Main » 2011 » January » 4 » the Asylum Choir ~ 1968 ~ Look Inside the Asylum Choir
the Asylum Choir ~ 1968 ~ Look Inside the Asylum Choir
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A Los Angeles-based venture, which for Russell and Benno represented a largely unsuccessful journey into psychedelia. After a first single as Le Cirque, their debut album was released. This sold badly, partly because the cover featured a toilet roll, but mainly because the music was quite patchy. A mix of pop, R&B and psych, with arrangements (especially on the second side). Smash later reissued it with a group cover. Benno and Russell wrote all the songs, with the assistance of Greg Dempsey (Daughters Of Albion), Bill Boatman, Jerry Riopelle and the mysterious Markham and Wilson, who may have played on the backing group.
Although the second album was recorded in April 1969, Mercury did not release it on their Smash subsidiary and Russell bought the tapes to release it on his own Shelter label two years later. It's bluesier than the debut and contains some good songs (notably an anti Vietnam song Ballad To A Brother).
Russell and Benno's involvement is the main reason why collectors seek out these albums.
Born in 1947 in Dallas, Benno would later play with The Doors (on L.A. Woman), Rita Coolidge and Rick Roberts. He also released three excellent albums on A&M between 1970 and 1972, recorded with Ry Cooder, Jesse Ed Davis and Clarence White. Afterwards he disappeared only to return in 1979 with Lost In Austin (with Eric Clapton). In the nineties, he has recorded two good texas blues albums.
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