Fuzz Acid & Flowers :
The above-mentioned album is excellent, but unfortunately originals are rare. The opening cut Golden Earrings (a 1948 hit for Bing Crosby!) is a beautiful relaxing number which culminates in a spacey climax. The album also contains sensitive covers of Tim Hardin compositions including Hang On To A Dream, a lovely version of Nature Boy and some strange instrumentation in Can You Travel In The Dark Alone, which is easily the best of Peter Sando's two originals on the album. There's also an ethereal and delicate cover of Harry Belatonte's 1957 recording Scarlet Ribbons. The album is a superb piece of laid back pop psychedelia with some progressive influences as one might expect given the year of its release. It was produced by Koppelman and Rubin, who are best known for their production work for The Lovin' Spoonful and The Sopwith Camel.
Until recently next to nothing was known about the group apart from their line-up, but as the Gandalf album was originally issued on the "Rainbow" Capitol label, this dates it as 1968 because Capitol didn't switch to the "Light Green" label until 1969.
In fact Pete Sando tells us that Gandalf had their roots in Thunderbirds, an outfit formed by Bob Muller, which were based in Greenwood Lake, New York. They soon transformed into The Rahgoos and went on to play the bar circuit in Greenwood Lake, N.Y., the Jersey Shore, and various New York City clubs and coffee houses, such as The Phone Booth, Murray The K's World, Electric Circus and legendary Night Owl Cafe, in Greenwich Village.
They met songwriters Gary Bonner and Alan Gordon (of Magicians fame), one night at The Night Owl, who in turn introduced them to Koppelman and Rubin. Suitably impressed by The Rahgoos, and their rather unique approach, they arranged for the Columbia deal, under the new monicker Gandalf and ushered them in to Brooks Aurthur's Century Sound studios in New York.
Shortly after the album's release Gandalf guitarist Pete Sando sang on The Barracuda 45 The Dance At St. Francis, which was written and produced by Gary Bonner/Alan Gordon and charted, when it was originally released in 1969.
In the seventies and eighties, Sando played with various New York and L.A. bands, recording an unreleased album in 1981 entitled Sandcastles. He's recently finished a new singer-songwriter CD, Creatures Of Habit and co-written three tunes for a movie called "Time Served".
"Golden Earrings" (Ray Evans/Jay Livingston/Victor Young cover)
"Hang On To A Dream" (Tim Hardin cover)
"Never Too Far" (Hardin)
"Scarlet Ribbons" (Evelyn Danzig/Jack Segal cover)
"You Upset The Grace Of Living" (Hardin)
"Can You Travel In The Dark Alone" (Peter Sando)
"Nature Boy" (Eden Ahbez cover)
"Tiffany Rings" (Garry Bonner/Alan Gordon cover)
"Me About You" (Bonner/Gordon)
"I Watch The Moon" (Sando)
DAVY BAUER drms
BOB MULLER bs
PETE SANDO gtrs
FRANK HUBACH keyb'ds
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