out notch bottom right corner; minor corner wear
catalog ID: 4
While there are
literally thousands of psych LPs out there, there's a small core (say 400 or
500), that are widely recognized as sought after genre classics. This is one
of 'em ...
It's always struck us as kind of interesting that these guys (bassist Larry
Brown, former Fender IV and Sons of Adam guitarist Randy Holden, singer Jeff
Nowlen, rhythm guitarist Geoff Western and drummer Danny Woods) have been
lumped in with San Francisco bands such as The Dead, The Jefferson Airplane
and Quicksilver Messenger Service. Geographically hailed from Los Angeles
they really weren't part of the Haight Ashbury scene (though they played a
lot of shows at the Avalon and other San Francisco clubs). Musical
comparisons to those other bands are equally clumsy given their weird hybrid
of garage and psychedelia set them miles apart from most contemporaries.
As The Other Half, by 1966 Brown, Nowlen, Western and Woods had begun to
attract a devoted local following in Los Angeles. Interesting it was band
fans that suggested they consider adding guitarist Holden to the line up.
Unhappy with his current outfit (Sons of Adam), Holden ended up jamming with
the group at a local club, subsequently joining the lineup. The band's live
act (including Holden's 20 minute guitar solos), brought them to the
attention of the small GNP/Crescendo label which released their 1966 debut
"Mister Pharmacist" b/w "I've Come So Far"
(GNP/Crescendo catalog number 378). A growling slice of garage/punk anger,
the single did little in terms of sales, but attracted the attention of
Kenny Meyers, who promptly signed them to his newly formed Dot-affiliated
Acta label (along with San Francisco's Neighb'rhood Childr'n).
Released in 1967, their label debut "Wonderful Day" b/w
"Flight Of The Dragon Lady" (Acta catalog number 801), attracted
critical attention, but few sales. In spite of that, Acta agreed to finance
an album, though the project was apparently done on a shoestring budget and
without much post-production work - check out the goofy dialog in the midst
of " Introduction" and the sound of someone coughing in the
background of "Wonderful Day". Good thing Acta financed the LP.
Produced by the band, Larry Goldberg, Leo De Gar Kulka and Hank Levine,
1968's "The Other Half"
is nothing less than a lost classic. This is a horrible description, but
propelled by Holden's mind numbing guitar (more about that later) and
Nowlen's bluesy voice, the album featured a wonderful mix of Yardbirds-styled
blues-rock, raw garage moves, West Coast-psychedelia and Eastern influences
... yeah, we've described an aural stew that includes virtually everything
but a kitchen sink. As mentioned earlier, Holden's dizzying guitar work was
unparalleled. Highlights included the Arthur Lee-penned "Feathered
Friend" (checkout his fuzz work), "Flight of the Dragon Lady"
(how'd he get that sustained distortion?), the Indian flavored "I Need
You" and the cataclysmic closer "What Can I Do For You, The Other
Half". Regardless of whether you're into psych, this is simply a great
guitar album !!! Greeted with complete indifference, the set quickly
vanished into cutout bins. (Tom Hall provided the cool period cover art ...)
"The Other Half" track listing:
(Randy Holden, Jeff Nowlen, Geoff Westen) - 1:50
2.) Feathered Fish (Arthur Lee) - 2:38 (Arthur Lee)
3.) Flight of the Dragon Lady (Randy Holden, Jeff Nowlen, Geoff Westen,
Larry Brown, Danny Wood) - 2:36
4.) Wonderful Day (Randy Holden) - 2:21
5.) I Need You (Randy Holden - Mike Port) - 2:46
1.) Oz Lee Eaves
Drops (Randy Holden, Jeff Nowlen) - 2:29
2.) Bad Day (Randy Holden, Jeff Nowlen) - 2:18
3.) Morning Fire (Randy Holden, Jeff Nowlen) - 2:37
4.) What Can I Do For You, First Half (Randy Holden, Jeff Nowlen, Geoff
Westen) - 2:45
5.) What Can I Do For You, The Other Half (Randy Holden, Jeff Nowlen, Geoff
Westen) - 6:57
The band survived long enough to record the theme song for television's
"The Mod Squad" (though there are rumors that at least some basic
work was done on a sophomore set). Increasingly unhappy with the band's
direction, Holden tendered his resignation, subsequently reappearing as a
member of Blue Cheer and as a solo act (see separate entries).