The Terminal Barbershop

Band members                             Related acts

  line up 1  (1969)

- Sam Brown - acoustic guitar

- Ralph Casals -- guitar

- Wyatt Day -- guitar, keyboards, vocals

- Joe Farrell -- sax, oboe, flute

- Joe Hunt -- drums, percussion

- Dick Hurwitz -- trumpet

- Jimmy Owens -- trumpet flugelhorn

- Jon Pierson -- trombone

- Jonathan Raskin -- bass

- Pat Rebillot -- keyboards

- Bob Northern -- French horn

- Eric Wesiberg -- guitar

- The Wondrous Joy Clouds -- vocals




ARS Nova



Genre: horn-rock

Rating: 1 star *

Title:  Hair Styles

Company: ATCO

Catalog:  SD 33-301

Country/State: New York, New York

Grade (cover/record): VG+/VG+

Comments: still in shrink wrap (opened)

Available: 1

Catalog ID: 3515

Price: $30.00

This one caught my attention when someone sent me an email describing it as the third ARS Nova LP.  


I guess there's a certain degree of truth in that comparison.   Guitarist Sam Brow, rhythm guitarist Wyatt Day, drummer Joe Hunt, trumpet player Jimmy Owens, trombone player John Pierson, and bassist Jonathan Raskin had all been members of ARS Nova.  But that's about where the comparison ends.


So here's what the album liner notes have to say: 


""Hair" is the biggest hit Broadway musical since "The Sound of Music": almost ten years ago  Today, more than a year since "Hair" opened on Broadway in April, 1968, it is a nightly sellout in New York Los Angeles, London, West Germany, and Scandinavia.  According to Time Magazine, "Hair" is the "My Fair Lady" on the "now generation".


The success of "Hair" as a show is only part of the story; the score of "Hair" has given rise to four hits songs, Aquarius, Let the Sunshine In, Hair, and Good Morning Starshine.  More than half of the 28 tunes in the show have been recorded and the original Broadway cast LP has earned a gold record for sales over $1,000,0000.  Even the London cast album (on ATCO Records) has become a strong seller in the U.S.


With all the recording activity on the "Hair" score it might seem difficult for a new group to come through with a "Hair" LP that is both fresh and meaningful.  But The Terminal Barbershop, a well known and tremendously talented group of musicians with a new name, have done it.  Their versions of Let the Sunshine In, Hair, Aquarius, and other catchy tunes from the melodic score are lively, exciting and tasteful.  Some of the songs are performed as straight instrumentals, others with vocals by The Wonderous Joy Clouds., but either way they're superb.  If you've never heard the music from "Hair" (as unlikely as that is), you'll thoroughly enjoy this album.  If you are already a devoted "Hair" fan, you'll dig these fresh "Hair Styles" by The Terminal Barbershop."


Strip away the flowery marketing commentary and the description was actually fairly apt.  Produced by Arthur Gorson, the album featured a largely instrumental collection of songs pulled from the "Hair" soundtrack.  The only non-instrumental was the closing 'Let the Sunshine In' refrain.  Courtesy of Wyatt Day and Jon Pierson, most of the tracks were given a light classical feel that occasionally recalled the first ARS Nova album, but abandoned folk and psych touches in favor of MOR moves like the Baja Marimba Band-styled 'Good Morning Starshine'.  Even in the flood of "Hair" related albums, this one's an oddball release.   Anyone who has ever heard the first two ARS Nova LPs knows these guys had some chops, but slogging through this one you were left to wonder why anyone bothered with all the effort.   Only the most hardcore ARS Nova fans need bother.


"Hair Styles" track listing:
(side 1)

1.) Let The Sunshine In (instrumental)   (James Rado - Gerome Ragni - Galt McDorment) - 3:38   rating: ** stars

Given a MOR-ish classical arrangement (with plenty of Joe Farrell oboe), their remake of 'Let the Sunshine In' was pretty, but probably more appropriate for a dental office waiting room than FM radio.

2.) Air (instrumental)   (James Rado - Gerome Ragni - Galt McDorment) - 3:01   rating: ** stars

Highlighting the group's horn section, the instrumental 'Air' featured kind of throwaway hoe down flavor.

3.) Easy To Be Hard (instrumental)   (James Rado - Gerome Ragni - Galt McDorment) - 3:48   rating: ** stars

Imagine 'Easy To Be Hard' redone as 'Elenore Rigby' and you'll have a feel for this one.

4.) Where Do I Go (instrumental)   (James Rado - Gerome Ragni - Galt McDorment) - 3:25   rating: ** stars

The liner notes indicated the songs had been recorded live and that might well be the case given the discordant sounding horn powered 'Where Do I Go'.    Yech.

5.) Good Morning Starshine (instrumental)   (James Rado - Gerome Ragni - Galt McDorment) - 2:38  rating: * star

I have to admit I didn't remember 'Good Morning Starshine' was a "Hair" related tune.  If you're old enough to remember, them the horn powered arrangement sounded like something the Baja Marimba Band might have recorded.

6.) Intermission (instrumental)   (James Rado - Gerome Ragni - Galt McDorment) - 2:00  rating: * star

Mindless conversational clips - your hair is too long and looks sloppy ...  


(side 2)

1.) Aquarus (instrumental)   (James Rado - Gerome Ragni - Galt McDorment) - 3:10   rating: ** stars

Well, at least it was better than The 5th Dimension version and was fairly brief.

2.) Hair (instrumental)   (James Rado - Gerome Ragni - Galt McDorment) - 2:11  rating: ** stars

Powered by Joe Farrell's sax, this may be the fullest version of 'Hair' you'll ever hear.   

3.) Walking In Space (instrumental)   (James Rado - Gerome Ragni - Galt McDorment) - 3;29  rating: ** stars

If I had to pick an album highlight, I guess I'd go with 'Walking In Space'.  Not that it was particularly impressive, rather the horn powered melody was okay and it wasn't as well known as most of the other tunes.

4.) Frank Mills (instrumental)   (James Rado - Gerome Ragni - Galt McDorment) - 2:17  rating: * star

Easy listening schmaltz ...

5.) Let the Sunshine In   (James Rado - Gerome Ragni - Galt McDorment) - 2:05   rating: * star

The album's lone vocal performance with The Wonderous Joy Clouds basically beating the title into aural dust.   Make it stop.