Al Simones


Band members                             Related acts

  line up 1 (1992-2018)

- Al SImones (RIP 2018) -- vocals

 

  supporting musicians (1992)

- Chris Bell -- bass

- Doug Riley -- drums, percussion

 

 

 

 

- none known

 

 

 


 

Genre: psych

Rating: 3 stars ***

Title:  Corridor of Dreams

Company: Peyote

Catalog: 9204X51
Year:
 1993

Country/State: Cuyahoga Falls, Ohio

Grade (cover/record): VG+/VG+

Comments: reissue

Available: 1

Catalog ID: --

Price: $40.00

 

Geez, how do you begin to describe this private press?  Jimi Hendrix-styled psychedelic artifact twisted sideways and washed in a tub of lysergic drenched detergent?  

 

The late singer/guitarist Al Simones' debut album, "Corridor of Dreams" really has to be heard to be believed.  I'm not going to tell you it is a masterpiece, because it's homegrown, low-fi roots and minimal recording budget clearly impact the overall sound.  Moreover, musically Simones was a one-tick-pony.  His talent and affection rested in playing Hendrix-inspired, psychedelic electric guitar.  Fuzz, wah-wah pedals and lots of lysergic-drenched studio effects were the name of the game here - song after song.  And while I'm a fan of this musical niche, I have to tell you that stretched over an entire album, the pleasures started to wear out.  Still, the album has plenty of merits, including the fact it's basically a one-man project partially recorded in an apartment he was renting with his then-wife and partially in a farmhouse he bought (Electric Cornfield Studios).   With the exception of an improvised jam 'Purple Jam', Simones wrote all the material, handled all the vocals, handled all the instrumentation, designed the cover, and produced the collection.  If there's a theme, based on song titles like 'Peakin'', 'Colors', 'Purple Jam' and 'Sinsemilla Morning' it's heavily focused on getting stoned.  Probably not the best life goal to have, but then that's just my opinion.

 

"Corridor of Dreams" track listing:
(side 1)

1.) Peakin' (instrumental)   (Al Simones) - 2:32   rating: **** stars

Exploding with fuzz guitar, stoned sound effects, channel-to-channel fading, and gawd only knows what else, the opening instrumental 'Peakin'' was so over-the-top psychedelic  you simply had to smile.  Here's how Simones described the tune: "Among friends Iíd known in the 1970s here in Ohio..ĒpeakinĒ was the word used to describe the ďapexĒ of the psilocybin mushroom experience. I thought if one could capture that feeling in sound.. it might sound like this track."

2.) Colors   (Al Simones) - 5:05   rating: **** stars

Opening up with the instantly recognizable lyrics and melody from the Mr Ed Theme (courtesy of Ray Evans and Jay Livingston), 'Colors' abruptly went into full tilt lysergic meltdown, complete with backward tapes.  If you survived the bizarre introduction the rest of the song revealed itself to be a surprisingly tuneful ballad with plenty of Simones' patented fuzz guitar and some heavily treated vocals.  " A virgin mind about to embark on a psychedelic maiden voyage."

3.) Look At Life   (Al Simones) - 7:38   rating: *** stars

Sounding like it had been recorded on a tape console as it was melting, 'Look At Life' was another surprising tuneful ballad that served as a platform for showcasing Simone' Hendrix infatuation.  I'm saying that in a nice way.  This wasn't just mindless immitation, rather someone who truly loved Hendrix's sound and wanted to add his personal stamp to the genre.  Not sure what all the sound effects were about (whispering voices, barking dogs, clocks, dripping water, orgasmic women ...), but it was fun to listen to on a good pair of headphones. "Thoughts and considerations in regards to our human existence."

4.) Purple Jam (instrumental)   (Chris Bell - Doug Rilley - Al SImones) - 4:05   rating: ** stars

The lone writing collaboration (with bassist Chris Bell and drummer Doug Riley), the album liner notes describe 'Purple Jam' as having been recorded during an improvised jam session.  Yeap, that's an apt description of this one.  Lots of Hendrix styled guitar, but nothing particularly original, or engaging.  "This was an out-take of one of the early jam sessions held in my first house after moving out of an apartment. Quite flawed, but it has a few moments."

5.) Shot Down   (Al Simones) - 4:40   rating: ** stars

'Shot Down' was one of the album's more tuneful performances, but the treated "vocals" (sounding like they been recorded at the bottom of a well), didn't do it any favors.  Doug Riley provided drums.  "Every once in a while we find ourselves at a point when things are going pretty good in life. Sadly, there are those, for whatever reason, who want bring you down. In some cases it was somebody whom you had mistaken for a friend."

 

(side 2)
1.) Wizard of Time
   (Al Simones) - 11:02   rating: *** stars

Perhaps the album's "heaviest' song, 'Wizard of Time' found Simones getting more daring and creative with his tape machine - bird sound effects; backward tapes and some Robin Trower styled thick chords.  Once again the treated vocals were just plain irritating and hearing the channel-to-channel fading over eleven minutes wasn't all that necessary.  "A sonic adventure through time and space.. via by chance meeting with a supernatural being who has great wisdom and insight to offer for a more than willing adventurous apprentice."

2.) Sinsemilla Morning (instrumental)   (Al Simones) - 3:22   rating: *** stars

Even without knowing the song title there's a pretty good chance most folks would figure out the underlying inspiration.  I will say the song sported one of the album's prettier melodies.  "With fresh seedless bud on hand, and the place to myself on a beautiful sunny Sunday morning ... the proper state of mind was achieved. With guitar in hand and fresh tape on the recorder, this was the spontaneous result. It was conceived, recorded and mixed the same day ... and of course appropriately titled."  

3.) Fantasy Girl   (Al Simones) - 7:57   rating: *** stars

Quite unlike the rest of the album, 'Fantasy Girl' was a relative straightforward tune; melodic and almost commercial.  I'm guessing it was a reflection on marriage and parenthood.  "An expression of the joy of being in love, and appreciating oneís good fortune."

 

 

Fascinating character and prior to his passing in October, 2018 Klemen Breznikar interviewed him for the Dutch  It's Psychedelic Baby magazine and website undertook an extensive interview with S mones.  You can find it here: https://www.psychedelicbabymag.com/2015/10/al-simones-interview.html 

 

During the interview, when asked about the "Corridor of Dreams" album, here's what Simones had to say: "I havenít used that term [concept album] to describe it previously, but I would agree with such an assessment. My previous answer is pretty much in line with that view as well. In fact think that many of the insights, and perceptions brought on during a psychedelic experience could be described as conceptual if an attempt to describe, or understand them was made in the usual state of consciousness. Itís my view that the album isnít really something you find yourself whistling the melodies from.. while youíre at your job making toothpicks out of logs. It certainly hasnít conformed to a standard formula. I think a professional music producer would think of it as a train wreck. I understand that the unusual structure and lack of hooks, or choruses would likely alienate the average music listener.. but then I guess this music isnít intended for the average listener. While I do very much like nicely arranged catchy rock songs.. I think that spiritually it keeps the listener earthbound, which is just fine. When recording this music however, I hoped to allow the listener to escape, and explore other dimensions."

 

The album's been released several times, including

 

- 1992 Purple Phrogg Records (catalog number P.G. 01) 300 copies

- 1993 Peyote Records (catalog number 9204X51) 1,000 copies

- 2017 Krauted Minds Records (catalog number KMR 033/1LP) unknown pressing size

 

 

 

 

 

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