The Queen's Nectarine Machine

Band members                             Related acts

  line up 1 (1968-69)

- Jimmie Jersie -- vocals, percussion

- Joe Ribaudo (RIP) -- lead guitar

- Guy Rigano -- drums, percussion

- Drew Troeder -- vocals, bass





- The Del Aires (Jimmie Jersie)




Genre: psych

Rating: 2 stars **

Title:  The Mystical Powers of Roving Tarot Gamble

Company: ABC

Catalog: ABCS-666

Country/State: Garfield, New Jersey

Grade (cover/record): VG+/VG+

Comments: gatefold sleeve

Available: 1

Catalog ID: --

Price: $50.00


Based on Garfield, New Jersey, The Queen's Nectarine Machine were apparently a real life band featuring the talents of former Del-Aires singer Jimmie Jersie (great name for a New Jersey-based band), lead guitarist Joe Ribaudo, drummer Guy Rigano and bassist Drew Troeder.  For better or worse they somehow fell in with writers/producers/businessmen Jeff Katz and Jerry Kasenetz who signed them to their Super K production company and got the band signed to ABC Records.


With their eyes and ears always open to marketing trends, Katz and Kasenetz were responsible for the band name and image.  Working for Super K, former Flying Giraffe members and Steve Dworkin and Gary Willet served as co-producers, the band making their debut with 1968's "The Mystical Powers of Roving Tarot Gamble".  The band name, track listing and album packaging (check out the catalog number), were all clearly intended to market these guys as a psych band.  While tracks like 'The Seance', '4th Dimension' and 'Mysterious Martha Garoo' reflected some mild psychedelic influences, it was pretty obvious these guys were more of a pop and blue-eyed soul entity who'd sold their souls to Super K in the hopes of commercial success.  To be honest it was kind of hard to figure out what they were all about.  The vast majority of material was penned by producers Dworkin and Willet, frequently in collaboration with Katz and Kasenetz.  As you expected from any Katz-Kasenetz project, the goal here wasn't art, or creativity, rather commercial potential.  Along those lines the promotional single 'Gypsy Lady' was a conventional acoustic folk ballad.  Pretty, but not something a psych fan was going to appreciate.  'I Got Troubles (You Got Troubles)', 'The Book' and 'Mrs. Fortune Teller' were typical slices of Katz-Kasenetz pop sludge.  To my ears the best performances were probably the best reflections of their pre-Super K sound - the garage band 'Land of Krepus' and the power pop tune 'The Book'.  Is it an essential album?  Absolutely not.


"The Mystical Powers of Roving Tarot Gamble" track listing:
(side 1)

1.) Where Are We Goin' (M. Lane) - 2:18 rating: ** stars

Given the packaging, I really wasn't expecting to hear 'Where Are We Goin'' open the album with a weird mash-up of blues and Young Rascals-styled blued-eyed soul.  Well, it was bluesy in a bubblegum fashion.  Interesting the instrumentation was pretty crappy.  Your typical garage band sounded polished compared to this one.

2.) 4th Dimension (Steve Dworkin - Gary Willet - Jeff Katz - Jerry Kasenetz) - 2:49 rating: *** stars

Opening up with some discordant organ and Joe Ribaudo fuzz guitar, '4th Dimension' was more in keeping with my expectation - namely a goofy slice of pop-psych.  It was clearly meant to be dark and ominous, but it was simply hard not to smile hearing this one.  Ribaudo's guitar sounded like it had been recorded down at the bottom of a deep well.

3.) Gypsy Lady (Jeff Katz - Jerry Kasenetz - J. Palmes) - 2:34 

'Gypsy Lady' was a surprisingly mainstream, acoustic ballad.  Very pretty folk track and easy to see why ABC tapped it as a promotional single (though it sounded nothing like the rest of the album).





- 1969's 'Gypsy Lady' b/w 'I Got Troubles (You Got Troubles)' (ABC catalog number 11172)







4.) I Got Troubles (You Got Troubles) (Jeff Katz - Jerry Kasenetz - Jimmie Jersie - Joe Ribaudo) - 2:30 rating: * star 

The only track which the band contributed to writing (along with Katz and Kaenetz), 'I Got Troubles (You Got Troubles)' was also one of the album's worst performances.  Imagine an old timey song that might have appeared on a Spanky and Our Gang album.  Simply awful.

5.) The Seance (Jeff Katz - Jerry Kasenetz) - 5:21 rating: ** stars

Once again the echoy mix sounded like it had been recorded in a large empty gym, or a well.  The instrumentation was mildly psychedelic - you can imagine producers Dworkin and Willet telling them to play like the were stoned.  Jersie's spoken word lyrics were simply inane.  The evening news is far more frightening than this track.  The track did seem to go on forever and became increasing discordant ...


(side 2)
Mysterious Martha Garoo (Steve Dworkin - Gary Willet - Jeff Katz - Jerry Kasenetz) - 5:22  rating: *** stars

It wasn't a great performances, but ''Mysterious Martha' was the album's most successful mash-up of pop and psych influences. More pop than psych, but fun in a throwaway fashion and the tambourine was fun to hear.  The circus background sounds also sounded like the band had been listening to lots of The Beatles 'Being for the the Benefit of Mr. Kite'.

2.) The Book (F. Marcus) - 1:59 rating: **** stars

The album's most straight forward pop tune, 'The Book' was also the album's best performance.  No effort to bury their influences and the song also featured Ribaudo's best solos.  Shame they weren't allowed to record more stuff like this.

3.) Land of Krepus (Steve Dworkin - Gary Willet - Jeff Katz - Jerry Kasenetz) - 2:34  rating: *** stars

I'm guessing I'm not the only person who didn't know - a Krepus is a half-goat, half-demon monster that punishes misbehaving children at Christmastime. 'Land of Krepus' was another atypical performance; in this case a decent slice of raw garage rock.  Very mid-'60s vibe on this one.

4.) Mrs. Fortune Teller (Steve Dworkin - Gary Willet - Jeff Katz - Jerry Kasenetz) - 2:09 rating: * star

This was the album's scariest performance, simply because it was so bad.  Awful '50s influenced pop tune.

5.) Everybody's Got a Song to Sing (Steve Dworkin - Gary Willet - Jeff Katz - Jerry Kasenetz) - 2:12 rating: * star

Lets close the album with another throwaway, barely in-tune slice of MOR pop.  Come to think of it the piano really wasn't in tune.