The Flat Earth Society


Band members                             Related acts

  line up 1 (1967-68)

- Paul Carter -- bass, backing vocals
- Rick Doyle -- lead guitar, tambourine, backing vocals
- Phil Dubuque -- vocals, rhythm guitar, recorder
- Curt Girard -- drums, percussion
- Jack Kervian -- vocals, keyboards, backing vocals 

 

 

 

- none known


 

Genre: psych

Rating: ***** (5 stars)

Title:  Waleeco

Company: Fleetwood

Catalog: FCLP 3027

Year: 1968

Country/State: Lynn, Massachusetts

Grade (cover/record): VG+/VG+

Comments: nice copy

Available: 1

Catalog ID: --

Price: $600.00

 

The story behind this Boston-based band's lone 1968 album is nothing short of hysterical.  Showcasing the talents of bassist Paul Carter, guitarist Rick Doyle, singer Phil Dubuque, drummer Curt Girard and singer/keyboard player Jack Kervian, The Flat Earth Society started out performing at dances and parties around Boston. Still in high school, they somehow managed to attract the attention of the Massachusetts-based Washburn Candy Company which through it's marketing partner, the  Boston-based advertising firm off Quinn and Johnson, selected them to cut a commercial jingle for the Waleeco candy bar. The commercial led to a full-blown promotional campaign which included an opportunity for customers to send in proof of purchase for 6 Waleeco candy bars and $1.60 in order to get a copy of The Flat Earth Society's "Waleeco" album.  Perhaps just urban legend but reportedly only 400 copies of the album were pressed.

 

 

With production credited to Quinn and Johnson, Inc., 1968's "Waleeco" was recorded at Boston's Fleetwood Studios.  Probably best know for having produced Teh Shaggs' infamous LP, Charlie Dreyer was credited as the production supervisor.  I'm guessing he was the man responsible for the album.   Surprisingly the results were really impressive - one of the few albums I've encountered that managed to live up to the hype surrounding it.  Featuring largely original material with Jack Kervian and Phil Dubuque responsible for most of the songs, the band displayed far more professionalism and versatility than one would have expected from such a young and inexperienced outfit.  Just look at album cover to see how young the band members were - 15?  16?  While the majority of the set reflected a distinctive psychedelic orientation, performances like 'In My Window' and 'Shadows' demonstrated these guys also had a knack for garage and conventional rock. Still, the set's big charm lay in the band's psychedelic leanings. Highlights included the leadoff 'Feelin' Much Better', the ominous 'Prelude for the Town Monk' and the instrumental 'Portrait In Grey.'   Be sure to check out the freak-out instrumental 'Satori' in a dark room wearing quality headphones. Even the lone non-original, a droning jangle guitar-propelled cover of Wilson Pickett's 'Midnight Hour' was pretty cool.  

 

While the LP doesn't generate the type of fervor you'd expect from hard collectors, take my word for it, this is classic mid-1960s American psych.   Even more impressive given the band's age and inexperience.  One of the few albums I'd give a five star rating to.  

"Waleeco" track listing:
(side 1)

1.) Feelin' Much Better   (Jack Kervian - Phil Dubuque) - 2:37   rating: **** stars

From the opening chords, 'Feelin' Much Better' managed to grab the psychedelic vibe and never let go.  The combination of Phil Dubuque's stunning, lysergic-drenched West Coast vocals (the performance has always reminded me of Marty Balin having a good day),, Paul Carter's numbing bass and Rick Doyle sprawling lead guitar just made this an awesome performance.  The only criticism you could level was the song was too short.
2.) Midnight Hour   (Wilson Pickett - Steve Cropper) - 3:38  
rating: **** stars

The album's lone non-original displayed their good taste in outside material.  Now I love the Wilson Pickett original.  It's a classic slice of old-school soul with a blazing vocals that will clean up you acne.  That said, you've never heard a Pickett cover like this one.  The melody remained recognizable, but they managed to redo the song as a fragile, acid-tinged ballad ...   Seriously, after 30 years I still can't figure out how they pulled this one off.  It makes absolutely no sense, but they did it and they did it with class.  And yes, I still love the original.
3.) I'm So Happy   (Jack Kervian - Phil Dubuque) - 1:57  
rating: *** stars

Jack Kervian's piano-powered introduction didn't do a great deal for me, but the multi-part vocals and lyrics were interesting.  The mid-song psych section where the rest of the band kicked in was far better.
4.) When You're There   (Jack Kervian - Phil Dubuque) - 1:58  
rating: *** stars

Opening up with some Rick Doyle acoustic guitar, 'When You're There' was a pretty ballad with lyrics that I would not have imagined a 16 year old would be able to write.
5.) Four & Twenty Miles   (Jack Kervian - Phil Dubuque) - 1:56  
rating: **** stars

The secret sauce on 'Four & Twenty Miles' was Paul Carter's amazing bass line.  The final song on side one found the band returning to prime psych territory. Every time I hear the song I amazed that sixteen and seventeen year olds were able to come up with something this strong.   I actually found this piece of information from songwriter Dubuque: "I had written all three of the advertising jingles submitted to the candy company by our band.  The winner was a jingle with the chords and melody of this song."

 

(side 2)

1.) Prelude for the Town Monk   (Jack Kervian) - 3:10   rating: **** stars

A mysterious, smoldering, lysergic-drenched slow number,  'Prelude for the Town Monk' was one of the album highlights.  I've listened to this one far too many times and still don't have a clue what the darn thing is about.  Amazing how Dubuque and Kervian's voices blended together.
2.) Shadows   (Jack Kervian) - 1:54
   rating: **** stars

Perhaps the album's hardest rocking piece, 'Shadows' had everything going for it - treated vocals; tasty Rick Doyle lead guitar; a galloping Carter bass line; Jack Kervian organ washes ...  Again, the only complaint was the song was too short.
3.) Dark Street Downtown   (Jack Kervian) - 3:45
   rating: *** stars

Opening with some haunting, slightly off-key Kervian piano and his cold, distant vocals, 'Dark Street Downtown' had a truly dark and ominous vibe.  Docked a start for the scary vibe.
4.) Portrait In Grey  (instrumental)   (Jack Kervian - Phil Dubuque - Rob Doyle) - 5:05
   rating: **** stars

Totally unlike the remainder of the album, 'Portrait In Grey' was a pastoral instrumental that incorporate some lysergic elements, but also an oriental theme flavor (thank Phil Dubuque for the flute work).  Listening to this one I can always feel my blood pressure dropping a couple of points.  Kudos to Doyle's beautiful lead guitar.
5.) In My Window   (Jack Kervian - Rob Doyle) - 2:11
   rating: **** stars

Garage rock collides with psych ...'In My Window' was another personal favorite.  Always loved Doyle's sprawling guitar solo.

6.) Satori (instrumental)    (Jack Kervian - Rob Doyle) - 3:30

Well, I suspect George Harrison would have approved of the backwards tapes and sitar.   Definitely the album's wildest tracks and while I'm normally not a big fan of experimental freak-outs, this one was pretty cool.  On a YouTube post Phil Dubuque talked about this track: "That would be me on sitar ...  We needed a 'phase' sound so we used a tin bucket and blow torch and the acoustics of the studio's bathroom to get the sound we were after."

 

 

 

 

 

 

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