‘Forever Changes’ celebrated in 6-disc set

Love's "Forever Changes" album suffered neglect and indifference in its time, but how times have changed. The seemingly endless stream of rereleases of the critical favorite continues April 6 with an ambitious "50th Anniversary Edition" box set. Containing four CDs, one DVD and one LP, the collection will retail for about $100. Rhino, which orchestrated several rereleases of "Forever Changes" in recent decades, says "firsts" in the set include the CD debut of the remastered version from original co-producer and engineer Bruce Botnick (2015, apparently), as well as the debut release of the mono version on CD. Also included are alternate mixes of the album and "rare and unreleased singles and studio outtakes." (The alternate mixes appear to be those remastered by Steve Hoffman and … [Read more...]

Country Joe, Procol Harum boxes in Q1’s stash

The year 2018 starts off with a bang for psychedelic music lovers, with carefully crafted archival releases on the horizon from Country Joe and the Fish, Jimi Hendrix, Procol Harum and Todd Rundgren. Other psychedelic/1960s product set for the year's first quarter includes vintage works from Spirit, Ultimate Spinach, Hawkwind, the Doors and Moondog. Country Joe and the Fish weren't exactly one-hit wonders, but it's fair to say they never revisited the highs of their groundbreaking debut album -- a stunning and seminal slab of psychedelic rock. "Electric Music for the Mind and Body" received a splendid and much-needed reissue on CD mid-decade. Now comes a box set chronicling the band's breakout year of 1967. The four LP "The Wave of Electrical Sound" includes both mono and stereo … [Read more...]

Steppenwolf keyboardist Goldy McJohn dies

Goldy McJohn, keyboard player for the classic lineup of Steppenwolf, has died at age 72. McJohn's overamped Lowrey organ work drove Steppenwolf hits such as "Magic Carpet Ride," "Born to Be Wild" and "The Pusher." He played on the band's first seven albums. McJohn co-founded Steppenwolf with singer John Kay in 1967. The band moved from Toronto to Southern California, where it found success as one of the heavier acts of the psychedelic era. Steppenwolf came to fame as the organ was featured in a number of successful rock bands, most of them British. McJohn was considered one of the best keyboard men on the psychedelic music scene. "When I listen to my old stuff, I think, 'Who the fuck is playing the keyboard,'" he said in 2011. The keyboard player's other bands included the … [Read more...]

Mothers, Doors, Spirit rereleases heat up Q3

Frank Zappa and Mothers, the Doors, David Gilmour and the Beach Boys help keep the Summer of Love alive in 2017. Here's a roundup of the best psychedelic/1960s music due for rerelease in the third quarter. The Mothers of Invention's second album, "Absolutely Free," will cost you $35 as it returns in a 50th anniversary edition Sept. 29. The group's second album comes in a two-LP package: three sides host the audio; the fourth has a laser etching of bandleader Frank Zappa. Witness the strange and the borderline psychedelic on numbers such as "Plastic People," "Call Any Vegetable," "Son of Suzy Creamcheese" and, of course, "Invocation and Ritual Dance of the Young Pumpkin." The "Absolutely Free" album comes "mastered by Bernie Grundman and cut directly from the original analog master … [Read more...]

Spirit’s 4 original albums coming to SACD

Sixties underground heroes Spirit will have their four key albums rereleased in the audiophile SACD format, beginning with the first two records. The self-titled debut album and "The Family That Plays Together" originally were released on Ode Records. The new hybrid SACDs will use those stereo 1968 mixes, according to Steve Hoffman, who is mastering the rereleases along with Stephen Marsh. The albums are not being remixed for the Audio Fidelity SACDs. "We kept the vintage charm intact," Hoffman wrote on his music forum. Online retailers show the debut album -- known for "Fresh Garbage," "Mechanical World" and the hotly debated instrumental "Taurus" -- with a May 26 release date. "Family" follows June 23. Update: The third album, "Clear," is due on SACD on Jan. 12, 2018, with … [Read more...]

Gail Zappa dies; oversaw Frank’s legacy

Gail Zappa, a fierce and creative guardian of the legacy of her husband Frank Zappa, has died. She was 70. Gail Zappa died "peacefully at her home ... surrounded by her children," the Zappa family said in a statement. The cause of death reportedly was lung cancer. Frank Zappa died in 1993. Several months ago, Gail Zappa turned over day-to-day management of the Zappa Family Trust to her son Ahmet. Her other children with Frank Zappa are Moon Unit, Dweezil and Diva. (Dweezil fronts the acclaimed tribute act Zappa Plays Zappa.) "Married to Frank Zappa at age 22, Gail was a doe-eyed, barefooted trailblazer, giving equal value to her domestic and professional responsibilities as matriarch of the family and overseer of all Zappa enterprises," the family's statement said. "Gail, … [Read more...]

Levitation lands Wilson, ‘Pet Sounds’

Brian Wilson will resurrect "Pet Sounds" for the 2016 edition of the nation's largest psychedelic music festival, Levitation. The performance marks a half century of the Beach Boys album, considered one of the top albums in the history of rock. Wilson's booking comes a year after the Austin, Texas, fest arranged for the historic reunion of hometown heroes the Thirteenth Floor Elevators. Other key performers announced for Levitation 2016 are Animal Collective, Lee Scratch Perry, the Brian Jonestown Massacre, Flying Lotus and Sleep. The festival runs April 29-May 1, back for the fifth year at Carson Creek Ranch outside Austin. Levitation formerly was known as the Austin Psych Fest. Wilson has performed the 1966 Beach Boys masterpiece on and off since the turn of the century, … [Read more...]

Love’s ‘Reel to Real’ fast-fowarded

The more or less forgotten Love album "Reel to Real" makes its CD debut in late November, fortified with four "newly discovered" tracks by Arthur Lee. The 1974 album also will be "back on vinyl after more than 40 years" via a Feb. 19 rerelease on vinyl, according to the High Moon label. High Moon debuted the unreleased "Black Beauty" album by Lee several years ago. The "Real" album includes a dozen bonus tracks, 11 of them previously unreleased. Lee's classic lineup of Love -- the band behind the psychedelic music treasure "Forever Changes" -- was long gone. "Reel to Real" featured Lee working with his "Black Beauty" band and a posse of studio musicians, most notably the guitarist Harvey Mandel and the keyboardist Bobby Lyle. Like many albums of the day, it employed a trio … [Read more...]

Zappa revival via new deal, documentary

Frank Zappa's musical legacy is back for a lube job with news that the the Zappa Family Trust and Universal Music Enterprise have inked a new global licensing deal. The late musician also will be the subject of a feature-length documentary in development with participation of the Zappa family. Meanwhile, Zappa's son Ahmet has taken over day-to-day operations of the family's company, with the blessing of sometimes-controversial catalog guardian Gail Zappa. The Frank Zappa documentary comes from actor-filmmaker Alex Winter ("Deep Web"). A 2017 release is envisioned. The first Zappa Records/UMe release under the new deal will be a remastered 40th anniversary edition of Frank Zappa and the Mothers of Invention's "One Size Fits All" on vinyl, due Aug. 14. More unspecified 2015 … [Read more...]

No. 45: ‘Ball’

"Filled with Fear" was more than a song title -- consider it truth in advertising for the contents of Iron Butterfly's "Ball," the hurried but solid followup album to "In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida." Anchored by songs of dread and existential panic, the album in some ways anticipates John Lennon's primal-therapy explorations of "Plastic Ono Band," still several years away. Imaginative listeners can hear in 1969's "Ball" the death throes of the 1960s. Here is "the story of a maddening darkness," one song warns listeners. Still, the Southern California band remained true to its ethos of heavy and light -- acid rock leavened with a "melodic consciousness" -- resulting in a relatively tight album that to modern ears sounds like Iron Butterfly's best. To the extent that Iron Butterfly ever truly … [Read more...]

Psychedelic Sight via email

Be sure to respond to confirmation message!

Click here to SUBSCRIBE TO PSYCHEDELIC SIGHT