Mar 17, 2011

GLASS PRISM - POE THROUGH THE GLASS PRISM (RCA VICTOR 1969) Kor mastering cardboard sleeve

Glass Prism was a psychedelic group out of Pennsylvania.They released two albums on RCA, 1969's "Poe Through The Glass Prism" and 1970's "On Joy and Sorrow". Their second album has a dark and heavy vibe, really great guitar work sometimes with fuzzy sounds, more on the sorrow side of life than on the joy side. " Your joy is your sorrow unmasked". They were one of the originators of progressive concept-based rock, and have many loyal fans to this day.
This debut release sets the poetry of Edgar Allan Poe to grandiose psychedelic arrangements -- the concept's more than a bit suspect, of course, but there's no denying the album's ambition or its execution. Both Tom Varano and Augie Christiano are imaginative composers skilled at folding classical and jazz precepts into the hard rock idiom, and their nuanced arrangements (dominated by chiaroscuro shades of funereal organ) artfully convey the melancholy and macabre at the heart of Poe's verse. Equally impressive are Glass Prism's four-part harmonies, employed most effectively on songs like "El Dorado."

GLASS PRISM - ON JOY AND SORROW (RCA VICTOR 1970) Kor mastering cardboard sleeve

For Glass Prism's second album, 1970's On Joy and Sorrow, the band abandoned the Edgar Allan Poe adaptations of their 1969 debut Poe Through the Glass Prism for straightforward songs blending psychedelic hard rock and soul. This gave the Scranton, Pennsylvania band the chance to showcase bassist Augie Christiano's husky soul-rock singing, balanced by songs on which drummer Rick Richards took lead vocals; B3 rock organ in the spirit of bands like the Spencer Davis Group, Procol Harum, and Vanilla Fudge; and Tom Varano's versatile lead guitar, which was equally accomplished at fuzzy hard rock riffs and deft jazz-influenced picking...

JANIS IAN - JANIS IAN (VERVE FORECAST 1967) Jap mastering cardboard sleeve

This is the eponymous debut long-player from Janis Ian, who had already written and recorded this disc of completely original material at the tender age of 15.
In early 1967 this album was released, revealing the depth of Ian's craft. While her roots are decidedly folky, her material traverses through a number of genres. One of the more prominent motifs is the dark Baroque flavor accompanying tracks such as "Society's Child," "Janey's Blues," and the stunningly poignant "Hair of Spun Gold" -- a deliciously noir tale that had been published in 1963 by the acclaimed and revered folk music journal Broadside when Ian was a mere 12 years old. There are also a couple of trippy blues-rockers, such as the precocious "Too Old to Go 'Way Little Girl" and the punky protest-filled "Younger Generation Blues." However, the vast majority of Janis Ian is steeped in the acoustic-based folk music that she had immersed herself in during her concurrent sets in and around Greenwich Village at venerable venues such as the Gaslight Cafe and Kettle of Fish. "Then Tangles of My Mind" and the Dylan-esque "I'll Give You a Stone if You'll Throw It" are both intimate examinations. Also noteworthy are the teen prostitution "Pro-Girl" and "New Christ Cardiac Hero," a biting satire of the ambiguous social role that was being acted out by most organized religions of the time in an attempt to remain relevant to an increasingly disenfranchised youthful audience. The confrontational nature of much of the material on this disc would carry over into her three remaining efforts on Verve/Forecast, as well as become a touchstone for Ian's future works.[allmusic]

JANIS IAN - FOR ALL THE SEASONS OF YOUR MIND (VERVE FORECAST 1968) Jap mastering cardboard sleeve

Janis Ian followed up her self-titled debut with the appropriately trippy For All The Seasons Of Your Mind (1968). Her no-nonsensical approach and bellicose lyrical style was poignantly defined by the widely banned single "Society's Child", which dealt with interracial relationships. This refreshing candour was also featured on a number of other edgy sides from her previous disc such as the teenage hooker blues that Ian titled "Pro-Girl" or the socially and sexually combative "Too Old To Go ‘Way Little Girl". On this disc, the singer/songwriter allows for a bit of psychedelic poetry to colour her commentaries. Again, she is accompanied by studio musicians whom Ian gives full and respective credit for their contributions -- a rarity for many solo artists in the late ‘60s. The band provide Ian with a variety of sonic pallets ranging from the sitar twang of the opening title track to the baroque orchestration that graces the instrumental introduction of "Insanity Comes Quietly To The Structured Mind". There are several introspective and more traditional folk tunes including the stark "There Are Times", which foreshadows Laura Nyro's "New York Tendaberry" and the scathing observational statement on the status of the aged on "Shady Acres". The quiet and personal "Evening Star" hearkens toward Ian's future jazz-inspired works. She maintains a delicate command of the stirring and moody piano inflections that trickle all around her vocals in a sort of improvisational dance. The track also has the maturity of a pop music standard from the likes of Gershwin or Cahn. Ian slightly bends the piano voicings to replicate her own soulful intonations. One of the hidden gems on the LP is the more contemporary minor chord masterpiece "Bahimsa". The performance evokes a distinct European flavour that might suggest the Incredible String Band or Pentangle. These more sombre and developed compositions make for somewhat schizophrenic bedfellows beside the funky electric soul of the derisive "Honey D'ya Think" or the awkward coming of age brass band waltz "And I Did Ma".[allmusic]

MARMALADE - SONGS (DECCA 1971) Jap mastering cardboard sleeve + 10 bonus

Before this album guitarist and songwriting partner of the singer Dean Ford, Junior Campbell left the band and the Marmalade replaced him with Hugh Nicholson for this album. Without his writing partner Dean Ford only contributed three songs to this album. The gentle folk rock numbers "Mama", "Lovely Nights" and "Just One Woman" which are all highlights and stand out as strong compositions which proved that he himself was a great songwriter and didn't have to rely only on Campbell. Nicholson wrote the rest of the material, except the great soul rocker "Empty Bottles" which was written by the bass player Graham Knight and was recorded shortly before Junior Campbell's departure. The opening hard rock number "Bad Weather" starts the album on a perfect note. The other hard rocker "I've Been Around Too Long" as well as the soft country influenced "Sarah" and the beautiful album closer "Ride Boy Ride" make this album one of the best ones I've ever heard...[rateyourmusic]