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Plain and Fancy

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

Thursday, March 21, 2013

The Travel Agency - The Travel Agency (1968 us, elegant pop psych early prog)

The Travel Agency formed in San Francisco and released their self-titled LP, produced by Bread's James Griffin,  on LA's Viva Records in 1968.

Drummer Frank (real name Francisco) Lupica joined  a little later, prior to the LP.  Lupica had previously been in Us, a Bob Segarini-led  garage band who'd recorded for the Autumn label in 1965  but whose sole 45 was not released due to a dispute over  arrangements between Segarini and the label they split soon after and Segarini went on to lead a succession of more successful  bands (Family Tree, Roxy, Wackers).

Side One is the stronger; the haunting and stately  neo-prog keyboard intro which blossoms into the poppy  What's A Man, strong fuzztone on Cadillac George,  and gentler love songs Lonely Seabird and So Much Love.  There are fast commercial rockers (Make Love and Old Man)  and catchy pop (That's Good). Perhaps because of this diversity  and the lack of band identity, thanks to the absence of  any member info or credits, the album was overlooked and remains underrated. 

Steve Haehl and Frank Lupica reappeared  a couple of years later in Shanti, whose eponymous  Eastern-influenced LP was released in 1971. Two tracks thereon  were composed by non-member Mike Aydelotte, aka Michael Sage  when he was in Travel Agency. Lupica went on to a solo career and,  billed as Francisco, performed one-man shows all over California  playing numerous exotic instruments including a self-built electrified I-beam; adorned with keyboards and other devices, he dubbed it  the Cosmic Beam. In 1976 he released his proto-new age LP,  Cosmic Beam Experience. 

In the same year he was musician and  composer for Tanka, a very short animated film about  Tibetan thank gas (images from the Tibetan Book Of The dead)  alongside former Shanti bandmates Ashish Khan and Pranesh Khan; 

in 1979 he was sound effects creator for Star Trek The Motion Picture; and in 1998 his music was used and sampled in the film The Thin Red Line. He played viola the Deep Song CD by Ranee Lee.
by Max Waller with thanks to Jeff Jarema.

1. What's A Man - 5:06
2. Sorry You Were Born - 3:08
3. Cadillac George - 4:42
4. Lonely Seabird - 3:21
5. So Much Love - 3:02
6. Make Love - 2:25
7. That's Good - 6:57
8. I'm Not Dead - 2:17
9. She Understands - 3:10
10.Come To Me - 3:16
11.You Will Be There - 2:16
12.Old Man – 2:12

The Travel Agency
*Steve Haehl - Guitar, Vocals
*Michael S. Aydelotte aka Michael Sage - Bass
*Francisco (Frank) Lupica - Drums

Free Text


steve said...

Eyxaristw poly Marie!!! To epsaxna poly kairo...

larry said...

I have the album on vinyl. Now where´s the link to the digital???

Anonymous said...

in the cloud larry, in the cloud... just beyond your vinyl entitlement :-D

Carlos said...

Great album. Thank you very much!!!!

larry said...

The link was blocked by Mozilla- switched to Chrome and Im AOK. I dont have a turntable at the moment and am replacing some of my vinyl with digital.

Just another geezer in cyber space- anyway thanks for the tunes havent heard these in years.

aldo said...

A really cool album and a very underrated one I think.
I would certainly recommend it!

gabenage said...

Anonymous said...

Thanks for posting this.
I just listened to it. Did you rip it from the Chrome CD included in the pictures of the artwork? That would mean the CD is actually transferred from vinyl :-/
I had the LP but sold it a couple of months ago, as I believed the various CDs were made from the master tapes, so now I get a transfer from vinyl instead...