Big Hairy Monster!
(All Album Reviews by Big Hairy Monster!)
WOW! I am just listening to this album for the second time and I am totally blown away! The disc I refer to is the self-titled Touch album. I have heard bits and pieces of this (on poorly recorded cassette) for years, but today I got the newly remastered version complete with bonus tracks.
Unfortunately, I just brought the disk with me and I do not have the packaging (which is excellent) here while I type. Having briefly glanced over the liner notes, this music was apparently very inspirational to Yes during their early days. As to the facts of the recording, this was a five piece group that featured Don Gallucci who was involved in the group The Kingsmen, famous for the song "Louie Louie". This was a one off album that never really hit it big, especially since Gallucci didn't tour the album since he thought it would be difficult to pull of live. Rather than go into an involved history, here is a link with more info on the group:
This album is psychedelic in nature (being recorded in 1968), but also features some of the earliest (and finest) examples of proto-prog that I have heard. The best comparison that I can think of would be to mix one part Sgt. Pepper, one part Pet Sounds, a little early Iron Butterfly, and maybe some early Colosseum, Gracious, and Floyd. Trying to make comparisons is pointless because this is a rather unique album, and one that I can see a lot of the up and coming proggers of the time adoring...as well as a lot of modern prog fans. For an album that was released in 1968, this recording (save a few brief passages) does not sound as dated as many other recordings of the time. You will find no Rick Wakeman, Neil Peart, or Alan Holdsworth-ish vituosity here...and that is a good thing! What will be found is excellent songwriting that carries the listener through a variety of moods in a brilliantly executed fashion. Time signatures shift through multi-part suites of 9+ minutes for a listen that is captivating and fulfilling from start to finish. This is beyond fine wine, this is a full on Absinthe buzz!
The bonus tracks (while good) do not reach the same lofty heights as the original album, and are not as cleanly recorded. However, these are not the sort of bonus tracks that detract from the overall listening experience.
If you don't mind a little psychedelia mixed with your proto-prog, this album will knock your socks off. I don't say that many albums are perfect, but one very well could be...so much so that I think it blows In The Court Of The Crimson King out of the water. In my opinion, it could very well be the top-10 list of best prog album released before Close To The Edge!
Some additional album reviews:
This young (sixties) album from Touch (not to be confused with the power a la Toto band) is really a gem!! How could something like this brilliant album be forgotten, lost in the haze of the late sixties???! I’m amazed both by the sound of this album and by the fact that this fine outing just now (recently) surfaced in the prog-world!!? What we have here is a fantastic prog album filled to the brim with fabulous music that varies from psychedelic to progressive and in a superb manner!! There are great vocals and fine musicianship all over the place. Just listen to "The spiritual Death of Howard Greer" where you get a cross between Beatles and Cressida. WOW...this is a MUST OWN album!!! Go get it now, that is..if you can find it !!!? SUPERGREATPROGPSYCHEDELICSTUFF!!!! Ever since I got this gem from my Mate Leo it’s been on my CD player ever so often!!!
What that?...YES, it is that great!!!!!