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Headstone Circus (1968-1970)





Nick Bonis - bass
Randy "Ray" Pope - drums, vocals
Mike Johnstone - lead guitar
Glenn Faria - lead vocals, guitar

Headstone Circus was formed in 1966 by Glenn Faria (who also released some solo music on World In Sound). This beautiful album was recorded between 1968-1970, and on the first spin it is reminiscent of Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young -- four-way street electric sides. Well-composed, well-performed, and in line with some of the better Neil Young albums, with an extra weird touch.

"Around 1966, Nick Bonis, Mike Johnstone, Randy Pope, and I formed a psychedelic band. On Halloween night we went to an old cemetery, dropped acid, and spent a very strange night among the tombstones. The tombstones appeared to be melting and taking on animal shapes. Some of us saw spirits, and I'm not sure what I saw, but it was disturbing. Afterwards, we referred to that night as the 'Headstone Circus.' It seemed appropriate to call ourselves Headstone Circus as a band so we did." Glenn Faria

The band plays a (rather) West Coast style while recorded on the east coast, with a certain Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young / Buffalo Springfield or Neil Young -Crazy Horse period- influence, but additionally with a more bluesy side-effect, and with some portions on certain tracks, where a smoky dark bluesy feeling is improvised calmly upon. This is of course the acid bluesy side associated with something of the east coast that gives this slightly smokey feeling. The lead vocals have a warm attractive effect and fit well with the West Coast feeling. Several of the more song orientated tracks are more acoustic. The last four, and also more simple, tracks on the CD I guess are more like rough demo versions. I am sure that if they would have had a chance with a big studio production and treatment on some tracks, these could have been better, (-a few tracks also suffered from a few worn-tape errors)-, while most of it for me is already great as it is, and makes it, almost essential to check it out, especially when you like the CSNY. A track like “Summer’s Gone” could have easily been a Neil Young track, and still is one of my favourite songs. After a while, singer/composer Glenn Faria left the group only because he was offered a solo contract. This solo album was reissued by World In Sound some years ago. Here, the Neil Young influence still isnoticeable, but for me this solo album isn’t so rewarding as the previous Headstone Circus, but it also features a nice redo of the already mentioned “Summer’s Gone” song.

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