Crystal Mansion, The

Band members               Related acts

- Johnny Caswell -- vocals, keyboards (-72)

- Bill Crawford -- bass (1970-72)

- Ronnie Gentile -- guitar, bass (-72)

- Jerry Marlow -- bass

- Ricky Morley (RIP 1990) -- drums (-72)

- Sal Rota -- keyboards, vocals (-72)

- Mario Sanchez -- percussion (1971-72)



- none known



Genre: rock

Rating: ** (2 stars)

Title:  The Crystal Mansion

Company: Rare Earth

Catalog: R 540L

Year: 1972

Country/State: Mount Laurel, New Jersey

Grade (cover/record): VG / VG

Comments: gatefold sleeve; cut out notch top seam

Available: 1

GEMM Catalog ID: not yet listed

Price: $30.00


Formed in the early-1960s' The Secrets were a Mount Laurel, New Jersey, based R&B cover band.  By 1968 the line up consisted of  singer Johnny Caswell, guitarist Ronnie Gentile, drummer Ricky Morley and keyboardist Sal Rota. Having adopted the name 'The Crystal Mansion',  the band was signed by Capitol where they enjoyed a modest national hit with the single 'The Though tof Loving You' b/w 'Hallelujah' (Capitol catalog number 2275 ). The single's success led Capitol to finance an LP, 1969's "The Crystal Mansion".  I've never heard the album.


Dropped by Capitol, in 1972 the band reappeared on Motown's rock-oriented Rare Earth label.  Co-produced by the band, the cleverly titled "The Crystal Mansion" found the band largely abandoning their early pop sound in favor of a  into a myriad of styles, including country, psych and even progressive moves.    As prime vocalist, Caswell is a mixed success.  On the more straightforward rock material his performances aren't bad, but elsewhere such as the country-influenced 'Bad City Ways', he's barely in tune.  The same comments are largely true for the LP.  Even though it takes awhile to get organized, material such as 'There Always Will Be More', the funky 'Somebody Oughta' Turn Your Head Around' (imagine Rare Earth having spent a weekend in Miami) and the blazing 'Let Me Get Straight Again' (one of two group-penned originals) is actually pretty good.  On the downside, 'I Love You' and 'Earth People' are instantly forgettable pop pap, while 'A Song Is Born' may be the worst stab at progressive rock I've ever heard.  All told, call it a mixed success ...


"The Crystal Mansion" track listing:

(side 1)

1.) There Always Will Be More   (Johnny Caswell - Owlens) - 6:03

2.) Bad City Ways   (Barnyard - Sal Rota) - 4:18

3.) I Love You   (Johnny Caswell - Sal Rota) - 5:04

4.) Satisfied    (Johnny Caswell - Sal Rota - David Winter Tricker) - 3:35

5.) A Song Is Born    (Johnny Caswell - Sal Rota - David Tricker) - 3:35


(side 2)

1.) Somebody Oughta' Turn Your Head Around   (The Crystal Mansion) - 3:26

2.) Boogieman   (Johnny Caswell) - 5:05

3.) Let Me Get Straight Again   (The Crystal Mansion) - 6:03

4.) Peace For A Change    (Johnny Caswell - Sal Rota) - 5:06

5.) Earth People   (Ronnie Gentile - Sal Rota) - 3:59