathtakingly beautiful "Bluebird." Neil Young's "Mr. Soul" can be a real mind-fuck of a song, I had some great experiences with this one, Neil sings it with moody attitude too which works really well with this song, and that brain-massaging fuzz in the middle of the song is just killer and you get doused with it quite heavily. "Is it strange I should change, I don't know, why don't you ask her?" repeated at the end of the song still trips me out to this day. Stephen Stills penned "Bluebird" is the other gem on this for me, and within this beautiful song that paints incredibly colorful images in your mind is a technique the Buffalo Springfield employ to great effect for me - the combination of both that rural/earthy feeling of the acoustic guitar accompanied by little blasts of stinging fuzz guitar leads that pop in, a great contrast that complement one another into a lovely synergy.. Then a full on banjo riff comes in toward the end to top things off when you least expect it! Mono is my preferred way to hear this and a pristine vinyl rip of an original U.S. mono pressing done by a one stoned Professor can be easily found doing a little digging and it will save you a hefty sum if you were ever to track down an original in nice condition.

Salem Mass - Witch Burning (1971)
Here's a private press treasure that was recorded in a beer bar in Idaho called the Red Barn! Don't let that fool you though, the sound quality of an ORIGINAL pressing is fantastic. The music itself features one of the earliest uses of the Moog synthesizer (early version of Moog called Mini Moog), and man do they use it to great effect on this! The clear standout tracks are "Witch Burning" and "Bare Tree," both of which feature some incredibly WILD psych sounds coming from that mini Moog! My personal favorite on here is the 10+ minute "Witch Burning," full on sonic assault with those INSANE gyrating Moog sounds, I also really love the raw sound of the guitar on here and they get into some badass riffage, this truly grooves. No good cd release exists, the only decent reissue was on Guerssen Records on vinyl only, but once you hear an original U.S. private press you hear how good this record truly sounds. Well, now you CAN hear how good an original sounds, snag it here (credit @ThePoodleBites) - Salem Mass - Witch Burning (1971) [Original US Private Press]

Group 1850 - Paradise Now (1969)
Agemo's Trip To Mother Earth has always been my favorite/go-to album from Netherland's dark-psych masters Group 1850, a great late night trip of a concept album. Due to my love for Agemo's, I kind of neglected their next record "Paradise Now," big mistake! This is one hell of a psych mind-blower from 1969. Loads of very heady dark-psych brilliance with tons of acid-fried guitar excursions throughout. The album really sets a mood/tone from the start, just listen to those eerie keyboard effects at the start of the first track "Paradise Now," the almost chanted vocals, those dual acid guitars in the left and right channels, truly heady psych my friends, acid leads forever ahhhh. Certainly not for those who think psychedelic music is all just bell-bottoms, peace signs and phony attitudes, this will leave those types running back to the mall. The guitar is the best part of this, I mean just listen to "Hunger" with those delicious acidic leads laden with feedback and sustained notes, then all of a sudden at the same time this wah-infused guitar emerges from the right channel... DAMN, this is good stuff. I find myself listening to this these days more than Agemo's. This acid-guitar mindfuck ends perfectly with "Purple Sky," a 10 minute psych monster with explosions of dual acid guitars that will blow away even the most jaded head around!

Lydia Lunch & Rowland S. Howard - Shotgun Wedding (1991)
Released in May of 1991, we have a dark post-punk collaboration between Lydia Lunch and Rowland S. Howard (Birthday Party), but really this album is special and defies the usual "goth" and "post-punk" definitions if we really want to be honest with ourselves. Lydia & Rowland were a couple at the time and Lydia thought that New Orleans was the perfect environment to create this awesome little dark swampy psych-tinged (thanks to Rowland's guitar work) gem. Lydia explained about the record that they "wanted to do something very swamp-rock, very ethereal." They were MORE than successful in achieving this desired outcome. There's something both dark and magical about this record, and at many times so very sexy. It's my favorite album of all Lydia Lunch's work. Listening to this it makes me think it could have easily been a good soundtrack to the 1987 film "Angel Heart" which was filmed in New Orleans and included all sorts of voodoo and references to the occult. I love the line  in the first song "Burning Skulls" where Lydia drawls "I'm gonna let this one rip, just another fucked up trip." Ahhh and Rowland's unique, dirgey, even sexy psych guitar soundscapes accompany Lydia's moody vocals so beautifully. The final track, the 9+ minute "Black Juju" ends the album perfectly with bouts of Rowland's wailing feedback-laden guitar work, the song slows down at one point only to build up into a bubbling cauldron like a massive green bubble from a New Orleans swamp, orgasmically exploding all over with distorted guitars and vocals from Lydia that Courtney Love could only dream about imitating on her best day. The very last minute and thirty seconds PERFECTLY end this album with a sustained, distorted sound from the absolutely delicious guitar sounds/tone/effects of Rowland S. Howard. 

Marcus - From The House of Trax (1978)
The late Patrick Lundborg (Acid Archives) brilliantly described this psych gem as "Hearing this on acid is like walking around inside a psychedelic cathedral ..." It's hard to top that great, concise little summation of this mesmerizing album. Many times you'll see that some people are turned off by the "modern FM rock radio production" on this one, but honestly, the more I listen to this record the more I realize that this layered, high-end, multi-track production is absolutely PERFECT for the majesty of the glistening tripped-out sounds contained on this 1978 masterpiece. Yes, 1978, you heard me right! This proved to heads that psychedelic music didn't die at the end of the 60's and that there were still those out there keeping the torch lit. During the utterly lame disco years there was still great music out there being made to be found if you dug around a bit. The album consists of some incredible heavenly swirling synth sounds and some impressive acid guitar work all with a clear psychedelic message throughout many of the songs such as "A Trip In Time," and "Locked Inside A World." Messages that ring true of the sort of "day after" reflection of a psychedelic experience. "Right Inside of You Baby" contains one the most beautiful, majestic musical interludes consisting of tripped out swirling synthesizers and guitar that will send you straight to space, just listen to the song right at 2:27 through 3:09 and tell me that you don't get goosebumps. TRUE originals of this are very hard to come by in nice condition, many copies are floating around out there claiming to be true originals, but a simple look at the images on this Discogs page outlines the clear and noticeable differences between an original and one of the "found" originals from the early 90's. A rare NM copy of a TRUE original was obtained for a rip/restoration to be heard by all, hear this late 70's psychedelic masterpiece in THE best sound you will ever hear it and snag this pristine rip with full high-quality artwork scans as well (credit @ThePoodleBites) - Marcus - From The House Of Trax (1978) [Original US Pressing]
*Note: be sure to check out Patrick Lundborg's inspired post about this album here - A retrospective tribute to Marcus' "House Of Tracks"

Captain Beefheart & His Magic Band - Safe As Milk (1967)
Released in 1967 on Buddah records, this was my intro to Captain Beefheart and it's a good place to start for anyone with an interest in checking out Mr. Vliet's work. This was always said to have been inspired by delta blues, but that kind of oversimplifies it, it's so much more than that. It's more of a psych-blues organism born out of the swamp somewhere in New Orleans in the summer heat and humidity. "Zig Zag Wanderer" is a simple yet powerful and catchy song with a riff that doesn't leave my head and just keeps me craving for more. The raw guitar tone of Ry Cooder is one of the main ingredients of the stew here and it gives the album loads of balls, it takes the grit and delicious abrasiveness to the level that Vliet's howling, banshee vocals require. The psychedelic ballad "Autumn's Child" contains one of the most beautiful uses of the theremin that I have ever heard. The U.S. mono pressing is the one to get and an excellent rip done by a one stoned Professor can easily be tracked down, so be sure to grab that!

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