Endle St. Cloud

Band members                             Related acts

  line up 1  (1968-70)

- Peter Black -- guitar

- Alan Mellinger (aka Andrew Mellinger) -- bass

- David Frederick Potter -- drums, percussion

- Endle St. Cloud  -- vocals, keyboards




- The East Side Kids (David Potter)

- Euphoria

- The Iguanas (Alan Mellinger)

- Lost and Found (Peter Black and James Harrell))

- Potter - St. Cloud




Genre: rock

Rating: 3 stars ***

Title:  Thank You All Very Much

Company: Decal

Catalog:  LIK 34

Country/State: Houston, Texas

Grade (cover/record): VG+/VG+

Comments: English reissue

Available: 1

Catalog ID: 3095

Price: $20.00

Maybe it's the cynic in me, but any time I read a description such as "this highly-regarded psych classic ..." alarm bells go off.  And as it turns out, those alarms were well placed with respect to "Thank You All Very Much".  


Houston's Endle St. Cloud In the Rain (quickly abbreviated to Endle St. Cloud), came together in 1968.  In addition to keyboardist St Cloud, the band included former Lost and Found guitarist Peter Black, East Side Kids drummer David Potter, and former Iguanas bassist Alan Mellinder.


Signed by International Artists (which had been the home of The Lost and Found), the band debuted with a promotional single under their original Endel St. Cloud In the Rain nameplate.  I've never managed to figure out if their name was "Endle", or "Endel" as reflected on the 45 label.  I'm guessing the label was a typo:



1969's 'Tell Me One More Time' b/w 'Quest for Beauty' (International Artists catalog number IA-129)   


Shame it was only released as a promotion 45 since it was the best thing they ever recorded.  Always wondered why the track wasn't included on their album ....




The debut single generated little attention, but was followed by a second single credited to Endle:

- 1969's 'She Wears It Like a Badge' b/w 'Laughter' (International Artists catalog number IA 139)


While the single did little commercially, International Artists went forward with an album.   Produced by Fred Carroll, anyone expecting to hear a typical International Artists collection featuring fly-your-freak-flag hard rock and psych moves, was going to be massively disappointed.  What you got here was one of the most schizophrenic album's in my collection.  Exemplified by material like 'Piano a Tempo', 'Piano scherzo', and 'Piano tranquillo', namesake St. Cloud's solo contributions were characterized by a seemingly  endless series of brief keyboard segments.  In between the keyboard segments were equally irritating songs like the jugband-ish 'Who Would You Like To Be Today',  the '50s-influenced 'This Is Love', and the old-timey 'Jessica'.  The  album highlights came in the form of St. Cloud's collaborations with drummer Porter; notably the previously issued single (re-titled 'Like a Badge) and the mid-tempo rocker 'Street Corner Preacher' (which has always reminded me of Bryan Ferry).  Even better were Black's two fuzz-drenched rockers 'Laughter' and 'Come Through'.


"Thank You All Very Much" track listing:
(side 1)

1.a.) Piano a Tempo (instrumental) - 0:21   rating: * star

Not exactly the most compelling opener I've ever heard - basically St. Cloud shrieking in a mock "be saved" advertisement.  Thankfully it was brief.

   b.) Street Corner Preacher   (David Porter - Endle St. Cloud) - 4:42   rating: **** stars

For years every time I heard 'Street Corner Preacher' it reminded me of another act, but I could never put my finger on the comparison.  And then early one Sunday morning it struck me - imagine Roxy Music's Bryan Ferry fronting a Texas psych band.  Seriously, St. cloud's arch, measured vocals (with just a hint of warble), reminded me of Ferry.  Strange, mid-tempo rocker that actually morphed into an interesting composition.  Not a great tune, but Black's crunching fuzz solos and Potter's strong drumming were deserving of another star.

2 a.) Piano scherzo (instrumental) - 0:40   rating: * star

Goofy, spoken word segment ... meant to be funny?  It wasn't.

   b.) Who Would You Like To Be Today   (David Porter - Endle St. Cloud) - 2:36   rating: * star

Throwaway jug band number that would have embarrassed any self-respecting '60s band.

3 a.) Piano tranquillo (instrumental) - 0:30   rating: * star

Monty Python meets the love generation ...

   b.) This Is Love - 3:54   (David Porter - Endle St. Cloud)   rating: *** stars

Geez, for a minute I thought I'd mistakenly put a Donovan album on ...  Folk-psych ?  Not sure that's a musical genre, but an apt description for this oddball track.   St. Cloud really did sund like he was trying to channel Donovan.

4 a.) Piano alegretto (instrumental) - 0:16

zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz ...

   b.) Professor Black - 2:44   rating: *** stars

After the brief piano opening, 'Professor Black' started out with some blazing Peter Black fuzz guitar.  Nice enough rocker, but St. Cloud's arch, measured voice sounded like some Broadway actor trying to front a psych band.

   c.) Piano diminuerdo (instrumental)   (Harrell - Peter Black - Banks) - 0:21   rating: * star

I guess it was funny hearing St. Cloud yell at the listener to turn the record over.


(side 2)

1 a.) Piano Agitato (instrumental) - 0:33  rating: * star

Pretty piano tune with a spoken word narrative that went from crooning to screaming in 33 seconds.

   b.) Laughter   (Peter Black) - 3:27   rating: **** stars

'Laughter' was easily the album's most psych--oriented tune and found St. Cloud turning in his best vocal.  His normal, irritating camp delivery was dropped in favor of a more conventional delivery with suitably impressive results.   The song had previously appeared as the "B" side to their 1969 debut single. 
2 a.) Piano Adagio (instrumental) - 0:39
  rating: * star

By this point the keyboard openers were just irritating.  
    b.) Jessica   (David Porter - Endle St. Cloud) - 2:52
   rating: *** stars

Old timey, keyboard powered pop tune.  The most interesting things on this one were the band's unexpectedly sweet harmony vocals and Black's nice guitar solo.
4.) Piano Conbrio (instrumental) - 0:12

Literally a song snippet; St. Cloud yelling over his keyboards.  It sounds like something taped off a film soundtrack.
5.) Come Through   (Peter Black)  - 2:01  
rating: **** stars

Praise the lord for allowing Black to turn in another fuzz drenched rocker ...
6.) Piano Andante (instrumental) - 0:47
  rating: * star

Bluesy lounge act segment ...
7.) Like a Badge   (David Porter - Endle St. Cloud) - 3:43  
rating: **** stars

Previously released as their debut single (though with a slightly different title), 'Like a Badge' was easily the album's most conventional and enjoyable performance.  Nice melody and St. Cloud's vocals were stripped of their more irritating tendencies. 
8.) Piano Temeramente (instrumental) - 0:21
  rating: * star

Hey, let's end the album with a heartfelt thank you ...



For anyone keeping track, the album also served as International Artist's final studio collection.


SRB 01/2018