Tuesday, May 5, 2009

The Other Half - Other Half (1966-69)

This obscure San Francisco '60s band gained a degree of notoriety in the '80s when their punk-garage single "Mr. Pharmacist" was included on one of Rhino's Nuggets compilations and covered by the Fall. Actually, most of the Other Half's material was far less garage than psychedelic, featuring the sustain-laden guitar of Randy Holden, one of the best Jeff Beck-inspired axemen of the '60s. Boasting a just-out-of-the-garage approach to Haight-Ashbury psychedelia, the group cut a little-heard, fairly strong album, as well as a few rare singles, in 1967 and 1968. Holden, who had previously played in the L.A. psychedelic garage band Sons of Adam, went on to join Blue Cheer and record on his own.

Tracks:01. Introduction - 1.5302. Feathered Fish - 2.3003. Flight of The Dragon Lady - 2.2904. Wonderful Day - 2.1605. I Need You - 2.4106. Oz Lee Eaves Drops - 2.2707. Bad Day - 2.1408. Morning Fire - 2.3209. What Can I Do For You (First Half) - 2.4210. What Can I Do For You (The Other Half) - 6.4811. Iґve Come So Far (Bonus) - 2.2212. Mr. Pharmasist (Bonus) - 2.3013. No Doubt About It (Bonus) - 2.3614. Itґs Too Hard (Without You (Bonus) - 2.1315. I Know (Bonus) - 2.41

This album has been kicking around for ages, first in cut-out bins in the 1970s and subsequently on want lists, ever since "Mr. Pharmacist" (which was not on this long-player) turned up on Rhino's Nuggets, Vol. 12. It turns out to be not at all bad, if not exactly distinguished — the Other Half were a much better garage band than they were a psychedelic outfit, their frantic, crunchy rockers (which dominate this record) being far more memorable and impressive than their efforts at trippy, spaced out, languid psych ("Wonderful Day"). "I Need You," and "Feathered Fish" give lead guitarist Randy Holden the opportunity to stretch out in the best Jeff Beck manner (circa the Yardbirds' Roger the Engineer), and even their more primitive numbers, such as "Oz Lee Eaves Drops," are good showcases for the group. Holden and rhythm guitarist Geoff Westen also get into some entertaining faux mandolin sounds on "Morning Fire," but when the band tries to get too serious, as on the two-part "What Can I Do for You," the results are fairly dire, which makes the last ten minutes of the original LP (which didn't even run 30 minutes) easily dispensable.


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...