Audio: lossless (flac, cue, log. scans)
time: 44'22" Size: 292 mb
Beauregard Ajax hailed from southern California; the quartet formed in 1966, moved to Hollywood the following year, and gigged for a while after hooking up with producer Bob Keane. The band never really went anywhere, though, and broke up before releasing their album.
These songs are styled as a blend of ’60s West Coast and British psych, particularly bands like Kaleidoscope and Syd-era Pink Floyd. The vocal chorus, jangling rhythm guitars and lightly-fuzzed lead guitar of "Is Tomorrow Thursday" are typical of the band's approach, a blues-based song a la Yardbirds with the same sun-drenched feel Gram Parsons and Quicksilver brought to their psych-pop.
The band's playing is quite good, with a strong rhythm section, generally confident vocals and some particularly nice, understated lead guitar work, though it's not clear whether it's by singer David Ferguson or John Boutell – probably the latter. Oddly, the opening song, "Loneliness Is A Sometime Thing," has some of the weakest singing, a warbling around notes without settling. But later tracks show a good grasp of both pop vocalization and dreamy harmonies that put the band above the average ’60s rock-pop outfit.
It's not going to change your life, but if you're following the story of West Coast psychedelia, Beauregard Ajax is a worthwhile chapter. ~ (By Mason Jones)
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Audio: lossless (flac vinyl, cue, log. scans)
time: 36'42" Size: 798 mb
01. Apple Of My Eye 3:06
02. Get Away 4:04
03. Icicles 2:37
04. The Winner 3:28
05. Blind Owl 3:06
06. Constitution 3:04
07. When I Say 3:09
08. Cowboy 2:44
09. I Can Love You 3:40
10. Timeless 7:44
Pete Ham – guitar, piano, synthesizer, vocals
Tom Evans – bass, vocals
Joey Molland – guitar, piano, vocals
Mike Gibbins – drums, vocals
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Style: psych pop
Audio: lossless (ape, cue, log. scans)
Size: 932 mb
Simon Dupree and the Big Sound was a British pop band formed by three brothers, Derek Shulman, born 1947 (vocals), Phil Shulman, born 1937 (vocals, saxophone, trumpet), and Ray Shulman, born 1949 (guitar, violin, trumpet, vocals). They started as The Howling Wolves, and then became The Road Runners, playing hard core R&B around the Portsmouth area, home of the Shulman brothers. Making up the rest of the group were Pete O'Flaherty (bass), Eric Hine (keyboards), and Tony Ransley (drums). Their first few singles, notably 'I See The Light' (1966), failed to chart and they only broke through at the end of 1967 with the psychedelic-influenced 'Kites', a Top 10 in Britain. Regarding themselves as blue-eyed soul brothers, they hated it as it was so unrepresentative of their usual style. The follow-up, 'For Whom The Bell Tolls', was only a minor hit, and a subsequent single, 'Broken Hearted Pirates', featuring an uncredited Dudley Moore on piano, made no headway at all. Keyboard player Reginald Dwight was present on some sessions, joined them on one UK tour, and was almost recruited as a permanent member. They politely rejected the chance to record any of his compositions and all laughed when he told them he was planning to change his name to Elton John. The group released two albums; 'Without Reservation', on Parlophone (1967), and a compilation 'Amen' (1980). A more recent set, 'Part Of My Past' (2004), includes all their singles, album tracks and previously unreleased material prepared for their second album, release of which was cancelled at the time. Frustrated as being seen as one-hit wonders being pushed by their record company as a pop group rather than the soul band they had always intended to be, they disbanded in 1970 and the Shulman brothers went on to form the successful progressive rock group Gentle Giant. The band was formed in early 1966 from the remnants of two bands, 'The Road Runners' from Portsmouth and 'The Classics' from Gosport.
Tapestry of Delights:
Simon Dupree started out The Howling Wolves and later became The Road Runners, a Portsmouth-based R&B band. 'Simon Dupree' was actually vocalist Ray Shulman and the band got the new name in 1966. Their early music was almost entirely soul, mostly Wilson Pickett and Otis Redding covers. Their debut 45, I See The Light, was a good stomping R&B number, but it made little impression on the record buying public. The flip side was more soul-based with lots of brass. Their follow-up, Reservations, was an uptempo, organ-driven R&B number, which was certainly one of their better singles. It's sales were quite encouraging although it failed to make the Charts. The flip side, You Need A Man, was frankly nondescript. Their next release, Day Time, Night Time, was another organ-led R&B belter. A fine record of its type but again it failed to Chart. The flip side was similar in style but a weaker composition. Their album, Without Reservations, released at the start of August 1967, included much of the material from their live act. There's the soul medley, 60 Minutes Of Your Love/A Lot Of Love, a cover of Sam Cooke's Amen, as well as some self-penned compositions like Who Cares and Get Off My Bach. The only remotely psych-pop track was There's A Little Picture Playhouse and the album certainly isn't worth purchasing for connoisseurs of psychedelia, but it is if soul or R&B is your scene. The release of the quasi-psychedelic Kites in October 1967 marked a drastic change of image and musical direction. Recorded at the Abbey Road studios it's full of interesting sound effects and instruments like the mellotron, gongs and vibraphone. It shot them into the Top Ten but gave them an image that was at odds with their R&B roots which they had difficulty reconciling themselves to. The flip side, Like The Sun Like The Fire, also had a hint of Sgt. Pepper about it but wasn't quite as good. From here on the band's career was in decline through their failure to score another Top Twenty hit. Of their later singles, For Whom The Bell Tolls and Broken Hearted Pirates, are the most interesting. The former did reach No 43 in the Charts in April 1968. It features some pleasant flamenco-style guitar and another strong vocal performance from Ray Shulman as well as tolling bells, naturally. They also recorded a single called We Are The Moles Pts 1 And 2 (Parlophone R 5743) under the pseudonym of The Moles in 1968. When the group dissolved in 1969, the Shulman brothers went on to form Gentle Giant. A second unreleased album of Simon Dupree and The Big Sound material was recorded and titled, Once More Into The Breach Dear Friends. This would have featured the original version of Castle in The Sky (later recorded by Blonde On Blonde), but this album was shelved when the singles stiffed.
Style: psych pop
Audio: lossless (flac, cue, log, scans)
Fuzz Acid & Flowers:
A hippie psyche pop duo who were produced and arranged by Leon Russell. All the songs were written by Greg Dempsey (sometimes helped by Dave Luff) and some arrangements are obviously influenced by the Beatles's Sergent Pepper album. Quite pleasant but nothing essential.
Graced with a really good voice, Kathy Yesse recorded in 1974 a disappointing solo album produced by Greg Dempsey as Kathy Dalton, Boogie Bands And One Night Stands on Frank Zappa's Discreet label. ~ (Stephane Rebeschini)