Bermuda Triangle


Band members                             Related acts

  line up 1 (1967)

- Wendy Penney (aka Wendy Becket) -- vocals, bass

Roger Penney (aka Roger Becket) -- vocals, autoharp, keyboards

- Sam Becket -- drums, percussion, fiddle

 

  line up 2 (1984)

- Wendy Becket -- vocals, bass

Roger Becket -- vocals, autoharp, keyboards

- Sam Becket -- drums, percussion, fiddle

 

 

 

 

Euphoria (Roger and Wendy Penny)

- Roger and Wendy Penney

- Roger and Wendy

 

 

 


 

Genre: rock

Rating: 4 stars ***

Title:  Bermuda Triangle

Company: Winter Solstice Records

Catalog: SR 4478
Year:
 1977

Country/State: Long Island, New York

Grade (cover/record): VG+/VG+

Comments: --

Available: 1

Catalog ID: 1688

Price: $200.00

 

Roger and Wendy Penney started their entertainment careers as actors, working with Boston's Theatre Company.  Using the stage name Roger and Wendy Beckett, by the mid-'60s the pair had turned their attentions to music, becoming fixtures on New York's Greenwich Village folk club scene.  By 1967 they'd followed the art crowd into a more electrified folk-rock sound with Roger jammin' on electric autoharp, while Wendy had picked up electric bass.

 

 

1969 saw The Beckets join forces with another entertainment couple - singer Sharon Alexander and guitarist Tom Pacheco.   As Euphoria, the quartet captured the attention of Jerry Ross who signed them to his newly formed, MGM-affiliated Heritage label releasing an instantly obscure album on the short-lived Heritage label.  In 1971 they released an extremely rare vanity project ("Love Roger and Wendy")  on their own Horny Records imprint.  And that takes you to Bermuda Triangle.

 

If there's a sound that captures the mid-'60s for me, it's the electric autoharp.   Which leads me to Roger Penney -  the instrument's originator and long-standing proponent.  And Roger Penney again leads me to Bermuda Triangle ...

 

So I'm not going to try to bamboozle you with loads of hype, telling you this was a lost psych classic.  It's not.  Instead, 1977's "Bermuda Triangle" made for an odd, if occasionally engrossing slice of lost-in-time counterculture soundtrack.  What in the world does that mean ?  Well, I'm not really sure since this was one quirky album spanning the musical genre from traditional Celtic instrumentals ('Lark In the Morning / Swallow Tail'), to conventional rock ('Right Track') with all kinds of stops along the way.  That made for an album that was very hit-or-miss.   I'm not a big country, or folk fan which meant about a quarter of the album had minimal appeal to my ears.   In contrast, this trio (the Becket's were accompanied by a female drummer who went by the name of Sam), were at their best when rocking out.   'Right Track' was good, but the world-music-meets-Jefferson Airplane' Standing Together' was even better.   So why would you want to buy this album?

 

* Well, as exemplified by the rocker 'Right On',  Roger's electric autoharp provided for some unique instrumentation.  

* The pair's hippy zeitgeist had a certain goofy and likeable charm. You could just smell the stale smoke and Patchouli ...

 

       

 

On tracks like their cover of Aerosmith's ;Dream On' and the closer 'Wind' Wendy's high fragile voice was unique and quickly grew on you.   Add to that, she may have been the best looking female bass player you've ever seen.

 

Clearly not for everyone so checkout their Your Tube clips before spending some big bucks on an original copy.   For goodness sakes, don't buy the illegitimate 2006 Radioactive CD reissue (catalog number RRCD 143).

 

"Bermuda Triangle" track listing:
(side 1)

1.) Nights In White Satin   (Justin Haywood) - 3:05   rating: *** stars

The Penney's stayed true to the song's original melody and arrangement, stripping out the heavy orchestration for a simpler, folky arrangement. Wendy turned in a whispery lead vocal that won't make you forget the original.  Elsewhere, as with everything they touched, the song featured an electric autoharp solo.

2.) Right Track  (Roger Becket - Wendy Becket) - 4:07    rating:**** stars

Say what you will about Roger's electric autoharp, but it made for some cool sound effects.   With Roger taking one of the rare lead vocals, the upbeat and rockin'  'Right Track'  was one of the album's most conventional and radio-friendly tunes. 

3.) Dream On   (Steve Tyler) - 4:34    rating:**** stars

Yeah, this has to be one of the strangest Aerosmith covers I've ever heard.  They really didn't mess with the melody, or original song structure at all, yet there was something quite enchanting in their fragile, autoharp powered rendition.   Wendy certainly had an enchanting voice and sounded a but like Heart's Ann Wilson on this one.

4.) Lark In the Morning / Swallow Tail  (instrumental) - 1:24     rating: ** stars

The brief Celtic instrumental 'Lark In the Morning' showcased drummer Sam on violin.  Typical Saturday night in an Irish bar musical material which meant most of you will have heard this stuff hundreds of times before.    

5) Free Ride  (Roger Becket) - 2:55   rating: *** stars

Power electric autoharp chords and all, with 'Free Rider' (thankfully not a cover of Edger Winter's hit), the Beckets took a stab at rocking out ...   Well, I will say it was different. 

 

(side 2)
1.) Standing Together
  (Roger Becket - Wendy Becket) -  3:05     rating: **** stars

Kicked along by Sam's tribal drumming and some tasteful synthesizer, 'Standing Together' sounded like prime Jefferson Airplane cross-polinated with some long forgotten world band.  Killer hippy tune that really managed to rock out and my pick for the album's standout performance. 

2.) Louisiana  (Roger Becket) - 2:20    rating: ** stars

Nice to hear the Penney's harmonizing, but 'Louisiana' was a completely forgettable country-tinged number that again showcased Sam on violin.

3.) Night Train  (Roger Becket - Wendy Becket) -4:40    rating: *** stars

A seemingly live tune (judging by the end-of-song applause), 'Night train'  found the Penney's trying to do a country blues number ?  Hard to tell what the intent was.  There was some rock-out autoharp ...   

4.) Wind   (B. Bruno) - 3:52    rating: *** stars

While I tend to like Wendy's high, fragile voice, on the closing atmospheric ballad 'Wind' (original recorded by the band Circus Maximus), she seemed determined to hit operatic territory.   Not as enjoyable ...   That said, the sound had the same dark vibe as CSN&Y's 'Wooden Ships'. 

 

 

 

 


Genre: rock

Rating: 2 stars **

Title:  Bermudas II

Company: Tribecket Records

Catalog: TR 0999
Year:
 1984

Country/State: Long Island, New York

Grade (cover/record): VG+/VG+

Comments: still in shrink wrap (opened)

Available: 1

Catalog ID: 2835

Price: 75.00

 

One of the most eclectic albums in my collection ...  Their earlier releases are quite collectable, though I've always had to wonder about the prices they seemingly command.   Anyhow, on this 1984  release you had to wonder what the Beckets were thinking in the studio -  Maybe something along the lines of "let's show wedding planners that we can cover the whole musical spectrum ..."    Seriously, I can't think of another album in my collection that went from Beethoven  ('Ode To Joy' ) to B-52s-styled new wave ('No Gender') with stabs at country (Charlie Daniels' 'Devil Went Down To Georgia'), English folk-rock ('Gypsy Man'), and Enya-styled adult contemporary moves (in the shape of a cover of Styx's 'Come and Sail Away').  Best of the lot were Wendy's folk-rock-ish 'Gypsy Man'.  I can't say it was a great album, or even a good album, but it was certainly varied.

 

"Bermudas II" track listing:
(side 1)

1.) Video Depression   (Roger Becket) - 3:29   rating: ** stars

Well, judging by the opener 'Video Depression', the Beckets had been listening to their share of early-'80s new wave.  Music.   Not horrible, but this was going to come as a major shock for folks expecting to hear something along the lines of their earlier catalog.   Hum, new wave autoharp ...

2.) Devil Went Down To Georgia   (Charlie Daniels - Edwards - Marshall - Hayward - Crain - DiGregorio) - 3:31   rating: ** stars

Yeah, it really was a cover of the Charlie Daniels hit ...  the original melody was recognizable with Sam Becket providing the fiddle solo.   Completely needless.

3.) No Gender   (Robie Woliver - Marilyn Lash - Roger Becket) - 4:19    rating: *** stars

With Roger's electric autoharp up front and center, 'No Gender' returned to a herky jerky new wave-influenced sound.  Yeah, it was momentarily jarring hearing something that sounded like Fred Schneider on whippets, but they seemed enthusiastic enough about it.  Still, imagine a couple of folkies suddenly getting all new wave-ish.  Strange.

4.) Meadowlands / Ts a Gift To Be Simple / Ode To Joy   (traditional / traditional / Beethoven) (instrumental) - 3:32   rating: ** stars

Three minutes of Roger wailing away on electric autoharp ...  two traditional tunes and a sliver of Beethoven.  I'll tell you that three minutes of electric autoharp was more than enough for me.

5.) Gypsy Man   (Wendy Becket) - 4:48   rating: **** stars

I've always liked Wendy's fragile, "little girl" voice and she's seldom sounded as good as on the dark, brooding 'Gypsy Man'.  Imagine earlier Fairport Convention with an autoharp slapped on top of the arrangement.  Wish there were more of Wendy's bass and less of Roger's autoharp, but it was still the album's standout performance.

 

(side 2)

1.) Come and Sail Away  (Denis DeYoung) - 5:31    rating: *** stars

And when you thought it couldn't get much stranger, along came their Enya-styled cover of Styx's 'Come and Sail Away'.   In spite of Sam Becket's lackadaisical drumming, light saber sound effects, and another bout of autoharp, the song was salvaged by Wendy's beautiful voice ...

2.) Aftershock   (Roger Becket) - 5:00    rating: *** stars

Hum, the Beckets seemingly taking a shot at social commentary - guess they weren't big fans of New York's art scene.   Wendy's bass was excellent.  The rest of the song, not so much.

3.) Stereo Controls   (Wendy Beck - Roger Becket) - 2:40    rating: *** stars

Wendy had apparently also been listening to lost of B-52s.  Get your skinny white butt out on the dance floor.

4.) Dr. Stangelove   (Roger Becket) - 3:44  rating: ** stars

To my ears, 'Dr. Strangelove' sounded like a continuation of the previous 'Stereo Controls'.  The two songs shared the same ominous, new wave dance floor vibe; the only real difference being Roger handled lead vocals with Wendy on irritating backing vocals.

 

 


Genre: rock

Rating: 4 stars ***

Title:  The Missing Tapes

Company: Winter Solstice Record

Catalog: SR-3344
Year:
 2007

Country/State: Long Island, New York

Grade (cover/record): VG+/VG+

Comments: --

Available: --

Catalog ID: --

Price: --

 

 

"Bermuda's II" track listing:
(side 1)

1.) Rainy Monday - 4:11

Geez, where in the world did TheDoors vibe come from?   Dark and thoroughly ominous, don't play this one for anyone who is in a dark place. Add in Roger's fuzz electric autoharp and you had one of the best things the pair ever recorded.   rating: **** stars

2.) Sail Away - 5:11

Yes, it was a remake of the old Styx hit done as a MOR-slice of pop.  Slightly lackidasical drumming and cheesy synthesizer burps didn't really help the performance.  rating: ** stars

3.) Night Train - 5:34

4.) Lost Worlds - 3:47

5.) My Brother - 4:37

6.) You'll Be a Star - 4:16

7.) Sometimes We Find It - 4:04

8.) Dr. Strangelove - 3:53

9.) Did You Love Me - 3:57

10.) Going Down To New Orleans - 3:08

11.) Minnesota Strip - 3:57

12.) Paper Say - 3:05

13.) High Flying Bird - 3:18

 

 

Totally unreleased (on vinyl format) album by legendary NYC psychfolk duo. First known as the 60's indie Psych-Folk duo "ROGER AND WENDY" and then the sunshine pop band "EUPHORIA", BERMUDA TRIANGLE originally released this album on CD through their private label. A great find. It is a superb collection of very rare treasures. Absolutely one of the best resurrections from a band who was pivotal in the US underground Psych-Folk scene of the late 60's into the 70's. All the recordings range from the late 60's to the late 70's. Our opinion is that "The missing tapes" is their best, till today, offering. Just take a listen to "Did you love me" and "Lost worlds" songs. Original, unique and bizzare sound not unlike their first album (see ANAZITISI Records ARLP 70-21F). Half of the 10 songs are penned by Roger Penney while the other 5 are covers on: Dennis DeYoung's "Come sail away", Joni Mitchell's "Circle game", Richard Farina's "Swallow song" (what an adaptation!!!!), Fred Neil's "Dolphin" and an exceptional "High flying bird". This is an official, fully licensed vinyl edition, released with the band's full support (they wrote extensive liner notes for it) using the original master tapes. From the original 2-track master tapes with excellent sound quality, licenced and supported by Roger & Wendy (who wrote extensive liner notes for it). It includes a 12-pages large booklet (30x30cm) with story, lyrics & photos, decorated by Wendy's paintings. Fully laminated. PVC protective outersleeve. 180gr. vinyl as usual. Limited, to 200 black and 100 coloured copies, edition. THIS IS THE COLOURED.

 

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