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Circuit Rider (1971)

Kolejny psychodeliczny monster w wykopalisk - Circuit Rider, o której wiem tylko, że wokalistą w niej jest niejaki Thorn Oehrig. I właśnie wokal jest tu najciekawszy - coś pomiędzy Timem Buckleyem a Morrisonem. W każdym razie bardzo interesująca grupa muzycznie przypominająca dokonania Yahowa 13 i innych mrocznych, undergroundowych bandów.


Acid Archives describe this one as projecting “visions of a biker high on PCP driving over a cliff at 100mph, laughing and screaming all the way.” The label blurb references the Fraction LP alongside a bunch of grails of gone including Nicodemus, Ya Ho Wha 13, Raven, Heitkotter and Kenneth Higney. The story is that the Circuit Rider LP showed up as a private press album with virtually nada in terms of documentation round about 1980, though there are suggestions that it was actually recorded in the early 70s. The group are on a serious Doors-jag, with minimal Robby Krieger-style runs generating a doofy take on the atmospherics of “When The Music’s Over” , albeit with a psychos-for-satori overhaul and a buncha lyrics about riding freights and getting high with the ladies. The group are a little more primitive in their chops than Fraction but when they get to testifying over Zig Zag Wanderer-style riffs about ‘burning up highway/put my foot to the floor/smoking at the starting gate/on fire at the finish line/shot off like a bullet/into eternity – yeah!’ the effect is just as fucking blasted. Featuring a vocalist who teleports between sleazy, oracular and drunk-in-a-bikers-jacket at the slightest sniff of fuzz, it makes sense that Acid Archives would’ve listed this as one of the Top 10 private press LPs most likely to be owned by a serial killer. This album has got VT written all over it. Highly recommended. (Acid Archives)

One of the most fortunate coincidences about my moving into my current apartment was that its location allowed me to discover Weirdo Records. And while I was digging through their new vinyl bin the other day, I came across this record. I'll share the contents of the sticker on it that convinced me to buy this record:

'...projects visions of a biker high on PCP driving over a cliff at 100 mph, laughing and screaming all the way.' -Patrick Lundberg, The Acid Archive

This is the ultimate burnout biker psych masterpiece. Finally repressed directly from tapes to flawlessly restore the cigarette burns, Harley fumes, and cocaine hangovers of the original ride. This is a 40 minute recipe for complete mental breakdown.

Included on the Acid Archives' list of Top Ten LPs Most Likely To Be Owned By A Serial Killer. Circuit Rider is lost on the same journey as Kenneth Higney, Nicodemus & Matchez, YaHoWa, Boa, Herikotter, Dave Lamb & Gye Whiz, Raven, Fraction, and The Doors' L.A. Woman

So, I don't really see how I could resist a record described with that opening quote. The "40 minute recipe for complete mental breakdown" line just sweetened the deal. When I got home and started listening, though, it was not what I expected at all.

Ya see, when I think "psych," I think jangly and/or warmly distorted guitars, organs, maybe some electric jug (ok that's actually just for the 13th Floor Elevators). Those are not what this album is about. Some later tracks have more distorted guitar, but the guitar actually sounds almost acoustic for most of this record. It proceeds at a familiar psych-rock tempo, with mostly quiet guitar licks and awesomely wandering bass lines backing (who I at least hope to be) a completely drugged out biker alternating between speaking and crooning a really deep, mournful wail. It works! It's totally awesome, though not the Motorhead-on-(even more) acid death party I'd imagined at first.

The oft-repetitive lyrics don't always make the most sense, but when they do they cover the territory bluesmen and country outlaws always have--they mourn lost loves, pursue new ones (or at least new one-night-stands), praise their perennially-on-the-run-from-the-law comrades, await freight trains, and yearn for the freedom of the road. Then of course they layer the biker persona on, so it's an "old lady" specifically the singer's looking for, etc.

I'm really not doing this record justice in this review, but take my word for it. Listening to it, all I want to do is a grab a fifth of cheap bourbon, jump on my (currently non-existent) chopper, and cruise right into a massive battle with a rival gang, maybe selling some crystal meth along the way. (opinionsofarob.blogspot.com)

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