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Thursday, April 22, 2021

Tripsichord Music Box - Fly Baby / She Has Passed Away (1970)

Tripsichord Music Box - "Fly Baby" b/w "We Have Passed Away"

Original 1970 45 RPM single versions
San Francisco Sound T-5-12700-Y // 1-6-12 700-Z  (Discogs)
~ThePoodleBites rip in 96kHz / 24bit FLAC + high-res scans~

When I first heard "Fly Baby," all the hype about this band finally started to make sense. After repeated listening I realized that song is simply one the best San Francisco psychedelic-sounding masterworks ever recorded. Everything about it oozes eerie midnight trips, the heightened fluid lead of Frank Straight jazzing out before the band suddenly bursts into harmonic overdrive, 3-part vocals pleading to "flyyy... fly with me baaeee-beeee..." -- wow! 

This Tripsichord 45 was probably released contemporaneously with their demo album on the red San Francisco Sound label, which has been dated to circa November or December 1970. Unlike the band's first single, both of these tracks appeared on their full-length album, but "Fly Baby" was truncated to less than half of its original length, omitting the long guitar solo and final verse. The B-side sounds identical to the red-label demo LP to me, but I guess there will be people who argue this is superior sonically, having been cut at 45 RPM rather than 33⅓. This 45 has never been reissued or ripped elsewhere, so both sides make their digital debut here. 

Major thanks again to C.F. for lending out this treasure from his never-ending archives!

Although the lyrics are pretty easy to hear, and even though they unambiguously define the B-side title as "We Have Passed Away," somehow that song was mistitled on the labels as "She Has Passed Away." This was corrected in 1971 for the Janus release and for all future reissues, but it surely makes one wonder what Katz was listening to these recordings on back in those days...

Unlike the first single, this was a New York affair, and it was pressed on vinyl, which bodes very well for the sound quality. Those who have never heard the red-label SF Sound pressing of the Tripsichord album (which is probably pretty much everyone reading this post) will note that the sound quality here is far better than on the Janus LP or any of the subsequent reissues: vinyl, CD, or otherwise. More on that later... 

Frank Straight absolutely burning up the lead on his ES-330; Randy Gordon on drums, Burke Wallace on the SG

Bill Carr: acoustic guitar, vocals
Frank Straight: lead guitar
Dave Zandonatti: bass, vocals
Randy Gordon: drums, vocals

Track listing:
1) "Fly Baby" -- 3:07
2) "We Have Passed Away" -- 2:46

Dynamic Range: DR12
Vinyl condition: M-
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)
– Pro-Ject Phono Box S2 Ultra preamp with dedicated Zero Zone linear power supply
– 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)

The unedited B-side is on YouTube here:

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The band performing "Omaha" as the fake Moby Grape in Phoenix, circa April 1968
(L-R): Frank Straight, Burke Wallace, Dave Zandonatti, Oliver McKinney, Randy Gordon


  1. Rollcoast200
    Nice posts, rare bands, exellent quality, LP & EP rips... Good vibrations for everybody! Keep on moving, bro!

    1. Hey man! Good vibes are what everybody needs these days. Thanks for the encouragement & rock on! :)

  2. Replies
    1. Thanks for the nice comments man! This band is great, an underrated group.

  3. Wow, what a "hot" week TPB!!! really awesome to see you posting so many incredible rips, many many thanks!

    1. Heh, yeah -- it feels good to get things uploaded regularly! Some projects take seem to take forever, but these recent ones have been moving quite smoothly. Cheers!

  4. I have one word for this ... "Whoa" !!!

  5. One of the underated SF bands.I love 'Fly Baby' with the crickets at the start, just a fantastic intro all round. Years ago when I first heard Tripsichord I thought it was the greatest still do. Sounds better than my Akama edition. Thank Mate.

  6. Incredible! Many thanks to you and to C.F.! The band name alone is worth the 'price,' but great music unearthed here too…

  7. Very cool! A bit like a very mellow Airplane. I love it! Thanks for sharing it!