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15 Nov 2016

Afterglow “Afterglow” 1968 US Psych Rock

Afterglow “Afterglow” 1968 US Psych Rock
An obscure psychedelic band based in Oregon, Afterglow released only one album in 1968 before vanishing. Afterglow’s lone, eponymous release was sort of like a sampler of American psychedelic styles, featuring songs that recalled not only the Doors and Jefferson Airplane, but also the Byrds, Donovan and trippy garage-psychedelic bands like the Strawberry Alarm Clock. 

Led by guitarist/vocalist Tony Tecumseh, the group formed in August of 1965 when Tecumseh was convinced by a friend to contact drummer Larry Alexander and a bassist named Mike. The trio, dubbed the Madallions, soon added vocalist Gene Resler and the band played several shows, usually at a local pizza parlor, before they went their separate ways to attend college. They re-formed in 1966, adding new bassist Ron George and keyboardist Roger Swanson. That fall, they began recording with producer Leo Lukla at his Golden State Recorders studio, but due to their studies, they were unable to complete an album until late 1967; the resulting eponymous record appeared early the following year on MTA Records. Afterglow was ignored at the time and the group broke up shortly afterward, but the record became a favorite of psychedelic collectors and was reissued by Sundazed Records in 1995….by Stephen Thomas Erlewine…… 

It’s not often that someone gets to live a dream, have it fade away, then live it again four decades later. But that’s what happened for the members of Northern California’s Afterglow. Back in the summer of 1967, they went to San Francisco (in The Summer Of Love no less) and recorded an album that was released on a national label. Then, almost 40 years after they’d given up hope that the record would have any impact on the world, they came to realise that… well… it actually had. 
Larry Alexander – the band’s drummer and the member who first came to the revelation that at least some people did know and value their music – tells the story of how Afterglow got together and how the self-titled record was made: “I was a senior in high school. Tony Tecumseh [songwriter and lead guitarist, who was about five years older than the rest of us, had started playing with a bass player and that guy’s wife, in a county in Oregon just across the state border. 
They were looking for a drummer and somebody told them about me, so I went up and auditioned for them. Then we decided we needed a singer and rhythm guitar player, so we found Gene Resler, who was singing in a church choir. The couple that had started the band with Tony eventually quit, so we found Ron George [bass] and Roger Swanson [keyboards], who were at that time playing in another band. “We all went to junior college together, then we all went on to Chico State University. All during that time we remained friends, and were playing music together. Some friends we knew who had a band had been down to San Francisco and made a demo at Golden State Recorders, so they told the people there about us. 
We sent them a demo tape and they invited us to come down and audition for them. They told us to go back home and come up with 20 original tunes and come back when we were ready. So we did that and we went down and did the recordings. “Leo De Gar Kulka was the owner/producer/engineer of Golden State Recorders. He would sign bands up and have them record at his studio, and then he would try and sell the masters to the major labels. This was the first time any of us had ever been in San Francisco. We were just some country bumpkins who didn’t have a manager or anything, and we’d never been in a professional recording studio before. 
We were serious about everything though. Serious about the music and about our friendships. This was an emotional experience for us, making those recordings.” The album, originally released in ’68 on MTA Records, is an endearingly innocent and often tuneful collection of songs fuelled by sweet harmonies and a fresh, breezy feel. Some cheesy Farfisa and the occasional odd time signature give it a subtle garage/experimental feel, and the eerie ‘Susie’s Gone’ is a spacey freakout that could be The Fifty-Foot Hose or The United States Of America. 
But for the most part, a gentle touch and hummable melody is what drives the record – it sounds like Preflyteera Byrds meets ‘Rainy Day Mushroom Pillow’ Strawberry Alarm Clock. ‘Riding Home Again’, which enjoyed heavy local airplay around the band’s home turf, is an irresistible, happy-making jewel that really should have been included on the Nuggets Brian Greene …….. 

The only album of Chico (CA), was originally called "The Medallions”. Lead guitarist and vocalist Tony Tecumseh formed the group in August 1965, when he was persuaded to contact with drummer Larry Alexander and bassist named Mike. The trio called “The Medallions”, soon took vocalist Gene Resler and the band played a few concerts before they parted to go to college. They met again in 1966, adding a new bass player Ron George and keyboardist Roger Swanson. That same autumn they began recording with producer Leo Kulka in his studio “Golden Gate Studios”, but because of mutual disagreements, and could not finish the album before the end of 1967; in the end, he appeared at the beginning of next year on the “MTA Records”. But the moment had passed, and soon the band broke up……. 

Not too many bands were coming out of Oregon in the late 60s, and it’s not the first locale that comes to mind when you hear the sun drenched songs on Afterglow’s only record. 

Originally called “The Madallions,” Tony Tucemseh, Ron George, Roger Swanson, Gene Resler, and Larry Alexander became Afterglow to record their self titled debut in 1966. Under the direction of producer Leo Lukia, a very interesting album was cut at Golden State Recorders that autumn. 

Released in early ’67 on MTA records, Afterglow made hardly a dent and the group disbanded soon after. The tragedy of this is apparent when hearing such a delightful record full of pop hooks and potential. 

It may have been their relatively remote location that helped quicken the bands demise, but it also added to the unique songwriting on Afterglow. If you hate the sound of the Farfisa organ, you should probably pass on this record altogether. It makes a prominent appearance on every cut, and though the production is slightly derivative the writing is extremely progressive and original for such an obscure debut. Definitely a must for fans of The Zombies, The Left Banke, and Joe Meek’s mid period freakbeat phase. 

“Chasing Rainbows” is by far the best track here with it’s odd melody and rhythmic changes melding into a dizzying hook. A dark autumnal vibe undercuts the sunny arrangements, with tracks like “Mend This Heart of Mine” and “Dream Away”. 

“Love” could almost pass for a Meek production with its buzzy organs and slightly off kilter vocal sound. “It’s a Wonder” should be a staple of modern classic rock radio with its catchy hook and Zombies by-way-of the Byrds harmonies, which really drives home what a shame it is this album wasn’t heard more. 

There’s an excellent reissue on Sundazed that includes some decent bonus tracks (mostly alternate versions/backing tracks). It’s available on both CD and Vinyl… Rising Storm review…… 

This is the only (and underrated) LP published by the psychedelic band Afterglow , an American group produced by Leo Kulka and influenced by the Byrds , Association , Strawberry Alarm Clock , Beatles and Jefferson Airplane that supported its attractive sound in the bewitching Farfisa organ of Roger Swanson, ductile voice of Gene Resler and compositional ability guitarist Tony Tecumseh, author of almost all subjects under the hiperlisérgico “Susie’s Gone” and the beautiful piece jangle pop / folk-rock “Mend this Heart of Mine” , this Resler last work. 
The album is a gem of the time with successful compositions and beautiful vocal arrangements that uses both psychedelic and the more melodic pop or folk-rock byrdsiano.Las best songs are “Dream Away”, “Riding Home Again”, “It’s Wonder ”,“ Afterglow "or said” Mend This Heart of Mine “true wonders performed with finesse and style thanks to Sundazed label can be recovered by music lovers addicted to the sounds 60’s…….. 

Coming out of Oregon, this band doesn’t have any particular innovations to offer, but they do have a groovy, listenable sound. They often skirt the boundaries of sunshine pop, all anchored by a wonderfully cheesy Farfisa organ sound. The band doesn’t really have a ton of originality - much of this is aping more established acts like the Byrds and the Mamas and the Papas. Still, they were able to create a very consistent album that would swing at your retro-party. 

None of the songs here are particularly bad, even if many of them do go sailing on the seas of cheese and nothing stands out to strongly. "Susie’s Gone” is the most notable freak out on display here with acid-soaked vocals, and oddball beat and a melting, twangy guitar sound. “Chasing Rainbows” got stuck in my head for a few days, while “It’s A Wonder’ sports a pretty nice guitar riff alongside its sunshine vocals. I can’t help but notice that "Mend This Heart of Mind” sounds suspiciously like the Byrds “Here Without You.” It makes me think that Afterglow may be coming a little too close to some other songs that I’m just not catching at the moment. 

There’s nothing here that’s going to blow your mind, but this is a pretty groovy slab of garage band sounding late sixties sunshine pop. While the date on this album is 1968, I think this music would have been a lot more at home about two years earlier. Still, most of this album will at least put you in a pretty good mood. Let’s call it brain Jell-O…………… 

*Gene Resler - Vocals 
*Roger Swanson - Keyboards 
*Tony Tecumseh - Guitar 
*Ron George - Bass 
*Larry Alexander - Drums 

1. Morning - 2:05 
2. Dream Away - 2:33 
3. Susie’s Gone (B. Boots) - 2:29 
4. Mend This Heart of Mine (Gene Resler) - 2:37 
5. Afternoon - 1:59 
6. Chasing Rainbows - 1:49 
7. By My Side - 1:54 
8. It’s a Wonder - 2:28 
9. Love - 3:02 
10.Riding Home Again - 2:34 
11.Meadowland of Love - 2:23 
12.Susie’s Gone (Mono) (B. Boots) - 2:32 
13.Chasing Rainbows - 1:51 
14.Afternoon - 1:48 
15.Morning - 2:11

johnkatsmc5, welcome music..





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