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Psychedelia

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Psych-out

“With Love – A Pot Of Flowers”  (1967)  To cash-in on the popularity of the San Francisco music scene, Mainstream records collected some singles by Bay Area groups The Other Side, Euphoria, Harbinger Complex and The Wildflower from labels Garage and Psychedelic Folkrock.   An early collection and interesting time capsule from the summer of love that captures the sound of the Bay Area underground.  Recently reissued with additional tracks.

1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (37 votes, average: 3.35 out of 5)
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Summertime blues

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July’s self-titled record is easily one of the top UK Psych Lp’s.   Epic Records   (1968) Tony Duhig on guitar, John Field on flute and keyboards, Tom Newman on vocals, Alan James playing bass, and Chris Jackson on drums.   The band lasted barely a year, leaving behind one of the most sought-after LPs of the British psychedelic boom (on the Major Minor label in England, and Epic Records in the U.S. and Canada). Their sound was a mix of trippy, lugubrious psychedelic meanderings, eerie, trippy vignettes (“Dandelion Seeds,” “My Clown”), and strange, bright electric-acoustic textured tracks (“Friendly Man”), with some dazzling guitar workouts (Crying Is for Writers”) for good measure, all spiced with some elements of world music, courtesy of Tony Duhig (who has since come to regard July as an embarrassing element in his resume). Their first single, “My Clown” b/w “Dandelion Seeds,” has come to be considered a classic piece of psychedelia while the album is just plain collectable, despite some shortcomings. The band separated in 1969, with Duhig moving on to Jade Warrior, Newman becoming a well-respected engineer, with Mike Oldfield Tubular Bells to his credit, and bassist Alan James later working with Cat Stevens and Kevin Coyne, among others.

1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (58 votes, average: 3.78 out of 5)
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Ironic Butterfly

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Shin Jung Hyun   “The Psychedelic Sound – In-A-Kadda-Da-Vida” (sic)   From Korea   (Another favorite from Drill Pop!)

1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (51 votes, average: 4.04 out of 5)
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Psyched out

Psychodelic Music   Philips Records.   A strange one from Mexico.   Includes songs by Pierre Henry, the French composer considered a pioneer of the musique concrete genre of electronic music.   Among Henry’s best known works is the experimental 1967 album Messe pour le temps présent, featuring the popular track “Psyché Rock.”     In addition to “Rock Psychodelico” this ep includes “Demasiado Delirio,” “Tonico Juvenil” and “Jerk Jericho”.   FYI, the theme song of the TV series Futurama is inspired by “Psyché Rock.”

1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (52 votes, average: 3.92 out of 5)
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I like psych

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“Paulo Diniz’s eyes from this album — “Quero voltar prà ¡ Bahia” (1970) used to haunt me when I was a kid. I found it on a sidewalk last week and simply had to buy it and scan it’s cover.” From LP cover lover Julio Silveiro

1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (20 votes, average: 3.60 out of 5)
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Thru thick and thin

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“War Between Fats and Thins” Harvey Matusow’s Jews Harp Band (1969)

“I’m a French lover of lp covers and I like very much your website. I want to contribute original psychà ©dà ©lic LP cover. Psychà ©dà ©lic music is my great passion of my life. I propose this very strange cover of a psychà ©dà ©lic group : HARVEY MATUSOW’S BAND – Friendly yours,” Henri DEFFONTAINE

Thanks Henri, I have this cover but never knew anything about it. Check out this incredible story (and MP3′s from the album) courtesy of WFMU:

“A psychedelic Jews Harp record! As unusual as this LP is, it pales in comparison to Marshall “Harvey” Matusow’s life, which intersected every major artery of post-war America. Born in the Bronx in 1926, Matusow was a Jewish street hustler who was picking pockets by age ten, and went on to work throughout his life as a Spy, DJ, Thief, Broadway Agent, Gambler, Stand Up Comic, Actor, Author, Musician, Professional Red Baiter, Filmmaker, Impresario, TV Clown and Social Activist. He was married twelve times, and palled around with Billie Holiday, Norman Mailer, Jason Robards, Steve McQueen, Emile de Antonio, Yoko Ono, Art Carney and Genovese mob boss Frank Costello. Ladybird Johnson invited him to the White House, and he invented the myth that smoking banana peels would get you high (as an ill conceived plot to extract geopolitical revenge on the United Fruit Company, aka Chiquita Banana).

In his later days he replaced LSD with LDS, converting to Mormonism and rechristening himself as Job Matusow. In his final years, he worked as a tireless advocate for the homeless, runaway teenagers and prostitutes while he made ends meet by establishing a successful children’s theater / TV show starring himself as Cockyboo the Clown He tried his whole life to live down his reputation as the most hated man in America for his work with Joseph McCarthy and the House Unamerican Affairs Committee (HUAC), fleeing to self-imposed exile in England in the Sixties, where he immersed himself in the worlds of avant garde art, music and film. While in Britain, he produced the largest festival of avant garde music ever, the ICES 72 concert. He invited his pal Yoko Ono and her husband to London for the gallery show where Yoko met John, making him partially responsible for breaking up The Beatles. (He was fully responsible for breaking up The Weavers, accusing Pete Seeger and other band members of being communists.) And of course, while in the UK, he took lots of acid and recorded his Jews Harp record.

Matusow enlisted in the US Army in 1943 in order to secure a high school diploma he never otherwise would’ve received. Back in New York after the war, he worked various jobs (including as an agent for Dean Martin) while he drifted towards Greenwich Village hootenannies, the folk music revival and the American Communist Party. He set a party record (and won a trip to Puerto Rico) for selling subscriptions to their newspaper, The Daily Worker. But by 1950, he either sensed an opportunity for money and fame, or (according to him) needed to protect his own ass, so he contacted the FBI and began his four year long career as a paid informer for anyone in need of an anti-Communist accuser with bona fide red street cred.

He approached this endeavor with the same gusto he had shown months earlier selling subscriptions to The Daily Worker, and ultimately destroyed the lives of hundreds of innocent Americans, communists and non-communists alike. In 1952 he went to work for Senator Joseph McCarthy and Roy Cohn who put him on their payroll and encouraged his tendency to create lists of communists out of thin air. Among Matusow’s targets during this period of time were The New York Times and The Girl Scouts. He even went so far as to seduce and marry (twice!) McCarthy’s wealthiest backer, Arvilla Peterson Bentley, moving into her Washington DC mansion (now the German Embassy). Matusow, a high school dropout, had been running a floating craps game a few years earlier, and now he was the darling of the national anti-communist community and living in a mansion with butlers and servants at his beck and call.

In 1954, either because he felt remorse over the destruction he caused, or because he sensed another quick buck, he came clean on his years of lying and perjury with his book False Witness. In it, he truthfully accused Cohn and McCarthy of keeping him on the payroll as a paid witness and a professional liar. For once, Matusow was telling the truth, but Roy Cohn didn’t see it that way. Cohn accused him of lying in the book, and in the ensuing trial, Matusow was convicted of perjury and sentenced to five years in prison. As a professional liar, Matusow had been the toast of the town, but for finally telling the truth, he was imprisoned. It was then that he was dubbed “The Most Hated Man in America” by The National Enquirer, The Baltimore Sun and other papers. Billie Holiday threw him a going-to-jail party, and once in the slammer, he had the cell next to Wilhelm Reich, who died with Matusow just a few feet away.

Released from prison in 1960, Matusow dived into the worlds of art and publishing, but found himself unable to live down his years of redbaiting, an invitation to the White House from Ladybird Johnson notwithstanding (she enjoyed his “Art Collector’s Almanac” He helped found the underground newspaper “The East Village Other” met Timothy Leary, tripped a lot, helped runaway hippies in New York, did lots of standup comedy, pulled off phone pranks with Andy Warhol, and helped organize Norman Mailer’s mayoral run, even getting Christine Keeler to auction off her bra for the cause. Yet there were always people around who detested him for his 1950′s resume, and at a 1966 fundraiser (where he apologized to Pete Seeger for having him blacklisted), he was so vilified by the crowd that he decided to quit the US for England. Once in the UK, he married experimetal musician Anna Lockwood and recovered within London’s vibrant counterculture.

Matusow returned to the US in 1973 and spent the last 30 years of his life living on communes, helping the homeless, pursuing Mormonism and making ends meet by bumming money from old friends and working with his Magic Mouse Theater Troupe and TV show. He died in 2002 as he was working on his autobiography, Stringless Yo Yo.”

1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (35 votes, average: 3.69 out of 5)
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Sucking in the Seventies

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German composers Manfred Hubler and Siegfried Schwab (recording as Vampires’ Sound Incorporation) created this groovy soundtrack to accompany Director Franco’s freaked-out vision. “Their crazy sounds are a speed-hopped swinger’s bash of blaring trumpet, booming trombone, slinky organ, and spacy sitar, with a beefy foundation of mod guitar, bass, and drums.” This was included in a 1995 reissue by Crippled Dick records called “Vampiros Lesbos” and became an underground hit.

1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (34 votes, average: 4.03 out of 5)
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Chemical brothers

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“…Actual recordings of people under the influence of psychedelic drugs… Psychedelic music…the sounds of the “Acid Test”…LSD users and pushers and the amazing story of LSD in action…Comments by such LSD authorities as Sidney Cohen, M.D., the controversial Dr. Timothy Leary, Mrs. Aldous Huxley and Allen Ginsberg.”

More from the liner notes: At Capitol Records we live in a world of the young – a world of rock n’ roll music, amid the need for a constant awareness of teenage interests of all kinds. We are, therefore, perhaps more aware of, and more sensitive to, the widespread use of LSD among the school age population…”

1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (41 votes, average: 4.02 out of 5)
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Disraeli Gears

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Cream. Disraeli Gears. Cover art by Martin Sharp.

Jack Bruce: Vocals, harmonica, bass, piano

Eric Clapton: Guitars, vocals

Ginger Baker: Drums, vocals

Produced by Felix Pappalardi. Recorded 1967 at Atlantic Studios, New York. Engineered by Tom Dowd.

1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (56 votes, average: 4.59 out of 5)
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Get off on the 13th floor

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The 13th Floor Elevators formed as a band in Austin, Texas in late 1965. Tommy Hall, a University of Texas philosophy/psychology student, had been experimenting with psychedelics and playing the jug in a folk band. Hall came up with the unique idea of placing a microphone next to his jug which created a very unusual sound. He could see that combining his electric jug with psychedelic lyrics opened up a strange new territory, and Hall recruited several additional musicians from a Port Aransas-Rockport area group called the Lingsmen: Stacy Sutherland (lead guitar), Benny Thurman (bass), and John Ike Walton (drums). The final link was Roky Erickson.

Erickson was seventeen when he had written and released a local Top Ten single with The Spades (August 1965/zero Records) called “You’re Gonna Miss Me.” He was an accomplished rhythm guitar player with a powerful voice, and The Elevators signed with a Houston record company called International Artists. “The Psychedelic Sounds of the 13th Floor Elevators” was released in August 1966, and the song “You’re Gonna Miss Me” eventually reached #56. The album also included such psychedelic songs as “Roller Coaster,” “Kingdom of Heaven,” “Reverberation (Doubt),” and “Splash 1.”

Before a second album had been attempted, internal friction and drug problems forced the departure of John Ike Walton and Benny Thurman. Replacements were found in Danny Thomas (drums) and Ronnie Leatherman (bass) although Leatherman only lasted until July 1967 to be replaced by Danny Galindo. This unit entered the studio for two months to cut the worthy follow- up album Easter Everywhere (Sept. 1967). It contained an eight minute poem “Slip Inside This House” as well as “Postures (Leave Your Body Behind)” and a cover of Dylan’s “Baby Blue.”

The Elevators did a good deal of touring that included an appearance on the Dick Clark show. When the Elevators had finished their song, Dick Clark innocently asked Roky, “Who is the head of the band?” Roky’s response was, “We’re all heads.”

The Elevators were having a rough time of it in Texas as they were constantly in trouble with the police and the Texas Rangers. The penalty at that time for being caught with one joint was twenty years in jail. The first time the Elevators were busted they were not prosecuted due to a technicality, but a second bust occurred at a state university with Roky being ordered to stand trial. The defense attorney decided a plea of insanity (based on Roky’s altered state) would be less harsh for his client, but the result was a five year sentence. Roky would spend the next three and a half years at a mental institution called Rusk State Hospital.

The Elevators, without Roky who was their figurehead and unofficial leader, were finished. International Artists tried to capitalize on what success the Elevators had by releasing The 13th Floor Elevators Live album (January 1968) which was essentially studio outtakes that were overdubbed with phony cheering and applause. The last Elevator album to appear was Bull of the Woods (December 1968) that was primarily the effort of Stacy Sutherland.

The Elevators tried to get back together several times after Roky’s release, but an ongoing feud between Roky and Tommy never seemed to get resolved. The death of Stacy Sutherland (killed in a domestic squabble with his wife in 1978) confirmed the Elevators existence was officially over.

Except for a bizarre single called “Red Temple Prayer (Two-Headed Dog)” that was released in 1975, Roky’s sabbatical would last thirteen years. Roky Erickson returned with the 1980 album based on B-grade horror movie material called Roky Erickson and the Aliens (August 198O/CBS-U.K.) It was produced by Stu Cook (ex-bass player for Creedence Clearwater Revival) and included such songs as “Creature with the Atom Brain,” “Cold Night for Alligators,” “Stand for the Fire Demon,” and “I Walked with a Zombie.”

Roky continued to make several more interesting albums throughout the 1980s, but his mental condition seemed to be deteriorating. Then in 1989 he was charged with the federal crime of tampering with the U.S. Mail—apparently he collected mail for an apartment complex and never gave it to the addressees. Consequently, he went to court where the judge did not believe that Roky had a mental condition and had him sent to Missouri for “testing.” At some point in the process, Roky snapped.

1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (65 votes, average: 4.42 out of 5)
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