Jay Jackson and Heads of Our Time
Band members Related acts
line-up 1 (1970)
- Arnie Chycoski (RIP 2008) -- trumpet, cornet, flugelhorn
- Bill Cudmore -- sax
- Orly Guerrieri -- trombone
- Jay Jackson -- vocals
- Brian Lucrow -- trumpet
- Jack Posluns -- drums, percussion
- Ric Robertson (aka Eric Robertson) -- keyboards
- Brian Russel -- lead guitar
- Chuck Vickery -- bass
- Russ Strathdee -- sax
- Bearfoot (Chris Vickery)
- Boss Brass (Arnie Chycoski)
- Damage (Chuck Vickery)
- Jay Jackson (solo efforts)
- Shawne Jackson (solo efforts)
- Jon and Lee and the Checkmates (Wes Morris)
- Bobby Kris and the Imperials (John Crone)
- Robbie Lane And The Disciples (Bill Cudmore)
- The Majestics (William Cudmore,
Orly Guerrieri, Jay Jackson, Brian Lucrow,
Eric Robertson, Russ Strathdee, Chris Vickery)
- The Pharaohs (Jay Jackson)
- Powerhouse (Chris Vickery)
- Rambunkshish (Chris Vickery)
- The Shays (Fred Keelor)
- The Silhouettes (Shawnee Jackson)
- Jay Smith and the Majestics
- Stone Soul Children (Shawne Jackson)
- Russ Strathdee (solo efforts)
- Chuck Vickery (solo efforts)
- Zig Zag (Chris Vickery)
Rating: *** (3 stars)
Title: The Subtle Art of Self Destruction
Catalog: GS 7001
Country/State: Toronto, Canada
Grade (cover/record): VG/VG+
Comments: foil cover; minor ring and edge wear; small cut out hole top left corner
Catalog ID: 4934
This was my first experience with Canadian exploito and I have to admit that it was mildly entertaining ...
You'd never know it from the cover art, liner notes, or the wild-assed psych that populated these grooves, but this anonymous outfit traced its roots back to the mid-1960s and the band The Majestics (also known as Jay Smith and the Majestics and Shawne and Jay Jackson and the Majestics). Based on the the material I've read and heard, they appear to have been a Canadian take on a James Brown-styled soul revue. Certainly talented, if not particularly original in terms of material, or presentation.
With a series of personnel changes over the years the group released a number of-mid-1960s R&B-flavored LPs and 45s for the Canadian ARC label. The Majestics finally calling it quits in 1969, however that didn't spell the end to the group.
In an obvious attempt to update their sound, the majority of the band stuck together to record an album credited to Jay Jackson and Heads of Our Time. Majestics vocalist Jay Jackson and keyboard player/arranger Eric Robinson were the apparent brainchildren behind the project. Released on the small Canadian Goodgroove label (love the name), 1970's "The Subtle Art of Self Destruction" offered up a mix of original material and contemporary pop and soul hits done in an exploito fashion that you were either going to love, or curse with considerable fury. This was one of those albums where there simply was no median ground. Musically the album could serve as a primer for studio psych effects - it was all here including waves of fuzz guitar, sitar, backward tapes, channel panning, tons of sound effects and hysterical over-the-top belly button gazing insight such as that found on 'W.O.R.D.S' ("a burning desire for a woman with a blank look on her face, who will assist you in the subtle art of self destruction"). These guys just didn't waste a single trick in pulling the album together. Highlights included the blazing opening instrumental 'Airhead' and the weirdest cover of 'Wichita Lineman' you'll ever hear. Less impressive, but still worth hearing were a couple of the covers, including the instrumental 'Mercy, Mercy, Mercy' which harkened back to their Majestics days, a ''heavy-ed up' 'With a Little Help from My Friends' and one of the stranger Hendrix covers I've ever heard - 'Crosstown Traffic'. Sure it may not have been great art, but the LP offered up a cheesy sense of fun. As an aside, the album was best heard through a pair of quality headphones with a good beer in hand. It's also a horn rock album for folks that don't like horns with their rock and roll ...
In the States the album was released on the small Audio Fidelity label (AFSD-6263)
Within a couple of months the group had called it quits.
Subtle Art of Self Destruction" track listing:
1.) Airhed (instrumental) (Tony DiMaria - Brian Russel) - 3:15 rating: **** stars
Opening up with what sounded like machine gun sound effects, the instrumental 'Airhed' morphed into a guitar powered rocker that sounded like something off of Eric Clapton's solo debut.
2.) Mercy, Mercy, Mercy (instrumental) - 2:25 rating: ** stars
Unfortunately the instrumental 'Mercy, Mercy, Mercy' introduced the horns ... To my ears this one sounded like something written for a daytime talk show.
3.) With a Little Help from My Friends (John Lennon - Paul McCartney) - 3:40 rating: ** stars
Not exactly the most original choice for a cover tune and not the most original reworking. Jackson was an okay singer, but made the mistake of thinking powering his way through the song was going to make it better. It didn't. God only knows how or why, but the song was also released as a US single:
- 1969's 'With a Little Help from My Friends' b/w 'Listen Here' (Mr. G catalog number G 822 A/B)
4.) W.O.R.D.S. (Tony DiMaria - Brian Russel - Ric Robertson) - 0:50 rating: ** stars
The aptly titled 'W.O.R.D.S. ' was a short, over-the-top spoken word segment that was actually pretty funny. Every time I hear the phrase ("a burning desire for a woman with a blank look on her face, who will assist you in the subtle art of self destruction") it makes me smile.
5.) Bizarre Requiem (instrumental) (Ric Robertson) - 3:15 rating: *** stars
The instrumental 'Bizarre Requiem' took a pretty melody, added needless horns, early synthesizers and all sorts of studio blips to the mix. The result was another disappointingly MOR performance.
6.) Crosstown Traffic (Jimi Hendrix) - 3:00 rating: ** stars
Adding horns and trying to "soul-up" a Hendrix tune is seldom a good idea. Well, it wasn't a good idea in this case.
Side two started with a brief song fragment - 'Time Cycle 1' featuring Robertson on piano..
2.) Most Anything That You Want - 1:30 rating: ** stars
'Most Anything That You Want' found the band returning to the soul sounds they'd made a living on as The Majestics.
3.) Time Cycle II (instrumental) - 0:42 rating: ** stars
Geez, the instrumental 'Time Cycle II' found you entering funeral parlor background music.
4.) Is Your Mind Bent Now? (instrumental) (Tony DiMaria - Ric Robertson) - 1:50 rating: **** stars
In spite of the title, the instrumental 'Is Your Mind Bent Now' featured one of the album's prettiest melodies coupled with some nice jazzy guitar passages from Brian Russel.
5.) Time Cycle III (instrumental) - 0:18 rating: ** stars
Back to the funeral parlor for a moment ...
6.) Fastrac (instrumental) (Tony DiMaria - Brian Russel - Ric Robertson) - 1:31 rating: *** stars
Witha soul-jazz vibe, 'Fastrac' sounded like an outtake from a Young-Holt Trio album. Extra star since I like The Young-Holt Trio.
7.) Time Cycle IV (instrumental) - 0:21 rating: ** stars
The fouth and thankfully final segment of the 'Time Cycle' segments, "IV" found Robertson taking a stab at Rachmannoff melting-down.
8.) Wichita Lineman (Jimmy Webb) - 3:15 rating: ** stars
Hum, adding autoharp, sitar and horns to the arrangement was an interesting touch. One of the strangest Jimmy Webb covers I've come across. Jackson's performance reminded my of Bill Murray's Nick the Lounge singer character on Saturday Night Live.
9.) Listen Here (instrumental) - 3:19 rating: ** stars
The instrumental 'Listen Hear' found the band integrating a mix of Latin and jazz influences into their repertoire. Robertson also got a chance to showcase his keyboard skills. It wasn't really rock and roll, but at this point I doubt anyone cared.
10.) Speed Stretch (Gary Starr -Tony DiMaria - Ric Robertson) - 0:44 rating: ** stars
The closer 'Speed Stretch' found the band briefly playing with tape manipulation and studio effects.
Sax player Russ Strathdee was kind enough to provide a little more information on the outfit:
The name of the band behind this Arc recording was The Majestics with Shawne and Jay Jackson as our featured vocalists so it would have been Jay Jackson as one of the two names you mentioned. Rick Robertson was actually Eric Robertson, the keyboard player and musical director of the group. As I recall, the cover had a chrome background with an Indian mask of some kind.
This album was the last one we did. I think the group was attempting to segue from R&B into the psychedelic field, perhaps influenced by other contemporary sounds of that time such as the Beatle's "Strawberry Fields Forever" or the Beach Boys "Good Vibrations".
If you want any more information, I can talk to the other guys in the band... we still keep in touch.
The Majestics are still active, through the only original members appear to be Jay Jackson and Brian Lucrow. Yes, they have a website at: http://themajestics.ca/index.html
Chycoski died in September 2008.
BACK TO BADCAT FRONT PAGE
BACK TO BADCAT CATALOG PAGE
BACK TO BADCAT PAYMENT INFORMATION