Beauregard Ajax - Deaf Priscilla (1968)

Southern California's Beauregard Ajax recorded Deaf Priscilla in late 1967 and early 1968, with legendary Del-Fi Records founder, Bob Keane producing, but the record was shelved when the group disbanded. Decades later a vinyl pressing was issued, and in 2006 Shadoks Music released it on CD for the first time, with four bonus tracks. As was the case for countless aspiring American rock collectives, the British Invasion from a few years earlier heavily influenced the five-piece (the singer even picked up an accent along the way), but as this was psychedelic age, the songs are augmented with slightly fuzzed-out blues licks.

The actual tunes possess pleasing melodies, resulting in an overall light psych sound. Lyrically, the tone is usually pretty heavy, though, with such darker subject matters as loneliness, depression, failed relationships, and boredom.

The group shows a whimsical side on "Kaleidoscope," and the bubblegummy "Happy Brontosaurus," but they are at their best when embracing the melancholic aspects of day-to-day life on such numbers as "Loneliness Is a Sometime Thing," "Goodbye Again," and "Blue Violins." One of the best and more bizarre tracks, "Deaf Priscilla," is the mysterious tale of a horrific domestic dispute, which the protagonist can partly ignore due to loss of one of her senses.

As a band, Beauregard Ajax is competent but largely unremarkable, and the vocalist isn't distinctive, leaving this an interesting, but unessential curio. As for the sonic experience, the master tape has deteriorated some, which is often distracting (especially if listening on headphones). As for the bonus tracks, they are useless, consisting of "alternate" versions that hardly differ from the final mixes.

Perhaps one of the best American psych gems Shadoks ever laid their hands on.

The album was recorded in April 1968 at Western Sound Recorders L.A. for a famous surf label, but was never released. Perhaps better than Public Nuisance and as good as Brain Police from Rockadelic, this album is a milestone such as Cold Sun's Dark Shadow. There isn't one track that is lacking energy (and there are 14 great ones, plus 4 bonus tracks never issued before) -- songs such as "Loneliness Is A Sometime Thing," "Dead Woman Blues" and "Deaf Priscilla" are outstanding highlights. Perfect vocals, tons of fuzz guitar and tough lyrics. We will love this album forever (info by: CGR)

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