Mr. Flood's Party

Band members                             Related acts

  line-up 1 (1966-68) as The Fourth Dimension

- Michael Corbett -- vocals, flute, percussion 
- Jay Hirsh (aka Jay Herschkowitz) -- vocals, keyboards
- Freddy Toscano (aka Freddy Frogs) (RIP 2009) -- vocals, 

  rhythm guitar 


  line up 2 (1969) as Mr. Flood's Party

- Tom Castagnaro -- drums, percussion
- Michael Corbett -- vocals, flute, percussion 
- Jay Hirsh -- vocals, keyboards
- Rick Mirage (aka Rick Kunstler, aka Freddy Knuckles) -- 

  lead guitar
- Marcel Thomspen -- bass
- Freddy Toscano (aka Freddy Frogs) (RIP 2009) -- vocals, 

  rhythm guitar 




- The BMTs (Freddy Toscano)

- City Lights (Freddy Toscano)

Corbett and Hirsh (Michael Corbett and Jay Hirsh)

- The Crestmen (Tom Castagnaro)

- The Down Five (Tom Castagnaro)

- Four On the Floor (Freddy Toscano)
- Frogs for Everybody (Freddy Toscano)

- The Group Image (Rick Kunstler)

- Loose Gravel (Rick Kunstler)

- Music Bachs (Marcel Thomspen)

- No Frills (Freddy Toscano)

- Rainy Days (Tom Castagnaro)

- The Ribtones (Freddy Toscano)

- The Trolls (Marcel Thomspen)





Genre: psych

Rating: **** (4 stars)

Title:  Mr. Flood's Party

Company: Cotillion

Catalog: SD-9003

Year: 1969

Country/State: --

Grade (cover/record): VG+/VG+

Comments: minor ring, edge and corner wear; inckudes insert

Available: 1

Catalog ID: --

Price: $50.00

Cost: $66.00


Calling New York's Greenwich Village home, singer Michael Corbett, singer/guitarist Jay Hirsh and rhythm guitarist Freddy Toscano started their collaboration as The Fourth Dimension (the name made sense for a trio).  Spotted by Columbia Records, they released a pleasant pair of pop-psych singles to little notice and few sales.



- 1966's 'Rainy Day' b/w 'Land of Make Believe' (Columbia catalog number 4-43778)

- 1966's 'Mister Blair' b/w 'You're My Unhappiness' (Columbia catalog number 4-43931)





Following popular musical trends, by1969 the trio had expanded to a six piece under the cool name Mr. Flood's Party. Wonder if it was inspired by Edwin Arlington Robinson's famed poem?  Joining the original trio were drummer Tom Castagnaro, guitarist Rick Mirage (aka Rick Kunstler) and bassist Marcel Thomspen.  Picked up by Atlantic's newly formed Cotillion subsidiary they made their label debut with a surprisingly commercial  single.  Well let me qualify that.  The song showcased a touching country-rock ballad with a nice melody and sweet harmony vocals that should have captured FM radio's heart.





- 1969's 'Alice was a Dream'  b/w 'Deja Vu' (Cottillion catalog number 45-44017)






While the single did little commercially Cotillion went ahead and released an album.  Co-produced by Corbett, Hirsh and Toscano "Mr. Flood's Party" featured a collection of nine band originals that mixed commercial pop with lite-psych influences and some modest progressive moves. With five of the six members contributing material (Hirsh and Corbett responsible for the bulk of the set), selections such as the opener 'Northern Travel', the 45 "B" side 'Deja Vu' and 'Advice' sounded like a stoned version of The Association suffering from a J.R. Tolken fixation.  If you doubt the analogy I suggest you check out Garden of the Queen' or 'Simon J. Stone'.  In hindsight that description may not sound too attractive ... which isn't fair since the album was actually pretty entertaining.  Corbett, Hirsh and Toscano were all listed as singers, but I think Hirsh handled most of the vocal duties and he was enjoyable with a voice that was commercial, yet powerful.  The album was full of pretty melodies (the Harry Nilsson-esque 'Stanley's Tea'), nice harmonies and unorthodox song structures, highlights include the blazing rocker 'The Liquid Invasion' and the lysergic-soaked closer 'The Mind Circus'. Shame the debut single 'Alice was a Dream' wasn't included since it was a killer track.  All told it was impressive for a band that probably didn't get a lot of time to record an album.  Shame they never got a chance at a follow-up. Not a big surprise, the set vanished without a trace followed in short order by the band. 


Posting on the Ill Folks blog, guitarist Rick Mirage may have said it best: "Wow, I thought none cared.  I am Rick Mirage, see the back cover. We took that picture on Long Island when it was about 3 degrees. Steve Paley was the photographer. It was a great band ... didn't have enough time to develop."

"Mr. Floods Party" track listing:
(side 1)

1.) Northern Travel (Jay Hirsh - Michael Corbett) - 6:29 rating: **** stars

A surprise to my ears, Rick Mirage's opening lead guitar gave 'Northern Travel' a smooth, jazzy vibe.  The sweet vocals and harmonies only underscored the song's charms.  The arrangement toughed up as it went along, as did Mirage's guitar work, before it started to lose its way, Still, I could deal with the Corbett flute solo and the drunken sing-along segment since the jazzy vibe returned at the end. Awesome start.
2.) Deja Vu (Jay Hersh - R. Amerling) - 4:55
rating: **** stars

Starting out as a slightly discordant acoustic ballad - just Hersh accompanied by guitar and harmonica, the refrain exploded into a slice of catchy Rascals-styled blue-eyed soul. Totally weird and totally cool.  The song had previously appeared as the "B" side to their 'Alice was a Dream' single.
3.) Advice (Freddy Toscano) - 3:06
rating: **** stars

Opening up with a 'Eleanor Rigby' styled- Baroque string arrangement, 'Advice' blossomed into an Association-styled ballad rounded out by some cutting Rick Mirage lead guitar.  Bet The Association wish they'd cut something this good.
4.) Prince of Darkness (Jay Hirsh - Freddy Toscano) - 3:55
  rating: *** stars

Can't say the pop-meets-fantasy 'Prince of Darkness' was one of the album's standout performances. Say what you will about guitarist Toscano, but to my ears he squeezed some of the most psychedelic sounds imaginable out of his axe.  Extra star for his work on this one.
5.) Simon J. Stone (Jay Hirsh) - 2:30
rating: **** stars

Twee pop?  Baroque-pop? psych-light?  I'm not sure what the proper label is for 'Simon J. Stone.'  Almost an a capella performance, it was a great platform for showcasing Hirsh's attractive voice and the band's nice harmony vocal.  Like the band name the lyric also seems to tie back to poet and his depressing commentary on longevity.  If you've ever read "Mr. Flood's Party" you may recognize the song's reference to Tilbury Town as the local Mr. Flood lived his long and lonely life.

(side 2)

1.) Stanley's Tea (Jay Hirsh - Marcel Thompsen) - 2:09  rating: *** stars

With an old-timey feel, 'Stanley's Tea' reminded me a bit of an early Harry Nilsson tune. I like early Nilsson so I was okay with this one, though I can see some folks considering it to be too fey for the band's own good.
2.) The Liquid Invasion (Jay Hirsh) - 4:09
rating: **** stars

Opening up with a classical string arrangement I was wondering what was going on and abruptly the tune shifted into full-on screaming rock tune ...  Complete with frenetic Tom Castagnaro drums, Mirage's soaring lead guitar and a backing chorus where did this one come from?
3.) Garden of the Queen (Jay Hirsh - Michael Corbett) - 3:39
rating: **** stars

Perhaps the album's prettiest melody, 'Garden of the Queen' was another delicate, acid-tinged ballad.  Deep breathing, touchy-feely lyrics, lots of orchestration ...  fun song to hear on good headphones.
4.) The Mind Circus (Jay Hirsh - G. Raines) - 6:50
rating: **** stars

My favorite song, 'The Mind Circus' started out sounding like a conventional pop ballad  along the lines of Paul Revere and the Raiders, or solo Mark Lindsey.  And then someone spiked the water cooler.  By the time you got to the three-minute mark things were getting a little antsy.  By the four-minute mark Marcel Thomspen had decided he was going to showcase his bass talents, regardless of what the rest of the band thought. And then things went really crazy ...  What an awesome way to end the album.





After the band break-up Hirsh and Corbett continued their musical collaboration releasing a 1971 album 

"Mike Corbett & Jay Hirsh with Hugh McCrackin" (ATCO catalog number SD-33-361)







Toscano reappeared with an even harder to find set billed to Frogs for Everybody ("Frogs For Everybody" Lilly Pad catalog number LP-68)







Credited to "Mr. Flood's Party" there's also a 1971 single on the small Detroit GM label.  Be warned in spite of what you may see online,I'm pretty sure it's not the same band, rather a decent soul band.


- 1971's Compared To What' b/w 'Unbreakable Toy' (GM catalog number 714)