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Thursday, September 29, 2011

Listening - Listening (1968 us, skillful heavy psychedelic rock)

Michael Tschudin led the Boston-based band Listening, but it is the contributions by former Velvet Underground bassist Walter Powers and guitarist Peter Malick which make this album historic. Powers performed over the years with keyboardist Willie Alexander as members of Capitol Recording Artist the Lost, the aforementioned Velvets, and on Autre Chose, a live album from Alexander released on New Rose in Paris. Peter Malick is best known for being Otis Spann's guitarist and a member of the James Montgomery Band on Capricorn.

Their legendary status in Boston rock & roll history brings positive notoriety to the fine music on this Vanguard release. "So Happy" is the poppiest tune, a cross between the Monkees and the Mojo Men, which is quite misleading. The album runs the gamut from pop to blues to jazz. "Baby Where Are You" is some strange fusion of Motown and the Spencer Davis Group which then veers off in a frenzy of effects and musical jam. Eight of the 11 tracks are written by keyboard/vocalist Michael Tschudin, with three titles attributed to the group. "See You Again," one of the group efforts, is another jam with riffs the Who would greatly appreciate. Phish's success validates how ahead of its time Listening truly was.

There is certainly an identity here as Tschudin takes the boys through all sorts of styles inside the tune "Laugh at the Stars." Elements of Jimi Hendrix, the Band, and the Vanilla Fudge swirl around in the pretty decent production by Michael Chechik. Listening has punch and creativity which deserved a better fate.
by Joe Viglione

1. You're Not There - 4:06
2. Laugh at the Stars - 4:15
3. 9/8 Song - 4:28
4. Stoned Is (M. Tschudin, W. Powers, P. Malick, E. Kamanis, G. Moses) - 4:51
5. Forget It, Man! - 3:24
6. I Can Teach You - 2:23
7. So Happy - 2:33
8. Cuando (M. Tschudin, W. Powers, P. Malick, E. Kamanis) - 2:51
9. Baby: Where Are You? - 6:23
10. Fantasy - 1:02
11. See You Again (M. Tschudin, W. Powers, P. Malick, E. Kamanis) - 3:45
All songs by Michael Tschudin except where stated.


 *Michael Tschudin - Vocals, Vibes, Keyboards, Conga Drum
*Walter Powers - Bass
*Peter Malick - Guitars
*Ernie Kamanis - Vocals, Drums

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