Curious, isn't it, that Rush drummer Neil Peart should mention the fact in his new book Roadshow that he was a fan of a Texas group called Fever Tree. Hailed from Houston and started in 1966 as folk rock outfit, The Bostwick Vines. They changed their name to Fever Tree a year later after the addition of keyboard player Rob Landes. This twofer collection of Fever Tree's -first two albums at the same time-. Psychedelic, man! And that's what this CD is all about. Recorded in 1968, it features the best known, and (they say) best sounding albums they made in their career.
Think Vanilla Fudge. Think the Doors. Think J.S.Bach's "Toccata and Fugue" which opens the first album. Cool, the way it leads into "Where Do You Go?" by Fever Tree's management team of Scott & Vivian Holtzman (who also wrote for Tex Ritter, by the way!) and it's extra cool the way Fever Tree was able to adapt their songs to this heavy "Inna-Gadda-Da-Dida" style. Listen, man, the string section is freaking out!
I really love this stuff. When I was a teenager I used to work the door at the local boys' club dances. Got to see great psychedelic bands like Marble Orchard, the Village S*T*O*P, Spyder Blues and bigger bands that followed, like the McCoys. But I was always crazy for the long instrumental bits, and 10-minute drum solos, the over-the-top vocalists overdramatizing the would-be poetry of their lyrics, and the guitar solos, oh, the guitar solos. Well, it's all here.
Dennis Keller sings, Michael Knust plays guitar, John Tuttle drums, "Bud" Wolfe is on bass and rhythm guitarist and keyboardist Don Lampton makes up Fever Tree. They were fans of the aforementioned Vanilla Fudge, and you can hear it in their overwrought rendition of the Beatles' "Day Tripper/We Can Work It Out" with echoes of "Eleanor Rigby" and other tunes...it's simply awesome. They were also perhaps the first group ever to cover a Neil Young song, "Nowadays Clancy Can't Even Sing," and it sounds like it's gonna be Steve and Eydie by the orchestral introduction. Cool though!
The second album is more of the same. Great timeless psychedelic rock. Sorry for using the "psy" word so much, but it's the only way to describe this music. The titles give it away, "What Time Did You Say It Was In Salt Lake City," "I've Never Seen Evergreen," and "Death Is the Dancer." Far out! And a slinky version of Peggy Lee's (and the McCoys') "Fever" done, according to Mr. Unterberger's notes, just because of the title..."It'll be cool man...we're Fever Tree and the song is "Fever!" Get it!?!" It's obvious to me.
Anyway...this is a twofer so it's double your pleasure. Sit back. Turn off all the lights except for the little blue one that shines when your CD player is on. Grab a...well...make it a Guinness, I guess. Relax. And crank up the volume. You will be immediately transported. Ahhh! The late '60s, awesome!
by David Kidney
1. Imitation Situation 1 (Toccata and Fugue)(S.Holtzman, V. Holtzman, R. Landes, J.S. Bach) - 1:36
....Where Do You Go? (S.Holtzman, V. Holtzman, Michael) - 2:27
2. San Franciscan Girls (Return of the Native) (S.Holtzman, V. Holtzman, Michael) - 4:02
3. Ninety-Nine and One-Half (W. Pickett, S. Cropper, E. Floyd) - 2:47
4. Man Who Paints the Pictures (S.Holtzman, V. Holtzman, Michael) - 2:34
5. Filligree and Shadow (S.Holtzman, V. Holtzman, Michael) - 3:56
6. The Sun Also Rises (S.Holtzman, V. Holtzman, R. Landes) - 2:43
7. Day Tripper/We Can Work It Out (J. Lennon, P. McCartney) - 3:31
8. Nowadays Clancy Can't Even Sing (N. Young) - 3:04
9. Unlock My Door (S.Holtzman, V. Holtzman, R. Landes) - 3:50
10. Come with Me (Rainsong) (S.Holtzman, V. Holtzman, R. Landes) - 3:49
11. Man Who Paints the Pictures II (N. Knust, S.Holtzman, V. Holtzman) - 6:51
12. What Time Did You Say It Is in Salt Lake City? (S.Holtzman, V. Holtzman) - 3:16
13. Don't Come Crying to Me Girl (R. Landes, S.Holtzman, V. Holtzman) - 2:30
14. Fever (J. Davenport, E. Cooley) - 3:41
15. Grand Candy Young Sweet (F. Davis) - 1:54
16. Jokes Are for Sad People (R. Landes, S.Holtzman, V. Holtzman) - 7:15
17. I've Never Seen Evergreen (N. Knust, S.Holtzman, V. Holtzman) - 3:25
18. Peace of Mind (N. Woods) - 3:12
19. Death Is the Dancer (R. Landes, S.Holtzman, V. Holtzman) - 3:57
*Dennis Keller - Vocals
*Michael Stephen Knust - Guitar
*Rob Landes - Synthesizer, Organ, Piano
*E.E. "Bud" Wolfe - Bass Guitar
*John Tuttle - Drums