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Saturday, November 28, 2009


Part Three.

So picking up from last time, Mort Garson was making a name for himself with a series of 'themed' electronic albums: signs of the zodiac, "The Wizard Of Oz", the musical "Hair", satanism, so what next? Right after the Lucifer project, he picked up an 'erotica' project, and released "Music For Sensuous Lovers" under the pseudonym "Z". Two tracks, one on each side of the LP. One track focusing on the female orgasm, the other focusing on the male. Strange...
Then in 1974, he did the music for an audio narration of "The Little Prince", narrated by Richard Burton. During this time, he picked up on funk music and released a single as The Lords Of Percussion. This week's track is the A-side of the single, a slinky slice of soundtrack funk, a full band complete with 'hi-yahs' and flute. This track can now be found on a number of 'rare groove' compilations'. Who knew it was the same guy??

Song : "The Kung-Fu" by The Lords Of Percussion
Single A-side (Old Town) 1974

Get it here : The Kung-Fu

Sunday, November 22, 2009

LUCIFER : Exorcism (1971)

Part Two.
From his success with The Zodiac, it seemed everyone wanted to work with Garson and this 'futuristic' new machine, the Moog. So he continued with his Moog-related concept albums. in 1968, he composed music for a takeoff on 'The Wizard of Oz', called "The Wozard Of Id". He followed that with "Electronic Hair Pieces", a synth version of songs from the musical "Hair". He also did the 12-album version of The Zodiac, with each album dedicated to a zodiac sign. In 1970, he did a soundtrack to the cult movie "Didn't You Hear?" with a young Gary Busey.

This track was from the album done under his new pseudonym, Lucifer. Unsurprisingly, the theme of this project was Satanism and black magic, due to the short popularity of 'evil'-inspired bands (e.g. Black Sabbath, Black Widow, Coven, etc).

The music on this track is very still electronic, now foregoing a proper band, and relying completely on the Moog. The piece starts off in 5/8 time with a wild synth solo throughout, but the beat breaks down at 1:20 for some otherworldly sounds from the instrument. At 2:38, the beat kicks back in for more synth noodling. Nothing complex really, but interesting sounds overall.

Song : "Exorcism" by Lucifer
From the album "BLACK MASS" (United Artists) 1971

Mort Garson : composer

Get it here : Exorcism

Saturday, November 14, 2009

THE ZODIAC : Aries - The Firefighter (1967)

Part One.
Mort Garson was a pioneering electronic musician who was primarily active in the '60s and '70s. He first garnered success writing for and accompanying pop stars and crooners of the early '60s, such as Doris Day, Mel Torme, and Glen Campbell. He was in-demand because he was capable of writing, arranging, conducting, and performing with equal ability. However, he came into his stride with the advent of the Moog synthesizer in the late '60s. He was one of the first musicians to use the Moog as the primary musical instrument on albums, along with Wendy/Walter Carlos, and Beaver & Crause. He was also the talent behind various cult electronic albums, all with different pseudonyms.

The Zodiac was Garson's breakthrough Moog project in 1967. The album had 12 tracks, each focusing on a different sign of the zodiac. Garson wrote all the music, Paul Beaver played the Moog, with narration by musician Cyrus Faryar. It is quirky novelty music, with a feel of the '60s to it. The interesting point is the dominance of the Moog as a composing instrument. This album was so succesful that Garson was soon contacted to do 12 FULL albums, each named after the various zodiac signs. These were released in 1969. By then, Garson had moved on to other projects.

Song : "ARIES - THE FIREFIGHTER" by The Zodiac
From the album "COSMIC SOUNDS" (Elektra) Nov. 1967

Mort Garson : composer
Jacque Wilson : lyricist
Paul Beaver : Moog synthesizer
Cyrus Faryar : narration
Emil Richards : exotic percussion
Hal Blaine : drums
Carol Kaye : bass

Saturday, November 07, 2009

JOE HICKS : Could It Be Love (1973)

Joe Hicks is a bluesy soul singer from San Francisco who was active from the mid-60s to the mid-70s. Most notably, he had two singles produced by Sly Stone around 1970. Stone's influence stayed with Joe Hicks, and he released just one LP afterwards for the Stax/Enterprise label. The album, encompassing soul, funk, and blues, was soon forgotten, and Hicks disappeared. This track is a sweet soul song with Hicks crooning away, and the band holding back the urge to play funky.

Song : "Could It Be Love" by Joe Hicks
From the LP "MIGHTY JOE HICKS" (Enterprise) 1973

Get it here : Could It Be Love