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.


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06-28-2019 - THE INFINITY OF SPACE: THE UNDERGROUND PSYCH GEMS OF PHIL PEARLMAN, CHROME TREASURES FOR THE ARCHIVES, WHAT DOES REGRET MEAN? & HEADY AUDIOPHILE PSYCH

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.

HEADY AUDIOPHILE PSYCH UPGRADES

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]



NEW REVIEWS

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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11-16-2018 - FEED YOUR HEAD: THE U.S. GETS CHROMED, THE KIDS NEED NIRVANA, FLY JEFFERSON AIRPLANE - GETCHA' THROUGH THESE TIMES

In the most bizarre era of history that I've lived through in my life, where idiocy and ignorance are looked at as a virtue, the MUSIC is there for me and comes through as usual. In what will likely be the last blog post of the year, I must say that its been a really great year for MUSIC. I've discovered so many great bands I hadn't heard before on top of gaining upgrades to my existing music archive. I'd have to say the most amazing thing in regards to music that happened this year was HELIOS CREED, psychedelic acid guitar legend came to town and CHROMED Philadelphia proper! We sure needed it and MY GOD did they deliver! Helios & co. embarked on a full U.S. tour, the first one in over a decade! They rolled through town back in 2008, but that tour was much less organized/promoted than this one among other things. This was a HUGE deal, and the dates were posted showing that they would be rolling into Philly on May 31, 2018 playing at a small club called Kung Fu Necktie on Front St. Ahhhh it felt like an eternity waiting for the day to arrive! The idea of capturing it all on video entered my mind, but I just really wanted to bask in the glory of live CHROME and not have to worry about an electronic device the entire time and view it through a lens, BUT I knew I had to do something for the occasion to preserve some sort of document of an event of this magnitude. So, I whipped out my old Sony Hi-MD recorder and decided to do the best I could to secure an audio document of the evening. Little did I know that my audio recording would be used for something even more special than I could have ever imagined, more on that later...



HELIOS CREED is a friend of mine, so I planned on getting there early to hang out as I don't see the man but once every few years at best with him being stationed out West, I also wanted to get in the ear of the club ahead of time about securing a good spot for my microphone to record the show, so emails were sent and I got hooked up with the sound guy scheduled for the show that night who told me to give him a holler when I arrived at the club. It was a hot, steamy, humid day in the city of brotherly love and I arrived at the location even before the band, so I strolled down to a local trendy beer garden to fill my gut with some quick grub to be able to handle the partying for the night. My god these beer gardens, have you ever been in the presence of more trendy, pretentious little fucks in your entire life?? My god, luckily I'd be blasted full volume with live CHROME afterwards to de-douche my mind/soul from the lame scene of the overpriced beer garden. I got word from the band that they had arrived so I walked the block back to Kung Fu Necktie and was elated to see Helios and hang out with him and chat about various things; life, the tour, the band.... I had the great pleasure of meeting his son Eric, who couldn't possibly be a nicer dude. We bonded a lot this night in Philly as well as the next night at the Baltimore show. I also located the soundman who advised me of a "sweet spot" right by the board, clipping my mic to the roof of the little enclosed area that housed the soundboard and sound guy. This inside scoop was helpful as he said that moving my mic a few feet or so from where it was could just put it in an area where my mic would have been flooded with a bit too much bass which would have really muddied-up the live recording. The band set up their stuff and then headed to the stage to begin soundcheck, I'd get a nice little sneak peak of what I'd be in for come show time later on. Upon the first strum of Helios' guitar, I immediately recognized his signature TONE and that mind-massing acid-fuzz guitar in a manner in which only HE could be the captain manning the ship and setting the controls for the sun. I surprisingly recognized the beginning riff of "Anorexic Sacrifice," a CHROME song I'd never heard in a live setting before, and holy fuck did that song absolutely shred live! Ahhh, you mean I get to hear this song again later tonight?? After that was a legendary mind-fuck CHROME song, "Armageddon," from their 1982 album "3rd From The Sun," and damn it was mighty fine to put it mildly!



The remainder of the evening prior to CHROME hitting the stage was spent hanging out with Helios and the band partying as well as catching up with old friends. After the 2 opening bands played it was time for CHROME to hit the stage! Helios' son Eric was Dj'ing and providing some nicely warped sounds to groove to as the band was set to hit the stage. I had a sweet spot right by the board and my recording device, Helios was behind me back in the sound-booth watching his son Eric work the turntables a bit while his band was getting geared up on stage. I shone the flash-light from my cell phone onto my audio recorder so that I was sure the recording was started and I wouldn't miss any of what was about to take place, I even had a backup battery screwed on to the device in case the battery ran out mid-show. Like I said, there was a tour 10 years ago, but it seemed as if this was THE show, and the true fans really came out and showed their support and love for the band. With the rest of the band already on stage for several minutes, Helios walked on and the crowd just roared! You really felt like you were part of something special being there. Helios acknowledged the crowd with a head nod and a couple of fist pumps in the air before lifting his guitar over his head strapping it on. They began with that drum beat at the beginning of "New Age" from the Red Exposure album, Helios began turning the knobs warping his vocals for what was easily the best version of the song I've ever heard.



The entire set was about an hour and a half with all the Chrome favorites being blasted upon us on this steamy humid May day in Philly. I must point out one of the highlights of the evening was the version of "Armageddon" that was performed, WOW!! Helios was absolutely on-point and INTENSE in his vocal delivery, it was truly incredible. "Administer The Treatment" was a song performed from their new album "Techromancy," and it was an absolute BEAST of a song in a live setting! I'd heard the song on the album and really dug it, but you can feel the true power and dimension of this song performed lived.  I could go on and on about the show, but I will just say that it was magical! I've seen Helios perform about 12-13 times, but this show blew all those shows away. Helios himself was intense, on-point, inspired and amazing, but he also had what is arguably his best band behind him as well; Keith Thompson on guitar who is well-versed in Chrome and has been playing with Helios for several years now, Aleph Kali on drums - a long-time Chrome veteran who originally joined Helios for the original 1998 Chrome reunion, Tommy Grenas (Pressurehed, Farflung) on keys/samples who also has been playing with Helios now for over 20 years, and Steve Fishman on bass guitar who is truly a pro-musician, having playing with the likes of Paul McCartney among many other greats. As a Chrome fan, I could not have asked for a better evening, my expectations were FAR exceeded!





To wrap this up, it turns out this show is not just left to my memory banks, nope - all data is not lost! My audio recording came out pretty danged sweet I must say, I even had a friend think that it was a hot board recording upon first listen. This same friend video-taped the entire show, however, there was a guy there who was also recording on a much better video camera. The guy with the higher quality camera did have a battery malfunction about an hour and 15 minutes into the show. I had no way to contact this guy, but I knew his channel on youtube and that he filmed many shows in the Philadelphia area. By some bizarre sheer stroke of luck (maybe fate?), I tracked the guy down through a music torrent site online, and I found out his name which led me to direct contact! He was super cool and uploaded his RAW video of the show for me to snag. I happen to know someone who does video editing for a living and they put it all together beautifully; 1st hour and 15 minutes is the higher quality footage, the last 15 minutes recorded by my friend was perfectly spliced in to continue for the remaining 15 minutes of the show, and my audio recording is perfectly synced in with the entire video. I'm really proud of how this all came out and that I'm able to make it available here, so click on the link to grab the Chrome - 5-31-18 Philadelphia video for sure! Full audio recording with cd art available here as well - Chrome 5-31-18 Philadelphia audio



THE KIDS NEED NIRVANA, I'll just start this off with that simple statement. Nirvana was the last great REAL rock band to break through to the mainstream, I don't think that's debatable. I think I got kind of lucky when I was a kid, I snuck in and discovered Nirvana around 4th grade, just at the tail end of the band's existence, and a couple years prior to the big “Telecommunications Act of '96” that merged all the radio stations so that a couple of corporations controlled ALL of the airwaves – this is why we don't really hear anything REAL as far as actual GOOD MUSIC on the radio or in the mainstream anymore, it's all essentially auto-tuned McDonald's commercials centered around “swagger” and ego with a heavy dose of auto-tune and/or some corny uninspired beat behind it, sponsored by the local Pepsi arena, with product placement IN THE FUCKING SONGS! You KNOW things are fucked when you have people trying to convince you that pepsi/product hawkin' corporate-whore Beyawnce has "artistic" talent and creates "music."



The “rock” you hear on the radio these days is so cheesy, absolute Dad rock, it all sounds the same and is incredibly boring without the least bit of an edge to it whatsoever. Has there really been a good rock music band that broke through to the mainstream since Nirvana? I haven't seen it. And have you seen the boring dad-rock of today? It's fucking embarrassing. It sounds so wimpy, radio-friendly, snooze-o-ramas... Hell, the guitar tones even sound super generic. I like my guitar a bit more trashy and rough 'round the edges.  Nowadays the kids are more concerned about being “fly” and seeking out ugly looking Air Jordan sneakers than they are about actually discovering anything REAL or with deeper sort of meaning, something raw, not littered with consumer products constantly trying to sell them something to up their “swagger” appeal. Kurt Cobain didn't give a fuck about any fads or trends, in fact he despised them and people who followed them in any fashion whatsoever. Kurt wore second hand clothes from thrift stores and was the last person on the planet who would buy overpriced ugly ass so-called “fly” sneakers.



I got started on the classic rock stuff like Black Sabbath, Pink Floyd, Led Zeppelin and the like, thanks to my Dad's record collection, and I'm very grateful for that. I remember when I discovered Nirvana as a young kid it hit me like a freight train and had a big impact on me; it was RAW, it was PUNK, and Kurt's VOICE - still unmatched in rock music today. I remember going to a Blockbuster Video and renting a VHS copy of “Live Tonight Sold Out” - Nirvana's live/interview/montage compilation video and just falling in love with this band even more. Kurt gave notice to underground artists and often fanzines which led me to discover bands that I absolutely love today like the Butthole Surfers. The psych-punk sounds of Butthole Surfers opened up my mind and expanded my musical evolution to psychedelic sounds, and through the Butthole Surfers I discovered the mighty acid-punk sounds of CHROME, my all-time favorite band today, as well as the vast solo works of their psych guitar god Wizard HELIOS CREED.



Now EVERYTHING has been marketed to hell and it's tough to spot the genuine freaks and outsiders from the phonies these days simply based on appearance, although all you really need to do usually is speak to them for a bit or hear their god-awful taste in music to get your indication that you wouldn't really mesh partying on a Friday evening spinning albums with them. I mean nowadays EVERYONE has tattoos, it's super trendy. You see a girl with a bunch of colors in her hair and it means absolutely NOTHING 99% of the time, she's not rebelling against the mainstream or into counter-culture aesthetics. Yeah, she's got colors in her hair, but no colors in her MIND. Marketing and branding has infected everything now. All to make a buck folks! Have you seen these “Suicide Girls”? They are essentially your template for what I'm talking about, a money-making brand is all it is. So called “alternative,” scantily-clad girls covered in tattoos and piercings. Ohhhh skulls and crossbones, living dead-girl tattoos, flashing the devil horn/rock hand sign... how edgy - **YAWN** - If I could exclaim a bigger yawn for these people I would, but I don't want to clog up my blog. Maybe it's from delving so heavily into the mind-expanding world of psychedelia and all that comes with it that makes me cringe so much and be so incredibly bored with the cliche cookie-cutter appearances of these so-called “alternative” types and their numerous piercings, tattoos, and dyed hair colors? I don't know... I also love how Kurt wasn't afraid to speak out on social and political issues, calling out the Republican fascists and their nonsense without the fear that he may lose a few fans, THOSE fans who would leave due to that Kurt didn't want as his fans anyway! He's made that clear many times through interviews and even the liner notes of his albums. Speaking of Republican and cheesy dad-rock, have you seen bands like Eagles of Death Metal & QOTSA: basically jocks on guitars with a boring radio sound. None of the bands today are really speaking out in this current right-wing-wet-dream we are currently living in here in the States. Hell, Eagles of Death Metal even have a mustachioed right-wing douchebag in the band! Kurt Cobain would have probably relentlessly mocked this little dork. Jesse Hughes, the Suicide Girl of the current "rock" music mainstream, but even lamer. A tatted-up walking cliché, but this one comes fully equipped with right-wing beliefs and bashing student-led protests on gun violence. Is there anything more UN-rock & roll than being a Republican??



And speaking out is what is needed now more than ever. I'm not saying be a super politically-driven band, no one wants that, but don't be so scared that you might lose an audience member or two if you speak out against this current trend of right-wing fascism we're heading toward thanks to dumbed-down Americans, strung out on boring radio-friendly Dad rock and the like! We're also now stuck in this perpetual Jerry Springer episode gone real-life where everyone has to constantly claim how "real" they are, while anyone who would claim that out loud is always the douchiest motherfucker ever, that's a safe bet. But I digress... With the internet, there's ZERO excuse to be at the mercy of the corporate-controlled airwaves, you can more easily access any of the music that's been recorded throughout time now more than any other point in history. I guess it's just hard for kids these days because their first exposure is a radio sound and such controlled industry that it spreads its evil, soul-less influence very early on in developing minds, sometimes before they can be saved by actual music with people who can rock the fuck out, have soul, can play musical instruments and aren't driven by sales or product. Don't get me wrong, there are plenty of really cool kids now who think for themselves and have good, independent from corporate-interest music tastes. But to the rest of you bastards: come on kids, free your minds from “selfies,” “swagger” and a lifetime of meaningless douchiness – TURN OFF THE RADIO, and TURN ON YOUR MINDS. Nirvana played a pivotal role in my musical evolution, and I'll be forever grateful for that, and I'll always love Nirvana and continue to listen to that great band. Yes, THE KIDS NEED NIRVANA.

Ahhh, that felt good. Just had to get that out of my system! On to the recent musical discoveries I've stumbled upon lately. First though - you know how certain music resonates with you more during certain times of your life? Well, Jefferson Airplane has been hitting all the right spots for me lately. There must be something in the air, because I've spoken to others lately who have felt the same, but my love for Jefferson Airplane has been reignited full-force this past year.  Maybe it's the state of the country at this point or something... I mean the band themselves were definitely revolutionaries in a sense, speaking out against the government and hypocrisy and such, and it was reflected in plenty of their music. They criticized old social norms and conformity of all kinds. You could listen to their stuff and it's just as relative today with what's going on here in ol' 'Murica where the dumbest among us "lead." Anyway, just wanted to state the reason why you'll be seeing so many Jefferson Airplane reviews this time around, that's because their records have been in constant rotation here in the PTM lair a LOT lately.



Jefferson Airplane - Surrealistic Pillow (1967)
2016, this classic American psych album finally gets the release it deserves. First off, with this particular album, MONO is the way to go - an absolute no-brainer. The stereo mix is a bit too separated, and doesn't feel that intimate, the instruments seem so distant and echoey, too much reverb, it simply pales in comparison to the mono mix... For the longest time, the only way to really hear this album in mono was to fork out a decent chunk of change for an original vinyl, significant sums of cash especially if you wanted it in good condition. I don't have an original mono, but many have said this release is even better than originals. Luckily, Mobile Fidelity Sound Lab has come to the rescue here in putting this out in an affordable way! MFSL assembled this remaster straight from the master tapes, and it is absolutely delicious. You can truly say that you have not heard this album until you've heard it in mono, especially this release from MFSL. The mono sounds so much more REAL, lots more depth and the instruments are so much more present. I know they're the BIG hits and it's kinda' overstated at this point when it comes to the praise these songs get, but I must point out that "Somebody To Love" and "White Rabbit" were absolutely mind-blowing to me hearing them in this mono mix for the very first time. "Somebody To Love" is a song that clearly demands mono, as soon as that track started - BAM, I mean this song needs the punch and immediacy that the mono mix offers, everything right up front, it hits you nicely here. I found myself cranking "White Rabbit," and the mono mix here is pure psychedelic ecstasy with Grace's powerful, commanding, vibrato laden vocals calling on the listener to "FEED YOUR HEAD." Ahhhhh! ESSENTIAL RELEASE!



Jefferson Airplane - After Bathing At Baxter's (1967)
Released about 8 months or so after the album that launched them into stardom, here we have the Airplane at their absolute most acidic! Even the album cover conjures up what you might feel like after a late-night trip, seeing all the advertisements and filth from the outside come flooding in as reality returns and kind of smacks you upside the head! Where Surrealistic Pillow spawned two of the all-time classics of the psychedelic era, it did contain a lot of folk-rock numbers and wasn't a full on piece of psychedelic rock. After Bathing At Baxter's shows the Airplane delving into some beautiful experimentation and is their psychedelic masterwork. Just listen to Jorma Kaukonen's wailing guitar feedback that opens the album, it really sets the mood for what you're in for. Questions asked in the opening track "The Ballad of You & Me & Pooneil" that really echo thoughts of a psychedelicized mind; "Will the moon still hang in the sky, when I die? When I'm high?" Jorma really comes into his own on this album, it's just filled with searing, sustained acid guitar leads. Much like a trip, this album goes through various moods and scales various heights. "Martha" is a beautiful mellow song with somber reflecting sort of moods as you ponder the trip unfolding. "She does as she pleases, she waits there for me." Beautiful psychedelic ballad, again with Jorma's lovely acid-guitar leads throughout. Grace Slick's "Rejoyce" is a really trippy piece on this, Grace opens it with "Chemical change..." - this song is apparently a sort of ode to author James Joyce, hence the spelling of the song name. The song goes through different moods with Grace playing on different words and phrases all mixed up into a Grace Slick cauldron of psychedelic soup for turned-on minds - yeah, many didn't "get" this album, but it's their loss! There's so much depth to this album, and it's normally THE go-to Jefferson Airplane record for heads, and for good reason! The album is very experimental, but the band cleverly weaves in statements/messages throughout, like in "Rejoyce" where Grace sings "War's good business so give your son - And I'd rather have my country die for me!"  The album ends with "Won't You Try/Saturday Afternoon," and I've seen many complain about the lyrics to this song saying they are "dated" and "bad," but I think it works as a snapshot of the time, the optimism within the circles, and of the separate sort of existence groups like the Jefferson Airplane had carved for themselves outside of normal society and all of its bores and snores. Also, this song has some of my favorite vocals ever from Grace Slick, beautifully weaving her vocals throughout - "won't you tryyy-ah-ah-ah-ay!" An album that always welcomes repeated listens, this is the Jefferson Airplane at their psychedelic best!



Jefferson Airplane - Crown of Creation (1968)
Crown of Creation is an album that is more song-structured than their previous free-form fun psychedelic trip album "After Bathing At Baxter's." I was obsessed with ABAB for so many years that I kind of ignored this album, however I fell in with it when I recently picked it up again. Your best bet on this is hands-down the cd from MFSL from 1989, yep you heard it right, this reissue on cd from the EIGHTIES is the closest to the master tapes that you will find in digital format. You might have to hunt around a bit and pay up just a hair, but it's worth tracking down. To describe the difference, I'd say that where "After Bathing At Baxter's" was a free-form psychedelic acid-trip recorded to wax, "Crown of Creation" is almost like the coming down after the trip, less wild and crazy, more focused, yet insightful.. further reflections if you will.... Kind of like a fine-wine of psychedelia.... The album opens with "Lather," a Grace Slick penned song that was about their drummer turning 30, lots of sound effects and things give this an almost cinematic effect, and Grace's vocals of course make it shine. Jorma Kaukonen's "Star Track" is one of my favorites, with Jorma ripping some wah-wah infused psych guitar to great effect with tripped-out lyrics of pondering life - "my sensory mind is too old to cry - not ready to live, too strange to die - so stop your doubt, push the world on by, with your hand." The title track is one of Paul Kantner's best with revolutionary-type lyrics that seem to be calling out the straights and politicians of the time - "in loyalty to their kind, they cannot tolerate our minds - in loyalty to our kind, we cannot tolerate their obstruction." Hell, those lyrics sound absolutely relevant, especially today in 2018 America! "Ice Cream Phoenix" is one of my favorites on here, I just find it to be such a groovy song and for some reason I find it intoxicatingly seductive when Grace pops in with "Baby, tell me why" - the slight pause before that line/vocal delivery from Grace really scratches the right spots for me. The final track "The House at Pooneil Corners" ends this album with quite a statement, being the blow by blow description of a nuclear apocalypse, and it aint pretty! But hey, psychedelic trips ain't always supposed to be pretty, sometimes getting hit with some dark stuff can provide some much needed perspective and insight. It's quite a heavy, trippy track and at times disturbingly visual, I mean those lyrics "Jelly and juice and bubbles, bubbles on the floor" - damn! I love the way Grace croons the line "while the moon circles like a vulture." I think this is the last truly psychedelic Jefferson Airplane album. "Volunteers" from '69 definitely had some great tracks, but there was also a bit of country rock thrown in there and the political aspect is less subtle unlike their previous work where is cleverly inserted in a heady psychedelic way. Again, the best reissue to hunt down is the cd from 1989 put out by MFSL, no other reissue has topped that one.



Red Crayola - The Parable of Arable Land (1967)
International Artist was a record label that spawned many of the greats of 60’s psych rock from the Lone Star state, and Red Krayola was certainly up there with the best, and they are by far one of the most unique in the avant-garde weirdness freakout style of their first record here. I had this on cd for years, but the quality was pretty horrid and a harsh listen, so I honestly never spun it very much. I had an ABSOLUTE revelation about this album when I got my hands on a quality vinyl rip. This rip was created from a NM copy of an original U.S. stereo pressing, and my god does this sound freakishly good! You can tell that many hours went into this rip as the quality is incredibly pristine. I can now listen to this in the clarity that I NEVER had with the crappy cd issue that say on my shelf for years. One of the first things that hit me was just how downright trippy “Hurricane Fighter Plane” is, damn! It’s like an eerie sort of trip that slowly creeps up on you, sent shivers/chills up and down me spine I tell you, oh – Roky Erickson plays organ on this song. Roky also plays harmonica on the ethereal “Transparent Radiation,” another favorite of mine here. Every other track is a “free-form freakout” accompanied by the “Familiar Ugly” which consisted of about 50 (allegedly) or so friends of the band, some people complain about these, but I think it works for the overall feel of the album and provides a great balance with the song/freakout/song/freakout format. Hits my head just right. Mayo Thompson is a true artist, he knew what he was doing. The juxtaposition of the freakouts to those songs soaring in right after really makes for a great effect on the head. I’d be remiss to not mention that “War Sucks” is one of the absolute best anti-war songs of the 60’s, damn that song never gets old and it is sadly still very relevant today. Again, Charly Records reissues are botched many times, this album not being an exception, so do yourself a favor and go seek out this pristine rip to truly HEAR this record the way you NEED to hear it with all the out-there sounds and guitar feedback coming through the way it’s meant to be heard. The album has sort of a trippy hypnotizing affect on me, I feel like I’m in another sort of place when I hear this and that I’m somehow in NEED of hearing this, like something being passed on down to me from another time, scrolls of informations to help me on my journey. Absolutely essential Texas 60’s psych! Proceed with caution though boobie, this aint a trip of bell bottoms, flowers and phoney attitudes, leave that to poseurs of today. This record is for the true psychedelic voyagers!



Simply Saucer - Cyborg's Revisited (1989)
Hailing from Canada, Simply Saucer originally recorded these tracks back in ‘74/’75 (demo/live recording), but it didn’t see the light of day until 1989 when it came out on Mole Records! This album is like a nice mix of the punk attitude of Stooges combined with some of the weirder experimental aspects of the Velvet Underground – I hate repeating descriptions that have likely already been stated, but I think this is accurate and I was getting those vibes many times throughout listening. Edgar Breau, the singer/guitarist, absolutely SHREDS on guitar, and it’s one of the best things about this monster. His vocals are great too, just full of punk attitude and snarl. Some people talk down on Edgar’s vocals, but those people just don’t get the idea of punk rock, and this is some trippy at times, street-tough proto-punk madness! If you can’t handle it, move on to something a little wimpier! I was originally turned-on to this through a vinyl rip, but a friend hooked me up with the original CD release from 1989 on Fist Puppet, and OH DAMN was it an upgrade! From what I understand, all subsequent reissues have been inferior to the original ’89 disc that comes straight from the tapes. I immediately noticed a massive upgrade to the vinyl rip I had upon receiving this original cd, and I gladly re-experienced the record numerous times with this upgrade. I love how that trashy sounding guitar shredding is combined with the moog synths or whatever the hell they were using to make those pulsating electro sounds throughout… Apparently, there’s some theremin thrown in there as well. Just listen to the song “Electro Rock” to hear what I’m talking about. Dance The Mutation is another favorite, that is yes… oddly danceable. “We’re gonna dance the mutation, then laugh ourselves to to death.” The song seems to be about being into a beautiful girl, but there’s nothing upstairs in the head if ya dig what I mean. Album ends perfectly with the 10+ minute live monster “Illegal Bodies” – moving at a frenetic pace, searing guitar solos and riffs, wailing feedback, Edgar maniacally screaming the lyrics, I love at one point he just blurts out “I don’t know what the hell I’m talkin’ about.” One of my favorite discoveries this year!



Frank Zappa - Alternate Freak Out (1966)
Frank Zappa/Mothers Of Invention had absolutely zero fear in releasing this as their DEBUT album! For historical reference, this release was just a week shy of being America’s first double rock album, Bob Dylan takes that title for his masterpiece “Blonde On Blonde,” but hell they’re so close together that they should both get props in my view. This is actually my first foray into the world of Frank Zappa believe it or not. This particular version of Freak Out is from the “Alternate Freak Out” bootleg that is from the “original master tapes.” A massive Zappa fan acquired a copy of this hard-to-find gem in brilliant condition and ripped the record to digital so that all could hear, and the rip is as top-notch a vinyl rip you will ever hear. Now I had nothing to compare it to originally, but I checked out an official reissue of this and HOLY SMOKES, this “alternate” bootleg BLOWS any official release away as far the clarity in the sound, it is so much more CLEAR, it sounds like the Mothers of Invention are playing in your living room! As far as the music, this one is a grower. At first I didn’t have a full grasp on what I was hearing as this thing is all over the place, but day after day I found myself craving it more and more. The album is incredibly diverse; there’s some doo wop in there, blues, psych, experimental, and of course with Zappa there’s loads of satire and humor. It runs the gamut, I mean one minute you’ve got “Wowie Zowie” with Zappa singing about how he “don’t even care if you shave your legs,” then the next minute you see these Motha’s got somethin’ to say with “Trouble Every Day,” which contains one of my favorite lines EVER - “I’m not black but there’s a whole lotta times I wish I could say I’m not white.” Ahh yes Frank, those words still ring very true today, if you could see these “Proud Boys” dorks you’d see how relevant that line sadly STILL is to this day. Speaking of something to say, “Hungry Freaks Daddy” is another one where Zappa cleverly criticizes society in a brilliant way. The musicianship is also absolutely top-notch, and Tom Wilson, who at the time had worked with Bob Dylan on multiple albums, did a fantastic job at what must have been quite the challenge at the time. This album is really ahead of its time, just to THINK that this thing was released in friggin’ 1966!! Insane. I can only imagine what producer Tom Wilson was thinking in 1966 while sitting in the control room! Again, seek out the “Alternate Freak Out” bootleg if you really want to hear this album in pristine quality.

*post-review note: I found out after writing this review that Tom Wilson dropped LSD WHILE producing this, WHOA!



It's A Beautiful Day - s/t (1969)
I can’t believe it took me this long to discover this absolutely beautiful SF psych record from ’69! 60’s psych from San Francisco, like Jefferson Airplane, as I mentioned earlier, has really been hitting the right spots for me in these times and this album is right up there with the bunch. David Laflamme is the mastermind behind this, he’s a virtuoso on violin and he displays that talent throughout this record with his beautiful playing. One thing I will tell you is that this album reeks of San Francisco psychedelia, just transports you right there onto Haight Street in the 60’s, not that that’s a bad thing, I don’t mind it at all. This is a lovely mentally-stimulating album with lush musicianship throughout. It has a very mellow, chill vibe and beauty to it in many places, but it can also really rock out hard on tracks like “Bombay Calling” and “Wasted Union Blues.” I love this diversity of moods, it gives the record that much more charm. “White Bird” of course is one of the main, if not THE main centerpiece of the entire album, a tear-jerker, yet beautiful tune, it features some lovely male/female vocals and the brilliant violin of David Laflamme. Apparently, this song came to the band when they were taking up residence in the attic of an old Victorian mansion looking out of the window. “We were like caged birds in that attic,” Laflamme says of the time. “Bulgaria” is another favorite of mine – a really heady, trance-inducing piece of music that builds up slowly to set the mood, I love how it explodes into almost a request to the listener with “open up your mind,” dragging out the word “mind” to great effect. “Bulgaria” is a very inward-looking song – yeah, make no mistake about  it, this record IS a true trip, don’t let anyone tell you otherwise. The ONLY track on here that could have been better is “Time Is,” mainly because of the inclusion of a long drum solo, something that rarely ever works out for the listener. That’s a minor complaint in a masterful album of breathtakingly beautiful 60’s psych from SF! Seeking out a decent CD reissue of this has proved to a real challenge as many total garbage versions exist with dropouts, different mixes and other screwups. For quite a while my go-to was a nice vinyl rip that briefly showed up online (now vanished) of a U.S. original stereo “2-eye” Columbia pressing that the ripper claimed had only been played about 5 times or so. BUT - just THIS WEEK in fact, I discovered a cd reissue of this with the label "European CBS 465583 2," which happens to be identical to the ORIGINAL cd issue of this from back in 1983 on San Francisco Sound (SFS 11790DA) with the label "Made in W. Germany by Polygram" on the face of the cd. To make things more confusing this happens to be digitally identical to the 2001 remaster! To put it all in a nutshell, the original 1983 "W. German" cd was THE one, then it was reissued a couple times including the 2001 reissue where the false claim of "remaster" was slapped onto it. Anyway, THIS is the reissue cd to get, any of the above 3 that I mentioned. The sound is REALLY nice on this, a big upgrade to the vinyl rip. I was amazed at how clear the songs sounded upon getting my hands on this cd of the album.



Dark - Dark Round The Edges (1972)
This is a SUPER rare private press record from ’72, good luck finding an original as only about 60 copies were ever pressed! Luckily, you don’t have to take out a second mortgage on your home to hear this as there have been multiple quality reissues released. This particular reissue I have is from 2002 on the Progressive Line label, and it sounds fantastic! These guys were from Northamptonshire, U.K. with the lead guy being Steve Giles who is responsible for that absolutely beautiful mind-massaging fuzz guitar throughout. If you’ve ever read any of my previous writings, you know that I’m an absolute devout fuzz-head, and this album has it in spades. It’s bluesy in parts, but retains a heady psych feel throughout just based on that sustained fuzz guitar work, even getting a bit proggy in parts. One of my favorites on this is the incredible opener “Darkside” with its buzzing fuzz guitar – I can’t get enough of about 5:30 into the song where you’re just BATHED in that killer fuzz, glorious brain-massing fuzzed-out ecstasy. Oh, I must point out that these guys used the phrase “darkside of the moon” a year before Pink Floyd would on their famous record. My second favorite track on this is most definitely “Zero Time.” “Zero Time” starts out with some killer brooding, moody fuzz guitar, then some synth sounds come in that work nicely, great closer to the record. The reissues also contain some excellent bonus tracks that were from the original session, “In The Sky” for example just to name one that could have easily shared the grooves with the other tracks on this.



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02-16-2018 - HIGH ALL THE TIME: REVELATIONS OF MAD RIVER, MORGEN & NEEDLEDROPS

Well, its been a lot longer than I wanted to go between posts, but sometimes the busyness of life can get the best of you. The good news is that I've been inspired by so much music, and HIGH quality SOUNDING music lately, that I'm wound up like a psychedelic merry prankster at this point and ready to ramble on to all you freaks who really care about this stuff. Hey, I KNOW you're out there! GET ON THE BUS! In what seems like the never ending spiral into Mike Judge's "Idiocracy" movie turning into a documentary; incompetent reality TV buffoons as Presidents, the lame masses still spending their limited time on this planet caring about Kardouchians and "selfies," as well as WILLFULLY having their brains DUMBED-down to commercialized mush by auto-tune laden drivel as they are "wilin' out" to it in an overpriced pair of big, ugly, goofy-looking Air Jordan sneakers they can barely afford... We still have the MUSIC over here for those who haven't sold their souls in order to fit in with this auto-tuned jingle Mcdonald's-Sprite-commercial society we live in. Who the fuck would WANT to fit in with this cornball shit? But I digress.... I've always adopted the philosophy of Jello Biafra: I like to amass so much great music so that I'm never at the mercy of the horrendous "music industry" or the radio stations. And MAN what great music I have stumbled upon lately! Back to the "sound quality" of music I was speaking of earlier, let's talk about some upgrades and surprises I've encountered lately. Now I've had "vinyl rips" or as they've also been called "needledrops" in the past. These are where a vinyl record is transferred to digital. I've heard some in the past, but they always sounded sorta' half-assed and amateur at best. However, lately I've been turned-on to some QUALITY vinyl rips done by dedicated people who truly love the music. I've seen how revelatory these rips can be, often times it can be like hearing an album TRULY for the first time or re-experiencing it on a different sonic level than you ever have in the past. First example is the 1969 hard-psych masterpiece by Steve Morgen, "MORGEN" from NYC. For years I had the cd release on Radioactive Records, and as much as I loved this slab of arguably the best "hard psychedelic" rock album from the 60's ever recorded, I knew the Radioactive release was garbage when it comes to the quality of the audio. Recently, I got a hold of a rip of an original U.S. pressing from 1969, a promo copy in fact! Hearing this was an absolute revelation! It was WAY more clear and not the muddied muffled mess that the cd release I had owned for years was. The drums pounded through much more REAL sounding and that brain-massaging FUZZ guitar sounded better than ever. It was literally like experiencing the album for the first time.



If you haven't heard MORGEN and you're into heavy 60's psych I highly recommend it: it's hard psych, JUST enough hard and PLENTY enough PSYCH so that it's still HARD PSYCHEDELIC rock rather than venturing into too much of straight ahead hard rock. The perfect balance. My favorite song on this is "Purple" - it just drips with sustained acid-fuzz guitar, and psychedelic-trip lyrics of the highest order. There's actually an unreleased version of "Purple" that never came out due to some music biz nonsense. This song actually ties into the famous "Scream" front cover, the painting by Edvard Munch, Steve Morgen channels Munch in the song and there is much synchronicity between the two artists and their intentions in both the music and the artwork respectively. Read about all this in detail in issue #2 of Flashback Magazine where the entire story is uncovered for the first time about this long-time mysterious band. PDF purchase available, and I must also recommend it for an incredible interview with Stacy Sutherland of the 13th FLOOR ELEVATORS from 1977, the most substantive interview the man ever gave.



Another example of where vinyl rips shine is in the case of "never released on cd in mono before." A mono mix, in many cases, can reveal MUCH more detail in the music. It varies on what particular album we're talking about, but one of the biggest pieces of evidence I've seen in recent days is of KALEIDOSCOPE (U.S.) and their debut masterpiece "Side Trips." From 1967, this is one of the most diverse records from that year, it combines elements of folk, rock, psychedelia, and the musicianship is absolutely STELLAR! Well, the mono mix is COMPLETELY different, and essential as the companion to have with the stereo mix. Due to its scarcity, the mono vinyl has only recently been ripped to digital, and it's a beauty! "Egyptian Gardens" has more trippy sound effects, "Please" is a different edit, "Pulsating Dream" is a different tempo with a powerful punch that is missing from the stereo, and "Keep Your Mind Open," as said by the ripper is "finally the mind-melting anti-war masterpiece it was written to be." They are absolutely correct, it's incredible how much more clear the explosions and sound effects come through on this mono mix! My favorite song on this is "Pulsating Dream." I mean just look at these lyrics, very prescient, and more prevalent today than ever:

I feel the darkness of our Pulsating Dream,
Being held by those whose minds are unclean.
You love your power, but you're blind.
Our world can yet be spared from its fate.
If in our souls we can transcend all hate.
The time for love is fleeting by.

Bringers of darkness, hear what I say,
Your time has passed and you're in the way.
You'll have to learn to live today.




Another prime example of a "never released in mono on cd before" where a skilled needledropper has come to the rescue is the 1966 punkadelic classic "Revolution" by Dutch punks from the Netherlands, the mighty Q65. This album was actually originally released in mono in 1966, but in late '69 the producer remixed it to stereo. On nearly all reissues of the vinyl, they are the stereo mix. And of course all cd's are the stereo mix, and they all come with NR (noise reduction) applied excessively. Luckily, Pseudonym released the only quality reissue of this album in 2001 with the original mono mix! And luckily for us, a big fan of this band and skilled needledropper has done a beautiful rip of the mono reissue. When you hear it in mono, you realize THIS is how this record was meant to be - punchier, in-your-face, CRANKED! There is no comparison. These Dutch punks and their debut masterpiece in all its fierce, raunchiness is meant to be heard in the original MONO mix as intended. The stereo mix is clearly weak in comparison. Just listen to "Nightmares," is there another track that kicks you right in your ass as much as this? Seems like the punk bands that would come years later may have heard this, and most in fact have not topped its vicious snarl! These guys would have the poppy, so-called "punk" emo dorks of today peeing their pants and running back to the mall to find a corner of Hot Topic to hide in!



I'd be remiss if I didn't include this final example of a "never released in mono on cd before." Its been called LEONARD COHEN'S "Freewheelin," and I think that's an apt description for Leonard Cohen's timeless classic debut - "Songs Of Leonard Cohen" from 1968, an album of great depth and beauty. Rejected by Sony for their reissues, the mono is THE mix and essential to get the full sonic dimension that this breathtaking, atmospheric record contains. A dedicated fan with a nice rig/gear ripped the mono vinyl from a near-mint copy and it sounds absolutely beautiful. This is a masterpiece of a debut, and an album that truly ages like a fine wine. It's one of those records that you tend to rediscover again and again as you get older and evolve with time. LEONARD COHEN'S debut album in the mono mix is the warm sound in order for the cold winter season... I find myself going back to this again and again on many weekend mornings, spending my time with hot black coffee and the comfort of this beautiful, timeless record. I also found out a piece of info recently about this that I never knew... The band KALEIDOSCOPE (U.S.), as mentioned earlier in this post, was actually the backing band on this album! That little bit of info blew my mind!



Hell, while we're at it, howbout' one more fun fact about KALEIDOSCOPE? Fairuza Balk, the actress, is actually the daughter of Solomon Feldthouse, one of the founding members of KALEIDOSCOPE and responsible for many of the best songs of the band! This is another fact I never knew until recently. Say what you want, but I love "The Craft," the movie from 1996, and it stars Fairuza Balk as a non-apologetic mouthy high school outcast. A nineties classic! "We are the weirdoes, mister." "Punk rock! Let's go."



Now, you may be thinking that these vinyl rips I'm speaking of are nothing more than some eccentric hobby of an elite group of audiophile snobs, but that couldn't be further from the truth. If you're an actual fan of MUSIC, not the auto-tuned ear-vomit of today's "music industry," you want to hear the SOUNDS in the best possible quality for the listening experience, especially if you have a nice set of speakers, as every fan of music should. Even on compact discs, sometimes it takes some seeking in order to find the best source for listening, or in some cases even a LISTENABLE version! Speaking of, RODRIGUEZ'S classic "Cold Fact," the acid-folk Dylan-esque beauty from 1970. For a while, all I owned was the 2008 reissue on cd from Light In The Attic Records, and this disc is a victim of the "loudness wars" that began in the late 90's when it seemed that the record companies thought that volume knobs on stereo receivers ceased to exist. So with this version of Cold Fact, the volume is JACKED therein just CRUSHING the DR (dynamic range) of the album - and the Light In The Attic reissue on cd has a DR rating of 7. Do a little digging and you find a cd reissue from way back in 1991 on Trutone that destroys the later reissue and shines with a DR rating of 13, beating out the 2008 reissue by six points! I know I'm rambling about this, and I hope I'm not boring you, but rather ENCOURAGING you to dig a bit and look at different versions of albums. It could be the difference between a tedious, fatiguing, headache-inducing listen, or a beautiful lush soundscape for example with the 1991 Cold Fact reissue that contains a more airy mix with room around the instruments and such making for an infinitely better experience.



Many times it's not even a matter of a crushed DR/loudness war issue, it could come down to simply listening preference OR if you're like myself and enjoy in most cases listening to the album in the way it's meant to be heard - meaning a flat transfer direct from the master tapes. I was amazed at how far back in the history of compact discs you could need to seek for example. The psychedelic CLASSIC from 1968, THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, ESSENTIAL psych for all heads - I had the Sundazed cd for years since it was first released back in 2004. And while there is nothing wrong with the Sundazed, it's quite good in fact, I was turned-on to a cd release from 1987 (yes you heard it right) on Edsel Records that just blew me away! You want to talk about stereo separation, WOW! The drums almost sound like they're in a totally separate space! Upon some investigation, this release is much truer to the original vinyl. Many times in the early days of compact discs, if there was nothing wrong with the master tapes, a flat transfer was done straight from the tapes with no farting around with the sound whatsoever. One more quick example is the VELVET UNDERGROUND'S fourth album from 1970 - "Loaded." The disc you want that is most true to the Cotillian vinyl is a cd release from 1987 on "Warner Special Products." A much better and accurate listening experience with this version of the album. So again, you should do some digging on release versions and compare, it's worth it!



Moving on from the revelation of quality vinyl rips and seeking best cd reissues, I MUST share with you some of the many recent musical discoveries that I've been turned-on to! These are all highly recommended:

Mad River - S/T (1968)
Mind-blown several times over... How did I miss THIS album? Incredible... It's strange, it's mystical, it's dark-psychedelia (not bell-bottom trendiness/peace-signs or phony attitudes here), the vocals are just intense - I draw parallels to Arthur Lee on Forever Changes on this one, not kidding - that operatic, sort of grand style, or “quavering” its been called.... I think the vocals are what give much of the album its signature sound and charm, if you want to use the word “charm” with this dark side of the trip! The lead guitar work is top-notch with it’s wild schizo-psych-o-delic excursions. Primo psychedelia here, but proceed with caution on this one as it’s a rather dark heady trip not to be taken lightly or be taken with too much if ya dig what I mean. The fact that it ends with a lullaby “Hush Julian” is perfect, an eerily sort of comforting end to the mind-fuck that this album is.



Autosalvage - S/T (1968)
This is one of my biggest finds in the last year or so, just completely blew me away. I think this is highly underrated, it’s a top-notch psychedelic album and very unique. It’s got very metallic sort of rough guitar tone sounds and you can spot different influences in it, but to me it’s a psychedelic rock album with some clear blues influences, it’s hard not to get up, dance and groove when spinning this one. Don’t get turned off when I mention “blues,” this is in no way boring blues rock jams in any way, it’s psych as fuck to me. The female spoken word piece in the beginning about nature and “beautiful music” sets the tone. Their title track cleverly weaves actual automobile salvage with what they were really going for in the meaning (and the entire album in fact) - inner-salvation. “Great Brain Robbery” is one of my favorites on here, inter-locking groove guitar with far-out lyrics. There is some jug band influence, but I like to describe this in a way that won’t turn you off – think of it as sort of a jam band with BALLS, they have that vibe at points but they rock way HARDER than what may have you thinking of a stinky-foot sandal wearing type noodling around when you hear “jam band,” this stuff ROCKS and it’s PSYCH. The musicianship is top-notch, textured, just mind-blowing. “Parahighway” is another great one - trippy, inspiring message that resonates – “the highway from here on in is more lifelike than before, choose the way you want to go, everybody’s waiting there you know, we just want to let you know, anytime you want to go”….. I must also point out that this album is best digested IN FULL, meaning all one sitting… Like many great albums, it comes together as a whole and will leave your mouth agape at the end, wanting to spin it again…



Twentieth Century Zoo - Thunder On A Clear Day (1968)
Damn, SO GOOD. I heard a song by them on the excellent “Psychedelic Disaster Whirl” compilation several years back, but figured like many of those bands that they only recorded a single or two… Turns out these guys have an entire album! Out of Phoenix, Arizona, this band put together a bit of a concept album… Chock full of heavy fuzz guitar, feedback, psychedelic-inspired lyrics… Best songs for me are the cool-chill vibe that starts “Calm Before The Storm,” it builds and builds (like a storm-a-brewin’) into the psychedelic fuzzed-freak-out of “Rainbow,” just a killer 9 minute acid-fuzz drenched monster, DAMN, those tripped-out guitar solos! “It’s All In My Head” is probably my 2nd favorite off this, another acid-drenched fuzzed-out monster, also following the storm theme.. I love the fuzzed-out riffage with the acid-guitar leads accompanying the riffs in this one… Excellent acid rock, I highly recommend.



Strawberry Alarm Clock - Wake Up... It's Tomorrow (1968)
I remember loving this years ago when I first heard it, but I’ve recently rediscovered it. Most people know this band for their big hit “Incense And Peppermints,” and I love that song, but due to that, many people write the band off as too poppy or whatever.. In my opinion, THIS is the best Strawberry Alarm Clock album. Any preconceptions you may have should get thrown out a moving car window once you throw this on, these guys get into some deep tripped-out psych. A beautiful psychedelic album! Full of amazing soundscapes, lovely vocal harmonies, some great fuzz guitar. An absolute classic. “Curse of The Witches” is one of the best here, a 6+ minute mindbender, and the organ/bells combo with the fuzzed-out bass about 35 seconds in gives me chills every time. “They Saw The Fat One Coming” is another unusual, killer track with some bongo drums and things, very trippy. “The Pretty Song” which is known from the movie Psych Out has always been a favorite of mine, just dreamy beautiful psychedelic glory with deep, inspiring lyrics to live by. I’ve got the CD on Collector’s Choice and it sounds great.



Savage Resurrection - S/T (1968)
Don’t know why I held out so long on this album, GREAT stuff. Searing, dual fuzzed-out, sustained psychedelic guitar work laden with feedback, it all massages the brain quite nicely. Sure, they have one long blues-jam on this that taints the record a bit, but even that gets saved from being your average blues jam by the great guitar work within. But come on, songs like “Tahitian Melody,” “Talking To You,” “Thing In E,” “Expectations.” The guitar work is really what makes this gem shine. And to think these dudes were only 16 years old at the time!



The Tea Company - Come And Have Some Tea (1968)
I only ever briefly heard "Come And Have Some Tea With Me" and "Flowers," both killer mind-fuck tracks.. But recently delved into this entire record. This is a DAMN good trippy album! Not a dud song on it in my opinion. And it sounds like these guys were bathing in LSD throughout the recording. Even their cover of "Keep Me Hanging On" is done uniquely in their tripped-out way.. They have this song on it called "Love Could Make The World Go Round" - and you could argue the lyrics are dated or whatever... idealistic... but I love it, and I dig the message.. it's cool, they mention Dylan in it... and there's this subtle catchy as hell guitar riff behind it... There's trippy panning effects to the vocals... I have the reissue cd on World In Sound, but I’m waiting on a primo vinyl rip of a first pressing from a friend of mine!



High Tide - Sea Shanties (1969)
A MIND-MELTING slab of very HEAVY-fuzz guitar-freakout psychedelia here from 1969. Tony Hill, fairly fresh out of The Misunderstood, gives Jim Morrison style vocals in this epic masterpiece. Simon House, who was in Hawkwind, adds some beautiful violin to this and there are pieces throughout where the violin and delicate spots contrast the sheer HEAVINESS of this album for a nice balance that really give this record its unique signature. The album artwork is incredible as well! I’m listening to a vinyl rip of an original pressing, sounds killer! Think Jim Morrison fronting a heavy acid-fuzz band!



Morning Dew - S/T (1970)
I’ve heard this name-dropped for years, but recently gave it a couple listens this week and it’s an amazing album. Highly underrated in my opinion. Recorded in NYC in August of ’69, but not released until over a year later, it’s a mix of hard psych-rock and some great psych-folk as well, there's a nice diverse sweet balance overall on the entire thing. There’s some fuzzed-out psych, but also some great delicate songs like “Something You Say” with some lovely piano behind it. Highly recommended. I got a hold of  a vinyl rip of a reissue and it sounds fantastic! Been listening to this one a lot lately.



Van Morrison - Astral Weeks (1968)
This is one I’ve heard name-dropped time and time again, but I finally decided to delve in. I got into this record just at the right time because a few years ago (2015) a beautifully well-done remaster was finally released on CD (apparently something fans were waiting forever for), the sound is fantastic. I was always intrigued by the title of this as well as the beautiful nature album cover with Van’s face inter-weaved through some trees giving off a heavenly earthy-feel, and you get this vibe throughout the album. The music could be described as folk-rock with touches of jazz.. but it goes farther than that. This is the kind of thing perfect for late-night listening or a breezy fall day.. The music has an air of other-worldly mysticism, taking you on a spiritual journey from the time the first song, and my favorite on the entire album, “Astral Weeks” begins, all the way through the end of this hypnotic, beautiful record. The song “Astral Weeks” nearly brought me to tears when I first heard it, and it does the same on repeated listens. “Madam George” evokes the same feelings for me, and it’s another long epic, this one clocking in at over 9 minutes, but it never tires or bores. There is a LOT to take in with the full album here, and I think it’s similar in a way to Leonard Cohen’s debut where you can listen to it throughout your life and it takes on different meanings as you evolve through time. Van’s next album “Moondance” would feature the song “Into The Mystic,” but I think “Astral Weeks” is the album where he truly goes to that place. This is another one like Love’s “Forever Changes,” in that it was a commercial failure upon release, but now widely considered a timeless masterpiece. Again, I can’t recommend the 2015 remastered CD enough, it sounds absolutely beautiful with wonderful separation and the quality that this earthy, spiritual album deserves to be heard in.


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08-01-2017 - LOVE - FOUR SAIL: ARTHUR LEE'S UNDERRATED HARD-PSYCH MASTERPIECE

When people talk about Love and Arthur Lee, the album that is inevitably brought up is of course the marvelous masterpiece that is Forever Changes, released November 1967.



Arthur Lee & his genius were way ahead of the times as the album initially failed to be a big success, at least commercially, but today the album is widely regarded as one of the greatest records of all time, and undoubtedly, unabashedly, rightfully so. Ok, enough has been written already about the greatness of FC, right? I could go on and praise just how much I love the album, and believe me, I LOVE Forever Changes, BUT let's get to the meat n' potatoes of this post. Less than a year later in September of 1968, Arthur Lee, with some new hired guns, would begin recording one of the last true classic Elektra albums - FOUR SAIL


Arthur quickly managed to put together a new band, and "hired guns" as stated earlier, is surely an understatement as the new band is TOP-NOTCH; George Suranovich of Pittsburgh, PA is an absolute POWER-house on drums and in my opinion one of THE most underrated drummers in the history of rock music, Frank Fayad - a tall, lanky bass player with a killer tone, and on the recommendation of former Love band member Snoopy, we have Jay Donnelan on guitar providing absolutely blazing, hair-stand-up-on-your-neck, goosebump-inducing, ripping guitar leads!


The band would assemble and begin rehearsing not long after a rather disastrous east-coast tour the original Love lineup would embark on in support of "Forever Changes" in May of 1968, the tour plagued by many of the guys in the band being junkies addicted to heroin. I must point out that the date of this blog post is appropriate for a couple of different reasons and meanings; one being that August is the month this new incarnation of Love essentially formed AND the month the band would begin rehearsing the songs at Arthur's house, two - the album opens up with the song "August," we'll get much more into that song in a bit, three - the album was eventually released in AUGUST 1969. 


The title of the record is a clever spin/play-on by Arthur, representing his final time with Elektra Records as well as a nod to the Beatles' "Beatles For Sale" album. The story goes that Arthur owed Elektra one final album, so THREE album's worth of material was recorded and Elektra cherry-picked the songs they wanted, with the remainder coming out on Blue Thumb Records under the album title "Out Here," after the release of Four Sail. I think Elektra, for the most part, got the picks right, but a few omissions compelled me to re-work the album for my listening pleasure - I'll delve into that in a bit....


I admit, I ignored this album for years as every time I saw it name-dropped, the comments that followed were statements like "oh it's not even the original lineup," and "completely different sound, more hard rock." A friend of mine turned me on to Four Sail, insisting I check it out, and upon hearing it, I immediately realized that the critic's comments meant nothing. Yes, a completely different lineup than the original band - BUT in my opinion, just as good, and perfect for the sound that Arthur was going for on the album. This brings me to the "different sound, more hard-rock driven" comment... Admittedly, guitarist Jay Donnelan expected something in the vein of Forever Changes as he walked in to the rehearsals holding an acoustic guitar, but Arthur told him he's not doing that anymore.. Anyway, the "hard rock" comment would lead you to believe, as it did me, that you were getting some sort of arena-rock sound/style in the vein of Journey or Foreigner! That's at least what flashed in my mind when I read comments about the album, and due to those false pre-conceptions, I avoided it for years. Those thoughts that flashed in my head couldn't be farther from the truth. The TRUTH is that you get the best of both worlds here; the delicate sensitivity & genius take on the world that Arthur had, plus moments in the record you have a killer rock band, but to me it's hard-psych rock, not standard "rock n' roll" sound. And quite frankly, there are songs on here that sound like they could've easily held a happy home alongside other songs on Forever Changes.


Arthur took the band to a 'studio' which was really a house-converted studio (Arthur even called it a garage) and recorded the album on-the-cheap, later finishing touches were added at Elektra. Ok, on to the MUSIC. The first track on the album is easily my favorite - "August," a song started the month the band got together immediately dispels any of the previous critical comments I've heard - there's a full band going, but with a delicate touch consisting of Arthur's appregiated acoustic guitar strumming, then Jay Donnelan's guitar comes in launching the song off... Then you get a beautiful contrast to the somewhat manic sound of the drums and guitar as Arthur's signature one-of-a-kind falsetto vocals come in: "I said August is all that I know, it's with me wherever I go".... Again, goes back to my "best of both worlds" comment on the sound of this record. "August" completely blew my mind when I heard it.... It was like a revelation on lost-Love that I was now being embraced with and engulfed in.... The song goes on and the lyrics in both verses end with lines that would set the tone/mood of the album in that everything's gonna be alright; "It picks me up when I'm down," and "you pick me up when I'm dowwwwn." Just listen to George Suranovich's manic, thunderous drumming - it's like an embodiment of wild August weather in a way... The frenetic acid-laden guitar solo that rides the song out to the end is one of the single most mind-blowingly psychedelic things I've ever heard in my life, a complete mind-fuck. You're sitting there listening to this mind-melting solo that is extended, but tasteful, never once giving off the feeling of being overly self-indulgent.... I sit here listening to this thinking that it gives Hendrix a run for his money, no lie.... I think a trippin' Jimi would have his mind thoroughly blown listening to Jay Donnelan rip into that blistering, frenetic, shredding into the cosmos of the unknown and dimensions beyond, strips of multi-colored perforated lysergic paper flying about the beautiful chaos. HO-LY SHIT!


WARNING: Here I'm going to do something a little different and take you on MY trip: As stated earlier, I've swapped/added a couple songs here, removing some that Elektra chose, and replacing or adding my own picks that were from the same recording sessions but later released on "Out Here" a few months later. I like to think Arthur would approve of my swaps/additions.


I replaced "Your Friend & Mine - Neil's Song" with the song "Willow Willow." "Your Friend.." is not a BAD song, but I think it's not up to par with the other material on the record... And for my own listening experience, I felt the swap necessary... Bear with me, as I believe my swaps/additions create the PERFECT album. Now you may be sitting there reading this thinking that it's sacrilege to re-create an album to your liking and change the original.. But remember, these songs I'm adding are from the same recording sessions, plus ELEKTRA are the ones that chose the songs for Four Sail, not Arthur Lee. I think Arthur's picks would likely be something different, maybe more like mine, who knows. Back to this first swap - it puzzles me why Elektra didn't choose "Willow Willow" to be included, this song, without a doubt, sounds like it could have sat right alongside the other songs on Forever Changes. And it's just a beautiful acoustic song & melody using the metaphor of a flower growing to a young girl. The brilliant poetic genius of Arthur Lee.


In my alt. version of FS I pop in the Elektra-picked "Good Times" that was on the original album, this is a good rocking song to follow up after the mellow, majestic "Willow Willow." "Good Times" starts off mellow with some palm-muted guitar from Jay Donnelan, then picks up the pace into a foot-stomping/hand-clapping anthem that really shine a spotlight on Arthur's ability to delivery some powerful, soulful vocals. I love the message of the song as Arthur explains it as well as some of his philosophy on life in general: "Yeah, it's gonna be alright - all the stuff you're going through - it's gonna be alright." "Usually I think of what other people are going through in this life. Because I know everybody goes through changes, but it's gonna be alright in the morning. Don't sweat the small things, life's too short. I think a lot of worry and stress for some reason - this is my own opinion - has something to do with cancer. I think all the greed and all the money hungry people and all the worries about the dollar bill and all that worry contributes a lot to a person having cancer. I try not to get excited. No matter what happened I tried to stay the same. I programmed myself to stay by myself, like I did in the street - I'm sort of a loner type guy." "Good Times" also starts ROCKING hard, again with Jay Donnelan just ripping heads off with his unique, fluid, shredding leads. This song is a good time indeed, it's like a party...



After the hard-rocking "Good Times," I follow up with a couple of beautiful, mesmerizing numbers that in my opinion stand up as some of THE best songs that Arthur has ever written for Love, and I must say again, either one of these I believe could sit comfortably on Forever Changes. Original-album track "I'm With You" is a lovely, simple yet fluid song with some of the best dual-guitar interplay I've ever heard. Apparently, Arthur wrote this song about his trip to New York just prior to this album's creation and "walkin' down Broadway with you." The next song on my "alt" version of "Four Sail" is one that was not included on the original version of the album - "Listen To My Song" is one of the most beautiful songs Arthur has ever written, hands down. Breathtaking, transcendental, mystical song with some impressive classical guitar work from Jay Donnelan and Arthur Lee's angelic operatic vocals reminiscent of the Forever Changes era. Apparently, after Arthur's stint in jail, it was suggested by a fan to Mike Randle (current Love guitar player) that they start performing "Listen To My Song" at the live shows. A couple weeks later the song started to be included in the sets. Based on this, I like to think Arthur would approve of my inclusion of this song on "Four Sail."


I pop original Elektra-picked song "Robert Montgomery" next after those mellow songs. This song is about Arthur living in South L.A. and coming back to his old neighborhood and seeing people there. It's been said to even sound like an early prog-rock song, and Jay Donnelan's guitar work is brilliantly displayed here. Again, Arthur's operatic vocal-style kicks in with "and we'll give you our best..." giving the song more depth, beauty and dimension as Arthur Lee had the ability to do. Original Elektra-picked "Nothing" follows, a great mellow song that Arthur describes the meaning of as "life is short." I keep going back to this, but again with "Nothing," like many songs on this album that have this flavor to them, this song could easily fit on something like the "Da Capo" album, just a great song. Next I decided to replace the Elektra-chosen "Talking In My Sleep," with "Gather Round." "Talking In My Sleep," while not a bad song, and it certainly has some nice guitar work by Jay that made me think more than twice about replacing it, but overall I thought "Gather Round" was a more meaningful and just better song overall. One of the only songs I've heard where Arthur gets CLOSE to "political" you could say, but Arthur does it in a much more clever way. The lyrics apply even more so today, speaking of greed and corruption: "he struts all around with his tailor made suits, but his mind is all filled up with bullshit."  I love the near choir-like chants in the back of "yeah, yeah, yeah, yeaaaah."


I pop Elektra-chosen album original "Dream" next, another of the great mellow songs on here that leave me puzzled as to why some critics critique this record as "just veering into hard rock." The song is about Arthur coming back from that ill-fated tour of New York to be with his girlfriend after his bandmates succumbed to the lure of heroin. The song title itself reflects the feel of the song, it gives off a dreamlike atmosphere. I dig the contemplative question of "wonder if there's a God" in this. Next is another wisely-chosen Elektra pick with the only song that has a co-credit on it of guitarist Jay Donnelan as well as Arthur - the thunderous chug-a-chug-a-chug-a rock-out addictive "Singing Cowboy," with some of the best screaming vocals from Arthur Lee and that incredible shredding guitar from Jay Donnellan just fucking ripping. This record has been said to have a "rough mix," but I think it's perfect for the mood/feel of the album, and the loud up-front in the mix vocals especially shine for "Singing Cowboy," Arthur really lets it all out here, almost possessed by an old shaman in the vein of Jim Morrison in "The End" where Jim lets loose toward the end of the song with the "fuck, fuck yeah, baby fuck yeah." Jay Donnelan wrote the music, Arthur wrote the lyrics for this song. Arthur explains the song: "After you shoot somebody, their ghost is going to haunt you. 'look out I'm coming after you.' Not in this life, but in your conscience."


Lastly, on my alt version of FS is Elektra-pick, and really the only way to close this record. "Always See Your Face" is one of the most beautiful ballads ever written by Arthur, who also plays some lovely piano throughout. Arthur has claimed before that the song is "not complete" and that it "lacks musicianship," but man, it's just PERFECT. I think it's the simplicity of it that gives this song much of its beauty and charm. It was meant to be like this. The song was featured in the 2000 movie "High Fidelity" with John Cusack, which Arthur was happy about.


So that is my re-working of Four Sail, and in my opinion, it creates the PERFECT album and listening experience. I must say, lately I've been listening to this record more than any of the other Love albums, yes, even the masterpiece that is Forever Changes. Below is the artwork that I've created for my personal re-working of the album, CLICK HERE for full-sized versions if you choose to use them for yourself and create the same alternate Four Sail as I have.


As far as touring, the "Four Sail" tour of 1969 with the original members from the album, including the badass guitar of Jay Donnelan, consisted of the below tour itinerary:


'FOUR SAIL' TOUR 1969

February 28 – Avalon Ballroom: San Francisco, CA
March 1 - Avalon Ballroom: San Francisco, CA
March 2 - Avalon Ballroom: San Francisco, CA
April 23 - Whiskey a Go-Go: West Hollywood, CA
April 28 - Whiskey a Go-Go: West Hollywood, CA
May 30 - Rose Palace: Santa Monica, CA
May 31 - Rose Palace: Santa Monica, CA
June 21 - Newport ’69 Festival: Devonshire Downs, North Ridge, CA
July 2-July 6 - Whiskey a Go-Go: West Hollywood, CA
July 17 - Hullabaloo (Aquarius Theatre): Los Angeles, CA
August 1 - Portland Masonic Temple: Portland, Oregon
August 2 - Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum: Oakland, CA

August 15-18 - WOODSTOCK, New York-declined

August 23 - Vancouver Pop Festival: Vancouver, Canada
September 13 - Balboa Park: San Diego, CA
Summer 1969 - Shrine Auditorium, CA

Yes, you read it correctly: Arthur Lee declined the invite to play Woodstock! Arthur didn't like venturing far from Southern California. Guitarist Jay Donnelan explains further: "I don’t think Arthur liked airplanes very much. Also, with the redneck condition of the United States at that time, he didn’t like to get involved in all of that. I’m sure that was part of it. I don’t think he thought there was much money to be made out on the road. And there were so many great gigs in and around Southern California. All he had to do was get in his car and drive to the show. I was at his house and an agent phoned him. I remember hearing Arthur say, ‘Naw Fuck it, I don’t want to go to New York for one gig!’ I later found out that the 'one gig' was Woodstock."


There is rumored to be about 15-20 minutes worth of footage of the original Four Sail lineup playing at Newport Pop Festival on June 21, 1969, but the footage has never surfaced... The only thing that HAS surfaced from it is the very brief footage as seen in the screen-shot of Arthur and Jay earlier in this post, and even that footage has some other song played over top of it rather than the sound of the band playing. It's a damn shame that no video footage or even live recordings have surfaced of the Four Sail era with the magnificent JAY DONNELAN on guitar. We DO however have footage from the Four Sail era of all the original band from Four Sail EXCEPT Jay Donnelan, instead Gary Rowles fills in, and while Gary is an excellent player, I personally don't think he had the seamless fluidity that Jay had in his playing that made Four Sail a hard-psych masterpiece to me.


The Four Sail era footage I speak of is from a brilliant documentary on the band that aired on Danish TV called "A Group By The Name of LOVE." Airing on July 17, 1970, the TV special includes some really groovy interviews with Arthur Lee (Arthur is so trippy in these interviews that you can almost see the third eye on his forehead), some music videos for some songs, and BEAUTIFUL live footage of the band performing in Copenhagen, Denmark on March 12, 1970. From the start of the special, when they show the band getting off the plane as they land in Demark, walking down a corridor of the airport with the Beatles "All You Need Is Love" playing, through to the end of the doc, it's incredibly well done.  Again, while not including the psych-guitar god majesty of Jay Donnelan on guitar, this well-done 38 minute TV special remains THE single best video document in existence of the early hey-day of Arthur Lee & Love - AND luckily for fans of "Four Sail," it is within that era, so we get treated to some amazing live performances of songs like "August," "Good Times," "Doggone," among others. 


I whipped up some artwork for the DVD I have of this incredible Love footage, CLICK HERE for a full-sized version of the below image to use if you'd like.


The general consensus among Love fans today is that Four Sail is a great record, although most don't rate it as high as Forever Changes. I might be in the minority in thinking that this album, well... at least my re-working of it, is just as good as Forever Changes. There, I said it! Especially in this era of the United States seemingly going backward into what Jay Donnelan called Arthur's dislike of the "redneck condition" of the country, this album of looking inward, reflecting, loving and even THINKING is refreshing and good food for the soul. It's the perfect antidote as you drive around and see the worship of the American flag and law enforcement going on here in 'Murica with a complete and total incompetent buffoon at the helm of it all. Rather than displaying a massive, obnoxious American flag in front of your home in this panicked state of nauseating bloated-patriotism going on and firing up the grill to guzzle beer and fart burnt beef and cheese, throw on Four Sail this AUGUST instead and indulge in things a bit more mind-expanding - something this record even in and of itself is. This album came along at a perfect time in my life, it's like it was meant to be, I hope that you find as much joy and enlightenment in it as I have.

Below is a Four Sail poster ad that I framed and hung here in the Psych Trail Mix lair. It's a special album, so I thought this piece deserved to be framed and displayed. You wouldn't think it upon first glance, but the album cover is actually very trippy if you look at it in a certain mind-state, if you dig what I mean. It's a simple photo of the band, but it has a sort of visual distortion that's really trippy, and there appears to be a window to the band's right side, so it adds a strange element to it. Arthur seated in some sort of grand Victorian chair, it suits him well. Photo was taken by Ed Caraeff. Arthur was quiet and mellow and the photo was taken somewhere up in Laurel Canyon. That's all that's known, the mysterious aspect of it fits the album perfectly.


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05-20-2017 - IT JUST ABOUT BLEW MY MIND: PAUL WILLIAMS, CRAWDADDY, BOB DYLAN & SWARTHMORE, PENNSYLVANIA

“Folk, Rock, & Other 4-Letter Words” - A great Dylan piece from Paul Williams, founder of rock music’s very FIRST fanzine in which he started at Swarthmore College in Swarthmore, Pennsylvania in 1966 – Perhaps this was a topic of discussion when Paul hung out with Dylan at the hotel in Philadelphia in February of ’66 before the show at the Academy of Music. This article was pretty much immediately after that encounter with Dylan, even sooner than the great, and even better - “Understanding Dylan” article he wrote in issue #4 of Crawdaddy (Aug ’66), this piece comes from Crawdaddy issue #3 from March 1966, exactly a month after his Dylan hang-out session. Dylan fired-back heavily at press-conferences and things during this time anytime anyone asked him about “folk rock.”







After putting out 10 issues of my own fanzine “Psych Trail Mix,” it just about blew my mind when I recently found out that the first rock music fanzine ‘Crawdaddy’ was created literally down the street from me in SWARTHMORE, PENNSYLVANIA by Paul Williams when he was a freshman at Swarthmore College in 1966.





It gives me a bit of pride to live here in an area that generally just seems swamped with people who are overly obsessed with the local sports teams and little else. Often times ‘zines are much more informative than full-on commercial magazines, as authors of zines are fans of the material they cover and very passionate about their writing. Paul Williams was one of those people. Bob Dylan called Swarthmore College in 1966 after being impressed with Paul’s writing and invited him to the hotel in Philadelphia where he was staying for 2 shows he would play at the Academy of Music on Feb. 24th and 25th…. Paul came prepared for an interview, but was so honored in the moment that he decided to just hang out with Dylan rather than coming across as a journalist which Bob was growing tired of at that point to say the least. This meeting likely spawned a GREAT article that Williams penned in issue #4 of Crawdaddy from July 1966 called “Understanding Dylan,” here’s scans of the entire article.


















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05-20-2017 - FUZ! – SHORT-LIVED, BUT INCREDIBLY ORGIASTIC PRINTED PSYCHEDELIC FANZINE

There were only ever TWO issues of Fuz magazine, but they were both cool as fuck. I totally lucked out one day at Princeton Record Exchange in Princeton, New Jersey a handful of years ago when I found BOTH issues that had been long-out-of-print. LOADED with full-page photos and killer articles... The Davie Allan issue here has great articles on FUZZ GUITAR, and on 60's psych movie goddess Mimsy Farmer. The other issue centered on HAWKWIND and featured LEMMY on the cover! Also, you MUST get to Princeton Record Exchange in Princeton, New Jersey if you are anywhere near the tri-state area in the northeast, it is by far one of THE best independent record stores that is still standing despite the convenience of the digital age. Right down the road from Princeton College, it's got a nice magazine/book rack, loads of new cd's, TONS of vintage vinyl, walls upon walls of bargain cd's, and LOADS of DVD's. It's a favorite stop that I try to frequent as much as I am able to make the ride of just under an hour.



FUZ - Issue #1 (some samples)









FUZ - Issue #2 (some samples)










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05-20-2017 - FOG, AMPHETAMINE & PEARLS: THE MAMMOTH, 36-DISC, TREASURE-TROVE BOX SET OF DYLAN'S INFAMOUS ’66 WORLD TOUR

Released last November 2016, was a beautiful 36-disc box set of every known recording from Bob Dylan’s controversial “world tour” 1966. Controversial in that Dylan was booed and jeered in many places, some worse than others, as he played his very loud blend of rock & roll or “mathematical music” as he called it at times back then… And that might be a more accurate description, because Dylan is just on a ‘nother level when it comes to his music and lyrics, so much that you can’t just pigeonhole it under the “rock and roll” umbrella – Dylan’s music is more a journey through space and time that leaves you discovering new meaning upon repeated listens. Many of the folk-purists couldn’t comprehend or handle the transformation of their topical-song hero or the rightfully dreaded by Dylan title of “voice of a generation,” as many of them thought Dylan was. This box set includes audience tapes where soundboard/line recordings are not available. A few of the recordings are the real “choice nugs” here, meaning the CBS Records recordings of a couple of the shows.





One thing to understand about this tour/set is that each night consisted of the first half being Bob solo on acoustic guitar, and the second set of the night features Bob with a full kickass & take names electricity-fueled band behind him. So we get the best of both worlds here. I must share a quote that I agree with from a recent review of this set in regards to the acoustic portion of the sets here…. There’s something about the immaculately-stoned Dylan on those acoustic sets from that tour, and this quote hits the nail on the head in regards to what I’m talking about here:

“However, something is happening, as the man said. Certainly from 4th Time Around, Dylan sounds different. It's the first time in this collection, to my ears, that he sounds noticeably stoned. On the evidence of this tour, this can improve things - certainly in the acoustic set: it brings out a wounded quality in the music. Call me an apologist, but I love listening to Dylan play like this when he's not quite all there. The vowels are dragged out. The songs become something else.”

Ok, after a rather lengthy intro here, let me delve in and share some of my favorite recordings from this set and my observations on them. This topic will likely be continued in a future post, considering just how vast this set is, it’s a lot to cover!

May 26, 1966 - @ Royal Albert Hall in London, England (Disc #28  &  #29)
The “Real Royal Albert Hall” show 5-26-66 is clearly the best quality recording from the new Dylan live ’66 box – it’s one of the “CBS” recordings as opposed to one of the regular soundboard recordings from the set… The performance is amazing. Possibly THE best live “Visions of Johanna” ever… To hear a show from this tour in this sound quality is amazing. He spits the words like venom in an absolutely KILLER version of "Like A Rolling Stone" from the electric set! The audience interaction between Dylan and the pissed folk-purists is priceless….. At one point Dylan replies “come up here and say that”….. too funny… This treasure-trove was worth every penny.



May 27, 1966 - @ Royal Albert Hall in London, England (Disc #30)
2016 was a giant clusterfuck... An orange, bloated, buffoon from a reality TV show who clearly has ZERO business being in any sort of leadership position was elected president ... we truly are living in IDIOCRACY now.. but we always have Dylan. The final show of the '66 tour from the box set - 5-27-66, second night at the Royal Albert Hall in London, has Dylan absolutely burned out. The electric set he's pretty out of it, it's chaotic...shambolic.... But I think this acoustic set stands up as one of the best from the tour hands down. This show was another of the CBS recordings, so the sound is pristine and you can hear Dylan again enunciating every syllable, getting every little nuance out - "he's going to the CAARnival tonigh-t on de-sol-ation rooooow."





Earlier that day Dylan visited John Lennon's home "Kenwood" in Weybridge (below)



May 6, 1966 - @ ABC Theater in Belfast, Northern Ireland (Disc #7  &  #8)
Belfast, Northern Ireland 5-6-66 is clearly another standout recording from the new Dylan box. This is one of the soundboard recordings thanks to Dylan sound-man Richard Alderson, who should be crowned a saint for this, if I were religious perhaps I’d try to make that happen! The FULL “Desolation Row” here is a beautiful thing, as due to tape lengths during that time, the song is cut on a number of the board recordings. Maybe the omission of “Baby Blue” made that happen, a doable swap as we have many full versions of Baby Blue on all the other recordings from this box set. Electric set from this show is fantastic too – the fairly restrained performances from when they were in the states is eroding away now as the band hammers an intense rocking set. Bob’s voice is definitely a main presence in the mix, but not nearly as piercing as some of the other board recordings. Garth Hudson’s swirling organ is great in this and shines in the mix. Resounding applause at this show once the band begins “Like A Rolling Stone,” so the entire tour wasn’t pissed folkies in the crowd screeching in disapproval.





May 16, 1966 - @ Gaumont Theater in Sheffield, England (Disc #17  &  #18)
The 5-16-66 show in Sheffield, England for the Dylan ’66 box is another standout, especially the ACOUSTIC set. This was going to be another one of the more elaborate “CBS Recordings,” but CBS was only able to capture the acoustic half, apparently the electric set was too loud for the setup they had. They weren’t used to trying to professionally record a live, LOUD rock show of this magnitude at that time in 1966. Luckily, Dylan’s sound-man Richard Alderson was recording from the board and captured the electric half. The acoustic half is one of the BEST of the entire tour – Dylan enunciates every syllable, and delivers the songs with an intimate, intense, ethereal quality that is hard to top as far as the other acoustic sets of this box/tour. It’s clear that he still had an affection for songs from his acoustic arsenal. Why did the folk-purists bitch and whine so much? I mean he did a mind-blowing acoustic set first before launching into the electric, venomous assault, spewing the words with intent and rocking out HARD. Oh, the electric set from Richard Alderson’s recording directly from the board sounds damn fine honestly….. Bob’s vocals are a bit high in the mix, but everything else shines well. Also, its been said that Dylan was dead sick of doing solo-acoustic tunes by this point, but honestly, would he have chosen to perform such epic, lengthy songs such as “Desolation Row,” and even “Visions of Johanna” if that were the case? I think he still knew that stuff was great.

Directly Below: Interior of Gaumont Theater in Sheffield + Dylan on Streets of Sheffield, England





May 24, 1966 - & L’Olympia in Paris, France (Disc #26  &  #27)
The Paris show on Bob’s birthday 5-24 from the live ’66 Dylan box is another one of my favorites from the set. Next to the crown jewel, the “Real Royal Albert Hall” show, I think it has some of the best sound quality of any of the board recordings here… On some of the other shows Bob’s voice is WAY high in the mix, I think on this show it’s a sweet balance. The show has been entrenched in mystery and intrigue for years, here we get to hear what really went down. Loads of interaction with the crowd…. Dylan gets a bit testy with them during the acoustic set when an audience member keeps hollering while he is trying to tune his guitar, Dylan replies “you just can’t wait can you huh… you just can’t wait? You have to go to work at 10 o’clock huh? Alls a drag to me too you know. But that’s folk music for you, folk music does that all the time.” And “didn’t you bring a magazine to read or something?” “oh come on I wouldn’t behave like this if I came to see YOU. Well then don’t be so BORED.. it’s fun, just watch me tune it. I want to get out of here as fast as you want to get out of here.”

In Paris, Dylan also spends some time with foxey Francoise Hardy and Billy Hallyday and blows out candles on his birthday cake (below)









Judas! – Book By Clinton Heylin
HIGHLY recommend this book, "Judas" by Clinton Heylin. It's a historical look at what's been called the "big boo," about when Dylan went electric in 65/66..... Covers the World Tour of 66 in detail along with tons of show reviews from journalists who didn't get it, and those who did get it. Tons of interview segments from Dylan when he was fucking with the press, and the moments when he gave good information when he didn't find the interview question stupid... His philosophy during this time was to answer a stupid interview question with a stupid answer. Anyway, this is required reading for Dylan fans and an absolute PERFECT complementary piece to this amazing box set!



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