New Colony Six – Attacking a Straw Man

ImageWhen I first heard about New Colony Six from a man in my local record store, he described them as a psychedelic rock band from the late 60s. This is an accurate description except for the fact that he left out one word––soft. New Colony Six is a psychedelic soft rock bad from the late 60s. The difference this one word makes in my musical tastes is quite remarkable. Needless to say, when I got home and listened to New Colony Six’s Attacking a Straw Man, I was pretty disappointed. Granted, I may have had too high of expectations, but still, soft rock is not necessarily what comes to mind when I think of psychedelic music from the 60s. Released on Mercury Records in 1969, Attacking the Straw Man is full of soft rock numbers, a few of which have an interesting dose of psychedelic rock sprinkled in. Many of the songs such as “Barbara, I Love You” and “Love, That’s the Best I Can Do” seem little more than cliché love songs that continuously populate soft rock stations and Rod Stewart albums. Although much of the album exists in this vein, there are a few warm spots where the psychedelic atmosphere of the 60s squeezed its way onto a track or two. For example, the opening to “Free” is funky and groovy and lays down a quintessential 60s beat that carries the song to fruition. It’s definitely a high note on the album. The song “Come and Give Your Love to Me” also demonstrates the band’s skill through the use of a psychedelic organ and some interesting guitar riffs. This song is my favorite on the album; it leaves me wishing that the band had implemented more of this sound throughout the album. In the end, perhaps that is the biggest issue: I want the band to be something it is not. I want the band to be a cool 60s psychedelic rock band, but in reality, the band is just another soft rock band that happens to be from the 60s and also happens to have a touch of psychedelic sound influencing their soft souls.  C

Federal Duck – Federal Duck

ImageI have to admit that I only picked this album up because of its cover. I was flipping through the 50s and 60s rock ‘n’ roll section of my local record store, and after flipping through several hundred Fats Domino albums with mundane covers, this album cover seemed especially provocative. Although it almost looks like the band members and the eagle are images cut from a magazine and pasted onto the front of the album, its color and design are unique and in a strange way appealing. Released on Musicor Records in 1968, Federal Duck is the self-titled debut album (and only album) from a quite obscure soft psych band. And when I say obscure, I mean there’s not even a Wikipedia page for these guys. From what little information I can find on the band, they were a group of college buddies from Pennsylvania who mainly played regional shows. I’m not sure how they even got picked up by Musicor, as they were a pretty small band and Musicor wasn’t a very small label. Anyway, Federal Duck mainly consists of soft-psych tracks like “Just Like the Snow” or “Peace of Mind.” These tracks are extremely slow but do contain some mildly interesting instrumentation at times. They combine instruments in ways that you wouldn’t necessarily expect, like having horns pop into a soft and slow rhythm. To be honest, I’m not too impressed with the majority of the songs on the album; I guess I like my psychedelic rock to be faster and weirder (see previous review). However, it would be short-sighted of me to label the Federal Duck as solely a soft-psych band. In fact, the song “Bird” is in almost every way the exact opposite of the previously mentioned soft-psych tracks. “Bird” is loud, fast, and heavy. It is garage rock, maybe even bordering on protopunk with a crazy good jazzy piano solo smack dab in the middle of the garage opening and closing. This song is by far the best song on the album. Also breaking away from the soft-psych mold is the song “Ain’t Gonna Be Nobody to Sing the Blues.” It is definitely the most unexpected song on the album, as it is a bluegrass-like drinking song with a fiddle, a banjo, and a raucous chorus. It’s actually quite fun and easy going. Overall, the thing that I’m most impressed with by this album is the fact that almost every single song is an original tune. The band could have made a bigger splash and maybe even went onto another record if they had thrown in some strong covers of “Gloria,” “Bony Moronie,” or any number of mid-60s standards; however, the band seems to have made the decision to make it on their own talent alone or not make it at all. Although they seemed to have fallen to the latter, I admire their commitment to original music, and I’m happy that some of these songs made it out there for us to enjoy. If you’re into soft-psych, get this album. If you’re like me, and like the harder stuff, this one may not be for you. That being said, I can say that you’d be hard-pressed to find something as unique. And uniqueness is always a good thing…right?  C+

The West Coast Pop Art Experimental Band – Vol. III: A Child’s Guide to Good and Evil

ImageFor those of you who have never heard of The West Coast Pop Art Experimental Band, any discussion of the band must include some back story of band leader Bob Markley. Bob Markley was the adopted son of an oil tycoon from Oklahoma. After moving to California in the early to mid 60s, Markley used his extensive funds to create an experimental art/music group modeled after Andy Warhol and The Velvet Underground. Drawing on his law school background, Markley ensured that he had complete control over the sound and artistic output of the band, often using it as a vehicle for his strange and sometimes creepy (he was widely reported to have a thing for underage girls) beliefs. Although the rest of the band members were turned off by Markley’s apparent obsession with children, they continued this ever-strained collaboration due to Markley’s wealth, connections, and perceived ability to make them famous. Between their founding in 1966 and their slow dissolution eventually culminating in 1970, The West Coast Pop Art Experimental Band recorded six albums, with Vol. III: A Child’s Guide to Good and Evil being released on Reprise Records in 1968 as their fourth album. Despite the band’s internal struggle, they were often able to produce a very high quality of 60s psychedelic rock, and A Child’s Guide to Good and Evil is no exception. The band’s commitment to the psychedelic sound is clear from the moment the needle drops. The first two songs, “Eighteen Is Over the Hill” and “In the Country,” are textbook examples of 60s psychedelic pop. Working from a pop base, The West Coast Pop Art Band introduces a heavily distorted guitar, acid-inspired studio effects, and general weirdness. Most of the songs on the album each have their own combination of psychedelic attributes in order to make each song unique, quirky, and fun. Some highlights on the album include “Ritual #2” and “A Child of a Few Hours Is Burning to Death.” Both songs introduce Eastern-inspired sounds and instruments to make these songs complex and delightful, at least from an instrumental point of view. From a lyrical point of view, both of these songs along with several others on the album contain morbid and bizarre lyrics written by Bob Markley. Although the band’s sound is often phenomenal, Markley’s lyrics can be off-putting. The most obvious example of this is in the title track, “A Child’s Guide to Good and Evil.” This track is instrumentally creative and fun, but Bob Markley detracts from the overall experience by speaking over the music with very weird and morbid lyrics. This being said, however, in many songs the vocal harmony of the group can be quite catchy and enjoyable, specifically on “In the Country” and “Our Drummer Always Plays in the Nude.” Overall this album speaks to the band’s continuous internal struggle: on one hand, the band could be so much better without Markley’s controlling presence, but on the other hand, the great sound they do produce would not have been possible without his direction and resources. No matter how you feel about Bob Markley and his beliefs, this album is a must for the 60s psychedelic fan. Even if you’re not a huge psychedelic rock fan, this album is incredibly creative and well worth your time.  B+

The Hassles – Hour of the Wolf

ImageIt’s been awhile since I’ve reviewed a psychedelic record, so I thought I’d break out The Hassles. Released in early 1969 on United Artists, Hour of the Wolf is the second of two albums released by The Hassles. The Hassles are most noteworthy because of what some of the members went on to do. Billy Joel plays keyboards, John Small plays drums, and Howie Blauvelt (who’d later become a member of Ram Jam) plays bass. With such an all-star lineup, you’d expect that The Hassles made some all-star music–you’d better hold your horses. It’s not that the music isn’t good, it’s just that it’s so experimental that the beginning of songs don’t sound anything like the middle or the end of the songs. This method of experimentation makes it difficult to say that a particular song is good or a particular song is bad. For example, the beginning of the song “Cat” struggles to find a unifying beat through the first half, but then the second half comes together and showcases some very impressive keyboard work by Billy Joel. Many of the other songs, especially the songs on side two like “Hotel St. George” and “Further from Heaven,” are similar in that they are so expansive that some parts of the songs you’re likely to find enjoyable while other parts of the same song you’ll be left wondering what just happened. The epitome of this style is the album’s title track, “Hour of the Wolf.” The song can almost be described as noise music. There are extended sections of strange sounds, a wolf eating/growling, wild laughter, and other eccentric noises. However, the song also has sections of great guitar work. Besides the presumably drug-influenced sounds of these tracks, there are one or two songs that are slightly more traditional yet can still be said to have psychedelic undertones. “Country Boy” and “4 O’Clock in the Morning” are solid tunes. “Country Boy” sounds like The Beatles jamming with The Allman Brothers––a very strange mix, but it works. “4 O’Clock in the Morning” is much more laid back and whimsical. It reminds me over the nonchalance of G Love. This album proves to be very difficult to sum up overall. What I can say is that a very small percentage of people will think that this is the greatest album they’ve ever heard. With its boundless array of sounds and styles, it could be considered one of the best psychedelic albums ever to those who are searching for the purest of acid rock. To most of us 60s music enthusiasts, however, this album is interesting and worth listening to, but once would probably be enough. If, however, you are looking for something with a much more traditional garage rock or blues rock sound, this album is probably not for you.  C+

The Cryan’ Shames – Sugar & Spice

ImageFor my next album review, I’ve decided to go with The Cryan’ Shames’ debut album Sugar & SpiceSugar & Spice was released on Columbia Records in 1966. The Cryan’ Shames would go on to record two more albums before breaking up in 1969. Like most garage rock bands of the time, a fair amount of their songs are covers. Two of the most well-known songs on this album, “Hey Joe (Where You Gonna Go)” and “We Gotta Get Out of This Place,” are covers of 60s standards. “Hey Joe” is particularly strong. It is not as fast, loud, and raw as the version previously reviewed by The Shadows of Knight; however, that’s not to say it’s bad. This version is a little heavier on the bass, giving it a slightly darker tone. Unfortunately, “We Gotta Get Out of This Place” is not as strong of a cover. Tom Doody just does not have the powerful vocals like Eric Burdon from The Animals. The song is decent, but I’d pick the original any day of the week. Besides these two popular covers, The Cryan Shames also had a couple lesser known covers that ended up being minor radio hits for them: “Sugar and Spice” and “If I Needed Someone.” Both songs are solid garage rock songs. “Sugar and Spice” is quick and simple but catchy, similar to many radio-friendly surf rock/garage rock songs. “If I Needed Someone” is a Beatles cover that has a little psychedelic element throughout. Although those songs would bring The Cryan’ Shames some notoriety, they really shine on songs like “Heat Wave” and “She Don’t Care About Time.” Both songs are fun in their own way. “Heat Wave” has a fast, repetitive beat that seems like it should have it’s own dance to it. “She Don’t Care About Time” is equally as compelling despite being vastly different. It sounds pretty similar to the folky rendition first performed by The Byrds. Not all of the songs on the album are solid tunes though. “We Could Be Happy,” “We’ll Meet Again,” “July,” and “I Wanna Meet You” are all subpar. All four are softer and have more of a pop feel. Also, they tend feature Tom Doody’s vocals more, and I believe he’s the weakest link in this band. Perhaps these songs just don’t fit the character of the band and thus weren’t their best showings. Never fear… I’ve saved the best for last. “Ben Franklin’s Almanac” is by far my favorite song on the album. It is one of the few original songs on the album, written by guitarist Jim Fairs (who was only 18 at the time of recording this album). It has a fast psychedelic/garage rock beat with a stunning guitar solo in the middle. Hearing this short but sweet solo on vinyl might be reason enough to pick this up if you find it for a good price. Overall, this album is all over the chart. Some garage rockin’ foot stompin’ jams. Some poor pop-filled gags. And one “Almanac” to rule them all.  B-

The Mugwumps – The Mugwumps


Yes, I know. For those of you who’ve heard of The Mugwumps, I am fully aware that they aren’t garage rock or protopunk or really similar to anything at all that I’ve previously reviewed on this blog; however, I would consider them underground 60s music. While they did play and record pop songs and their members were very famous, they never became very popular as a group and disbanded soon after they made their first recordings. The Mugwumps, consisting of such members as Mama Cass Elliot and Zal Yanovsky, recorded nine songs in 1964, played a few live shows, and quickly went their separate ways. Fast forward three years: most of the members have been cast into stardom from their other musical projects, so the record company that owned The Mugwumps’ musical rights decides to capitalize on their recent fame by packaging these nine previously unreleased singles as an album; hence, their one and only album, The Mugwumps, released in 1967 on Warner Bros. The fact that these songs were originally shelved and the group quickly disbanded may leave you thinking that the album can’t be very good. But wait… don’t be so quick to judge. Although there are certainly a few songs that were included as filler, there are also a few solid 60s pop rock songs. Songs like “Searchin'” and “I Don’t Wanna Know” start off the album as solid radio-friendly tunes that sound like they could have come from other powerhouse pop rock bands of the time like The Byrds or The Monkees. Neither song is amazing, but both are kind of catchy and worth listening to. Later in the album, The Mugwumps add a touch of psychedelic rock into their pop rock with songs “Do You Know What I Mean” and “Don’t Judge a Book by the Cover.” These songs are even better because it shows the band had a little range and may have even been a little ahead of their time. Another great song on the album is “So Fine.” It’s a pop rock song with a moderate amount of blues flavoring. It also has perhaps the best guitar and harmonica work on the album. That being said, my favorite song is “Do What They Don’t Say.” I’m hesitant to say that it’s the best on the album, but it’s my favorite because it is definitely the most interesting. As strange as it sounds, “Do What They Don’t Say” is a pop rock song with a reggae beat. I know that reggae hadn’t really been developed yet, but either the band stumbled into a unique sound or one of the members had heard ska music (reggae’s predecessor). Either way the song combines American pop vocals with Jamaican-influenced rhythm. Unfortunately, the other three songs on the album seem (at least to me) to be of a vastly inferior quality. I theorize that they were included to stretch the album from an EP to an LP. Overall, The Mugwumps contains some surprising quality. Many of the tunes are not only listenable but also extremely enjoyable. It’s unfortunate that the band never gave it another chance. I believe that they could’ve used this album as a solid base and improved upon it immensely. Nevertheless, this album stands on its own feet and provides some solid 60s underground music and a brief glimpse into an interesting point of rock ‘n’ roll history.  B-

The Box Tops – Dimensions


The main reason I picked up this album is because of the cover. It’s one of those covers that just screams 60s psychedelic music, so I bought it. Dimensions is the last album The Box Tops would release. (They later released a reunion album, Tear Off!, in 1998 after a 30-year hiatus.) The album was released in 1969 by Bell Records. While all of the members of the band stayed in the music industry after The Box Tops’ breakup, none of them would ever find such success again. The band reunited in the late 90s and toured together throughout the early 2000s. The first song on Dimensions is perhaps their most popular. “Soul Deep” is a classic on oldies stations of today. It’s a classic example of the blue-eyed soul that The Box Tops became famous for. It’s a very radio-friendly song: nothing too risky, something for everyone. The next song is a cover of Bob Dylan’s “I Shall Be Released.” It’s a great song to cover for a soul band. They generally stick true to Dylan’s rendition. “Midnight Angel” follows with the first dose of psychedelic injected into the album. While it’s not as well known as the first two songs, it’s the most experimental and interesting of the three. “Together” is a love song that is another solid blue-eyed soul song. It’s not particularly unique or complex, but it’s makes for a good oldies jam. The next song, “I’ll Hold Out My Hand” is similar to the previous in both its sound and context. It’s a classic oldies love song, a little too cookie-cutter perhaps. The final song on the first side of the album is “I Must Be the Devil.” This song was so Chicago-style bluesy that I was shocked to find out it’s not a cover of a blues master. It’s an original jam written by Alex Chilton, the lead guitar player. It’s a slow, sweet love-makin’ sound: a perfect way to close the first side. Speaking of love makin’––”Sweet Cream Ladies,” a song supporting prostitutes, opens up side two of the album. Although it promotes an idea perhaps ahead of its time, the song is truly beautiful in its simple, repetitive approach to a psychedelic beat. This song gets the second side started off in the right direction. “(The) Happy Song” comes exactly as advertised. It’s an upbeat melody that will make you sway your hips and put a smile on your face. The next song, “Ain’t No Way” is a cover of Neil Diamond. It has more horns and more blues than Neil’s rendition. Actually, that’s an understatement: it blows Neil’s version out of the water. The final song of the album, “Rock Me Baby” is the reason this album is on this blog. It’s a psychedelic bluesy jam. This song shows off the depth of the musicians’ ability. They display their ability to improvise and groove with each other. It’s by far the best song on the album. Although the album is very good without this song, “Rock Me Baby” just takes it up another level. Overall the album gets better the deeper you get into it. A couple of the songs on side one might be a little too radio friendly for fans of this blog, but the album gets bluesier and better as it progresses. The album has a thin but audible psychedelic sprinkling throughout: just enough to make psychedelic rock/pop fans happy to own it. If you like this blog, buy this album.  A-

Terry Knight and the Pack – Reflections


When I picked up this album, I can honestly say that I had never heard a single song by Terry Knight and the Pack. I bought it because I remembered their name from an article I had read on 60s garage rock. Reflections is the second (and last) studio album Terry Knight and the Pack would record. It was originally released in 1967 on the Lucky Eleven label. It was rereleased by Cameo (the copy I own) the same year. Terry Knight and the Pack may have faded into complete obscurity if Don Brewer and Mark Farner of the Pack had not gone on to form Grand Funk Railroad in the early 70s. (Terry Knight was the original manager of GFR.) This being true, don’t let your opinions of Grand Funk Railroad affect your opinions of Terry Knight and the Pack; they sound nothing alike. In fact, the opening track, “One Monkey Don’t Stop No Show,” sounds more like something off an album The Kink’s could have put out in the mid-60s. It has that silly, fun garage rock sound that came to define an era. It’s really a great song to open the album with. The next song, “Love, Love, Love, Love, Love” is a bluesy garage jam that really gets your soul shaking. It’s a little harder than the other songs––almost protopunk. It would later be covered by Brownsville Station, reaching a much wider audience. “Come With Me” mellows out the album a little bit, but it’s still a solid tune. “Got to Find My Baby” injects a faster honky-tonk rhythm into the album. It’s perhaps the most catchy tune on the album. The fifth song, “This Precious Time,” is a psychedelic pop song. I like that they try to keep things fresh, but they are much better at the faster, heavy sounds of garage rock. Nevertheless, it’s worth a listen. Side one closes with “Anybody’s Apple Tree,” a sweet piano tune. It’s good, but still not as strong as the first four songs of the album. If you thought the album was losing steam, “The Train,” starts off with a piercing scream and a fast tempo with a blazing organ. It reenergizes the album and sets up side two for success. The next song, “Dimestore Debutante,” gets a zero for originality but a 10 for quality. That is, from the arrangement to Terry Knight’s voice to everything else, it sounds exactly like Bob Dylan’s “Like a Rolling Stone” with different words. You cannot listen to the song and not think about Dylan; it’s that obvious of a rip off. However, what an amazing song to rip off. “Dirty Lady” follows as an slow, rhythmic, vocal-driven number that sounds like it would come from a hacienda in a Mexican-gangster movie. It’s strange but kind of cool. The next song, “Love Goddess of the Sunset Strip,” is a psychedelic rock tune that could only come out of the 60s. Like the previous song: it’s strange but kind of cool. “Forever and a Day” is one of the most far out psychedelic songs I’ve ever heard. It is so weird, that the only explanation seems to be hallucinogenic drugs. All that being said, I absolutely love it! I can’t explain it; it’s just fun. The album closes with a cover of The Rolling Stones’s “(I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction.” Don’t expect the radio-friendly version we all know and love. This cover is much harder, and the emotion is much stronger. It’s hard to compare the two, but in some ways this version seems to fit the words better than the radio-friendly version by The Stones. Overall, this album is very 60s underground. It has some tunes that you will kick yourself for never having heard before. It also has a couple songs that may push your boundaries of weirdness in music. The variety in this album is enough of a reason to buy the album in and of itself. It’s garage rock; it’s psychedelic rock; it’s Bob Dylan; it’s weird; it’s good. I guarantee you’ll find something you’ll love on it. You’ll probably also find something you don’t care for on it, but it’s uniqueness makes it worth picking up.  B+

Michael Rabon & the Five Americans – Now and Then


I picked up Michael Rabon & the Five Americans’ (often referred to as just The Five Americans) Now and Then on a recommendation. This double album, which would be their last, was released by Abnak in 1968. They had three previous albums released to varying degrees of mild success. Shortly after releasing this album, the band disbanded, and they all went their separate ways: most to careers out of the music industry. The cool thing about this band is that they never reunited, so they only existed for a very brief time between 1965–1969. This band is truly an underground 60s garage band, as this album was never converted to CD nor is it available on iTunes. That being said, I don’t know why not. This album opens up with a high energy garage-based tune, “I See the Light–’69.” This song is actually a reprise of their earlier 1966 song. A perfect choice to begin the album; it’s one of the best songs on the album. “A Taste of Livin'” follows as another song with a great beat. The third song of the album, “Molly Black,” is a fine song that shows off the bands psychedelic skills. It’s a bluesy psychedelic journey reminiscent of Cream. Michael Rabon & the Five Americans continue the psychedelic blues with “Medusa.” This song demonstrates the bands improvisational skills, at least to a small degree. “A Change on You” follows as a soulful blues track that even flirts with protopunk. This versatile song is perhaps my favorite of the album. Unfortunately, side one ends on a bit of a sour note: “Jondel” slows the pace far too dramatically with a psychedelic repetition. Despite this slight blip, the first side of this double album is truly remarkable considering it comes from a band of such obscurity. Side two begins with the blues number “Ignert Woman.” Besides the fact that it’s no 21st century PC, this song is really a great song. It, too, shows off the bands improvisational skills. “Ignert Woman” is followed by “Amavi,” a short little soft tune that has a nice beat and melody. It does well to keep the album’s fast tempo while perhaps lightening the mood a little. “Big Sur” is the third song on side two, and it does not disappoint. A very solid 60s heartbreak song. The next song is “Red Cape,” a song that starts of simple and repetitive but grows into a complex number. Another solid tune with not much to complain about. Unfortunately, the final song of this side is again not up to par with rest of the album. “8 to 5 Man” is an example of good songwriting; however, it’s musical composition leaves much to ask for. The song is drowned in a groaning keyboard; I’m not sure what they were thinking with this one. Never fear, side three picks things back up again with “Virginia Girl,” a pop rock song with a little psychedelic influence. It’s a pretty catchy and fun tune. “7:30 Guided Tour” follows as a true psychedelic song. This song sounds like it comes straight from The Beatles’ Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band. Fans of that album and the psychedelic era will absolutely love this song. “Pink Lemonade” also carries a heavy psychedelic vibe, but isn’t as strong as “7:30 Guided Tour.” The next song, “Peace and Love,” is a song that sounds exactly like you’d expect it to. It’s very cliché 60s hippie rock, but that doesn’t mean it’s not awesome. There’s a couple cool riffs in it too. Really a fun song, despite the stereotypes. “You’re in Love” closes out side three, and it’s a really nice 60s love song. “She’s Too Good To Me” opens up the final side of this double album. It’s not near as good as the previous love song––”You’re in Love,” but it’s okay. “Generation Gap,” the second song of side four, is a bit of a conundrum. It’s perhaps the best song on the album, but at the same time it’s the most unoriginal. It’s a blatant rip-off of The Who’s “My Generation,” but if you’re going to rip-off a song, you couldn’t really pick a better one. “God Didn’t Smile on Me” isn’t as excellent as the rest of the album, especially coming after “Generation Gap,” but they can’t all be perfect. “Disneyland” is not only the strangest song on this album, but perhaps one of the strangest songs I’ve heard in a while. It sounds like Disney paid them to write it for a promotional video. That being said, if you can get past the original weirdness, it’s kind of fun and does have a little psychedelic undertone. This epic double album closes with “Scrooge,” a song that really completes the album by getting back to their garage rock roots. Really a great song to bring things home. Overall, this album is really powerful. Sometimes double albums can lose steam, but this one goes the distance. There were a few songs that could use reworking or perhaps replacing, but the sound of the album was very positive overall. This double album helps map the band’s career by growing from garage rock songs to blues and psychedelic rock songs. The band shows its versatility and magnitude and time after time impresses the listener. The only other problem with the album is that it seemed to lack in creativity too often. The band seems to have mastered imitating 60s powerhouses like The Beatles, The Who, and Cream, but unfortunately, they never seem to find a sound that is truly their own. Perhaps this is why the band, despite being great musicians who can produce a beautiful and cohesive album, were never launched into that elusive stardom. And perhaps this lack of originality is why I don’t feel comfortable giving the album an A.  B+

The Blues Project – Projections

ImageFor my next album review, I’ve decided to go with Projections from the Greenwich Village band The Blues Project. Released by Verve in 1966, this is the band’s first studio album after releasing a live cut titled Live at The Cafe Au Go Go. This would end up being the band’s only studio album with this original lineup, though a few more were released with varying lineups. Interestingly, two of the members would later go on to found Blood, Sweat & Tears, but please don’t let that influence your opinion of The Blues Project, because they have quite different sounds. As the name implies, The Blues Project has a strong blues base, but they are also heavily invested in psychedelic rock. The first track, “I Can’t Keep from Crying,” comes out swinging with a wild psychedelic blues rock sound sure to get your heart racing. After the bluesy power of the first track, “Steve’s Song” brings you back down with a light psychedelic tune with a heavy flute. Fans of The Moody Blues will love this song due to its similar progressive psychedelic sound. A cover of Chuck Berry’s “You Can’t Catch Me” harkens back to that early rock ‘n’ roll sound for the album’s third track. This number is my personal favorite: it takes that raw electric sound of Chuck Berry and gives it a hardened 60s edge. The final track of side one is a cover of Muddy Waters’s “Two Trains Running.” This lengthy cover is entrenched in the rhythmic blues sound of the Deep South’s earliest blues masters. This 11-and-a-half minute song shows off the band’s improvisational skills and demonstrates why they are considered one of the earliest jam bands. Fans of southern blues and/or jam bands will love this tribute, but those who aren’t may want to go ahead and flip the record. The first track of side two, “Wake Me, Shake Me,” is the band’s attempt to move towards a more radio friendly garage rock style. It’s a very solid tune. “Cheryl’s Going Home” follows as another psychedelically influenced blues rock song. For the third track, “Flute Thing” is an instrumental number similar in style to “Steve’s Song” except with even more flute. Lovers of that pure psychedelic sound will have their hearts melted. “Caress Me Baby” is a cover of another Mississippi blues master, Jimmy Reed (who is also coincidentally covered on the previously reviewed Blues Magoos album Electric Comic Book). This song runs with that same rhythmic blues sound as “Two Trains Running.” It’s a beautiful blues love song with a great harmonica solo. To wrap up the album, The Blues Project goes with a radio friendly “Fly Away” that could easily be mistaken as a tune from The Beatles’s middle years (Rubber Soul-Revolver). It’s a spectacular song that should have brought them more fame than it did. For the blues rock or psychedelic rock fan this album is an absolute must. It’s an incredible adventure into the very heart of 60s underground music and well worth going out of your way to find it.  A