Almost immediately after posting the last list of psych-folk that inspired early Six Organs, I thought of a song that I forgot that was key to the development of Six Organs. Then another. And well…here’s part 2. Just like last time, there are definitely some old classics and maybe some tunes that aren’t as well known. Pt 3 will be bands that were more contemporaneous with the start of Six Organs and created a modern world of psych-folk sound that was influential.
Amon Duul – Love is Peace – This was the first song I remembered that I forgot to put on the last list. Amon Duul’s psych folk record was originally a bit of a disappointment for me after their brain bashing percussion workouts. Then it clicked. There’s something about the bare-bones aspect of this record that really started to get to me. The broken down communal-house vibe is too thick to ignore.
Stone Angel – Stone Angel – Being a fan of the Kissing Spell reissue label (which, BTW, had the best cover for the Dark Around The Edges release- with the guitar players and their Marshall stacks flying through the cosmos on asteroids. Far superior to the picture of the woman on the couch…anyway…), I was excited when they started to get into more acid folk sounds. Stone Angel sounds like the more innocent siblings of Comus, but still documenting the ghostlier aspects of Albion. Pretty good Halloween music to boot!
Khalsa String Band – Song of Bliss – I first heard Khalsa String band on a mix tape that Joshua Burkett made for me. Joshua was making incredible mixes of private press tunes for me back in 1999 and I was lucky to get turned on to a lot of great music from him. This was always a great late night song. Or early morning.
Brast Burn – Debon – A nice fellow in Germany made me some tapes and Brast Burn was one of the bands that really turned me around. This record was the inspiration for a lot of the side-long Six Organs tunes, especially The Manifestation and the tune that was on the split with Vibracathedral Orchestra. In fact, I was recently in the studio working on a project and I pulled this record up to play for everyone. It’s still fantastic.
Sergius Golowin – Der Reigen – Speaking of inspirations for side-long jams: Klaus Schulze and friends jamming behind insane Hara Krishna mumblings from a dude who is meditating in the Alps? Yes Please. Another inspiration for some of the more spaced out Six Organs stuff, a lot of which got compiled on the RTZ triple LP on Drag City. Picked this Spalax reissue up on a trip down to Berkeley’s Amoeba.
Stone Harbour – Dying to Love You – This record is mostly filed with broken lo-fi hiss-psych but right in the middle is this tune. I loved the organ and at the time I had an organ in my living as well so this number inspired me to use that tone on the first record. You can hear it come through on side A of the self titled Six Organs. Just a really sweet song. I believe the writer Tony Rettman of 200 LBU/NYHC fame was also a fan. I think I remember talking to him about it.
Magic Carpet – Black Cat – I don’t know much about this band. Like most of the things on this list, it was ordered from Forced Exposure because of a great description. I really love the singer on it. I think I had a thing for sitars in songs back then.
Scott Appel – Far Leys – This isn’t as old as the other tunes but I want to mention it because I feel Scott’s work to bring the music of Nick Drake to the world has long been under appreciated. Before the commercials and the movies, ‘ol Drakeypoo was actually pretty underground. Scott developed a friendship with Nick’s family and they sent him some of Nick’s demos that would later be released on countless bootlegs and official recordings. But before those, Scott’s recordings of these songs were the only way to hear them. The record was called Nine of Swords and I remember listening to it and feeling the ghost of Nick coming through. At the time I felt the recording was maybe a little too slick and beautiful sounding, but I put it on the last time I was in California (where my old records are stored) and it sounded beautiful. It’s time for a re-evaluation of the importance of Scott’s work for finger-pickers in the 90s. Unfortunately Scott passed away in 2003, leaving this song and his record with a double sadness.
Chet Atkins, Leo Kottke and Doc Wattson – The Last Steam Engine Train – One of these days I’ll make a post on Leo Kottke and the various reasons why he isn’t allowed into the cool-club but in order to do that I’ll have to tell some stories about my friendship with Jack Rose and our light-hearted Fahey vs Kottke thing we’d do and that would take a while to get down. SO…I just want to put this here because, although it’s not psych-folk, I probably watched it a billion times in the 90s. The real payoff is the end, when Doc Wattson talks about the song.
COB – Spirit of Love – You all know the story of Clive Palmer and ISB so I won’t go into it. If you don’t, I highly recommend getting a copy of Rob Young’s Electric Eden book (my copy was given to me by my friend David from the band Red River Dialect. Thanks David). This record is sort of the perfect bridge to go into my next list, which will be more modern bands that I love (maybe some of you can see where I’m heading). One of my favorite memories is driving on a small forest path through the redwoods around 1998 in my ’66 mustang (damn I wish I still had that car) with friends sitting on the hood after our friends’ wedding that I had played the wedding march to. I couldn’t see through the windshield because of the mass of people on the hood so had to look out my side window while slowly driving along the path. The song “Spirit of Love” was playing from my car stereo loud enough to echo in the forest while everyone sang along. I never hear that song without thinking of that time.