Gary Higgin's 1973 album is a masterpiece of acid folk, psychedelic folk, call it what you will, but it is an essential album for fans of psych and folk and anything in between. It is astounding that this talent was not discovered and promoted after this album, but I guess its reach was not wide enough at the time. With great vocals and interesting lyrics, and attractive interplay between acoustic guitar and flute, this is an album you'll want to listen to again and again.
There has been an industry in "undiscovered classics" over the last decade. Many great or simply quite good records have been unearthed and reissued and it can become a bit confusing which to go for, but this really is a quite astonishing record. Its obscurity is down to the fact that Gary was in jail on a drugs bust by the time it came out on a small label with no professional promotion. Don't let that fool you into thinking you are getting something amateurish here, however. The production is warm and lovely and the songs have a fantastic melancholy lilt to them which recalls Neil Young at his best. Indeed, if you imagine a compilation of all the best tracks from Young's 70s albums, you'll get an idea of how good "Red Hash" is. It is gentle without being too smooth; melancholy without ever being morbid. David Crosby's "If Only I Could Remember My Name" might be another pointer. The whole album evokes a lost hippy wonderland in which our laid back hero lights up and sings us the stories of his life. Obscurity be damned - this is one cd you need in your collection.
Another reviewer wonders why this album hasn't been hailed as a classic before. In truth, it HAS been acclaimed, by many of those who know it. It's just that it hasn't been HEARD by that many people in the first place.
Anyone lucky enough to relax for an hour with this delightful work will cast wry smiles in the general direction of certain contemporary cult artists, and chuckle to themselves in the knowledge that Gary Higgins and his compadres got there first, well over 20 years ago!
This is a great little album, coming on one moment like Captain Beefheart on happy pills, then drifting off into Robert Wyatt territory, and round again via something akin to what Vashti Bunyan's big brother might sound like.
I was wondering why exactly Gary Higgins' Red Hash had appeared in my Amazon Recommendations; I'd never heard of him before and there was no review to go by. I investigated a little bit and found out that Six Organs of Admittance had covered Gary Higgins' "Thicker than a Smokey" on their School of the Flower album (that's why that song title seemed to familiar!) I took a chance with buying it, I knew I liked the Six Organs version of the song, so I was hoping the original was good too. I was not disappointed, this album is fantastic! Originally released in 1973, it strikes me as a missing link. I'm only familiar with the popular folk releases of the late 60s / early 70s like Bert Jansch or Nick Drake, but none of those seem to be able to provide a solid link needed to reach the controversially titled alt-folk of the present. There's a prevalent sense of melancholy or perhaps even a warming comfort throughout each song as Higgins seems to perform most of the album as solo on acoustic guitar with the odd doubled vocal or maybe a welcome backing cello or piano. Looking at the picture on the front of the album it is quite easy to imagine Gary Higgins as being the illegitimate father of Devendra Banhart, and when listening to his music I'd be surprised if a few of our favourite folk types of today weren't also sired by this man! I'm surprised Gary Higgins' Red Hash hasn't been hailed as a classic, there is no question, BUY THIS ALBUM!
If Scott Weiland would have sung in the sixties it would have sounded something like this. Anyone who likes the material of Stone temple Pilots which is less grungy and more into the sixties sound will like this record. I don't know anyting about if anyone in the STP has ever listened to Gary Higgins, but the similarity is peculiar. in one sense I would have to say that it is a rather modern folkrecord for it's time.