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Jason Crest - Collected Works Of Jason Crest

Wooden Hill
Track List:
Turquoise Tandem Cycle, Teagarden Lane, Patricia's Dream, A Place In The Sun, My House Is Burning, King Of The Castle, The Collected Works Of Justin Crest, Black Mass, Charge Of The Light Brigade, (Here We Go Round) The Lemon Tree, You Really Got A Hold On Me, Two By The Sea, Juliano The Bull, Education, Waterloo Road, Good Life.
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Jefferson Airplane - Jefferson Airplane Takes Off



Track List:

Blues from an aeroplane, Let me in, It's no secret,  Bringing me down, Tobacco road, Coming up the years, Run around, Let's get together, Don't slip away, Chauffeur blues, And I like it.

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Jefferson Airplane Takes Off

Jefferson Airplane - After Bathing At Baxters


RCA Victor

Track List:

Ballad of you and me Pooneil, A Small Package of value Will come to you shortly, Young Girls Sunday Blues, Martha, Wild Thyme, The Last Wall of the Castle, Rejoyce, How Sweet it is, Watch Her Ride, Spare Chaynge, Shizoforest Love Suite-Two Heads, Wont you Try, Saturday Afternoon.


After the gentle, melodious Surrealistic Pillow, I was totally unpepared for the psychedelic mayhem of Baxters. I couldn’t afford the album when it first came out (I was only 18 and a schoolkid) and just managed a few listens in record shops. My first exposure to the new, supercharged Airplane was at the original Isle of Wight festival in 1968.
It remains one of the psychedelic climaxes of my life. I was awestruck (stricken?).
Kaukonen playing the feedback like a new instrument on ‘Ballad of You and Me and Pooneil’, Cassidy jumping about like an amphetamine elf throughout, the very scary Spencer Dryden on drums, cheroot hanging out of the corner of his mouth, Balin, Kantner and Slick the very best vocal harmony line up you could hope to meet, performing mostly Baxters material. And don't forget the lightshow. Jorma featured ‘Star Track’ which would later appear on ‘Crown of Creation,’ and ‘Fat Angel,’ Donovan’s tribute to the band, later heard on ‘Pointed Head’ was another highlight. They pointedly refused to do ‘White Rabbit,’ despite requests, as was also the case in 1970 at Bath.
Baxters is the Airplane at their best. It’s arranged in five suites, each one a sequence of two or three songs segued together. There are so many highlights that it would be miserly to pick out one or two, but here goes anyway:’ Spare Chaynge’ – Cassidy, Dryden and Kaukonen jamming around a Spanish sounding theme for eight minutes or so. This is basso deluxe from Cassidy, feedback and joyful soloing from Kaukonen, and thudding drums from Dryden – delicious. The aforementioned ‘Pooneil’, rock ‘n feedback plus surreal lyrics, Rejoyce – Grace’s little rock opera. Kantner beginning to show his songwriting excellence on ‘Won’t You Try/Saturday Afternoon’, which is also a chronicle of the Golden Gate Park Be-In, an important milestone in the evolution of hippiedom. It’s a highly theatrical album with loads of musical highlights.
Probably, in retrospect, the best Airplane work of all.

Reviewed by DoctorDark

After Bathing At Baxters

Jefferson Airplane - Surrealistic Pillow


RCA Victor

Track List:

She has Funny Cars, Somebody to love, My best friend, Today, Comin back to me, How do you feel?, 3/5 of a mile in 10 Seconds, D.C.B.A 25, Embryonic Journey, White Rabbit, Plastic Fantastic Lover.


Jorma Kaukonen, lead guitarist, apparently came up with the band’s name, due to his interest in the arcane names chosen by old blues singers. In 1967 this was a hip album to have in your collection but it sounds slightly dated now. The mystery to UK pop fans was that White Rabbit was missing from the UK release of the album.
Thank you RCA, I’m sure you had your reasons!
It is a folky, dreamy record. Apart from the ‘anti drug’ White Rabbit, and caustic social comment from Balin on 3/5ths of a Mile in 10 Seconds and Plastic Fantastic Lover, the songs are romantic ballads. What has to be asserted, though, is how far the band had come on from earlier efforts. The earlier 'Takes Off' album showed the charming Signe Toly Anderson, not quite up to Slick's brilliance, and the Great Society live album demonstrated the roots of Indian psychedelia meets pop and folk.
'Pillow,' though, is much better produced. Slick, Balin and Kantner weave mellow harmonies. Jorma plays a fine acoustic solo on ‘Embryonic Journey’ and powerful, understated lead on everything else.
This is an album to get into over repeated listenings. It isn’t an in-your-face psychedelic freak out, but the melodies, voices, harmonies and sheer gentleness will get to you in the end.

Reviewed by DoctorDark

Jefferson Airplane - Crown Of Creation



Track List:

Lather, In time, Triad, Star track, Share a little joke, Chushingura,  If you feel, Crown of creation, Ice cream pheonix, Greasy heart, The house at pooh corner.


The Airplane are now at their cruising altitude. ‘Lather’ is the opening track and is a homage to Neal Cassady, one of the original hippies (read Tom Wolfe’s “Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test” for an explanation). It also has a bizarre sounding guitar solo from Jorma. And there’s “Triad,” a David Crosby written ballad. “Share a Little Joke,” a piece of madness with flanged guitar from Kaukonen and sad vocals from Balin which speeds up into overdrive towards the end. On “If You Feel” Jorma has discovered the wah-wah pedal to superb effect. This one really rocks! “House at Pooneil Corners” is a tale of what it will be like after the holocaust. Scary, but beautifully done.
There’s interest and excitement throughout this album. It’s the studio highlight of the Airplane’s career and if you want to listen to stunning hippie rock (which is what it had become by then), then this album is a good place to begin.

Reviewed by DoctorDark

Crown Of Creation


Jefferson Airplane - Bless It's Pointed Little Head (live)



Track List:

Clergy, 3/5 of a mile in 10 seconds, Somebody to love, Fat angel,  Rock me baby, The other side of this life, It's no secret, Plastic fantastic lover, Turn off the lights, Bear melt.


The words “It wasn’t the Airplane, It Was Beauty Killed the Beast” will be eternally etched on my mind after countless listenings to this album.
These are the closing lines of the film ‘King Kong’ and the opening to this album. The fans at the Fillmore West (mainly, I suspect) and East (possibly) were treated to a film show before the band came on stage. They used to do things differently in those days. The cover picture of a comatose Jack Cassady completes the image. This band wanted to blast you with the impact of their live show and this album did it comprehensively.
The Airplane are at the height of their performance capability on this one. It’s a live album featuring  a high octane‘Somebody to Love,’ and ‘Plastic Fantastic Lover,’ ‘The Other Side of This Life’ (from the first album and a classic by Fred Neil) and The Fat Angel – a tribute to the band written by Donovan. This latter track has two superb solos by Kaukonen. This is rock par excellence performed by a band when they were really on song. ‘Turn Down the Lights’ is just the band complaining about the fact that the ‘house’ lights are on and detracting from the light show, but it does give a brilliant sense of how the band empathised with the audience and Kantner’s threat of ‘we’ll send Owsley to get you’ reminds you of the roots of psychedelic mayhem.
The final track is ‘Bear Melt,’ an 11-minute epic in which Grace sings ‘It feels pretty good when somebody gives it to you.’ What could THAT be about? There’s now a live CD of a concert from Fillmore East available. This is a longer and more detailed examination of the band’s live repertoire but not quite up to the standard of ‘Pointed Head.’ I’m beginning to wonder if this is because the stuff you heard in those formative years can never take the place of later, and equally valid, material.
Answers on a postcard to …

Reviewed by DoctorDark


Jefferson Airplane - Volunteers



Track List:

We can be together, Good sheperd, The farm, Hey Frederick, Turn my life down, Wooden ships, Eskimo blue day, A song for all seasons, Meadowlands, Volunteers.

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Paul Kantner / Jefferson Starship - Blows Against The Empire


RCA LSP 4448 (SF 8163)

Track List:

Mau Mau (Amerikon), The Baby Tree, Let's Go Together, Child Is Coming, Sunrise, Hijack, Home, Have You Seen the Stars Tonite, XM, Starship.


The Airplane didn’t so much break up as break down. There was a series of poor albums (Bark, Long John Silver & 30 Seconds Over Winterland), Kaukonen and Cassidy were doing well with their offshoot Hot Tuna, and Kantner and Slick were socialising with the Grateful Dead, David Crosby and pals and were generally getting it together. The first half of the album is preoccupied with the realisation that Grace is expecting hers and Kantner’s baby, with the childish ‘Baby Tree’ and the slightly better ‘A Child is Coming.’ There is also the hippy/political ‘Mau Mau (Amerikon),’ in my opinion a real throwaway song – this is the sort of thing that gave hippies a bad name.

Side two (beginning with ‘Sunrise’) is a completely different ball game, however. The whole concept is “The government is building a starship. Let the hippies hijack it and take it off to a new dawn.” It’s a fantastic concept, beautifully executed by Kantner, Slick and their friends. Garcia is in brilliant form throughout, and Kreutzmann, Graham Nash and David Freiberg also grace the proceedings. There’s superb synth and ‘starship going into warp drive’ effects as well. “Have You Seen the Stars Tonite” is an eerie and haunting ballad, written by David Crosby, which completely captures the effect of floating in space. There is twelve-string and acoustic guitar wizardry throughout from Kantner, and Slick plays piano which underpins the whole side as well as adorning the proceedings with her usual superb singing.
This side of the album is a psychedelic masterpiece with many words of wisdom for you cosmic voyagers out there.

Reviewed by DoctorDark

Note from the Pooterland Crew:
Blows Against The Empire is one of a group of albums that was produced by an extended family of Bay Area musicians, usually referred to as PERRO (Planet Earth Rock N Roll Orchestra), that primarily comprised members of the Grateful Dead, Jefferson Airplane, Quicksilver Messenger Service and Crosby, Stills and Nash.


Jefferson Airplane - Feed Your Head Live ‘67-’69


Prism Leisure PLATCD201

Track List :

Other side of life, Somebody to love, Plastic Fantastic Lover, White Rabbit, 3/5 Of A Mile In 10 Seconds, She Has Funny Cars, High Flyin’ Bird, It’s No Scrret, Today, My Best Friend, Don’t Slip Away, This Is My Life And I Like It

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J.K. & Co - Suddenly One Summer
Sundazed/Beatrocket BRCD126
Track List:
Break of Dawn, Fly, Little Children, Christine, Speed, Crystal Ball, Nobody, O.D., Land of Sensations and Delights, The Times, Magical Fingers of Minerva, Dead.
"Suddenly One Summer is the only recording by J.K. & Co. who consisted of a 15 year-old musician, one Jay Kay, a producer, and several uncredited session men. The album follows the loose concept of life from birth to death, opening with what is surely still the shortest single release in history, at 32 seconds, "Break of Dawn" and ending with the sounds of a priest reading burial rites and a gravedigger's shovel in the closing track "Dead". The opener merely provides an introduction to the album's centrepiece "Fly" with its swirling backwards piano and percussion lines and Mellotron that recall both "Strawberry Fields" and "A Day in the Life". The scope and maturity of the music within belies the artist's age. Witness the strange nursery rhyme feel of the harpsichord-led "Little
Children", use of brass in "Christine", the duelling guitars and Hammond organ freak-out "Crystal Ball", the desolation of the acoustic ballad "Nobody", the Byrdsian "The Times" and the beautiful mystical ambience of the sitar-led "Magical Fingers of Minerva".
These ingredients all make for a great late-60's album full of classic psychedelia. However what really astonishes with each listen is how contemporary the album feels. This may in part be due to the striking similarity in vocal style between Jay Kay and Thom Yorke.
Indeed "Fly" and "Dead" would not seem out of place on a Radiohead album. Suddenly One Summer is truly a lost psychedelic masterpiece that should be ranked alongside the likes of "Forever Changes" and "Odyssey and Oracle".

Reviewed by Simon - 20th September 2002

Johns Children - Legendary Orgasm Album


White Whale 7128

Track List :

Smashed Blocked, Just What You Want Just What You'll Get, Killer Ben, Jagged Time Lapse, Not The Sort of Girl, Youre a Nothing, Cold On Me, Leave Me Alone, Why do you Lie, Strange Affair, But Shes Mine.

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Legendary Orgasm Album


Johns Children - Instant Action


Magic Notes/Hawkeye 010

Track List :

Strange Affair, Remeber Thomas A. Beckett, Desdemona, Come And Play With Me In The Garden, Sara Crazy Child, Go Go Girl, Jagged Time Lapse, Sally Was An Angel, Arthur Green, Midsummer Nights Scene, Go Go Girl, Jagged Time Lapse, Come Play With Me In The Garden, Sara Crazy Child, It’s Been A Long Time, Cornflake Zoo, Casbah Candy.

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John Frankovic - Under The Water Lily



Track List :

Your Telling Me, Here We Stand, On a Full Moon Night, I Thought I Saw You, Amen the End, My Secret Hiding Place, Under The Water Lily.

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Under The Water Lily


JPT Scare Band - Past Is Prologue


Kung Bomar 00149-2

Track List:

Burn In Hell, I've Been Waiting, Wino, Sleeping Sickness, Time To Cry, Titan's Sirens, Jerry's Blues, It's Too Late (Revisited).


Originally hailing from a suitably 'Low Rent' neighbourhood in Kansas City, Missouri back in 1973 where 'Every night was punctuated by gunfire and the sounds and searchlights of the Police helicopter searching for God knows who or what' the JPT Scare band have produced four albums of material, recorded across 30 years with this being the the fourth (with a further album entitled Jamm Vapours currently in production) and is intended to bridge the early material from the 1970's to the the present time which should, in turn, meet up with Jamm Vapours when it gets released. This albums features one new tune, a couple from 1993 and the rest from their earlier albums such as Rape Of The Sirens.
These guys are seriously into amplification and the result is genuine Hard Rock, 70's style that on occasion veers into Jam Band territory (not one of my favourite genres) but stays on course the majority of the time, particularly the epic 13:43 Sleeping Sickness (1976) that contains dangerously high levels of Wah-wah to rival that of Hendrix and Human Instinct and although a long track, never gets boring.
Another fact that made me sit up and listen was their love of Sunn Amps, anybody that digs Sunn amps is a friend of Pooterland!!
Time To Cry (1975) another fine slice of hard psych rock, described as 'in the ear melting range' when it was recorded which, if that was not enough of a problem for their brave Sound Engineer Greg Gassman, he also had to tolerate nubile young women hovering around the mixing desk distracting him from his already difficult task.....sounds like heaven Greg!!
Titan's Sirens (1975), a faster, Hendrix-esque wall of blistering sustain/distortion laden guitar picks up the pace before things take a more traditional excursion with the extended blues jam entitled Jerry's Blues (getting too close to Jam Band land for me) and then ending with the backwards psychedelia of It's Too Late (Revisited).
Not knowing too much about the band I can't understand why they didn't really go places back in 1975 as there is some serious talent here that should have launched them into the same 'rare air' inhabited by Lynyrd Skynryd and other such bands.

I certainly would like to hear more of their back catalogue as I get the feeling there is some awesome material in there and would recommend this album to fans of heavy seventies blues-influenced rock.

Reviewed by pOoTer - July 2002


Jugalbandi - The View Is Better From The Top Of The Food Chain


Great Artiste GAJG001

Track List:

The View Is Better From The Top Of The Food Chain, Moving Towards Kyoto, Erwin Park, Rest Stop, Erwin Park (jam), Reciprocal Demonology, The Toast Beckons, Castle Bravo, Erwin Park (reprise).


Not being the type to resist a challenge (something to do with our pathetic male hormones I guess) when Greg Segal asked us if we wanted 'A little something extra' to caress our sonic receptacles with, who were we to cough, make our excuses and retreat rapidly to our Paisley slippers and Horlicks?, we like extremes of anything, the darker and more out there the
The name Jugalbandi, an Indian word meaning 'music for two players' will perhaps give you a clue as to how this is going to unfold.
Jugalbandi play totally improvised, recorded 'live' to DAT as it is being played, a brave undertaking by anyone's standards, couple this with the fact that the ONLY musical instruments featured here are a 1967 Gibson SG (with plethora of effects pedals) and one, albeit large, drumkit and the plot suddenly becomes incredible.
This is something that has obviously been attempted a great many times in the long dark history of Rock 'n Roll but much less frequently pulled off, a name of a successful purveyor of this would be Escapade (although using a great deal more instruments).
Apart from Greg's very talented guitar style you simply have to marvel at Hyam's drum skills as for many tracks he seems to be held totally to ransom by Greg and he is just 'hanging on for the ride' reacting at lightning (Rocketeer?) speed to any change in time signature, this is mainly more evident on the 'IL1' (Improvisational Level Classification system) tracks
which as the name implies are TOTALLY improvised but either way makes for an amazing album of improvised material that gives you something different every time you hear it.

During their Magnum Opus 'Castle Bravo' I was shit scared when at 12.29 the track near on stalls and you hear the 'bomb' being primed, followed by blissfully unaware Seagull's crying on the sea breeze, then everything goes very quite, all very atmospheric and an amazing example of the synergy in place between Greg and Hyam. Not knowing what the hell was coming next (other than the fact it would be BIG) I sat on the edge of my chair for the rest of the track!!

To clarify this Improvisational Level Classification that I referred to earlier I include here the 'official' explanation of this:


(This came into existence because of frustration with how difficult it is to communicate to people exactly how much of any given piece was improvised. People with little knowledge of the art form will get confused and think you're pulling their leg if they discover that something was pre-planned; or they'll think it's normal to pre-plan a basic structure for any
improvised piece. Improvisation by its nature remains an amorphous thing in most people's minds. This system is the product of many years of experience with the full range of improvisation- from total to none, and all shades in between. The categories here are as basic as we could make them. Drawing the lines between them was difficult and these choices will no doubt cause some controversy. )

IL1: totally improvised- no pre-communication whatsoever between Greg and Hyam

IL2: a) a few words or song title mentioned prior to starting ("let's play some funk", or "let's do something that fits 'moving towards kyoto'"), etc.; b) one of us began with an idea the other hadn’t heard.

IL3: Piece based around a newly composed riff, idea or chord structure- riff/idea/chords barely formed (and may remain so), arrangement and any solos improvised.

IL4: composed piece w/ improvised section(s) or solos. Usually, head/improv/head structure, but variations are endless. (Most jazz combos throughout the past 75 years or so have operated at IL4. They just didn't call it that!) At one extreme, only the solos are improvised; at another, the arrangement can go completely fluid.

IL5: Fully composed piece.

System by Greg Segal and Hyam R. Sosnow
If you want further details on this then follow this link:

Of course, imbibing in some Entheogenic Exotica would only serve to enhance the experience, of this album, naturally...

Throw yourself into the Void.......we dare you, when you ride on this ship everybody's guaranteed a different ending.

Reviewed by pOoTer - February 2002


Jugalbandi - Yellow Star Mailing List
Great Artiste GAJG002
Track List:
Yellow Star Mailing List, Remembering Precognition, Dreaming In The 9th, Previously Disenchanted, Valley Plaza, Gidget Goes Canine, Valley Plaza (Reprise).
Yellow Star Mailing List is the middle piece of this ambitious trilogy of albums from California's improvisation pioneers Jugalbandi (see above and below for parts 1 & 3).
I find myself once again staring at a picture of Greg trying (but failing miserably) to read the titles of the hundreds of books on the shelf behind him in an attempt to work out what makes this guy tick. My eyes are not what they used to be and again I fail to decipher any of the arcane texts (Hey Greg, help me out here??).
Anyway, before I get too distracted.......Back to the job at hand, we are once again plunged into the world of the unexpected. In true Jugalbandi style we are immediately thrown into an IL1 grade track (see review above) as an opener which for the first 3 minutes has a real morose and forboding feel to it. Suddenly we are treated to a burst of drums that are perhaps a teaser for what is to follow so I close my eyes and immerse myself. Things start to get a little warped out at the 6:00 point and by 7:06 it has started to change shape into something else, leaving behind the somewhat sad feel and replacing this with a dark, manic, twisting and turning beast that is slowy reduced to a dull glowing ember in the closing minutes.
Remembering Precognition, probably my favourite track here is built around a guitar loop that you hear at the beginning and is tossed and mutated throughout the track by Greg's plethora of effects pedals.
I have avoided it in previous reviews but here may be the opportune moment to define exactly what kit is being used to make these albums. To the casual onlooker a band with just drums and one guitar probably sounds very boring but there are two things to remember here:

1. Hyam is no 'ordinary' drummer and Greg is no 'ordinary' guiarist.
2. These dudes have LOADS of fucking equipment man....and I DO mean LOADS!!

So, for the musicians and the curious here is the (huge) list of kit used on these albums:
Ludwig Drums: Two 26" basses, 13", 14", 16" and 18" Toms, 7" custom made and 3" bronze Snares.
Zildjian Cymbals (K&A): 22" & 21" Rides. 17" (2), 16" (2) and 15" Crashes. 12", 8" (2) and 6" Splashes. 14" Hi-Hats, 22" Swish Knocker, 17" China-Boy. 21" Rancan (LP) Gong. remo Fiberskyn 3 Heads (no muffling), Peal Hardware: DW pedals, Tama throne. Vic Firth sticks, mallets & brushes. Callato Brushes.

1967 Gibson SG (Di Marzio Pickups)
Line 6 Flextone XL Amp.
Pedals (in chain order): Korg Toneworks AX30G Effects Unit, Boss CS-2 Compression Sustainer, Boss OC-2 Octaver, Digitech Whammy pedal, DOD Supra Distortion, Electro-Harmonix Small Clone Chorus, Electro-Harmonix Small Stone Phase Shifter, DOD FX70 Stereo Flanger, Cry Baby Wah, Ernie Ball Volume Pedal, Bos DD-2 Digital Delay, Line 6 DL4 Delay Modeller. Plus custom fitted holder for E-Bow & Glass Slide.

Couple this with the fact that Hyam uses every inch of his kit and Greg does the unimaginable with that effects rig and you begin to appreciate the scope of these three brilliant albums. I have played bits of these albums to visitors to my house and they have neither believed that it is only 2 people making all that 'noise'nor have they believed that there is 'only' a guitar in some of the sections.

So to sum up, if you fancy 'A little something extra' and are prepared for adventures into the spontaneous and the unknown then I highly recommend you enter the world of Jugalbandi.

For full effect play this over headphones in a darkened room at high volume.


Reviewed by pOoTer - November 2002


Jugalbandi - The Cram And Stuff Method


Great Artiste GAJG003

Track List:

The Cram And Stuff Method, Approaching Readiness, My Yiddishe Boogie, La Bionda, Get Out And Walk.


Continuing in the same vein as its predecessor 'The View Is Better From The Top Of The Food Chain', 'The Cram And Stuff Method' is another skillfully improvised album by duo Greg Segal and Hyam R. Sosnow and those familiar with the work of Jugalbandi will know what to expect. Improvisation, from partial to totally improvised (see classification system in previous review above) is the name of the game using only electric guitar and drums.
Opening with a 26:20 track is perhaps a little fierce and is certainly 'baptism by fire' if this is the first time you have heard Jugalbandi, but complaints aside, let this meandering but fiery piece take you away (spot the Led Zep drumming fills in the middle...) to a distant place. At 13:06 it takes an interesting turn and the guys really start to gel into an almost
'prog' vibe before spacing off into a dark menacing riff with Greg making good use of his pedalboard effects.
The comparatively slim 'Approaching Readiness' is next up and immediately dives into dark, experimental Krautrock territory with Hyam providing fantastic percussion to compliment Greg's otherworldly guitar effects that, if you didn't know better you would think there was a bunch of guys hunched over synths and audio generators.
'My Yiddishe Boogie' rocks out in an aggressive manner and on reading the sleeve notes we find that the DAT tape had packed up so the guys are really pissed!!. La Bionda (apparently named after a comic book) builds from humble beginnings and gets tighter and tighter, with the guitar getting more frantic and tense before a very sudden ending.
'Get Out And Walk' is a mellow ending to the album with an almost moody, jazzy feel to the opening few minutes before veering off into a totally improvised (IL1) jam with the final section turning yet another corner into an floating ambient piece.

Another fine slice of improvised aural adventures from Jugalbandi that will take you wherever you want to go if free form/ experimental music is your vibe. For me Jugalbandi are a refreshing change amongst the regular flow of 'stuctured' music that washes through here like water and I welcome the challenge from these guys.


Reviewed by pOoTer - February 2002


Julian's Treatment - A Time Before This



Track List :

First oracle, The coming of the mule, Phantom city, The black tower, Alda-dark lady of the outer worlds, Altarra-Princess of the blue women, Second oracle, Twins of the Centauri-Alkon-planet of Centauri, The Terran, Fourth from the sun, Strange things, A time before this.

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A Time Before This


July - July


Major Minor SMLP 29

Track List:

My Clown, Dandelion Seeds, Jolly Mary, Hallo To Me, You Missed It All, The Way, To Be Free, Move On Sweet Flower, Crying Is For Writers, I See, Friendly Man, A Bird Lived.
CD Bonus Tracks:
The Way, Hello Who’s There.

If you prefer your psychedelia to be effects-laden, no compromise trippiness, this is the album for you. You know what you're in for from the very first moment, with the unearthly vibrato intro to the excellent track "My Clown." It masquerades as a love song, but is, in truth, something of a dismissive putdown ("but don't think that you can do better than me") featuring a distorted vocal (common throughout the album), a storming guitar solo, and a lovely change-of-pace ending which showcases noodling backwards guitar, bongos, and a return of the opening vibrato. There's no letup with "Dandelion Seeds," a rougher track with a stunning tempo change that drives the song through fuzzy guitar swoops and dives. In the middle of the mayhem, the percussion dies down for a flute-enhanced vocal solo (reminiscent of the chorus of "Madman Running Through The Fields") before roaring ahead to an inspired finish.

"Jolly Mary" is a lightweight, Ringo-ish piece of whimsy about a boat. "Hallo To Me" is a bit more substantial, and certainly more psychedelic, both in sound and in subject ("The sun comes up and says hello to me"). The solo in the middle sounds like an upright bass or viola, and the chorus lyrics are wonderfully shimmery. The song takes a downtempo turn towards the end, finishing with melancholic acoustic strums.

"You Missed It All" sounds a bit strained and forced at the beginning, but the first tempo change features lovely call-and-response vocals, followed by a fuzzy guitar solo.

The version of "The Way" that comes next is NOT the single version most commonly included on compilations. The vocals sound much different - quite toytownish, truth be told - and the tempo is slower. It is a letdown compared to the single version (which, thankfully, is included in this collection).

"To Be Free" returns to the happy, driving sound of "Jolly Mary" and "Hallo To Me," complete with some background Lady Madonna-like piano work. "Move On Sweet Flower" is a slow, sparsely instrumented ballad with a delicately phased vocal. The melody is less pleasing than most in this collection, though the sound of the sea in the background, while a bit obvious, is a nice touch. The spoken poetry at the end will be to the liking of some, and will elicit cringes from others.

"Crying Is For Writers" features a completely different lead guitar sound. It fluctuates from 70s-style wailing to Cream-era wah-wah. It is the prominent feature of the song, which, it must be said, has little melody.

"I See" opens with a stunning cascade of swooping, strumming acoustic guitars (copied many years later by The Alarm). With more tempo changes, a shimmery, echoed vocal chorus, driving bass line, and a beautiful fadeaway, it's a standout track. It is more than adequately followed by "Friendly Man," which sounds almost contemporary - until the bizarre and wonderful instrumental and fuzzed guitar solo, which leave no doubt about when this was recorded.

"A Bird Lived" jolts listeners right away, with a phased vocal on top of a slightly off-key melody. At least three tempo changes ensure, and we are treated to short contributions of phased orchestration, fuzzy guitar noodling, and even imitation bird whistles!

By now, we are firmly in Third-Eye territory, and July takes us even further with the sublime single version of "The Way." This is the version most often comped, with plenty of sitar, distorted vocals, flanged guitar, and other weird and wonderful sound effects. Although it goes on perhaps a minute too long (since nothing new is added after the halfway point), it remains one of the highlights of the collection.

Alas, it is followed by "Hello Who's There", a forgettable bit of cockney pub-singalong nonsense. You almost get the idea they tossed it off so they wouldn't be accused of taking themselves too seriously.

"The Complete Collection" includes bonus tracks, as well as alternate versions of some of the LP tracks. These are hit-and-miss, but most noticeable with these is the more or less complete abandonment of psychedelia. Here they seem to be going for more of a post-Ogden's Small Faces sound, with soulful vocals (undistorted) and straightforward, bluesy melodies. On tracks such as "Man Outside" and "Look At Her," you'd swear you were listening to an entirely different band. If you've been swept up in the psychedelic swirl of the LP tracks, this will come as a disappointment.

"The Complete July" is a woefully underrated UK psych classic. It won't be everyone's cup of tea - some will find the unrelenting effects to be overkill - but for serious fans of the genre, it's a must-have, and well deserving of mention with the best albums the era produced.

Submitted by Justin Bryant - August 2003



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