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The Head Shop (1969)

Zespól The Head Shop z Nowego Jorku wydał tylko jeden album osadzony w szeroko rozumianych psychodelicznych klimatach w 1969 roku dla wytworni Epic. Ten unikalny materiał pełen energii i szaleństwa o często eksperymentalnych brzmieniach zawiera dużo charakterystycznego, chwilami dziwacznego śpiewu, ostre gitarowe wstawki, rozmyte dźwięki basu oraz sporo zaskakujących i ciekawie brzmiących efektów dźwiękowych. Warto nadmienić, że na płycie znajdują się również pewne akcenty mogące zainteresować fanów The Beatles.

Danny Prosseda - guitar
Drew Sbordone - bass
Joe Siano - vocals
Jesse Luca - drums, percussion
Milan - rhythm guitars and screams
Geoff Wright - Hammond/Farfisa Organ, fuzz bass (on "Heaven Here We Come" and "I Feel Love Comin' On")
Maxim - violin solo (on "Prophecy")
Larry Coryell - guitar solo (on "I Feel Love Comin' On")

The Head Shop is a psychedelic rock band from New York that released a one-shot, eponymous album on Epic Records in 1969. According to promotional material for the album, the band performs "9 musical chapters that will lead you into new musical and audiophile dimensions of psychedelic art of music". A commercial ad in New York's Screw magazine was blazoned with: "Do You Want Head? Blow Your Mind with the Head Shop Album!" The music features fuzztone bass and guitars, Farfisa as well as Hammond organ, and general weirdness. One recent reviewer describes the music as "a demented fusion of ’69 era heavy psych and ’66 era garage punk".

The album was produced by Milan, and the associate producer is Maxim; they are also listed as the songwriters on the original songs, which include "Listen with a Third Ear", "Heaven Here We Come" and "I Feel Love Comin' On". Larry Coryell, a respected jazz guitarist is a "guest musician" that provides a guitar solo on one track, "I Feel Love Comin' On". Coryell's debut album on Vanguard Records was released in the same time period.

The cover songs are also highly entertaining: Side 1 ends and Side 2 begins with two extremely familiar Beatles songs, "Yesterday" – reminiscent of the Vanilla Fudge cover of "Help!" – plus a propulsive rendering of "Revolution". "Yesterday", along with an original song called "Where Have All the People Gone", are combined into "Opera in the Year 4000" that may function as a commentary on the state of the music world at the end of the decade: even if all the people are gone in two thousand years, the then omnipresent Beatles standard would still survive. The album also includes a melancholy version of another hit song of the period, "Sunny" by Bobby Hebb. Like "Yesterday", hundreds of other cover versions of "Sunny" are extant, but not like this.

The album cover feature a swirling group of multi-colored (and numbered) boxes that surround a black-and-white image of a shrunken head. The back cover is mostly black with minimal copy but also shows a shot of the band lit from beneath.

Although the band is obscure by any standard, The Head Shop is probably the best known and one of the last of the many projects masterminded by Milan, an enigmatic music industry professional who produced and performed on a variety of recordings released throughout the 1960's. Virtually all of the Milan projects, including The Head Shop are highly sought collectors' items, and original sealed copies of the Epic album surface occasionally.

The album has been reissued on two different German labels, Synton Records in 1998 and World in Sound Records in 2004. The latter reissue includes 7 bonus tracks, along with a copy of the 1969 Screw Magazine ad. The bonus tracks run the gamut from folk to flower power to psychedelic pop and include songs by The Aladdins, Household Sponge (the predecessor band to The Head Shop), Licorice Schtik (another Milan outfit of the same time period), and other earlier Milan projects.

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