Friday, November 30, 2018

Friar Tuck - Friar Tuck and his Psychedelic Guitar (1967)

It would be all too easy to simply write this off as a mere exploitation knock-off designed to catch naive hippies. It certainly is that, but it also has the hand (and voice) of Curt Boettcher all over it, and it features Mike Deasy, heavy L.A. session cat and sometime-member of Phil Spector's Wrecking Crew on guitar, musical arrangements and producing. Consisting of about half covers and half originals, the album could hardly be considered truly psychedelic (mostly thanks to the Boettcher vocals) but it is quite interesting in its own way. Deasy's arrangements are strange and wonderful with some hot guitar playing and liberal use of the echoplex. He gives "Louie Louie," the quintessential simple rock & roll tune, a wildly elaborate arrangement, virtually re-creating the tune entirely. He gives Nat Adderly and Oscar Brown, Jr.'s "Work Song" an echoplex and guitar intro, inserts a bit of twang then goes into a classical sounding passage and back. Oddly enough, it also sounds reminiscent of the Count Five's "Psychotic Reaction"! Deasy's ultra-stoned sounding vocals on "Alley Oop" are hilarious. The originals can't be called instrumentals due to Boettcher and company's ever present wordless vocals, which get really bizarre on "Fendabenda Ha Ha Ha" and "Where Did Your Mind Go?." [These tracks are a really odd combination of gonzo guitar soloing and the Living Voices on acid. The bonus tracks by the Flower Pot have actual lyrics and are less elaborately arranged than the Friar Tuck album, and have quite a different feel to them. "Black Moto" and "Wantin' Ain't Gettin" even have some sitar. Originally issued as 45 rpms, they're a nice addition and it makes sense to gather Deasy's originals all in one place. All in all, Friar Tuck & His Psychedelic Guitar is a thoroughly entertaining curiosity. [This album was reissued in 2007 with four bonus tracks from the Flower Pot.]

Friar Tuck was a stage name for L.A. session guitarist Mike Deasy. The Friar Tuck album is essentially a Mike Deasy solo album made with the help of Deasy's studio friends. The March 1996 edition of Guitar Player Magazine lists the Friar Tuck album as being in Jimi Hendrix' personal record collection.

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