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Non-Prog CD Reviews

It’s a Beautiful Day

Live at the Fillmore '68

Review by Gary Hill

I remember one song from these guys, “White Bird” that really rocked at the time. It still works really well as delivered on this live recording. This outfit had such a cool psychedelic rock sound. It was clearly related to a lot of the other psychedelic rockers of the era, but yet it was also unique. The violin really added a lot to the mix, too. This package is quite cool because it includes not only the audio CD, but a bonus DVD. The recording quality isn’t without its issues, but for a live recording from the late 1960s it’s quite good.

This review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2013  Volume 5 at lulu.com/strangesound.

Track by Track Review
Love for You

This powers in with a killer psychedelic rock groove. As the vocals join this really feels a lot like Jefferson Airplane. They take it almost into a blues rock sound later in a killer instrumental movement. That said, it’s still got a driving rhythm section to keep it grounded in rock music. We’re pulled out towards space music as this continues. A vocal movement sees a return to more pure psychedelia and it grows out from there via a psych rock instrumental movement. There’s a crescendo and then the percussion rules as we’re taken into space to segue into the next piece.

Bulgaria (with Love for You Reprise)
This comes out of the previous piece and builds gradually. As the vocals join, it sort of a has an Iron Butterfly meets The Doors and the Airplane vibe to it. There are some hints of H.P. Lovecraft (the band, not the writer), too. Eventually this picks up steam, but that same mix of sounds seems pretty appropriate here. When it rocks out more and the female vocals join later that Jefferson Airplane element dominates.
White Bird
This song had some real traction at one time because I remember it. It reminds me a lot of H.P. Lovecraft It moves from mellower and more rocking modes. It’s quite a cool tune, actually. Somehow this still holds up really well. The Jefferson Airplane thing is present here, too
Wasted Union Blues
Organ opens things here and this grows gradually outward from there. I really like the way the tempo steadily increases, working from a slow moving piece to an almost dervish level jam. For a time violin leads the way, working some cool noisy elements. Then it drops way down and the vocals rejoin and we get another building movement. Violin takes center stage again later, then it drops far down again after that. Still later we’re taken into another high octane jam, led by that violin. Eventually it resolves out to end.
Time Is
Organ dominates the early sections of this high energy jam. This shifts and changes organically until around the five minute mark when it drops down for a drum solo. After a couple minutes of just drums, they power things back out into a reprise of the earlier sections. There’s a cool instrumental section with some real world music elements to it as various instruments lead the jamming.
Countryside
This isn’t the best cut here. There’s kind of an old-time music vibe to a lot of it. It just doesn’t seem to work as well as some of the rest of the sounds here. Still, it has its moments and does work through some changes.
Bombay Calling

Although still based pretty purely in psychedelia, somehow I can make out hints of Deep Purple’s “Child in Time” here. There are also some Celtic leanings on the cut.

Changes

Somehow this tune just seems to work better than the rest. It’s probably my favorite tune here. It’s got almost a Led Zeppelin blues meets psychedelia vibe. It also earns a parental advisory for the lyrics. It’s a killer tune.

Girl with No Eyes
That H.P. Lovecraft meets Jefferson Airplane vibe is on full display here.  Some of the coolest vocals of the whole set are heard here, too.
Hot Summer Day

Overall, this isn’t that different from the music that preceded it. That said, it’s still a great tune and there’s an awesome bass driven jam later that’s quite cool.

 

 
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