Recorded in a darkened Philadelphia studio in August 1966, this amazing album was the first to have the word ‘psychedelic’ in its title, and is well-established as an pioneering acid classic. Presented here in both its mono and stereo mixes (which have fascinating differences), it still sounds truly unique and is a must for all fans of true American psychedelia.
Despite having long enjoyed a high reputation amongst psych afficionados, to this day remarkably little is known of the Deep. The project was the brainchild of Rusty Evans (b. Marcus Uzilevsky), a New Yorker who’d already made a number of rockabilly singles and at least three unremarkable solo folk LPs (1962’s Showdown, 1963’s Songs Of Our Land and 1964’s Railroad Songs), as well as a 1964 LP for Reprise as part of the All Night Singers, before tiring of the Greenwich Village scene.
In 1965 he visited LA and made a rare 45 for the Musicor label 1983 / The Life Game (as Ry Cooper), before joining the New Christy Minstrels for a few months and then heading for Philadelphia. There he fell in with a group of musicians including David Bromberg, Mark Barkan and the enigmatically named D Blackhurst.
Together they recorded Psychedelic Moods over a couple of days in August 1966. An eccentric collection of brief pop and garage rock tunes, sound effects and studio trickery, it was released by the local Cameo-Parkway label, perhaps in a bid to crack the burgeoning hippy market. The label was also home to garage chart-toppers ? and the Mysterians, but did little to promote the Deep’s LP when it appeared in October 1966.
Perhaps they suspected it was too forward-looking to sell: for a start, it was the first album to include the word ‘psychedelic’ in its title (just ahead of the Blues Magoos' Psychedelic Lollipop and the 13th Floor Elevators' Psychedelic Sounds, both released in November). The anonymous group did not tour to support the LP, and soon after its release Barkan and Blackhurst relocated to Greenwich Village, where they produced a number of unreleased psych-pop cuts for teenage LSD nuts Hydro Pyro on April 24th 1967 (included here as bonus tracks).
Evans, meanwhile, had signed a deal with Columbia. Credited to the Freak Scene, his next effort, 1967’s Psychedelic Psoul, was very similar in mood and sound to the Deep. When it too missed the charts, he formed Eastern Productions with songwriter and producer Teddy Randazzo, and signed the Third Bardo and the Facts of Life. With the former he produced the all-time classic psych 45 I'm Five Years Ahead of My Time (Roulette, 1967) before moving back to LA and finding work with the Take Six label (including another garage 45, the Nervous Breakdown's I Dig Your Mind).
He also worked with the much-loved Matthew Katz for a while, participating in some It’s A Beautiful Day sessions. By 1969 he’d reverted to his original name, and released an album as Marcus for Epic subsidiary Kinetic. A syrupy blend of folk and pop, it sold no better than his previous efforts, and he chose to focus on painting thereafter, though he released a further album on Folkways a decade later, Life's Railway Heaven. He’s now a widely-respected and collected artist, and has also released ambient world music as Uzca, as well as working with his son in the popular Johnny Cash-inspired rockabilly band Ring Of Fire. It’s all a long way from a darkened studio in Philadelphia, forty five years ago.
1. Color Dream (Evans) - 2:36
2. Pink Ether (Blackhurst, Evans) - 2:21
3. When Rain Is Black (Blue, Evans) - 2:11
4. It's All A Part Of Me (Evans) - 2:55
5. Turned On (Blackhurst, Evans) - 2:26
6. Psychedelic Moon (Blackhurst, Evans) - 2:42
7. Shadows On The Wall (Evans) - 3:13
8. Crystal Nite (Blackhurst, Barkan) - 1:41
9. Trip #76 (Barkan, Pogan, Evans) - 2:37
10. Wake Up And Find Me (Evans) - 2:20
11. Your Choice To Choose (Geller, Evans) - 1:53
12. On Off - Off On (Evans) - 2:22
13. Color Dream (Evans) - 2:36
14. Pink Ether (Blackhurst, Evans) - 1:57
15. When Rain Is Black (Blue, Evans) - 2:12
16. It's All A Part Of Me (Evans) - 2:56
17. Turned On (Blackhurst, Evans) - 2:27
18. Psychedelic Moon (Blackhurst, Evans) - 2:42
19. Shadows On The Wall (Evans) - 3:12
20. Crystal Nite (Blackhurst, Barkan) - 1:39
21. Trip #76 (Barkan, Pogan, Evans) - 2:16
22. Wake Up And Find Me (Evans) - 2:20
23. Your Choice To Choose (Geller, Evans) - 1:54
24. On Off - Off On (Evans) - 2:11
25. 1983 - 2:59
26. The Life Game - 2:20
Tracks from 1-12 Stereo.
Tracks from 13-24 Mono
Bonus tracks 25-26
*Rusty Evans - Guitars, Vocals