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Monday, August 20, 2012

Inner Sanctum / Sunset Love - Psychedelic Moods, Pt. 2: Journey Thru Inner Space (1967-68 us, impressive garage psych)

After releasing the “Psychedelic Moods” album, in October of 1966, Mark Barkan envisioned another psychedelic album for his next release.  It was to be performed by a Greenwich Village band called “Inner Sanctum”.   The theme of the album was to be a psychedelic journey into the various psyches of the mind.  

The trip started with a journey into the past (The House Of Yesterday) then covered the inner workings of the mind (ID) then the descent into madness (Hydro Pyro) hallucination (Purple Floating) and finally culminating in nirvana (Snow Petals).  Unfortunately, Barkan was unable to find a record company willing to lease the masters and so they languished for decades unreleased. Now, at long last the masters for this aborted album are mixed from the original four track tapes and forty plus years later the psychedelic sounds of “Inner Sanctum” are now ready, willing, and able to blow your mind.

“Sunset Love” was comprised of band members from New Mexico and Texas.  In the fall of 1968, thirteen original songs and two covers were recorded for a potential album, but nothing was ever released.  “Sunset Love’s” lush harmonies, soaring vocals, superior song writing, and flower power consciousness pervaded their songs with a depth and quality unheard of from most 60s’ bands.  While their sound can be compared to such bands as “The Mamas and The Papas”, “The Peanut Butter Conspiracy”, “Spanky and Our Gang”, and “The Love Exchange”,  “Sunset Love” had their own inimitable style that transcended a generic stereo-type.  

Had Sunset Love released their album in the 60’s, there is no doubt it would have been an instant rarity of excellence. The “Sunset Love” tapes are sourced from the original stereo versions and reveal the great harmonies and surrealistic lyrics of an undeservedly overlooked and forgotten band from the late 60’s.  

Artists - Tracks - Composer
1. Sunset Love - Change - 2:04
2. Sunset Love - Tribute to Kay - 2:39
3. Sunset Love - Run to the Sun - 2:38
4. Sunset Love - Reach Out - 2:39
5. Sunset Love - Little Children - 3:08
6. Sunset Love - Winters Day - 3:58
7. Sunset Love - Sunset Love - 3:47
8. Sunset Love - Green Hippie - 2:44
9. Sunset Love - World of Pain - 2:38
10.Sunset Love - A Man in the Park - 3:29
11.Sunset Love - Father Paul - 3:35
12.Sunset Love - I Will - 1:43
13.Sunset Love - Wheels - 2:07
14.Sunset Love - Push - 2:26
15.Sunset Love - Innocence Dies Young on Our Street - 3:00
16.Inner Sanctum - The House of Yesterday (Mark Barkan, David Blackhurst) - 1:56
17.Inner Sanctum - ID - 2:02
18.Inner Sanctum - Hydro-Pyro - 2:06
19.Inner Sanctum - Purple Floating (Mark Barkan, David Blackhurst) - 1:53
20.Inner Sanctum - Snow Petals (Mark Barkan, David Blackhurst) - 2:11
21.Inner Sanctum - Little Tin Soldier - 2:32
22.Inner Sanctum - The Man Who Shot Your Mother - 1:49
Tracks 1-15 written by William J. Stone II, Victor Kay Lindsay

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The Deep - Psychedelic Moods (1966 us, great fuzz garage psych, bonus tracks edition)

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

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Ebo Taylor - Life Stories (1973-80 ghana, spectacular jazzy funky soul psych afrobeat, 2011 Strut two disc set release)

Following his recent studio album with Afrobeat Academy, ’Love And Death’, his first international release, Ghanaian highlife guitar legend Ebo Taylor teams up again with Strut for a long overdue definitive compilation of his seminal 1970s recordings, ‘Life Stories’. 

During Ghana’s highlife explosion during the 1950s and ‘60s following wartime highlife pioneers like E.T. Mensah, Ebo Taylor made his name as a prolific composer, arranger and frontman leading two of Ghana’s greatest big bands - Stargazers and Broadway Dance Band. Moving to London to study music in 1962 alongside West African luminaries like Fela Kuti and Peter King, Taylor formed the Black Star Highlife Band and began incorporating jazz elements into traditional highlife forms. 

Returning to Ghana, Taylor became an in-house arranger and producer for Dick Essilfie-Bondzie’s Essiebons label, working with other major Ghanaian stars like C.K. Mann and Pat Thomas. Through the ’70s, he then recorded a number of solo projects, exploring unique fusions and borrowing elements from regional Ghanaian folk music, Afrobeat, jazz, soul and funk. 

This compilation revisits this heyday of Taylor’s work, focusing on his solo albums and some of his lesser known side projects including the dynamite Apagya Show Band and short-lived Taylor-led combos Assase Ase, Super Sounds Namba and The Pelikans. The selection also touches on his writing and production work for C.K. Mann and a collaboration recording with fellow member of early ‘70s nightclub band Blue Monks, Pat Thomas. 

Tracks include the anthemic ’Heaven’, sampled by Usher on his hit with Ludacris, ’She Don’t Know’, the original version of the poignant ’Love And Death’ and the rare 15-minute nugget, ’Aba Yaa’. The package features rare photos, original album artwork and sleeve notes by Soundway Records’ Miles Cleret.

Disc 1
1. Heaven - 6:04 
2. Atwer Abroba - 8:14 
3. Victory (feat. Uhuru-Yenzu) - 4:20 
4. Ohiani Sua Efir (Traditional) (with Assase Ase) - 4:02 
5. Kwaku Ananse (with The Apagya Show Band) - 3:11 
6. Peace On Earth - 7:45 
7. Aba Yaa - 14:59 
8. Ene Nyame Nam 'a' Mensuro (feat. Pat Taylor, Pat Thomas) - 6:16 

Disc 2
1. Tamfo Nyi Ekyir (with The Apagya Show Band) - 3:57
2. Love and Death (feat. Uhuru-Yenzu) - 8:19
3. Ohye Atar Gyan - 6:07
4. Yes Indeed (with Super Sounds Namba) - 4:56
5. Mumude (The Apagya Show Band) - 3:04
6. What is Life (feat. Uhuru-Yenzu) - 4:38
7. Etuei (with C.K. Mann) - 6:28
8. Egya Edu (feat. Pelikans) - 6:51
All compositions by Ebo Taylor except where indicated.

*Ebo Taylor - Guitars, Vocals