Band members Related acts
line up 1 (1967-69)
- Terry Hand
(RIP 2004) -- drums, backing vocals
- Bob and Kit (Bobby Ray)
- The Crossfires (Terry Hand)
- Bobby Ray (solo
- Jimmy Guitar Smith (solo efforts)
Rating: **** (4 stars)
Catalog: PHS 600-251
Country/State: Los Angeles, California
Grade (cover/record): VG+/VG+
Comments: minor cover wear
Catalog ID: 1631
This one drove me crazy for the
longest time. Several years ago I found a copy of the album at a yard sale, only to discover the sleeve contained the wrong LP. Aaaghhhhhh !!!
Making this an even stranger story, several years later while on a business trip
to California I found a copy of the album sans cover. Yes, three years and 6,000 miles finally produced a match !!!
All that effort and I have to admit I don't know much about this Los Angeles-based trio. Drummer Terry Hand had previously played in a number of
surf bands, including The Crossfires. He'd also released a couple of singles as a member of Everpresent Fullness.
Bassist Bobby Ray was a sessions player probably best know for his work with
Donovan. Credited to Bob & Kit, he'd also released an obscure 1966
45 for Hanna Barbera. Singer James Smith
remains a complete unknown to me, though he's apparently best known as a
1.) Life Is a Dream (Bobby Ray - James Smith) - 2:03 rating: **** stars
Yeah, I know these guys were from L.A., but James Smith's vocals had a distinctive Southern twang which made 'Life Is a Dream' a neat way to start out the LP. Interesting blend of Baroque orchestration and psychedelic touches that gave the tune a very mid-'60s vibe. Imagine a heavily stoned Association tune. Philips tapped the tune as a single:
- 1968's 'The Best of It' b/w 'Life Is a Dream' as a single (Philips catalog number 40492).
2.) Brave New World (Bobby Ray - James Smith) - 2:21 rating: **** stars
'Brave New World'
was a beautiful, fragile, lysergic-drenched ballad. Note I didn't say
lysergic-tinged. Pretty melody that showcased the trio's nice harmony
vocals - kind of a stoned CS&N. Well, even more stoned than
your usual CS&N recording. Ah, bring on the Nehru
'Wrong My Friend '
was one of my favorite songs on the album. Great folk-rock melody
cloaked in acid tinged orchestration. Yeah, it sounds totally
innocent and so naive. Every time I hear the song, I end up
humming it for a couple of days.
first mild disappointment, 'Here Today' sounded like a mash-up of a
Merseybeat tune, something Peter and Gordon might have recorded, with a bit
of acid sprinkled on top. Not particularly tuneful, or
pick for the album's standout performance - 'Pleasure Time' had the album's
most memorable melody. Simply glittering folk-rock with stoned lyrics.
This is the one that should have been the single.
'The Best of It' started out sounding like a drunken lounge singer, but there was something immensely appealing in the combination of the eerie organ and the laidback James Smith vocal. The refrain was highly catchy.
1.) Daydreaming (Bobby Ray - James Smith) - 2:48 rating: *** stars
pop tune that was turned inside out with treated vocals, wild sound effects,
and heavy orchestration, that was so innocent you had to laugh.
harmony rich, Association-styled pop tune that simply never kicked into
atypical for the group, 'Prelude To
a Postlude' was a
stark, dark acoustic ballad. Geez, talk about a timepiece - it even
include lyrics about smoking cigarettes on a beach ... Smith
turned in some nice classical guitar on this one.
a nifty mid-'60s Beatles-tinged arrangement which included a great opening
guitar riff and a backward guitar solo, 'One Girl' was another album
atypical tune, 'Collage of Attitudes'
closed the album with a classically-inspired instrumental. Well it
started out that way, but about 50 seconds in the tune headed off in a
jazzier direction (complete with sax solo). Always
liked Hand's martial drumming on this one.
- 1968's 'Lonely Mountain Again' b/w 'Family of Man' (Philips catalog number 40521)
Hand briefly reappeared as a member The Moon and several decades later was a member of Rocket Science before dying in 2004.
Ray cut a hard to find solo LP for Johnny Rivers Soul City label. 1970's "Initiation Of A Mystic" (Soul City catalog number SCS-92007)
Smith continues to performer at local L.A. clubs.
So out of the blue I got an email from Terrence Tally. Turns out that Mr. Tally knows James Smith (aka Jimmy Guitar Smith). Not only does he know Smith, but a couple of years ago he made a documentary on Smith - "Blue Minded." Mr. Tally was kind enough to send me a copy of the documentary along with some new music Smith had recorded. Haven't had a chance to check the documentary out, but the CD offered up a mix of okay nightclub jazz and more entertaining blues-influenced numbers. As Mr. Tally mentioned, 'his current music is nothing like the 60's sound of Thorinshield, but he certainly has a gift, but one that will probably go unrecognized." Listening to the CD, Smith's voice is a little deeper (though quite pleasant), while his guitar remains ever tasteful. I'd certainly pay to see him in a small club.
Thanks to Terrence Tally
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