The Flat Earth Society
Band members Related acts
line up 1 (1967-68)
- Paul Carter --
bass, backing vocals
- none known
Rating: ***** (5 stars)
Catalog: FCLP 3027
Country/State: Lynn, Massachusetts
Grade (cover/record): VG+/VG+
Comments: nice copy
Catalog ID: --
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.
1.) Feelin' Much Better (Jack Kervian - Phil Dubuque) - 2:37 rating: **** stars
the opening chords, 'Feelin' Much Better' managed to grab the psychedelic
vibe and never let go. The combination of Phil Dubuque's
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
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.
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.
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.
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."
1.) Prelude for the Town Monk (Jack Kervian) - 3:10 rating: **** stars
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
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.
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.
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
Listening to this one I can always feel my blood pressure dropping a couple
of points. Kudos to Doyle's
beautiful lead guitar.
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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