Friday, July 3, 2020

Bobb Trimble - Life Beyond The Doghouse (rec. 1983/86)

Bobb Trimble - Life Beyond The Doghouse

featuring The Violent Reactions and The Crippled Dog Band
Recorded: 1983 & 1986 // Released: 2002 Orpheus Records ORPH005
~ThePoodleBites rip in 96kHz / 24 bit FLAC + full high-res scans~

In 1982, with two totally unrecognized psychedelic masterpieces under his belt, and after his previous "Kidds" band had been dismantled by suspicious parents, 24-year-old Bobb Trimble decided to join up with some marginally older junior-high students to form The Crippled Dog Band, apparently a name inspired by a local 3-legged dog they lovingly called Boopsie. The band made an album's worth of recordings but soon fell apart, and in 1984, deciding it was best to just forget the whole thing, Bobb disposed of an entire 500 pressing run he had made of Crippled Dog LPs into a dumpster. Fast forward twenty years and Bobb is an underground indie psych legend, and with a reissue extant of his first two records' material on Parallel World, Bobb decided it was time to let some unreleased material out of the vaults. Thus Life Beyond The Doghouse was born, released on the Danish label Orpheus Records in 2002. 


The change of band also corresponded to a change of sound, and while these recordings are still unquestionably in Bobb's unique style, they feature more influences from the '80s "new wave" of rock 'n' roll than from the introspective psychedelia which this reviewer prefers. Others' opinions may differ; Bobb himself apparently called the group's style "high-energy psychedelia... a cerebral kind of band." There are definitely a few tracks which shine, and one ("Deep Inside My Heart") that could've even fit in on Harvest Of Dreams, but there are also some songs which I'll probably have no desire to hear again. The decent "Blood Of The Lamb" (featuring The Violent Reactions) shows Bobb revealing some newfound Christian influences, and has a fuzzy overdub which sounds experimental enough to be inviting. The three central tracks on the B-side are entertaining, with phased guitars and sound effects such as shrieks, claps, trains, and talking, and all appear to be studio tracks with enough reverb added on the (modern) mix that they sound like they're live in a small auditorium.

Bobb Trimble & The Crippled Dog Band
The pressing leaves some sound quality to be desired; while actually surprisingly quiet, it has some issue similar to other modern pressings where natural musical sibilances are heavily distorted. "Camel Song," in fact, is so distorted that it is barely listenable. These distortions are on the vinyl itself and are not from my transfer.

Overall I'd say this feels like a nice collection of demos/outtakes for Bobb enthusaists that is pretty much non-essential for anyone who isn't already in love with his two real gems, Harvest Of Dreams and Iron Curtain Innocence. For those who like the Crippled Dog Band material, another album exists (and can be easily found on LP or CD) simply called The Crippled Dog Band, featuring more of the band's original 1983/84 recordings.

Bobb & Boopsie
Track Listing:
1) "Deep Inside My Heart" - 3:20
2) "Home In Heaven" - 2:51
3) "Shattered Images" - 5:16
4) "Blood Of The Lamb" - 8:36
5) "Undercover Man" - 4:00
6) "Angel Eyes" - 3:03
7) "Legends From The Past / Warpath Blues / Fight Or Fall" - 6:50
8) "Generation Gap / Live Wire" - 5:51
9) "Camel Song" - 3:06

Track 1-3 Bobb Trimble solo
Track 4 with The Violent Reactions
Track 5-9 with The Crippled Dog Band

Vinyl Condition: M
Dynamic Range: DR 12

Equipment Lineage:
– Audio-Technica VMN40ML stylus on AT150MLx dual moving-magnet cartridge
– Audio-Technica AT-LP1240-USB direct drive professional turntable (internal stock preamp/ADC removed)
– TCC TC-754 RIAA phono preamp (new regulated power supply, added LM7812 regulator)
– Focusrite Scarlett 6i6 MkII (96kHz / 24bit)
– Adobe Audition CC 2020 (recording)
– iZotope RX 7 audio editor (manual declicking, EQ subtraction, additional adjustments)
– Audacity 2.3.3 (fades between tracks, split tracks)
– Foobar2000 v1.5.1 (tagging, dynamic range analysis)


Thanks for taking the time to read my posts and check out my blog. I'd greatly appreciate it if you leave a small comment below. Notes from my readers are what inspire me to keep going. Thanks!
Google Drive: https://drive.google.com/drive/folders/1nplnv1kAzXeSlYVzIFLlMvJC3A94TR1q?usp=sharing
Enjoy! :)

Monday, June 22, 2020

Bobb Trimble - Harvest Of Dreams (1982) [US Original Private Press]

Bobb Trimble - Harvest Of Dreams

Original 1982 USA Private Pressing
~ThePoodleBites rip in 96kHz / 24bit FLAC + full high-res scans!~

"I will make the bold claim that Bobb Trimble's two albums are the best self-released albums of not just the '80s, and not just the psych genre, but possibly in all of rock."  ~Aaron Milenski

"Rated by most as the best psych LP of the 1980s. One of those obscurities (like Golden Dawn) that blows even non-psych fans away... an essential experience."  ~Patrick Lundborg


I'm quite excited to present a restoration & transfer of this phenomenal album for the first time ever in high-resolution sound. Much has been said about this now-classic psychedelic fantasia, but its brilliance as not just an album but a complete work of art cannot be overstated. No reissue has ever correctly and fully replicated the original LP, but now it is available for all here. Below I also share the differences between the original mix presented here and all reissues, answering once and for all the various questions of a remix which have circulated over the years. If you've never heard of this album before, take some time to check this rip out: this one comes as a high recommendation! 


While Harvest is actually Worcester, Massachusetts-native Bobb Trimble's second LP, it is definitely his premier moment. The album is so richly constructed with musical ideas that one is guaranteed to require multiple listens to fully appreciate its grandeur as a musical statement. It is immensely surprising that such an incredible psychedelic masterwork was created in the early 1980s, yet don't be fooled: this is no neo-psych teen sell-out as is so common today. No, Bobb was a real small-town musician who crafted his intensely personal songs into multilayered acid dreams without ever sounding out-of-place with the moods of the late 1960s.

But strangely enough, Bobb's music also easily sounds 15-20 years ahead of its time, and that's no exaggeration; to the correct ear, one perhaps hears here the birthplace of indie rock. In his review, AllMusic critic Stewart Mason even compares Harvest Of Dreams to the infamous Neutral Milk Hotel In The Aeroplane Over The Sea, yet simultaneously Bobb's complex melodies, seamlessly woven overdubs, and talent for intricate lyrical mystery far outpaces any recording Jeff Mangum ever dreamed of. Even the cover artwork – a stark, blurry, black-and-white image of Bobb and a bandmate studying an unfortunate goat sporting a unicorn horn glued to its head – makes one wonder if this Bobb Trimble is walking the thin line of genius and insanity or has perhaps tumbled onto the wrong side.

One listen to this album and the answer is obvious. This album is totally unique for its time; dreamy compositions interwoven between moments of folk, avant-garde, and punk that seem to form complex pieces of some giant puzzle. Since he was not internationally popular at the time of this micro-release (supposedly only 300 copies were pressed), Bobb has been called an "outsider" musician by those who have no idea what the term means, and that label is preposterous. Bobb's music is more like what one could've expected from an uninhibited Pet Sounds-era Brian Wilson in the early 1980s, laced in pot smoke, confusion, and soul-searching despair, but presented in music which is totally beautiful in content and design, somehow crafting an uplifitng yet exhausting experience.

Though this album is definitely best appreciated as a whole, my favorite moments are probably the first "Premonitions" (the "Boy"/"Reality" version is actually the same take, but lacking a couple overdubs); the amazing sound collages of "Armour Of The Shroud"; the marvelous psychedelic climax of "Selling Me Short"; Bobb's own favorite track, "Paralyzed"; and one of the best album-closers ever, "Another Lonely Angel." It was actually "Take Me Home Vienna" which originally caught me -- for those who are geographically challenged, Vienna is not the name of a girl, it's the capital of Austria, the country in south-central Europe which was also the home of Mozart, Beethoven, Schönberg, Brahms, Mahler, Schubert, ... though Bobb perhaps intended this personification to be taken as a double-entendre.

I will stall my overview/review here to say that more about this album has been written in fantastic prose by our friend Aaron Milenski, and a few of his excellent writings are available on the link below (also on Lysergia here), all of which I recommend reading while enjoying this unique, brilliant masterpiece. If I were to summarize this work any further, it would be in his words entirely. For additional reading I also recommend the wonderful interview Klemen Breznikar did for It's Psychedelic Baby Magazine here

"If you're searching for your soul, you'd better put yourself on hold, then take a look inside..."
The first reissue of Bobb Trimble's music came in 1995 on a compilation CD entitled Jupiter Transmission from the newly-formed Parallel World label headed by Paul Major and Mike Ascherman. This anthology presented the first half of Bobb's debut Iron Curtain Innocence along with all of Harvest except for "The World I Left Behind" (a silent track) and "Oh Baby" (a short interlude featuring only the Kidds). This remains his best-sounding reissue. In 2007 the Secretly Canadian label reissued both records in full. It was stated in The Acid Archives, 2nd Ed. that this second reissue featured a remix. However, my direct comparisons reveal that the Secretly Canadian reissues in fact have the same mix for the tracks on Jupiter Transmission; it actually appears that the same digital transfers were used where available, unfortunately just adding lots of additional gain, compression, & limiting. So have the true original mixes ever appeared officially on CD?

The answer to this question is a bit complex. In their entirety, the answer is no, but let's be a bit more explicit. Firstly, "Oh Baby" is by all definitions a remix; the reissue has an extended mono version including two false starts inserted backwards at the beginning of the track, whereas the original (stereo) mix is shorter. Similarly, "The World I Left Behind" is of the wrong length on the reissue. There are also various segments of speaking between tracks which have been trimmed off on all reissues. These edits may seem minor, but actually greatly affect the overall impact and feel of the album.

First 1995 CD reissue
But for the main meat of the songs, was the album itself actually remixed from the multi-track masters, or was some trimming just done? I asked this to label owner Mike Ascherman, who responded thus:

"The [Jupiter Transmission] CD was mastered from Bobb's master tapes. The missing vocal portions were those involving the kids, removed at Bobb's request for personal reasons."

Analog transfers for the original 1995 CD were done by engineer, Arf Arf label owner, and musician extraordinaire Erik Lindgren, who kindly adds this great explicit analysis:

"None of the material was remixed from the original multi-tracks. Paul Major and Mike Ascherman came up to Cambridge MA to do the transfers at my studio from the original mixed master tapes. In addition, Bobb Trimble also came the the mastering session that we did at M-Works with engineer Jonathan WynerI am pretty sure that no reverb was added, and we tried to make all of the material sound consistent throughout with EQ, etc."

So indeed, no remixing was done from the multi-track masters; however, EQ, compression, & limiting was added in the CD mastering session and exists on all reissues since. Apart from the portions of audio which were excluded (detailed below), the result is actually quite nice; the CD adds some brightness and clarity to the songs, which really makes them sparkle. However, the original mastering will likely be preferred by most, as its darker presentation more aptly fits the sound of Bobb's emotional mountain range, and perhaps is even more "psychedelic" than the remaster. Additionally, as perfectly stated by Aaron Milenski:

"Theoretically [the edited CD] should be just as good a listen, if not better, but HARVEST OF DREAMS is so much of a piece, so full of circular and repeated references, that even the omission of two words spoken by one the kids in Bobb's entourage leaves out an essential piece of the puzzle."

Bobb Trimble strumming his guitar for the "unicorn"
Here I will give an explicit list of the particular edits which were done to each track on the album for the CD reissues, which to my knowledge has never been compiled before. Keep in mind that in addition to the edits listed below, the overall sound is altered on the reissues, so even tracks where no explicit edits were done sound noticeably different.

1) (0:00-0:02) -- two seconds of studio noise cut off in the reissue.
2) no explicit edits
3) (2:11-2:26) -- reissue ends about 15 seconds early.
4) no explicit edits
5) (0:00-0:14, 6:12-6:21) -- false start and some of Bobb's talking excised from the reissue, and the reissue also fades out slightly early.
6) (3:31-4:18) -- a significant portion of studio chatter with The Kidds cut out of the reissue.
7) no explicit edits
8) the entire track is a different, shorter stereo mix, and ends with a short bit not on any reissue.
9) no explicit edits
10) (0:00-0:01, 5:02-5:05) the reissue fades in slightly late and fades out slightly early.

Additionally, the reissues have inverted the phase and reversed the stereo image as compared to the original LP.





Bobb Trimble: songwriting, guitars, vocals, production
The Kidds: (appearing on tracks 3, 6, 8, 9)
- Carl Minardi, Scott Longacre, Rich McGlaughlin, Tim Pierce, Chip Streeter

Track listing:
Dimension One – Truth
1) "Premonitions – The Fantasy" - 6:03
2) "If Words Were All I Had" - 4:26
3) "The World I Left Behind" - 2:25
4) "Armour Of The Shroud" - 7:39
5) "Premonitions Boy – The Reality" - 6:21
Dimension Two – Harmony
6) "Take Me Home Vienna" - 4:18
7) "Selling Me Short While Stringing Me Long" - 4:15
8) "Oh Baby" - 1:19
9) "Paralyzed" - 6:16
10) "Another Lonely Angel" - 5:08

Vinyl Condition: M-
Dynamic Range: DR 11 (neglecting track 3, which is by definition DR 0)

Equipment Lineage:
– Audio-Technica VMN40ML stylus on AT150MLx dual moving-magnet cartridge
– Audio-Technica AT-LP1240-USB direct drive professional turntable (internal stock preamp/ADC removed)
– TCC TC-754 RIAA phono preamp (new regulated power supply, added LM7812 regulator)
– Focusrite Scarlett 6i6 MkII (96kHz / 24bit)
– Adobe Audition CC 2020 (recording)
– iZotope RX 7 audio editor (manual declicking, EQ subtraction, additional adjustments)
– Audacity 2.3.3 (fades between tracks, split tracks)
– Foobar2000 v1.5.1 (tagging, dynamic range analysis)


Thanks for taking the time to read my posts and check out my blog. I'd greatly appreciate it if you leave a small comment below. Notes from my readers are what inspire me to keep going. Thanks!
Google Drive: https://drive.google.com/drive/folders/1BOeGoCL2AyQeqFk92UWxj-25E0cI3FLs?usp=sharing

"Harvest those dreams that had failed to Grow - Love, Bobb"


Bobb Trimble in 2017 (source)

Saturday, June 13, 2020

Los Impala - Impala Syndrome (1969) [US Original]

Los Impala - Impala Syndrome

Original 1969 USA Stereo Pressing (Discogs)
Parallax P-4002 / Manufactured by Audio Fidelity
~ThePoodleBites Rip in 96kHz / 24bit FLAC + full high-res scans~

This is a relatively new record to me. During a conversation with a collector friend, somehow the Audio Fidelity label got brought up, and I mentioned that I could never understand why The Sacred Mushroom LP on Parallax got so much attention, as I thought it was rather unexceptional blues rock through-and-through. My friend disagreed, but then mentioned that there was another noteworthy record on the label, namely Impala Syndrome, and he offered to send a copy my way to audition. I graciously accepted, and when this LP arrived, it totally blew me away. My initial impressions were that this record was somewhere between The Savage Resurrection LP and the later '60s Love records, and after more listens I'll stand by that sentiment. I'm not sure why this hasn't gotten more attention among psych heads while The Sacred Mushroom has, but today we set the record straight. Some details about the band's history are also cleared up below.

Huge thanks to CF for turning me on to and gifting me (!!!) this record after my gushing praise!


Los Impala were a semi-popular local beat group since the early 1960s, but many listeners introduced to Impala Syndrome are surprised to find that the band was local to Venezuela, yet impressively able to sing in perfect English. The band hopped international boundaries in search of success; some earlier sources state that the group eventually moved to Chicago, IL to record this album, but after tracking down the aging producer, psych enthusiasts learned this isn't the correct story:

"They moved from Venezuela to Spain circa 1966 to reach a larger (European) audience. [Impala Syndrome] was recorded in Spain. The guy at Audio Fidelity commissioned that album and produced it at a studio in Spain. The label had already had some success with Los Shakers from Uruguay, which probably sold well in Latin markets. He re-named them 'Impala Syndrome' to sound more 'hip' and his girlfriend designed the cover. They never set foot on US soil, apparently." [CF]

In fact, this is the sole album from the group where the name "Los Impala" doesn't appear at all, except for on foreign (non-US) copies. However, this information reveals that the band never opted for that name, so they should still be referred to as "Los Impala" for historical accuracy. 

The sound of the record is very much what one would expect for a blues-based psych record from around '68-'69. It starts off with my favorite track, the burning "Too Much Time." When the raw sound of that chorus came in, I was hooked! The more heady tracks include "Love Grows A Flower," "Land Of No Time," the fuzz-drenched "Leave, Eve," and the Eastern-drone-influenced, mesmerizing "Run (Don't Look Behind)." There's not a single bad track here, really, though some moments are more conducive to headbanging than others. Other reviewers seem to unanimously recommend "I Want To Hug The Sky," though after conversing with a fellow head we both agreed that that was really the lowest point here.

The copy of this record I was given has a cover in rather poor condition, but I've included scans anyways, since it still appears to look better than any of the other images floating around online. Luckily the disc seems to have rarely been played, if ever, and sounds phenomenal. I compared this to The Savage Resurrection album before, but the sound quality here is far better than on that record. This has been booted on CD a couple times, with the sound ruined in the usual ways; the digital master I present here is vastly superior to any previous digital sources. I think I have attained a very nice master tape clarity here through the usual manual restoration procedure, and since tapes are thought to be indefinitely lost, this is likely the best this album will ever sound.

To me this record is much better than 99% of the other over-hyped obscure records out there, and is definitely worth investigating. It's the kind of record you mention to a private-press purist, then they hurriedly look it up on YouTube before agreeing with you that it's awesome, because they're too ashamed to admit they'd never heard it and instead spent their hard-earned $$$ on a copy of some way shittier, half-assed country record or something. 

Track Listing:
1) "Too Much Time" – 3:09
2) "Love Grows A Flower" – 3:49
3) "Children Of The Forest" – 4:36
4) "For A Small Fee" – 2:41
5) "New Love Time" – 3:01
6) "Let Them Try" – 3:09
7) "Land Of No Time" – 3:19
8) "I Want To Hug The Sky" – 3:29
9) "Leave, Eve" – 2:50
10) "Run (Don't Look Behind)" – 4:26

Vinyl Condition: M-
Dynamic Range: DR 13

Equipment Lineage:
– Audio-Technica VMN40ML stylus on AT150MLx dual moving-magnet cartridge
– Audio-Technica AT-LP1240-USB direct drive professional turntable (internal stock preamp/ADC removed)
– TCC TC-754 RIAA phono preamp (new regulated power supply, added LM7812 regulator)
– Focusrite Scarlett 6i6 MkII (96kHz / 24bit)
– Adobe Audition CC 2020 (recording)
– iZotope RX 7 audio editor (manual declicking, EQ subtraction, additional adjustments)
– Audacity 2.3.3 (fades between tracks, split tracks)
– Foobar2000 v1.5.1 (tagging, dynamic range analysis)


Thanks for taking the time to read my posts and check out my blog. I'd greatly appreciate it if you leave a small comment below. Notes from my readers are what inspire me to keep going. Thanks!
Google Drive: https://drive.google.com/open?id=1px2_jdRR9CpaNrlFffzi6QRe8vMPgAFn
Enjoy! :)

**EDIT: Thanks to @JohnM for providing an additional image from the book A Potpourri Of Melodies And Mayhem, containing information updated since the last edition of Fuzz, Acid, & Flowers!

Monday, May 25, 2020

Tabernash - Head Collect / Out Of The Cold

Tabernash - "Head Collect" b/w "Out Of The Cold"
Original 197? 45 RPM Stereo Single (Discogs)
Dym-A-Nite Records ‎1247
~ThePoodleBites rip in 96kHz / 24bit FLAC + full high-res scans~

Tabernash was a later pseudonym for the garage-rock band previously known as The Contents Are:, which released a well-known (but fairly mediocre) album called Through You on the private Rok Records label. This later single has been largely ignored but is significantly better to my ears, with the A-side being harder-edged acid rock and the flip having lighter folk-rock moves. These tracks were reissued in poor sound but with alternate extended versions on the group's retrospective album Four Each Other, but to my knowledge this is the debut appearance of this original 45 in the digital realm.
Thanks to my friend C.F. for turning me on to this & lending it out for this post!



There is a slight difference in line-up for this single as compared to The Contents Are: Through You, as Mick Orton appears here before he was poached for the country-/hard-rock group Silver Laughter. The guitar playing is what makes the A-side here special, which is presumably performed by the group's lead songwriter Craig Hute. While the fidelity on this 45 isn't perfect due to a tiny bit of distortion, it is much better than the tracks as available anywhere else. The date of this release has been placed by garage 45 collectors at about 1972, but it might be the case that this is actually from a bit earlier, circa 1970-71, and that's certainly how it sounds. 

Mick Orton singing & playing bass while Craig Hute plays lead in the background
Track Listing:
1) "Head Collect" – 3:10
2) "Out Of The Cold" – 3:01

Equipment Lineage:
– Audio-Technica VMN40ML stylus on AT150MLx dual moving-magnet cartridge
– Audio-Technica AT-LP1240-USB direct drive professional turntable (internal stock preamp/ADC removed)
– TCC TC-754 RIAA phono preamp (new regulated power supply, added LM7812 regulator)
– Focusrite Scarlett 6i6 MkII (96kHz / 24bit)
– Adobe Audition CC 2020 (recording)
– iZotope RX 7 audio editor (manual declicking, EQ subtraction, additional adjustments)
– Audacity 2.3.3 (fades between tracks, split tracks)
– Foobar2000 v1.5.1 (tagging, dynamic range analysis)

Tabernash (L to R): Craig Hute, Dave Neumann, Paul Staack and Mick Orton
Thanks for taking the time to read my posts and check out my blog. I'd greatly appreciate it if you leave a small comment below. Notes from my readers are what inspire me to keep going. Thanks!
Google Drive: https://drive.google.com/open?id=1pOct3pw3ZAl-BQrNOhp8drArQhglQUt_
Enjoy! :)



Sunday, April 12, 2020

The Glass Family - Complete 1969 Singles Collection

The Glass Family - Complete 1969 Singles Collection
Warner Bros.-Seven Arts Records - Mono/Stereo 45 RPM Singles
~ThePoodleBites rips in 96kHz / 24bit FLAC + full hi-res scans~

I've previously shared the first two tracks here, but now I have compiled the entire collection of 3 promotional singles that The Glass Family released on Warner Bros. for the release of their great album Electric Band. This southern-California group has a few really phenomenal acid-rock groovers, two of which are included here. The two radio spots have never been shared or uploaded anywhere before, and have been totally unheard since 1969. "David's Rap" was bootlegged on the Mandala CD reissue with lots of vinyl noise & NR, but I've spent many hours applying my manual restoration procedure here to bring all tracks up to the same level of clarity. This is not a long compilation, but will serve the perfect companion to the full-length album, which as of today still must be owned on LP to be heard properly.


The A-side of "David's Rap" is the stereo mix of "Guess I'll Let You Go," which I've not opted to include here due to it being the same mix as available on the album. Jim Callon, who has had a long career as an engineer for Funkadelic/Parliament and then label owner / record producer after the Glass Family, has informed me that the band actually intends to release their second album this summer -- so stay tuned, and remember to support musicians for their wonderful work and entertainment! 

Track Listing:
7282 ‎– Alternate Mono 45 RPM Single Mixes
      1) "Guess I'll Let You Go" – 2:53
      2) "Agorn (Elements Of Complex Variables)" – 3:24
PRO 316 ‎– Radio Spots
      3) "Band One" ‎– 0:50
      4) "‎Band Two" ‎– 1:00
PRO 309 ‎– David Capilouto Tell His Friends ...
      5) "David's Rap" ‎– 2:02

Equipment Lineage:
– Audio-Technica VMN40ML stylus on AT150MLx dual moving-magnet cartridge
– Audio-Technica AT-LP1240-USB direct drive professional turntable (internal stock preamp/ADC removed)
– TCC TC-754 RIAA phono preamp (new regulated power supply, added LM7812 regulator)
– Focusrite Scarlett 6i6 MkII (96kHz / 24bit)
– Adobe Audition CC 2020 (recording)
– iZotope RX 7 audio editor (manual declicking, mono fold, EQ subtraction, additional adjustments)
– Audacity 2.3.3 (fades between tracks, split tracks)
– Foobar2000 v1.5.1 (tagging, dynamic range analysis)



Thanks for taking the time to read my posts and check out my blog. I'd greatly appreciate it if you leave a small comment below. Notes from my readers are what inspire me to keep going. Thanks! 
Google Drive: https://drive.google.com/drive/folders/1n7ShszgXaQBgGqmt8sNMRcFYkdeX9WAb?usp=sharing
Enjoy! :)

Article from Billboard Magazine, 16 November 1968

Sunday, March 29, 2020

Anonymous - Inside The Shadow (1976) [Original US 1st Private Pressing]

Anonymous - Inside The Shadow (1976)
Original First USA Private Pressing
A Major Label ‎– AMLS 1002 (Discogs)
~ThePoodleBites rip in 96kHz / 24bit FLAC + full hi-res scans~

“Close to the perfect album; each element has been drawn from the best possible source, yet somehow Ron Matelic manages to fuse these massive building blocks into personal, deeply human music.” – Patrick Lundborg

It's not just good; it's great, a masterpiece. Anonymous stand out head and shoulders at the top... a record that could compete on the same level as every major label album by every major artist of the era. – Aaron Milenski

Long time top ten favorite with almost every head we know, a true classic recommended for everyone into amazing rock records of all varieties. – Light In The Attic

It is because of Patrick Lundborg's Acid Archives and Lysergia site that I (and many others) discovered this album, which has grown over the years to be one of the most well-known "unknown" records ever. While not the first person to discover or recognize this album for its greatness, Lundborg played a role in taking this and other underground albums of the '60s-'70s and posting them online for all, not just a group of knowledgeable collectors. Thanks, Patrick; I know you'll be jamming to this one on the other side. And huge thanks to my friend CF for inspiring this post!

The original front cover of Inside The Shadow, recorded and released 1976.
The central image is from a work by J. Heitzman, whose brother Tom was a friend of bassist Glenn Weaver. 

Anonymous formed primarily from the ashes of the '60s garage/psych band Sir Winston & The Commons, which released only two (both killer) period singles. After the demise of Sir Winston, the members worked playing locally and jamming with other musicians from Indianapolis, honing their craft and further developing their sound. After some years, guitarist Ron Matelic had coined a number of originals and gathered a group who mastered their performances well enough to craft Matelic's vision into an album of completely novel material.

Guitarist Ron Matelic was the
main creative force behind the band.
Travelling to Wisconsin, the (then-nameless) band birthed Inside The Shadow in friend Jim Spencer's studio, supposedly recording the entire album in one session and doing the mix a few weeks later. Tapes were sent off to a small Milwaukee manufacturing facility which produced a few hundred copies to distribute between friends as a keepsake of the band's time together. The album was credited to "Anonymous," as Matelic was afraid of coining a name which would induce prejudice about the band's sound.

The group's line-up continued to morph, and the band adopted the name J. Rider in 1977, beginning to play live gigs and further popularize their sound. More materials were recorded in 1978-1979, which were eventually released in 1996 on the OR label. These later recordings have a bit less root in the late-1960s sound, but they are still very good. The tracks recorded include an alternate version of Anonymous' "We Got More," which some even prefer to the 1976 original.

While never quite garnering the popular attention they deserved, the band has received high acclaim among international collecting circles since the 1980s. Ron Matelic and drummer John Medvescek continue to play with J. Rider bassist Grey Reynolds and guitarist Bill Kossmann in local Indy group The DoorJams, now with a more hard/southern rock tinge. It continues to amaze these musicians that they created what some have now called the best album of its kind. 

Later incarnation of Anonymous / early J. Rider proudly displaying their album.
(L to R): Ronnie Matelic, John Medvescek, Greg Reynolds, Justin Garriott. [Not pictured: Marsha Rollings, Glenn Weaver]

Indeed, the "Lama" was not the only old head to testify to this album's greatness. It seems that every record collector who has been in this game for 40+ years seems to have this album among their top favorites. In fact, more than one record dealer has told me its one of their best-loved albums. I'll be the first to admit, this initially baffled me. Anonymous, really? Upon my first listening to a reissue CD some years ago, I completely blew it off  I thought it sounded like an unimpressive attempt at Fleetwood Mac-inspired '70s hard-rock. But after a few forced relistens, I realized how wrong I was.

You see, some albums are "growers." These are records that don't catch you on first listen, but as you enjoy them on repeated occasions, they break open inside your inner psyche and start to germinate. Many of my now-favorites had this effect for me, including Love Forever Changes, the Mothers' Freak Out!, and The United States Of America debut -- well, Anonymous, in fact, is the king of "growers." Just when you thought the growth was bunk and you're about ready to inoculate something else, the mycelium appears and starts to branch itself deep, and somehow manages to keep growing fuller until it bears some of the most delicious fruit I've had the privilege to experience.

The Buckingham/Nicks influence is definitely here, but after repeated listening I began to hear much, much more. Crawling through the marijuana smoke seeped deep into these grooves, one is likely to be impressed by the band's mastery of difficult prog moves -- and if you're not impressed, just try to play along! -- while the songs themselves still manage to stay totally accessible and groovy. The male/female vocal harmonies are reminiscent of Jefferson Airplane circa 1967-1968; the guitar playing is blistering yet consistently great; and the precision of the drummer invariably amazes. I totally breezed over these facets on the first few listens, given that the private nature of this release means production here is limited (the vocals are mixed a bit high relative to the impressive instrumental tracks), but once the ears become acquainted with the albeit lo-fi nature of this album, it reveals itself, rendering a really beautiful and deep experience. 

I doubt that these guys had any genuine Sandoz influence, but somehow they managed to achieve that innate acid vibe on their album which only the best west-coast '60s psych groups seem to have attained. This is due in no small part to the amazing lyrics, which are introspective, critical, and sometimes scathing:

Ron Matelic (L) and Marsha Rollings (R) are responsible
for the hauntingly beautiful vocal harmonies of Anonymous


You wake up findin'
That it's quarter after half past one
You realize that
You have slept a little much too long
Is that what you want?

Shadow lay, shadow lie
Shadow play, shadow die

You wake up findin'
That the time you wanted now is gone
You realize that
You can say it right and do it wrong
Is that what you want?

(R. Matelic -- from "Shadow Lay")



This is in fact a concept album to some degree, with the "shadow" here being the recurring motif. This shadow is almost certainly referring to the psychological "id," which contains the most primitive and instinctive components of human personality. The lyrics to these songs are indeed quite personal, and like all great music, the words integrate into the songs' total emotive power, and in some moments form their most central psychedelic component. 

So, all together now: I apologize for the long introduction for this rip, but I felt it necessary to explain that if at first this one doesn't catch you, try again. You might find it one of the most rewarding listens of music you've had in years, as I now have. It can be truthfully stated that there isn't a dull moment here.


The original release of Inside The Shadow in 1976 was followed by a second pressing produced in 1981, which rendered the old back cover artwork as the new front cover design in purely black-and-white (reproduced to the right). This reissue in fact appears to have used the same stampers as on the first pressings, but having suffered damage at some point in the five years previous, the reissue was rendered quite noisy and aurally inferior to the discs produced in the earlier run. After this, a string of even worse reissues followed. First was a reissue on the OR label contemporaneous with the first issue of J. Rider recordings, but instead of a tape source being used for the Anonymous album, a noisy & horribly mastered vinyl dub was used with speed errors. A similar treatment was given in 2013 when the Machu Picchu label reissued both titles, again using a bad vinyl source for Inside The Shadow with incorrect speed on both sides. The master tapes have never resurfaced for this great record, and are today presumed lost. Therefore original pressings are necessary in order to hear the album properly, but special care and attention must be payed for proper playback. 

One of the reasons that this album requires special treatment is that side 2 was pressed wildly off-center on all original pressings, rendering audible "wow" when played back from untouched copies. Most collectors are justifiably afraid to take an X-Acto knife to their expensive vinyl, but I indeed carefully applied minimal surgery to this near mint original copy to properly center both sides very accurately before playback and digital transfer. My usual manual restoration procedure followed, bringing this album up to its original fidelity.

So while vinyl transfers of this album from the inferior 2nd pressing have circulated in some smaller circles, they are all of lesser quality than this properly-transferred and manually-restored remastering which I present here in high-resolution sound. Granted, this is not an "audiophile" recording; the mix is bright, and at moments it sounds like the drummer's snares are vibrating wildly without proper dampening. But I've maintained this sound as part of the original recording so that you can hear this masterpiece as it was intended to be heard upon release back in 1976. 

***In addition to scans of the original album cover and labels, I've thrown in scans of the original insert which contains the lyrics for every track on the album. I've also included scans of the insert from the 1996 and 2013 reissues, including liner notes written by Ron Matelic and Acid Archives contributor Aaron Milenski. 

Anonymous:
Ron Matelic ‎– vocals, electric and acoustic guitar, electric 12 string guitar
Marsha Rollings (now Ervin) ‎– vocals
Glenn Weaver ‎– vocals, electric and acoustic guitar, electric bass
John Medvescek ‎– percussion

Track listing:
1) "Who's Been Foolin'?" ‎– 3:25
2) "J. Rider" ‎– 4.35
3) "Up To You" ‎– 3:27
4) "Shadow Lay" ‎– 6:09
5) "Pick Up And Run" ‎– 5:07
6) "We Got More" ‎– 5:20
7) "Sweet Lilac" ‎– 4:31
8) "Baby Come Risin'" ‎– 9:29

Equipment Lineage:
– Audio-Technica VMN40ML stylus on AT150MLx dual moving-magnet cartridge
– Audio-Technica AT-LP1240-USB direct drive professional turntable (internal stock preamp/ADC removed)
– TCC TC-754 RIAA phono preamp (new regulated power supply, added LM7812 regulator)
– Focusrite Scarlett 6i6 MkII (96kHz / 24bit)
– Adobe Audition CC 2020 (recording)
– iZotope RX 7 audio editor (manual declicking, mono fold, EQ subtraction, additional adjustments)
– Audacity 2.3.3 (fades between tracks, split tracks)
– Foobar2000 v1.5.1 (tagging, dynamic range analysis)



Thanks for taking the time to read my posts and check out my blog. I'd greatly appreciate it if you leave a small comment below. Notes from my readers are what inspire me to keep going. Thanks! 
Google Drive: https://drive.google.com/drive/folders/1exPCx5kQ6B8BKoLsjLFc0-oBjy6gXDNJ?usp=sharing
Enjoy! :)


Sunday, March 22, 2020

Hollins And Starr - Sidewalks Talking (1970) [Original Quadraphonic Reel-To-Reel Tape]

Hollins And Starr - Sidewalks Talking (1970)
Original 7½ ips Discrete Quadraphonic Reel-To-Reel Tape
Ovation Records D 113 (Discogs)
~Transfer in 96kHz / 24bit FLAC + full high-resolution scans~

Here's something a bit different. I know, this isn't totally in line with my blog's supposed "vinyl" title, but this tape is rare and cool enough that it deserves to be shared here. The early days of quad are very interesting to me, mostly because they tend to have the music which mostly aligns with my tastes, but really the story of the format itself is just an immensely fascinating piece of music history. This Hollins And Starr album was released both in stereo and quad on vinyl, but the quad release was an early EV-4 naïve matrix-encoding, which means decoding with both good sound quality and strong channel separation is quite troublesome (neigh impossible) for the audio enthusiast. See my Rich Mountain Tower post here for a detailed analysis of EV-4. I'd basically resolved to indefinitely postpone working on this album, and then this reel appeared on eBay, whose existence was apparently previously totally unknown. I luckily won the auction, so I resolved to get it transferred and shared for all to enjoy.

I am much better at restoration of analog discs than anything involving tape, so I took this tape to a local specialist who has worked on some very "big" reissues over the years. To prevent exposing his identity, I'll suffice to say that the artwork to one of his latest projects was hanging on the wall in his office when I first entered -- I commented to him how it was one of my favorite modern releases, with sound quality that absolutely floored me, and he replied that he was the engineer behind that project. What an amazing coincidence! So with that bit of info and his top-notch rig used in this transfer, I think it's safe to say this is as close to as "perfect" as there might ever be for this album.

So how's the music? It's cool, and unique. There are sparse elements of psychedelia (fuzz guitar in "Hard Headed Women" and "Home?", which are the two rockers), and even early prog a la Poseidon-era King Crimson. Dave Starr plays a lot of flute on this album, which will turn some people off, but I think it's done very tastefully, in a less progy manner than e.g. Jethro Tull but still usually maintaining heady spaciousness. This album may be of interest to fans of the Mandrake Memorial: Puzzle, as this exerts the same kind of east-coast foggy folk-psych with elements of orchestral beauty added in various places to taste. Comparisons to Sweet Smoke or later Traffic could also be made. I really recommend it for a relaxing weekend afternoon or late-night 'tea'-influenced meditation.

Thanks to T.F. for the help with this post!


The mix on this guy is pretty trippy. In the early days of quad the idea of having 4 discrete audio channels in a final mix was a totally novel and unexplored idea -- only a few years earlier, chart-topping groups like The Beatles were using this technology to record their multitrack master tapes! So there was some variation between the different strategies used for this new "quadraphonic" sound. Some labels/artists attempted to create a truly three-dimensional experience (as is done here); unlike today where a surround system is usually sold with focus on two main front speakers and generally smaller rear speakers to accent the sound in the back, in the early days dealers would have tried to sell customers 4 equivalent, matched speakers, with each channel ideally mattering in the mix as much as any other. The result is truly spectacular and entertaining when rendered properly, producing quite a nice treat for the ears & mind.


A note on commercial reel-to-reel tapes: most of these suckers were produced by dubbing at very high speed from a single master reel. This usually caused small errors in azimuth and alignment as the tape was recorded, which means a perfectly aligned machine will not always play them back exactly right -- in fact, to my knowledge, no machine can. Luckily, this one plays pretty damn good. Most of these reels were also created for playback speeds of 7½ ips, or (gulp) 3¾ ips, which are quite a bit lower speeds than the studio standards of 15 or 30 ips, so the treble can suffer. The engineer who transferred this tape was kind enough to include a recording of his MRL alignment tape with some various test tones, which roughly shows the standard expected NAB fall-off as one goes up in frequencies. The discerning listener may take a listen to this on his system, adjusting his EQ knobs until all tones sound at about the same volume before listening to this tape. I initially created a counter-EQ to correct for this, but found the result to be too bright, so I corrected back to the unadjusted levels, leaving it to the listener to tweak to their preference.

It appears that this tape has a slightly different track order than is on the vinyl version of the album. I haven't confirmed whether or not this is actually the case in terms of audio, so feel free to let me know below if you'd like to compare. If it is in fact different, this may have been because of time constrictions on vinyl with regards to flipping sides which just doesn't exist on tape. Regardless, whatever mix/variant this is sounds great, and I think you'll all enjoy it a lot. 

Track listing: 
1) Talking To Myself – 2:30
2) Krishna Dov – 2:04
3) Cry, Baby Cry – 3:14
4) Twin City Prayer – 1:24
5) Feelin' Good – 3:13
6) Hard Headed Women – 9:09
7) Home? – 3:42
8) Vivace (2nd Movement From Unaccompanied Sonata A Minor) – 3:00
9) Lovable – 3:54
10) Digress – 2:57
11) Stayin' High – 2:28
12) Sidewalks Talkin' – 3:36
13) John Hurt – 2:20

Lineage:
- Ampex ATR-104 4-track tape machine with 1/4" heads
- Mytek 8X96 ADC
- Audacity v2.3.3 (fades between tracks, split tracks, export to FLAC)
- foobar2000 v1.5.1 (tagging)


** Files are available in 4-channel FLAC, in the original 4 raw album-length WAV files, or in DTS-encoded CD format. 

Enjoy, and please feel free to leave comments below! :)