Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Quill - Quill (1970)

Dan Cole (guitarra, trombon)
Norm Rogers (guitarra, bajo, cello)
Jon Cole (bajo, guitarra)
Phil Thayer (teclas, bajo, saxo)
Roger North (bateria)
Quill opened up the Saturday festivities at Woodstock in 1969, though some may say the real claim to fame for Jo Unk Khol (aka John Cole) is the sound effects he makes (uncredited) at the beginning of Andy Pratt's 1973 classic "Avenging Annie." The group's self-produced album is one of the better offerings from "The Bosstown Sound," as was Pratt's 1971 Polydor release Records Are Like Life. Perhaps it is no coincidence that both were recorded by the mysterious Boston-area engineer who went by one name, Aengus. Steven McDonald originally wrote in AMG that "Quill came and went in 1970, leaving a single album behind as evidence of their existence. The band hurtled into the depths of psychedelia with results that are both painful and entertaining." McDonald went on to call the music "a self-indulgent mess with some promise and much racket." Actually, the six compositions by John and Dan Cole, along with N. "Red Rocket" Rogers' "Too Late," deserve to be remembered a little bit better than that. Perhaps the entire album was too far out to include "I Had Too Much to Dream Last Night" or "Journey to the Center of the Mind," titles like "Thumbnail Screwdriver" and "Tube Exuding" giving the impression that these were bad Ultimate Spinach or Eden's Children outtakes. That's far from reality. The music is more toward the entertaining than the painful end of McDonald's spectrum. And though they, like Sweetwater, failed to catch on as other acts from the Woodstock festival did (unlike Ten Wheel Drive, who were said to have turned the gig down to settle in near obscurity), there is something special in these grooves and the pastel/half-psychedelic cover with esoteric lyrics spread across the inside of the Unipak gatefold. Despite the zany pseudonyms the bandmembers embraced, this record has more smarts than anything Zager & Evans ever put to plastic. There are jazzy overtones mixed in with the mayhem and experimentation far beyond anything Ultimate Spinach, the dreadful Eden's Children, and even the beloved the Beacon Street Union from that "Bosstown Sound" era attempted to create. Maybe it was the marketing, maybe it was the damage caused by Eden's Children, there's no doubt Quill deserved a better fate. If only Cotillion, the label that released the Woodstock triple and double LPs, had put this and other groups out as part of a "Woodstock" series.
01 Thumbnail Screwdriver 5:22
02 Tube Exuding 3:47
03 They Live The Life 9:16
04 Bby 4:58
05 Yellow Butterfly 4:09
06 Too Late 3:52
07 Shrieking Finally 7:30
(bellyfred )
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