In The Land of Free, we still keep on Rockin'

Plain and Fancy

"I hope for nothing, I fear nothing, I am free"

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Salem Mass - Witch Burning (1971 us, heavy prog rock, Gear Fab edition)

Salem Mass spanned the 70's from 71 till 77 playing mainly in the Northwest and Canada. During this time the band went through numerous members and techs. All of which I shall remember as "The Kind" or the best of the best. One of our first breaks was meeting Doug Brown, now of GMA, in Sun Valley Idaho. He later booked us into the best cljbs the Big Sky country had to offer. 

On three occasions Salem Mass, sometimes a five piece, lived in Portland. The first time was because we had just signed an exclusive contract with Headwater Rooking Agency, which promptly went beily up like a rotting carp in Lake Lowell. Fortunately we landed in the capable hands of Andy Gilbert with a new booking agency in the Pacific Northwest called Pacific Talent. Thanks to Andy, Salem Mass played everything that was happening in Portland and surrounding area clubs and grand openings. 

The Treasure Valley, in southwest Idaho was where we paid our dues It was where most of us grew up, where we wrote, played, partied and evolved, and it was worth every cent. Thanks Freddy, Can I have a draw? The album was recorded in a beer bar in Caldwell Idaho called The Red Barn, under the watchful eye of it's owner Steve Moore and was engineered by Lance Parker a mutual friend and Caldwell High alumni of Steve, Mike, and myself. And of course there was the special kind of help that could only be offered by the Big Three. 

Original band member Steve Towcry, stiil resides in Caidwell, Idaho and can be found at the family business Printcraft. Matt Wilson is teaching and producing from his home studio in Nampa, Idaho. Mike Snead is in Brookings Oregon playing with various lounge lizards and doing some studio work with me at Madfingers Music.
by Jim Klahr

1 Witch Burning - 10:26
2 My Sweet Jane - 4:35
3 Why - 2:44
4 You Can't Run My Life - 3:50
5 You're Just a Dream - 3:42
6 Bare Tree - 6:53
7 The Drifter - 3:14
All compositions by Jim Klahr, Mike Snead, Steve Towery and Matt Wilson.

Salem Mass
*Jim Klahr - Keyboards
*Mike Snead - Guitar, Vocals
*Steve Towery - Drums, Vocals
*Matt Wilson - Bass, Vocals

Free Text


Anonymous said...

Oh, KEWL...!! Some satanic stuff!!

adamus67 said...

I admit that I really like this album, Yep this is awesome from hell- play...
American group combines dark, heavy rock with elements of progression. One of the first albums, which uses the Moog synthesizer.(Using serial number 023 Moog Synthesizer!!)

Early occult rock anomaly, Salem Mass, released a single record recorded from a bar-converted-to-makeshift-studio somewhere in Idaho. Often hailed as an obscure gem lost to the washes of time, Witch Burning offers an interesting blend of psychedelic rock, screeching vocals, and noteworthy use of the Moog synthesizer.
Let me preface this by saying I am not exactly sure which gentleman performed the vocals on the title track, “Witch Burning” on Salem Mass‘ only album, but this man sounds like a fucking maniac. He screeches and pierces the ear in a way that makes David Byron of Uriah Heep seem like an angelic crooner. You’re either into these abrasive vocals (especially for the time) or you’re going to hate them. Interestingly enough, the vocalist changes for most of the album. Instrumentally the keyboards run most of the melodies giving it a progpsych tang while the guitars keep the album rooted in hard rock and proto-metal. The title track has a six or seven minute instrumental interlude with some of the LP’s best guitar soloing and showcasing it’s most progressive moments.
The Moog synthesizer gives this occult album a very space rock feel on almost of the tracks on Witch Burning, and used in an extremely unique way. Had Salem Mass continued to produce albums and achieve some sort of artistic recognition, the way heavy metal and psychedelic rock would’ve played out in the 70s and into the 80s could have been changed forever. Jim Klahr’s use of the Moog is extremely, I mean just ridiculously eerie (“My Sweet Jane” is a great example). It’s creepy melodies and atmospheric humming adds a very spooky layer to the evil lyrical content. In a landscape dominated by Hammond organs, it makes the album standout.
I Definitely recommend Witch Burning by Salem Mass to collectors and fans of the genre – most others are not going to have much of a frame of reference for this obscure album. However, it has some interesting concepts that were just itching to be developed further.
Heavy Organ, Outstanding Vocals, Fuzz Guitar, Pounding Bass, and Drums that wills shake your wall! Turn up the volume on this one!!!
This music sounds fresh even today.
Marios,thanks for the reminder!

Anonymous said...

Thanx a lot!

Pita Gyros said...

Hi Marios... time to burn again, isn't it? ty so much

Marios said...