The Crazy World of Arthur Brown

Before there was an Alice Cooper, there was an Arthur Brown. Cooper may have made the genre of shock rock popular, but it was Brown who was one of the pioneers. There were others before Brown, Screamin’ Jay Hawkins, Screaming Lord Sutch, to name two. But it was Arthur Brown who has been credited by many musicians as the artist that gave them the inspiration.

The CRAZY WORLD OF ARTHUR BROWN
THE CRAZY WORLD OF ARTHUR BROWN-1968

Arthur Brown is an English singer, who performed elaborate and innovative stage performances, and is considered one of the pioneers of the shock rock genre. It was not enough for Brown to sing his songs, he had to perform them visually, giving the audience a feeling of being involved in the music, giving them something to remember, more than just something to hear, but to see and feel.

Arthur Brown did not have much personal commercial success, however there were some interesting connections that he had with some other famous musicians of the day. Brown’s debut album in 1968, The Crazy World of Arthur Brown, was produced by The Who’s manager Kit Lambert, and executive-produced by Pete Townshend, The Who’s legendary guitarist and songwriter.

Brown got himself booted from a tour with Jimi Hendrix, due to his preoccupation with fire, which was an important part of both his stage act, and the regularly recurring theme of his debut album. A mainstay of Brown’s stage performances was his burning helmet, which caused him to be perpetually in harm’s way, not only on his person, but also on the stages and venues in which he performed.

The Crazy World of Arthur Brown has a recurring theme of fire and hell, which makes it kind of creepy for me. I remember hearing Brown opening the song Fire by exclaiming “I am the god of hellfire,” and subsequently having the bejesus scared out of me. Of course, as I got older, I recognised this as a means of artistic expression, and a bit of fun, but nonetheless, the theme of darkness and fire and hell permeate throughout parts of the record.

Fire was a big hit back in 1968, reaching number one in The United Kingdom and Canada, and eventually reaching number two in The States and charted in many other countries as well. It sold over a million copies and was awarded a gold disc.

The song Fire is considered a psychedelic song, but it did not feature that psychedelic guitar sound and it’s lack of bass made it a bit different than many of the other hits during the psychedelic sixties. There was a strong presences of the organ, which is associated with the psychedelic sound. The Crazy World of Arthur Brown was Brown’s one and only record during the sixties, with Fire being his only hit and most recognisable song.

When discussing and contemplating the career of Arthur Brown, he is most remembered for his one hit song, and the influential stage performances that he made popular. The influence was far reaching, and as mentioned earlier, many musicians claimed Brown as an artist to emulate, including KISS, Alice Cooper, Marilyn Manson, as well as others. What he lacked in personal success and acclaim, he certainly passed on to others. A good, if not strange record.

Rating: B


The Deviants-Disposable

THE DEVIANTS-DISPOSABLE
THE DEVIANTS-DISPOSABLE(1968)

 

The Deviants, also known as The Social Deviants, was an English psychedelic band founded by Mick Farren in 1967. Farren described the sound of The Deviants as “teeth-grinding, psychedelic rock.” The band formed out of the UK Underground, which was Great Britain’s correlation to the hippie counterculture movement that was developing in the United States at the same time.

The band’s album, Disposable, was released in 1968. Their music is considered to be the British equivalent to The Fugs from New York, and from what I’ve heard so far with Disposable, I like them much better than The Fugs. To me, they really don’t sound that much alike.

I didn’t quite know what to expect from Disposable, but was pleasantly surprised by this well developed, enjoyable record.  The first song, Somewhere To Go, starts of with an infectious bass beat that got me interested right away. After the intro, that seems like they we talking about being young and in The Underground, or British counterculture,  the song takes a garage rock turn, It is a great song with a killer psychedelic guitar solo, and I find myself wondering how I never heard of these guys until just recently. Great opening number.

Sparrows and Wires seems like filler at first, but it grew on me within the context of the record as a whole. It isn’t as much a song as it is a spoken word explanation, short and to the point, then on to the next tune.

Jamie’s Song is a slow moving psychedelic trip, pure psychedelic rock.

You’ve Got To Hold On is a great psychedelic song from start to finish, and is my favorite song on the album. Awesome lyrics, with killer guitar work makes this song so awesome! I find it hard to believe that The Deviants were not  more popular than they were, as I think they have some of the best music of the psychedelic era.

Fire In The City is a song featuring sax, and it’s meaning seems to be about the turbulent times that was the norm in the late sixties, both in the United Kingdom and in the States. The smooth sax solo in the middle of the tune is well done and the song as a whole is mellow but packs a lyrical punch if listened to with the sixties counterculture in mind.

Let’s Loot The Supermarket is a partially incoherent ramble about seemingly nothing but a bunch of acid induced people hanging out on a street corner somewhere to stoned to stand. Ya know, a typical sixties type infusion of fun, drugs and at times, boredom. A funny song not meant to make any serious political statement, just a bit of fluff in the middle of the record. Not one of my favorite songs on the album, but acceptable.

If Pappa Oo Mao Mao sounds familiar, it should, as it is a cover of the 1962 Rivington’s piece Papa Oom Mow Mow, originally an incoherent do wop number.  However, it seems to me that the spelling of the titled was altered from the original, referring to China’s communist leader Mao Tse-tung. The song was made into a statement against the communist Chinese regime, to me it seems pretty apparent. Good way to turn a funny, nonsensical tune into a political one.

Normality Jam is an great psychedelic instrumental piece with a funky drum beat and awesome guitars throughout. One of the best pieces of music on the record.

Guaranteed To Bleed is a slower, more mature song, with great keyboards. Sidney B. Goode is a short instrumental that emulates Johnny B. Goode by Chuck Berry. It is a good attempt at making the song sound like Berry’s original, but giving it a bit of a psychedelic spin.

Last Man is an eerie sounding spoken word piece that closes out the record. This ends a very entertaining record, with little filler, and a good representation of the British sound from The Uk Underground, the counterculture movement from across the pond. Good stuff!

Rating: A-


 

 

 

 

Presenting…Lothar and the Hand People

 

LOTHAR AND THE HAND PEOPLE
PRESENTING…LOTHAR AND THE HAND PEOPLE(1968)

 

Lothar and the Hand People were a psychedelic rock band that got their start in Denver, Colorado in 1965. They relocated to New York City in 1966. They were arguably one of the first bands to start the genre of space rock and they were an influential band in the sense that they were considered the first band to tour and record with synthesisers, which paved the way for many other musicians to do the same.

Specifically, they pioneered the use of the theremin and the Moog modular synthesizer. These instruments gave Lothar and the Hand People a very different, and at times otherworldly sound that was not heard in rock music up until that time. The most interesting aspect of the theremin, is that it can be played without touching the instrument.

Theremin
Theremin

Lothar and the Hand Hand People have an interesting, if not weird story behind the band. They use a theremin that they called “Lothar” and the people in the band are referred to as the “Hand People.” The band’s music is wild, fun, and interesting, if not a bit strange. However, I found them to be innovative and influential, in a childish, adolescent sort of way.

The band’s first album, of only two that they recorded, is title “Presenting…Lothar and the Hand People.” The record is a bit hard to grasp on a first listen, and I wasn’t overly impressed. However, after subsequent listens, it grew on me, and my sense of an interest in all things strange but enjoyable.

The first song on the record was a funky cover of Manfred Mann’s song “Machines.” It is quirky and rather tough to immediately appreciate, but it becomes catchy after a few listens. It is a futuristic song about how machines will rule over people, put in a silly way that makes it seem as though it is aimed at being childish. Interesting, but weird.

The next song on the record, This Is It, is a smooth song with a nice flow to it, and the guitar solo in the middle has a nice country twangy feel. This is a nice contrast to the clunky, mechanical feel of the first song.

This May Be Goodbye sounds like the beginning of a 1970’s funk song, with the synthesizer intro. It is a good song, not on of the better one’s on the record though.

That’s Another Story is a entertaining song with the synthesizer in the background that sounds a bit like a soundtrack from an old west movie.

Kids Are Little People is just plain weird, but fun. At first listen, I almost skipped over to the next tune, but I gave it a chance. It comes across as playful and nerdy, and one has to wonder if these guys were really just a bunch of  crazy musicians, out to have a bit of fun. I think that is the correct assumption, they were not going to write any deep philosophical pinings here. Just good, psychedelic, trippy fun. A record full of fun fluff, but good fluff, in a world of madness that was representative in late sixties culture.

Ha (Ho) starts off with the theremin, then develops into a well written insightful piece that turns into a chorus of gibberish. Hence the name of the song. There is a nice psychedelic guitar solo in the middle. Strange, but entertaining.

Sex and Violence, a rambling piece about, well, sex and violence. Not a lot of lyrical content here, and the song is not dark and sleazy as the title suggests. Just a trippy psychedelic song with little to add to the world other than some weirdness.

Bye Bye Love is a cover of a 1957 song made famous by The Everly Brothers. A song that has been covered numerous times by many artists, this particular cover version is adequately recorded, if not with a bit of a silly feel to it, as is the way much of the record comes across.

Milkweed Love is trippy, psychedelic, if not a bit slow. Good song to relax in the sun to on the beach in 1968. Woody Woodpecker is hilarious. Sixties music performed for and by, a bunch of stoned out hippies and it is great. I really did come around a bit too late to appreciate this at the time!

It Comes On Anyhow is a trip, literally. Fun, weird, psychedelic. Paul, In Love finishes out the record with the theremin making one last stand on the record. Psychedelic ending to a truly psychedelic musical voyage.

Presenting…Lothar and the Hand People may have been obscure, and never really found much commercial success, but they sure were innovative. And weird. And trippy. And all sixties! The record is a good attempt at something weird and wonderful. It succeeded on both counts, and though not one of my favorites from the psychedelic era, they sure did make an impression on me. I’m just not sure what the heck it is. Worth a listen, for sure.

Rating: B

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Jefferson Airplane-Takes Off

JEFFERSON AIRPLANE-TAKES OFF
JEFFERSON AIRPLANE-TAKES OFF(1966)

 

The Jefferson Airplane is a psychedelic rock band that formed in San Francisco, California in 1965. They are considered the seminal band that helped shape the San Francisco Sound in the psychedelic era in the mid to late 1960’s. The band is considered one of the most influential groups of the era from San Francisco, rivaled only by The Grateful Dead.

Early Jefferson Airplane with Signe Toly Anderson.

The original, “classic” members of the group were Grace Slick, Jack Casady, Jorma Kaukonen, Marty Balin, Paul Kantner, and Spencer Dryden. However, their debut record was recorded before Grace Slick joined the band. Signe Toly Anderson was on the first record, but left shortly after it’s release in 1966, and was replaced by Slick.

The Jefferson Airplane’s debut record, Takes Off, was released in August 1966. As stated before, Grace Slick was not on the album.

Takes Off is considered to be the beginnings of a genre of music that was to define the counterculture movement of the middle to late sixties and into the early seventies. It is an important work, with a fresh, new sound that would become known as the San Francisco Sound. It was not, in my opinion, a record that broke new ground musically, there was no great surprises here, just a well executed debut record that was very listenable and enjoyable. What was to become by the next record would be monumental in the history of rock music. But the debut was something new, but unextraordinary.

There are two notable cover songs on the record, Tobacco Road, and Let’s Get Together. Both songs are covered by other bands also, and are very popular in American culture. The Youngbloods had a big hit with their version of Let’s Get Together, titled Get Together in 1967. The Jefferson Airplane did a good job of covering both songs.

The song that kicks off  Jefferson Airplane’s recording career, and arguably the psychedelic movement in general, is Blues From An Airplane, the first song on Takes Off. It is a worthy track, and shows the musical proficiency of the band, and the formation of a new sound.

The second song on the record, Let Me In, was considered highly sexual for the times, and there are two versions, one censored, and one uncensored. By today’s standards, it wouldn’t be an issue. It is a great song, with some excellent guitar work in the middle of the track. Great early psychedelia.

Bringing Me Down is a classic psychedelic song with that psychedelic guitar style that would become so prevalent and recognisable in the genre.

It’s No Secret is my favorite song on the record, with Marty Balin’s spectacular vocals which make the song work so well. The guitar work in the middle of the track is classic psychedelia, a preview of what was to come.

Another one of the best songs on the debut is Come Up The Years, a track that starts out slow, with beautiful vocals and lyrics. It is a song about a man who is interested in a younger woman, and lamenting that she is not older. When I listen to this song, I get that feeling, as I so often do, that I wish I was a bit older, so I could experience that it was like to be around in the psychedelic era. The best music, from the greatest era, in my opinion.

Run Around is another song that was considered controversial, and has a censored and an uncensored version. It starts off with a twangy guitar intro, and great vocals. This is another highly enjoyable tune, classic sixties feel.

Don’t Slip Away is a good track, one of the weaker songs on the record, in my opinion, but nevertheless quite enjoyable. There are no bad songs on the record, and even the weaker one’s are very musically  sound, and all have great vocals.

Chauffeur Blues is a song that is lead by Signe Toly Anderson singing lead vocals, and is a straightforward blues piece. It is a good song, but I consider it to be one of the weaker songs on the record, considering that the majority of the rest of the album is excellent.

The last song on the record, And I Like It, is a bluesy piece that starts of with some jazzy drums, and is sung beautifully by Marty Balin. A good tune made great with the Balin vocals.

When listening to this record, there is some important musical history taking place. It is a great debut for one of the most influential bands in rock history. The Jefferson Airplane help launch a revolution, both musically and culturally, and are considered the cream of the crop in the world of psychedelic music.

Rating: A-

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Velvet Underground & Nico

The Velvet Underground & Nico
THE VELVET UNDERGROUND & NICO(1967)

 

The Velvet Underground were a band that got it’s start in New York City in 1964. The original members were John Cale, Sterling Morrison, Lou Reed, and Angus MacLise. MacLise was replaced by Moe Tucker in 1965 as drummer.

I would not put The Velvet Underground under the umbrella of psychedelic rock, but were quite popular around the same time. Their music could be categorized as proto punk and experimental, as well as other genres.

Though the musicians in the band were well received and had careers of their own, none became more popular than Lou Reed, who had a solo career that was active for the better part of five decades. The Velvet Underground did not achieve much success during their active years, but later became known as one of the most influential rock bands in history.

Andy Warhol was very much around the band in the middle to late sixties, and the cover for their debut album was his artwork.

The Velvet Underground’s debut album, “The Velvet Underground and Nico,” was released in March 1967, and featured friend and model Nico, who would go on to have a fairly successful solo career.

The record starts out with a slow mellow song, Sunday Morning, which features John Cale playing a celesta, an instrument not readily heard on rock records. It gives the song a playful feel and it works well. It is one of my favorite songs on the record.

Following Sunday Morning,  I’m Waiting For The Man is a song written by Lou Reed, which is very specific in its lyrics about a drug deal in New York City, with the “man” referring to a drug dealer. It is one of The Velvet Underground’s more popular songs, and gives a very concise picture of what it was like in the big city, both in the era of the sixties and also, unfortunately, very much what it is like in these times.

The next song, Femme Fatale, is a more mellow, softer song than the previous one, and is a song that has been covered by many bands and musicians over the years. It is one of their most recognisable songs that has remained somewhat in the spotlight due to it’s many cover versions.

Venus In Furs is a mesmerizing, driving song that probably sounded awesome back in the sixties while doing what they did back then, maybe dropping some acid, which was a thing. One can only imagine how this song was enhanced by such activity, and the lyrical content dealt with some taboo issues, and was not for the faint at heart.

Run Run Run has a bit of a psychedelic feel to it, and is again about people in New York City going after drugs, and is very specific about who are the characters, and where this is all happening. It is highlighted by Lou Reed’s obscure guitar work.

All Tomorrow’s Parties was written by Lou Reed and is sung by Nico. It has been suggested that this is a precursor to what would become the goth music genre, and I agree with this assessment. It is rather slow moving, and Nico’s low singing style makes the connection to goth a strong one.

Heroin is one of The Velvet Underground’s most celebrated tunes, and is very explicit in describing what using and abusing heroin is like. The song is haunting at times, violent at other times, and starts with what feels like will be a sweet, nice beginning, but we know how it all ends. It is a dark song, and one of my favorites.

There She Goes Again is a song about a prostitute, who is tough, and living on the streets. Again, another song about a sensitive subject, but that has a great guitar riff and is very entertaining.

I’ll Be Your Mirror is a song beautifully sung by Nico, and though it is one of the lesser known songs on the album, it is exquisitely executed, and is a real hidden gem.

The Black Angel’s Death Song is the one potential dud on the record, but musically it is so different, that it is interesting. Not one of my favorites on the album, I do feel the inclination to skip over this one, but still follow through till the end.

European Son is the last, and longest track on the record. It takes a bit of getting used to, with the majority of the song being The Velvet Underground’s foray into their extreme experimental stage. An alright ending to the record, that shouldn’t take away from the brilliance of most of the work previously.

The debut by The Velvet Underground is at times incredible, and at sparse times is hard to swallow. The majority of the record is groundbreaking, giving rise to what would become punk a bit later on. It is a very good record, that deals with some real life, controversial issues, and was musically very entertaining for the most part.

Rating: A-

 

 

 

 

 

Vanilla Fudge

Vanilla Fudge
VANILLA FUDGE

 

Vanilla Fudge got their start on Long Island, New York in 1967. The band consisted of Mark Stein, Carmine Appice, Tim Bogert, and Vince Martell. Carmine Appice became very famous as a drummer, and influenced many drummers in the rock genre.

The best way to describe Vanilla Fudge, is that they were a psychedelic band that featured extended, slower versions of already popular hit songs of the time period. Some of these songs were, “You Keep Me Hangin’ On” by The Supremes, which was their biggest hit, “Eleanor Rigby” and “Ticket To Ride” by The Beatles, and “People Get Ready” by Curtis Mayfield, as well as others.

Vanilla Fudge’s debut album, entitled Vanilla Fudge,  featured their biggest hit, “You Keep Me Hangin’ On” by slowing it down and extending it to give a different take on the original. It took me awhile to get used to, but it works well when the musicianship is recognised. I can understand how Carmine Appice influenced many future drummers, and how this song was a precursor to the metal genre not yet established.

The members of Vanilla Fudge had great admiration of The Beatles, and the first song on the debut record shows this. The first song, “Ticket To Ride“, was a big hit for Beatles, and this would be the first song on the debut record. They slowed the song down, added lots of organ and drums, and basically made the song much harder than the original. It works well, although, the slowness of this version made me pause for a bit, not really sure what to think of it. Musically, it was excellent, but the slower tempo from the original threw me off. I got over it thought, and learned to really enjoy this cover.

Vanilla Fudge
Vanilla Fudge

The next song, “People Get Ready”, is a cover of a Curtis Mayfield composition, that originally I heard from Rod Stewart’s cover, which I really enjoy. Vanilla Fudge slows this down also, with heavy organ and drums, and extends it out for a really great cover. They take these previous hits by other artists, and really make them their own, and the music doesn’t destroy the originals, as happens so much these days.

Next up, “She’s Not There,” is a cover of The Zombies tune, slowed down and jazzed up with  heavy drums. To be honest, the vocals in some of these songs on the debut are not that appealing to me, but the musicality more than makes up for it. This is another very good cover.

The Sonny Bono song, “Bang Bang” is basically, at first, unrecognizable from the original. This particular song I consider somewhat of a weaker cover than the others on the record. Although listening to it enough times, it kind of grew on me. It is definitely more haunting in some places than the original.

We skip to the last song on the record, the very familiar “Eleanor Rigby”, as The Vanilla Fudge end the album with some more homage to The Beatles. As with the other covers, it is slowed down, with drums and organ again in the front. All in all, a good record, with some painfully slow low parts that are hard to get into.

I really like this record, and I can see the influence it had on other musicians, and how it help ignite the future metal genre. We see a rising star emerge in Carmine Appice, and there are to be more albums to come before they called it quits in 1970.

Rating: B+

 

 

 

The Psychedelic Sounds Of The13th Floor Elevators

THE PSYCHEDELIC SOUNDS OF THE 13TH FLOOR ELEVATORS
THE PSYCHEDELIC SOUNDS OF THE 13TH FLOOR ELEVATORS

 

 

The 13th Floor Elevators were an American psychedelic rock band that got their start in Austin, Texas in 1965. They consisted of three musicians, Roky Erickson, Stacy Sutherland, and Tommy Hall, who played the electric jug. They are considered to be one of the very first psychedelic bands. The band’s musical style is somewhat unique in rock music due to the use of the electric jug.

The band’s debut album, “The Psychedelic Sounds Of The 13th Floor Elevators” was released in 1966, and contained their only hit, You’re Gonna Miss Me. The song reached number 55 on the charts. It is arguably the first recorded psychedelic song, and it sounds great, and has that garage rock feel to it.

The next song on the record is Roller Coaster, with a great opening guitar piece that sounds very familiar, and then the electric jug comes in, giving the song and interesting pop. Actually, many of the songs by The 13th Floor Elevators have the jug spattering in the background, and it gives the music a deep, low feeling.

Early 13th Floor Elevators concert poster in Austin, Texas

When I first heard the jug on the record, I was a bit perplexed, as I had never heard it on an album before. I quickly took to it, and it’s jumpy, poppy sound. It is weird at first, but it works.

Splash 1(Now I’m Home) is a slower song, but beautifully executed. This tune has some good guitar work, but it is without the jug this time, and the tune wouldn’t sound right with it anyway.

With Reverberation, the jug comes out again in full force, with great garage rock guitars.

Don’t Fall Down is another slower song with a nice guitar intro, and this time the jug makes an appearance and it works. This is basically a straight up love song, with a warning to the boy not to screw up, because she is there for him. Very nice tune.

The next song, Fire Engine, starts out with an attempt to sound like an actual fire engine, but to me the guitarwork and vocals at the beginning remind me of a 60’s surf tune. Very sixties, early psychedelia.

Thru The Rhythm has those sixties guitars again, and this song caught my attention right away, because I thought Mick Jagger was the vocalist, at least at the very beginning of the song. And, of course, here come the jugs again. Great tune.

You Don’t Know is the next song on the record, and it is pretty standard fare for the era, with the exception of the electric jug in the background, which gives the song that recognisable 13th Floor Elevators feel.

Kingdom Of Heaven is one of my favorite songs on the album. It starts off with slow, haunting guitars, and the song as a whole is very eerie, and makes me think it would be a great soundtrack for a horror movie. Classic sixties music at it’s best.

This is one of the classic psychedelic records in my opinion, and as stated before, it is considered to be the first to experiment with the sound that defines the genre. The quality is not stellar, it is very raw in its execution, but it is pure, and entertaining, and is one of my favorites.

Rating: A-

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Strawberry Alarm Clock-Incense & Peppermints

STRAWBERRY ALARM CLOCK-INCENSE & PEPPERMINTS
STRAWBERRY ALARM CLOCK-INCENSE & PEPPERMINTS

The psychedelic band, Strawberry Alarm Clock, began in Los Angeles in 1967. They have had many lineup changes over the course of their career. Their music has been described as psychedelic rock, psychedelic pop, and sunshine pop.

Strawberry Alarm Clock’s debut record entitled “Incense and Peppermints,” was released in 1967, and the song Incense and Peppermints reached number one on the Billboard Hot 100 Chart.

The record being reviewed here is the compilation album entitled “Incense & Peppermints,” which may be confusing because it has an ampersand in place of the word “and” on the original debut. This review is of the songs listed on the compilation.

The first song on the compilation is their biggest hit, and most recognisable song Incense and Peppermints. It became a huge number one hit and is remembered as their signature song. It is my favorite Strawberry Alarm Clock song, and to watch the video below, I get that trippy feeling that is what these psychedelic bands were going for back in that era.

The next song on the compilation, Rainy Day Mushroom Pillow is a song that is pretty self explanatory. It is slow, mellow, and just the right song for the lazy summer day in the sun, or the rain, psychedelic sixties style. Or take it indoors, turn down the lights, fire up the lava lamp, and do whatever people did back in the day. I wish I was around then to enjoy the vibe, but as I’ve stated before in other reviews, I just missed all the fun.

Birds In My Tree is the next song which starts out like it is going to be hard, but slows down when the vocals kick in. It is another feel good mellow song of peace and hope, at least that is how I interpret it.

Sit With The Guru is a happy song, and is a tune that perfectly describes what the phrase sunshine pop means. Listen, get happy, and feel good is the message.

Tomorrow is the next song on the compilation, another feel good trippy tune with some great harmonies. A beautiful song.

Barefoot in Baltimore is another song with great harmony parts, and it is a tune that seems to show a scene in the hot summer hanging out in Baltimore. Another feel good song to me, if not a bit about the hardships of growing up in the city.

Good Morning Starshine is another tune that can be considered sunshine pop, and it has been covered by many musicians, but this version is my favorite.

Birdman of Alkatrash is a silly spoof about the birdman of alcatraz, and has Donald Duck make some appearances. It was the b-side of the number one hit Incense and Peppermints. It is a garage rock sounding song that many people seem to dislike. I think it’s fun, and it makes me wonder what the guys were on when they recorded it.

Strawberries Mean Love is my least favorite on the compilation, and I still like it. It is kind of slow and drawn out, which works for this band most of the time.

The last song on the compilation, Starting Out The Day, is an upbeat tune that makes me feel that everything is alright with the world, at least back in the psychedelic sixties.

I was actually confused myself when I purchased the cd, because I thought it was Strawberry Alarm Clock’s debut album. After listening to it multiple times, and doing some research, I realized that this is a compilation, and I like it so much, now that I know better, I need to get all their studio albums. Much more great music to be discovered by Strawberry Alarm Clock.

Rating: A

The Peanut Butter Conspiracy-Is Spreading/The Great Conspiracy

THE PEANUT BUTTER CONSPIRACY-IS SPREADING(1967)/THE GREAT CONSPIRACY(1968)

 

The Peanut Butter Conspiracy

The Peanut Butter Conspiracy was a psychedelic pop and rock band that got their start in Los Angeles, California in 1966. They sounded much like The Mamas and the Papas, although they did develop the own signature sound.

The band is noted for having one of the first female vocalists in a rock band, Barbara Robison, also known as Sandi Robison, and sometimes as Sandi Peanut Butter.

The Peanut Butter Conspiracy never became very popular outside the region of Los Angeles, but for awhile they had a good following there.

The Peanut Butter Conspiracy 1966

This review is of a double album on one cd that features their first two studio recordings, “The Peanut Butter Conspiracy is Spreading” and “The Great Conspiracy”, as well as three bonus tracks. Both albums are a nice mix of psychedelic rock and pop, and are very enjoyable.

Their only hit on the charts was It’s A Happening Thing, the first song on their debut album and was directly related to the Flower Power movement of the sixties, and early seventies. It is a very catchy, upbeat tune that sounds somewhat like The Mamas and the Papas, only more psychedelic, and features the beautiful voice of Barbara Robison.

Another catchy song from the debut was Why Did I Get So High, and although at first listen I thought it was about getting high on drugs. A closer look at the lyrics though, makes me believe it is about love and heartache. It is a great, psychedelic, folksy tune.

Dark On You Now is another song off the first record that is classic psychedelia all the way. A great song to groove to on a hot summer day in Southern California in 1967, if only I was born to experience it first hand. One of the better songs I have encountered on my journey through listening to the awesome music of the sixties and early seventies.

The first track on the second album “The Great Conspiracy,” Turn On A Friend(To The Good Life) is a another excellent song, with great harmonies, as is many of the tunes on both records. More classic psychedelic pop, with a message.

Livin, Loving Life is a beautiful song showing just how wonderful a voice that Robison had. It cannot be understated that she had one of the most beautiful voices in rock.

With female vocalists like Janis Joplin and Grace Slick dominating the scene at the time, Barbara Robison is often overlooked. But she had in my opinion, an absolutely outstanding voice, specially suited for the psychedelic sixties.

Living Dream is another great song on the second album, very slow, and mellow, very psychedelic. Robison’s beautiful, haunting vocals are on display here, and it makes me wish she didn’t die so young. There was more music in her, but she was gone by 1988. I wonder if she would have recorded more had she lived.

It is funny how such a talented band, with wonderful music, doesn’t become more popular. Though they never received the full recognition they deserved outside of the LA area, they remain a band that should be listened too and enjoyed. They represent the psychedelic sounds of the sixties well, and will not be forgotten.

Rating: A