Band members Related acts
line up 1
- Johnny Kitchen (aka Jack Maurice Mullman) --
- Agja Ole
- Jack Millman
- The Pros
- The Psychedelic Experience
- Thunder & Lightening
Rating: ** 2 stars
Title: Licorice Stix
AW # 14063
Grade (cover/record): VG+/VG+
Catalog ID: 3217
Johnny Kitchen (aka Jack Maurice Mullman) ... the name will mean nothing to the vast majority of people, but to the small group of music fans who recognize the name, it will prove fascinating, or they'll simply turn and run like hell.
For a while this rare tax scam album carried a massive price tag. If you could find a copy, it would set you back several hundred dollars. Kitchen may have seen an opportunity to cash-in on the situation as he remastered 1977's "Licorice Stix" and several of his other infamous tax scam albums, listing them on Amazon and several other site. Here's what the Amazon description has to say about the collection:
"A album that can be described as funk jazz with a touch of 60's psychedelia, Licorice Stix's "American Made" is one of a long line of interesting obscure albums to come from the stable of the mysterious, legendary Los Angeles based musician/producer/entrepreneur known as Johnny Kitchen. Originally released in 1978, copies of the original LP sell for top dollar in collector's circles. Finally available in the digital domain, all selections have been newly remastered."
The problem with remastering and reissuing these albums, is now everyone can hear how forgettable they are and those sky high prices based on rarity (rather than quality) have disappeared. After all, who in their right mind is going to spend hundreds of dollars on an album with little, or no musical merit ... Hum, since I have an original copy for sale, maybe I should be taking a different approach here !!! Ya' know, this is a simply amazing set of mind-blowing psych ... just like the Amazon write-up says. LOL
Okay, here's a song-by-song description of what awaits you brave listeners.
Stix" track listing:
1.) American Made (instrumental) (Loren Nichols) - 3:41 rating: ** stars
The title track offered up some hardcore, completely anonymous electric blues. With a heavy emphasis on Hammond B-3, the playing wasn't anything great - imagine a third rate Jimmy McGriff. No rhyme or reason to the abrupt start, or sudden decision to fade the song out.
2.) Ever Real (instrumental) (Johnny Kitchen) - 3:19 rating: ** stars
In spite of the alternate title and writing credit, the instrumental 'Ever Real' was simply a continuation of the title track. Remember, anything goes with a tax scam album since you weren't trying to sell copies.
3.) Faith Abounds (instrumental) (Johnny Kitchen) - 2:57 rating: *** stars
Opening up with some bouncy Hammond B-3organ moves, 'Faith Abounds' sounded like something you might have heard while visiting a roller skating rink on a Saturday evening. In typical Kitchen fashion, about thirty seconds into the instrumental some blaring fuzz guitar kicked into the mix. I'll give it an extra star for the song's plain bizarre arrangement.
4.) Falling Out of Love (L. Preissman) - 3:06 rating: ** stars
L. Preissman is a name you'll find repeatedly on Kitchen albums - check out Kitchen's "Thunder and Lightning" album. 'Falling Out of Love' was an early '60s-styled sappy ballad featuring some of the most flat singing you've ever heard. As was common with Kitchen's recorded, based on the lyrics, I'd guess the song title was actually 'Cold and Rainy Night'. The organ solo was at least interesting.
5.) Fear Tear (instrumental) (L. Preissman) - 2:48 rating: ** stars
More anonymous Hammond-powered jazz-soul ... maybe kind of a Young-Holt Trio vibe going on here ?
1.) The Fire from Above (instrumental) (Johnny Kitchen) - 3:10 rating: *** stars
Another track credited to Kitchen 'The Fire from Above' was a decent slice of surf-rock. In any other situation you probably wouldn't have paid a great deal of attention to the track, but surrounded by the rest of this schlock, here the track actually sounded half decent.
2.) Flower Valley (instrumental) (Johnny Kitchen) - 2:20 rating: *** stars
And 'Flower Valley' continued the streak with a slightly later, pop sound ... This one actually sounded like something that might have been penned for an early-'70s talk show theme song. The drums and horn breaks were quite nice.
3.) Forever and Ever (Johnny Kitchen) - 3:14 rating: *** stars
Another rare vocal, 'Forever and Ever' sounded like a mid-'60s pop tune; imagine something that Lou Christie would have recorded. Sweet, rather tuneful, with a nice surf-rock guitar solo.
4.) Forgotten Children (instrumental) (L. Preissman) - 3:01 rating: ** stars
Another L. Preissman tune, 'Forgotten Children' found the album turning towards bland hard blues-rock. At least my copy of the album the tracks marred by sound that abruptly pops in and out on one of the channels.
5.) Fresh Water (instrumental) (Johnny Kitchen) - 2:36 rating: *** stars
Probably the album's most rock oriented tune (not to say it was particularly enjoyable), 'Fresh Water' was an okay slice of guitar, piano, and organ jam rock. Similarly, if you were going to tag one of these tracks as having a psych edge, thanks to the anonymous lead guitar, this would be the track. Who knows why, but the incorrect time is listed on this one - this one clocks in over five minutes.
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