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28 of 28 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Top Notch Psychedelia, 7 Jan 2008
By 
C. J. Cunningham "Beatle Nut Bowie Nut" (Milton Keynes, Bucks UK) - See all my reviews
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I got this CD for Christmas on the basis that my wife must have seen it in my 'Items Recently Viewed' section on Amazon (good old Amazon!) and bought it for me as a stocking filler. Psychedelia is such a broad term - if I could define it then maybe I could write about music for a living - how exciting that would be! However all of the elements of quality 'psyche' are here for all - trippy lyrics, ethereal effects, fuzzy guitars, eastern elements - and here too we have the superb vocal skills of Dorothy Moskowitz. There is a lot of experimentation on this album (some great and very informative sleeve notes give a good background) but fortunately with the experiments come good tunes too. There is variation in styles and mood - dreamy, haunting ballads, faster more urgent songs (reminscent of Jefferson Airplane at times), and some great 'goofing around' on the opening and closing tracks. There are portents for the future too - I wonder whether Portishead had heard this album before their great albums released in the 1990s?(particularly the opening number 'The American Metaphysical Circus' which would be perfect for Beth Gibbons) as well as a few influences worn on the sleeves of the kaftan - Airplane as I mentioned earlier, and Revolver era Beatles on 'Stranded In Time' This really is a superb album and a joyous discovery. It is generously crammed with bonus tracks too - some are works in progress for tracks on the album proper but there are some great non album songs to be enjoyed here too particularly the sweet 'Perry Pier'. What golden times the late 1960's must have been - but time waits for no man, and here is as good a time capsule as you are likely to find from that golden era - if you enjoy the heady pot pourri that constitutes psychedelia then you are in for a treat with this album - highly recommended.
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16 of 16 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Psychedelic, ethereal..., 24 Dec 2007
By 
Henk Beentje "Henk Beentje" (Kew, England) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)    (TOP 500 REVIEWER)   
I agree with Jim Leven, above; and would add that while some tracks are not particularly good, others are still outstanding after all these years. 'Love song for the dead Che' is ethereal and haunting; 'coming down' a brilliant take on the mood after a trip; and the stunning 'Garden of earhtly delights' with its pumping rhythm and Jeroen-Bosch like lyrics is one of the best numbers of 1968, full stop. 'Hard coming love' and 'the American metaphysical circus' are probably classified as a class B drug, while 'the Cloud song' is a cross between Winnie the Pooh (from which the text comes, obviously) and lying on your back in a timeless summery garden, looking up in the sky and falling up. Great stuff.

PS (later) the track listing on Amazon these days is all wrong, giving bonus numbers, not the original sequence WHICH IS ON MOST CDs! and which goes
side one
1. "The American Metaphysical Circus" (Joseph Byrd) 4:56
2. "Hard Coming Love" (Byrd, Dorothy Moskowitz) 4:41
3. "Cloud Song" (Byrd, Moskowitz) 3:18
4. "The Garden of Earthly Delights" (Byrd, Moskowitz) 2:39
5. "I Won't Leave My Wooden Wife for You, Sugar" (Byrd, Moskowitz) 3:51
Side two
6. "Where Is Yesterday" (Gordon Marron, Ed Bogas, Moskowitz) 3:08
7. "Coming Down" (Byrd, Moskowitz) 2:37
8. "Love Song for the Dead Ché" (Byrd) 3:25
9. "Stranded in Time" (Marron, Bogas) 1:49
10. "The American Way of Love" 6:38
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32 of 33 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Mysterious one-off masterpiece with ESSENTIAL bonus tracks, 4 Jun 2007
By 
Jm Leven (London) - See all my reviews
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First off - this is the version to buy. Unlike most bonus tracks, the previously unavailable ones here are essential. Some are better than some of the original tracks, and that's saying something with this album. This was the first album to feature the moog synthesiser, the first heavily electronic album so you would expect it to be little more than a curiosity. Amazingly and stunningly not! Who were they - a group of people centered around Berkeley University, California who came together to make this album and then seemed to disappear. The album is obviously influenced by Sergeant Pepper in its adventurous arrangements and production, but the songs are much better. Gorgeous singing,especially from Dorothy Moskowitz, haunting melodies, and intelligent, imaginative lyrics. This is every bit as good as the Velvet Underground and Nico album, and I certainly play it more often. So strange that this should just appear out of the blue and then end there. Give it a try.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars refound masterpiece, 22 Sep 2010
By 
Mr. J. Margetts (Lincoln, UK) - See all my reviews
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I originally bought this on vinyl in 1970 and nearly wore the record out. The music is still as fresh today as it was then - not mainstream by any notion but brilliant.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Been looking for this for so long!, 15 Aug 2010
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Stumbled across this on Spotify after so many years of trying to track it down and came straight to Amazon to buy it!

This was one of the first albums I ever bought as a totally-straight provincial grammar school boy of 16 - the very first was Floyd's "Piper At The Gates Of Dawn". Arrived at the University of Sussex in the early 1970's and after an introduction to some of the pharmaceuticals of the time all suddenly became clear :-)

This is one of the absolute classics of psychedelia for all of the reasons mentioned by other reviewers. What these people could achieve on 4-track analogue equipment puts a lot of current digital dithering totally in the shade, and the lyrics on tracks such as "The American Metaphysical Circus" can still send a shiver down my spine as I find my 60th birthday horribly imminent.

To whoever re-issued this I can only say "thank you thank you thank you".
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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One of the best psychodelic/electronic records of its time, 31 Mar 2000
By 
Sj Gj Shepperd "Airedale" (South West England) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: United States of America (Audio CD)
This was one of the most soughtafter records in the seventies, listen to it on head-phones and it will astound you. The psychodelic age is typified by this well produced and unusual album, it is well produced, a tour de force.
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14 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Dark, twisted and brilliant., 22 April 2001
By A Customer
This review is from: United States of America (Audio CD)
Out of the lush pastures of psychedelia grew trees that bore fruit laden with fever dreams. Not every trip was a good one, and the land so many Americans lived in was not the promised one. This album, musically briliant, with dark, twisted lyrics that spotlit the seamy underbelly of the flowerpower era, is one of the most satisfyingly dark products of a time far too prone to put on acid laden, multicolour spectacles. It is essential.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Simply Amazing, 5 May 2007
This review is from: United States of America (Audio CD)
Possibly my favourite album of all time. Strong words yes, but i cannot stress enough how amazing this album is.

It starts off with a song that was voted no 1 in the 'most bizarre songs' on an internet music poll (how i got introduced to this band) - 'The American Metaphysical circus'. This song is bizarre, but not off putting in any way. It is beautifully melodic (as are all songs which Dorothy Moskowitz sings on. She has a voice almost comparable to Jefferson Airplane's Grace Slick, which is high praise indeed!)and this start sets the pace for the rest of the album. Wild, sometimes Wacky, but musical genius throughout.

Other songs that stand out for me are:

'Hard Coming Love'(which opens with an excellent electric violin solo) and 'Coming Down', probably the two most energy filled songs on the album. But still melodic, trippy and... well, beautiful nonetheless.

'Cloud Song' - While talking about melody and beauty, this is as good as it gets. Pure relaxation... The violin work and Dorothy's vocals are just mesmorizing in every way.

'Stranded in Time' - A song that has the Beatles' "Eleanor Rigby" written all over it for the opening, with Joseph Byrd using mulit-tracking to create a string quartet effect. But still a truly unique song with their trademark distorted violin coming in half way through.

'The Garden of Earthly Delights' - Psychedelia at it's absolute best. One of my favourite songs ever and... well impossible to describe with any accuracy... Excellent bass, drums, violin, vocals and superb use of synthesisers....

These are just my favourites, for me there is not a bad track on the album.

Not only is this album amazing to listen to though, it was also a landmark album in the history of music, being one of the first heavily electronic albums around. And with the poor quality and complete unpredictability of the earlier synthesisers, joseph byrd has done fantastically well on this album and still sounds good today (I am only 16 yet i think this album sounds fantastic, so it definately stands up to today's standards). A lack of a guitarist doesn't matter in this band, joseph byrd fills in in so many more ways... in fact it makes it all the more unique and wonderful.

I recommend this to everyone who loves or wants to try psychedelia, as this is best that it gets.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Best album of 1968, 25 Mar 2007
By 
B (Ireland) - See all my reviews
This review is from: United States of America (Audio CD)
Intense psychedelia, lyrically highly intelligent, melodicly strong, highly experimental. Easily in the top ten psy albums of all time. Talented female vocalist too. Had potential hits like garden of Earthly delights and Coming Down but was a micro seller and these highly talented people just disappeared - most surprisingly as this was virtually the best album of 1968. The White Album sold about 20 million but there are so many skippers on that album, great as it is, and it has poor sound and no coherence. This does. One negative - opens and especially closes with its weakest tracks, ending with a tape splice medly that tends to cacophony.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Masterpiece, 1 July 2014
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This is an utterly astonishing, truly revolutionary recording. The combination of superb songs, magnificent playing & singing + breathtaking arrangements make for an LP that remains fresh & innovative to this day. The satirical edge to the songwriting & the use of electronics & tape manipulation takes the LP way beyond psychedelic cliche. Hardly surprising it was mostly ignored upon release; we should all be grateful it was made in an era when the suits at Columbia were prepared to take a few risks to see what would sell. Highest possible recommendation; those of you who think that the likes of Jefferson Airplane, Pink Floyd, Jimi Hendrix & the Beatles represent the zenith of psychedelia, you need to hear this, as it makes the best those groups & most others of the era could come up with sound puerile & half-baked.
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