The Firebirds

Band members                             Related acts

- unknown


- The 31 Flavors






Genre: psych

Rating: **** (4 stars)

Title:  Light My Fire

Company: Crown

Catalog: CST 589

Year: 1968

Grade (cover/record): VG/VG+

Country/State: US

Comments: minor ring wear; minor seam splits top and bottom

Available: 1

Catalog ID: not yet listed

Price: $50.00


Based in Los Angeles, Crown Records was one of those pre-K Tel fly-by-night outfits that made money by identifying a musical trend, hiring a bunch of studio musicians to quickly record a couple of throwaway tunes in that style, slapping a pretty young female face on the cover, selling the resulting album at rock-bottom prices at supermarkets and discount retailers and riding the trend as long as possible. 

There's a good chance this was an album recorded by the prolific Jerry Cole (who placed a series of albums with Crown Records), but since I'm not certain about it, I won't delve into Cole's career here. Anyone interested in Cole can look at my comments on The Generation Gap.  Anyhow, what's truly amazing about this album is that amidst Crown Records' music-as-disposable product wave of aural sludge titles like "Dixieland One Step", "Beautiful Hawaii" and "Latin A-Go Go" the company somehow managed to release a surprisingly entertaining set of Hendrix-styled acid rock. Credited to The Firebirds  (certainly a short-lived studio entourage), that moment of glory was 1968's "Light My Fire".  Boasting one of Crown's typical exploitation covers (admittedly the woman was quite attractive); the set carried no writing or performance credits.  Think The Doors ever got any royalties for the cover of their 'Light My Fire'?  There weren't even any liner notes. That was unfortunate since whoever these guys were, overlooking the bland title track instrumental Doors remake, they managed to turn in an entertaining collection of raw, acid drenched, Hendrix-styled psych tunes. Nah  there wasn't anything original here.  Crown clearly asked the performers to come up with some Hendrix-styled material and they gladly complied.  Complete with manic vocals ('Delusions' was so bad it was worth hearing), walls of fuzz guitar and some of the wildest drumming you'll ever hear, it was simply a shame the performers didn't get credit for their work on Hendrix-ripoffs like 'Reflections', 'Bye Baby', 'Gypsy Fire' and the instrumental 'Warm Up'. Yeah, performances like 'Gypsy Fire' were  raw and sloppy, but it made for one heavy and thoroughly stoned album.


Printed in miniscule quantities, today the album's fairly rare and sought after by psych collectors. 

"Light My Fire" track listing:
(side 1)

1.) Light My Fire (instrumental) - 4:18 (John Densmore - Robby Krieger - Ray Manzarek - Jim Morrison) rating: *** stars

The arrangement of The Doors classic didn't wander to far from the original, though the  surf-meets-psych sound certainly reminded me of some of Jerry Cole's catalog,  
2.) Delusions 
rating: ** stars

'Delusions' sounded like a young garage band taking a tentative step at Hendrix-styled blues.  There efforts were spoiled by a so-bad-it-was-enjoyable lead vocal.  Whoever the anonymous vocalist was, his performance was fragile and out of tune imagine a teenaged Jack Bruce.  By the way, the singer should have figured out the whole world was not his.
3.) Reflections (instrumental) - 4:23
rating: **** stars

Kicked along by some massive drums and another painful lead vocal, 'Reflections reflected a heavy Hendrix-styled psych flavor.  Easy to imagine Crown Records telling the musicians "Hey give us a couple of those "Jimmy Henderick" styled rock tunes ..."   Darn those drums were pretty amazing.
4.) Bye Baby - 5:29
rating: **** stars

Robin Trower would be thrilled to hear the heavy sustained guitar sound that dominated 'Bye Baby'.  The vocal was hysterical.  In addition to sounding like he's swallowed the microphone, I've always wondered if the singer had slammed one of his hands in a door.  The poor guy sounded like he was in some real pain.  Heavy, baby.  Heavy.


(side 2)

1.) Gypsy Fire - 2:39  rating: **** stars

Had Hendrix been aware of 'Gypsy Fire', I don't anyone would have blamed him for suing for copyright infringement and character defamation.  Along with the song title, pretty much every facet of this in-studio jam prayed at the Hendrix altar of psych guitar.  It was one ragged mess, but still an intriguing mess.
2.) Free Bass (instrumental) - 2:38
  rating: ** stars

Yes the instrumental 'Free Bass' saw the anonymous bass player finally getting his two and a half minutes of spotlight time.  Personally I didn't find his extended solo particularly melodic, or impressive.  Hardcore fans will know 'Free Bass' was part of a longer tune seemingly recorded during the same sessions, but then spliced into different sections/songs.  Under the  titles 'Free Fuzz' and 'Free Drum' the remainder of the recording appeared on the 1969 album "Hair" credited to the band 31 Flavors (Crown catalog number CST 592).  seems like pretty string evidence that The Firebirds and 31 Flavors were the same entities.

3.) No Tomorrows - 5:02  rating: **** stars

Funny, to my ears the fuzz heavy 'No Tomorrows' sounds like a proto-grunge tune.  The singer sounds stoned out of his mind though listening to the lyrics, this tune actually appears to be titled 'No Tomorrows'.  Extra star for getting to hear the drummer thrash his way through the tune.
4.) Warm Up - 2:30
  rating: ** stars

In spite of the title, 'Warm Up' was nothing more than a reprise of the title track.