Thursday, February 7, 2008

Crystal Circus - In Relation To Our Times (1968)

Supposedly a reissue (Akarma AK 134 / 2001) of an untitled 1968 album, allocated a catalog # of All-American AA-5733-LPD (it sez), that only made it to the test-pressing stage. One copy surfaced in 2000 with a price-tag of $1500. This group/project was in Bill Holmes' All-American stable of inter-twined groups from in and around the Santa Barbara, California area. Greg Munford had been with Thee Sixpence up to the point that they recorded the Incense And Pepermints (sic) 45 and became The Strawberry Alarm Clock. Crystal Circus would appear to have been his next venture. He was involved in other projects and a 45 released in '67 by The Shapes Of Sound - Lost Weekend / Twisted Conversation (All-American 343) - is a likely candidate, given that Twisted Conversation turns up on the Crystal Circus LP. Munford, Solomon and Bielan were certainly involved with another band on All-American, The Indescribably Delicious, and are credited on the I.D. LP reissue - Good Enough To Eat (Akarma AK 046) 2000. Bob Feldman also pops up amongst the composer credits. If this is a bona fide album, one has to wonder why it was not released, given the success of the Strawberry Alarm Clock. The vocal style and arrangements on the soft-centred pop-psych numbers (In Relation, Merry Go Round, Circus And Zoo World) are uncannily similar. There are trippy vibes and elegant baroque gestures (Castles, Twisted Conversation) counterbalanced by harder material that harks back to the sounds of Thee Sixpence:- strident garage-pop with blistering guitar (Don't Say I Didn't Warn You), Cream-like fuzz-grunge (The Difference Between Us), and brass-pop bombast (Never Again). Whatever the real truth behind it, this reissue unearths a fine selection of '67-'68 confectionery - recommended.
(Max Waller in "Fuzz, Acid and Flowers")

The real truth behind the band is finally revealed on the Unwind with Strawberry Alarm Clock site.

- In Relation (To Our Times)
- Don't Say I Didn't Warn You
- Girl Like You
- Sittin' & Thinkin'
- Twisted Conversation
- Merry-Go-Round
- Circus And Zoo World
- Never Again
- Castles (In The Sand)
- Sweet High
- The Difference Between Us
- The World Of Seas & Rivers

Bruce Turner (lead gtr, vcls)
Greg Munford (rhythm gtr, vcls)
Bob Feldman (bs, vcls)
Jack Bielan (keyb'ds, vibes, vcls)
Gary Solomon (flute, sax, vcls)
Terry Rae (drms, vcls)

Band origin:
Los Angeles (California/US)

1. The Crystal Circus (All American AA-5733-LPD) 1968

1. In Relation/Merry-Go-Round (All American 3333) 1968
   [credited to Strawberry SAC]

Get it here (Artwork included / vinyl rip))

Listen to In Realtion (To Our Times)


Anonymous said...

Pretty Good Album
Thank You John

Anonymous said...

A very good album and a very good work with akarma mini lps cover.Result some akarma cds are sold between 50 & 100 dollars on amazone,even 200 for Analogy;strange world,what are thinking lp collectors ?.

Anonymous said...

I didn't know this album. Thank you very much for all the work you do.

Anonymous said...

Many thanks. Fantastic Akarma (All American) record. Gracias.

Anonymous said...

Merci. Thanks for the download and for this fantastic blog.

pompel said...

Many thanks.

Anonymous said...

Скажу по-аглицки - Well!!!

Anonymous said...

"Sweet high" is one of the most beautiful hi-(a)ppiest songs ever written