David Stoughton

Band members                              Related acts

- David Stoughton -- vocals, guitar


  supporting musicians: (1968)

- Peter Chapman -- horns 

- Devi Klate -- vocals 

- Joe Livols -- drums, percussion

- Mal Mackenzie -- bass 

- John Nicholls -- vocals 

- Steve Tanzer -- flute, piccolo 




- none known




Genre: experimental

Rating: *** (3 stars)

Title:  Transformer

Company: Elektra

Catalog: EKS-74034

Year: 1968

Country/State: US

Grade (cover/record): VG+/VG+

Comments: minor ring wear; original inner sleeve; minor hissing in spots


Catalog ID: 4103

Price: $45.00


Over the years I've owned five copies of this album.  Each time around I've bounced between over-the-top enthusiasm for it's eccentric characteristics, to thinking it's just plain weird and promptly putting it up for sale (it always sells).  So here's round six ...


Geez, as mentioned, virtually every aspect of this LP is bizarre ...  First off you're left to wonder if this is a band named Transformer, or it's an LP by David Stoughton that happens to be entitled 'Transformer'.  Beats me and I've seen it listed both ways in different references ... 

So what can I tell you about this 1968 oddity?   "Transformer" seems to have been the brainchild of singer/guitarist Stoughton. There's an online reference that says he was a member of The Cambridge Electric Opera Co.  I looked and have no idea what that creature was.   In addition to writing all of the material, he was credited as producer, provided lead guitar, and handled the majority of vocals on the second side of the LP.  In addition to Stoughton the line-up included two other vocalists in Devi Klate and John Nicholls (be warned, at least to my ears, both were better singers than Stoughton).  Musically the set was exceptionally strange.  Starting out with 'The Sun Comes Up Each Day' and 'Evening Song' you were left with the opening impression this was going to be a set of mildly pleasant folk-rock bolstered by horns and woodwinds.  Luckily, tracks such as '
Saving for a Rainy Day' and the hazy 'The Summer Has No Breeze' sported some interesting psych touches.  Elsewhere things turned quite odd with the 8 minute long 'The Anecdote of Horatio & Julie' and the 10 minute 'I Don't Know If It's You'.   Recall The Beatles' '# 9' and you'll be in the right aural realm.  Certainly not for everyone, but would be fascinating to see someone put it on at a cocktail party.





One of the rarer releases on Elektra.  Other than in the discography section, Stoughton wasn't even mentioned in Jac Holzman's book on Elektra Records.. I don't think this one's ever see a reissue on CD and I wouldn't hold my breath waiting for a reissue.




"Transformer" track listing:

(side 1)

1.) The Sun Comes Up Each Day   (David Stoughton) - 3:59    rating: *** stars

'The Sun Comes Up Each Day' started the album off with a pretty slice of baroque-influenced folk-rock ...  It's always reminded me a bit of ARS Nova.  Yeah, the lyrics and the vocals were a bit on the fey side (you can just picture English majors scribbling them into notebooks for future reference), but the melody was quite attractive and there's something unique about the way horns were recorded on these mid-1960s albums.  Gawd only knows why, but Elektra released the song as a single:




- 1968's 'The Sun Comes Up Each Day' b/w 'Evening Sun' (Elektra catalog number EK-45651-A/B). 






2.) The Summer Has No Breeze   (David Stoughton) - 5:10   rating: ** stars

Devi Klate handled lead vocals on the jazz-tinged 'The Summer Has No Breeze'.  Even though the flute arrangement drove me bonkers (the extended trumpet solo was even worse), Klate had one of those little girl Lolitta voices that was quite sexy and managed to salvage the first half of the track.  Unfortunately the flute and horns went discordant throughout the middle section of the song.

3.) The Anecdote of Horatio & Julie   (David Stoughton) - 8:00    rating: ** stars

If you want to be positive and generous, you'd consider 'The Anecdote of Horatio & Julie' to be ground breaking experimentation that was way ahead of its time.  I'm generally negative and selfish, so I'll tell you this eight plus minute sound collage was very experimental and very ground breaking and basically unlistenable. Nonsensical vocal segments surrounded by an irritating array of sound bites and studio effects didn't make for a pleasant listening experience.  Seriously, anyone who managed to sit through this one was liable to agree with the lyric "Horatio I'm so bored I could throw myself out a window ..."   On the other hand, who needs water-boarding when you could have used this track as a far more effective interrogation technique.   I can only guess that abundant quantities of mind altering substances may have made it slightly more enjoyable.    

(side 2)

1.) Saving for a Rainy Day   (David Stoughton) - 4:51   rating: *** stars

With some chunky electric guitar and all-over-the place drumming from Joe Livols, the antsy 'Saving for a Rainy Day' sounded like a modern rock band trying to sound retro ...  that probably made very little sense, but this one just didn't have the feel of a mid-1960s release. 

2.) Evening Song   (David Stoughton) - 4:25      rating: ** stars

With Klate again handling lead vocals, 'Evening Song' was the collection's most folky track .  Pretty with some very nice acoustic guitar work at the end, but ultimately not very memorable.   

3.) I Don't Know It's You   (David Stoughton) - 10:00    rating: ** stars

Clocking in at ten minutes, 'I Don't Know It's You' brought everything into the mix - baroque folk-rock, jazz, and experimental sound collages.  The introductory and closing sections were quite tuneful and enjoyable, but that left the nine minutes of  experimentation in the middle.