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27 Aug 2016

Terence “An Eye For An Ear” 1969 Canada Psych Garage Pop

Terence “An Eye For An Ear” 1969 Canada Psych Garage Pop 


The Terence of this album is Canadian 60s pop icon Terry Black from British Columbia. Black had his first hit in 1965, at the age of 15, with his second A-side “Unless You Care” (Arc 1074) which charted at #2 in Canada and #99 in the USA. This was quickly followed by several other charting singles and a “Best Male Vocalist” award in the same year. A brief move to the US followed where this album was conceived, though recorded in both New York and Toronto. An Eye For An Ear generally does not appear in Terry Black discographies and it is believed that this album is a “studio project” rather than an outright release by the artist. 

While certainly not bad, this is also not a great album to my ears. Too much pop balladry, orchestration and blasts of brass. Black’s deep, soulful vocals remind me of other late 60s psych-crooners like Damon and Beauregarde and quite frankly lack the depth or nuance to keep me inspired. That said, this is still an album of its time with decent fuzz guitar licks and hip organ flourishes to be heard throughout. The standout track for fans of psych is the side two opener “Fool Amid The Traffic” featuring a hypnotic organ and drum backing to a healthy spread of wah-wahed and fuzzy guitar. This track would be a great addition to any psych compilation. For fans of the weird and experimental the non-song “The Emperor” offers sound effects, wordless female vocals and Terry Black’s spoken retelling of the emperor’s new clothes tale. 

don’t believe there was a Canadian pressing, this American issue covering both markets. There was, however, a 1969 German pressing on MCA (MAPS 1884) with different cover art. The Museum of Canadian Music website values originals at $45.00, though I consider this to be high. Indeed, friends in England have told me that over the last decade or so An Eye For An Ear has been a common charity shop find at a few quid (this may refer to the German press). ….. 

Studio project «An Eye For An Ear» was recorded in Toronto and New York and published in 1969 on the label «Decca». Full artist name - Terence Black (or Terry Black). Born in Vancouver (British Columbia), this guy gave up his first hit as early as the age of fifteen, but then he sang rock and roll of US and British-style bits. In the charts of Canada hit six of his singles, and in 1966 he recorded «Black Plague» album, which became a cult in certain circles. In the studio he helped Richard Gael and Patrick Riccio II, who wrote all the material and the arrangements worked. Album 1969 is not included in the discography of Black. Some fans Black is clearly overestimated his talent. Records it is called genius, but about the track «Fool Amid The Traffic» say the best psychedelic thing of all time … By the way, the album cover hints at the political views of Black, who was a member of Canada’s Fabian Society. In recent years, the life of Terry Black suffered from multiple sclerosis and died June 28, 2009. ……. 

1. An Eye for An Ear (Richard Gael, Patrick Riccio II) - 3:39 
2. Rap (Richard Gael, Patrick Riccio II) - 3:17 
3. Second City Song (Richard Gael, Patrick Riccio II) - 2:52 
4. Power (Richard Gael, Patrick Riccio II) - 3:45 
5. Exiles(Richard Gael, Patrick Riccio II) - 2:22 
6. Fool Amid the Traffic (Richard Gael, Patrick Riccio II) - 4:23 
7. Priscilla (Richard Gael, Patrick Riccio II) - 2:21 
8. Lighting Frederick’s Fire (Richard Gael, Patrick Riccio II) - 4:29 
9. The Emperor (Richard Gael, Eric Robertson) - 4:27 
10. Does It Feel Better Now (Richard Gael, Patrick Riccio II) - 2:41

Michaelangelo “One Voice Many” 1971 US Psychedelic Sunshine folk rock

Michaelangelo “One Voice Many” 1971 US Psychedelic Sunshine folk rock 


This lost classic finally makes its CD debut here. Led by the aptlynamed Angel, the band only recorded one album, which has become one of the best-loved folk-rock albums of its era. Recorded in New York and produced by longtime Wendy Carlos collaborator Rachel Elkind, it’s a haunting collection of autoharp-led pop songs, boasting strong melodies and powerful electric guitar, but sold poorly on release in 1971, causing the band to splinter. 
Delicate and melodic baroque soft-rock with a mellow hippie aura. Vocally not unlike the softer moments of the Peanut Butter Conspiracy or Comfortable Chair. Where they came from is unknown, though some of the credits hint at it being recorded in New York City. To be taken in the drawing-room with perfumed tea. 
Little’s known about this group, even though their sole album, 1971’s One Voice Many, came out on a major label, Columbia. Sounding more like a record from the late ‘60s than the early '70s, its folk-rock-psychedelic blend was unusual for prominently featuring the autoharp of Angel Autoharp (as she’s billed on the record), which sometimes functioned much as a lead guitar or organ would within a rock lineup. Autoharp also wrote the material on the LP, which presented both instrumentals (on which the autoharp took its strongest role) and vocal numbers with male-female vocal blends/alternations, all the while maintaining a slightly haunting yet cheery flavor consistent with the sound of many Californian bands of the era. …….. 

When was the last time you heard or saw an autoharp? Perhaps it was when your 80 year old kindergarten teacher busted one out for sing along time. Or maybe you come across one now and again at your local second hand store. It is indeed rare to see an autoharp as a focal instrument in any form of musical display much less as the primary instrument of a psychedelic rock group. Yet this in fact was the case with the New York City based group Michaelangelo. 
Primary composer and group member Angel Autoharp (surname Peterson) blended the unique ring of the autoharp with psychedelic and progressive rock elements with the help of guitarist Steve Bohn and the fantastic rhythm section of Robert Gorman on bass and Michael John Hackett on drums. 
The group’s sole release strikes one as supremely unique even for the psychedelic times in which it was released. Not because it was outlandishly bizarre, but because it was such a very pure musical vision. This album does not succumb to any radio friendly formulas yet it does not attempt to be overtly far out cither. Angel best describes it in her own words. “I played music because I loved it. and I wanted everyone to hear the autoharp”. 
Angel began playing music in grade school and always had an inclination for composing her own material. “I had violin lessons for three or four years and I was pretty bored with playing the classics and one time I came into my violin instructor’s class and showed mm a piece I had written for the violin and he rapped me on my knuckles with his little baton and said. 'You don’t write for the violin you play the classics. You are trying to make the violin a fiddle.’ And so I dropped the violin.” 
But Angel was not deterred. Shortly after she taught herself how to play the piano and when it came time to go to college and moving into smaller places she decided to take up the more portable autoharp. “I bought an autoharp and learned how to play it in my bathtub in my dorm room1 I put it up to my ear and played it upnght and absolutely fell in love with the sound and started writing for it and my whole goal was to nave people hear just how wonderful the autoharp sounded.” 
Angel started playing the local Greenwich Village coffee house circuit and had a chance encounter with The Lovin Spoonfj s John Sebastian, who was also an autoharp enthusiast. “He did something really amazing Angel recalls, he had it amplified and he had actually worked with someone and designen a pick-up that picked up all 36 strings”. Angel was thrilled at the prospect of amplification which would make it all the more plausible for her to share her love of the auto harp with mere people so she quickly installed a pick up and sought out the perfect amplifier. 
“I went through a bunch of amplifiers and the only one that really sounded good was called a Magnatone and it had a pseudo Leslie effect so it could sound like an organ . Angel was set to share the magical sounds of the auto harp with all of those who wandered in Greenwich Village and she hit the scene with fervor. "I played for four years en McDougal Street, doing nothing but instrumental - just me and my Magnatone.” 
Meantime in midtown Manhattan there was a young musician by the name of Bob Goanan who had come down to Greenwch Village and was taken by the young harpist and recalls. “She played such fascinating songs”. The two quickly hit it off and formed a duo playing local gigs as an instrumental act. when they caught the attention of a young copywriter by the name of Earl Carter who happened to work at Columbia records. Carter was intrigued by the duo’s unique sound and knew of another duo who might feel the same way. 
This duo were electronic classical music producers Rachel Elkind and Wendy Carlos who had recently had immense success with a classical album that utilized the moog synthesizer to it’s full capacity called Switched On Bach. Elkind and Carlos liked the group and thought it would be a fantastic project for them to work on, and they in turn took it to Columbia records. Angel and Bob quickly formed a band, as Bob recalls. “I worked at a music store in midtown and my co-worker Steve became the guitar player, and then we got a drummer. 
Angel had lyrics but we never sang any of them in our act and so we all arranged the songs”. Angel adds, “Every song was basically written as an instrumental and then I added vocals to some of it, I didn’t have a lot of confidence as a singer, but when we added other people we started singing.” Michaelangelo was what Angel had called her autoharp and that in turn became the name of the band. 
Angel’s compositions now flourished into full psychedelic folk-rock songs while maintaining the integrity of the auto harp that was so very important to her. With guitarist Steve Bohn and herself trading lead vocals, Angel also proved that she was a wonderful lyricist: “I had written poetry since grade school, so I wrote all the lyrics for the songs”. 
The pairing of this very unique band who featured a unique instrument as their focal point with the production team of Rachel Elkind and Wendy Carlos who were pioneering the electronic music movement were a match made in heaven. Yet as the story goes with all those who are slightly ahead of their time, the world may not have been quite ready for it and Angel adds with profound insight. “Every time you play something that’s a little out of the norm or a little different, people are very suspicious, when they go to listen to music they want to hear things they’ve heard before, then they can compare you to other people. 
If you do something new it’s greeted with silence, and I’ve had that all my life”. Yet if anyone were to be able to understand this creative and distinct music it would be Rachel Elkind and Wendy Carlos. Rachel Elkind for starters was unique, based on the fact that she was a woman working as a music producer alone, but in addition to that working alongside her partner Wendy Carlos the two explored new musical horizons using electronic instruments like the relatively new Moog Synthesizer. 
Wendy Carlos was born Walter Carlos until she had a sex change operation in 1972. She studied music and physics at Brown University and earned her masters in composition at Columbia Univeristy. She had become friends with the inventor of the Moog Synthesizer, Robert Moog, and was one of the first composers to buy one of his creations. 
Elkind and Carlos would famously go on to work with Stanley Kubrick on his films A Clockwork Orange and The Shining utilizing the unique electronic tonalities and compositional techniques they had developed. Michaelangelo started recording at the Record Plant in New York City. However the vocals, overdubs and one of the tracks, “Take It Bach”, were recorded and mixed at Rachel and Wendy’s infamous home studio in a brownstone on the upper west side. 
Bob Gorman also notes, “Wendy had an affinity for the natural sound quality in the circular staircase in the house, so all of Angel’s vocals were recorded in there.” But as much as the band were blessed by being able to work with some ot the most progressive and talented producers the industry had to offer it may have also been a curse. Bob Gorman recalls. “Clive Davis was the president of Columbia Records and politically he was not fond of Rachel and Wendy because of the fact that Switched On Bach was so successful and he didn’t have his hands in the pie, because it was independently produced by Rachel and Wendy’s production company. 
And so he never totally got behind us”. Angel also offers some insight. “Rachel was the first independent producer who wasn’t a staff producer for Columbia Records. Also she was a woman and her and Clive Davis just had it out all the time. He could not stand the fact that she was calling the shots. Rachel was a very strong willed independent woman and back then you just didn’t do that. There weren’t women in the music business back then unless you were a fine singer or Janis Joplin or something.” 
Due to the turmoil within the label Michaelangelo’s debut failed to get the proper attention from the label needed to help reach audiences. Angel recalls. “He [Clive Davis] only pressed about two or three thousand albums, he refused to put them in stores. He was trying to get back at Rachel is what it was. for political reasons everything was squashed”. Bob Gorman recalls. “The single was released from the album and it got Gavin Pick Of The Week, so it started to take off with its own wings. 
But then it was squashed by the courtesy of Clive Davis because he thought it would start taking off on its own and he - being president of Columbia Records and pretty much being at odds with Rachel and Wendy - said. This is not going any farther, this is it. this is not my production and whatever you want to call it - jealousy or spite - he pretty much made it go away.” 
Michaelangelo continued to play promotional college tours but because the album was not readily available to audiences the group were not making any money and this eventually took its toll on the band. Angel recalls. “The band dissolved because you know all our wonderful expectations, nobody got paid, they all went their own ways. I ended up marrying my road manager and moved to Florida.’ Bob Gorman fulfilled his dream of moving west to California, which is what the opening track "West” so vividly depicts. 
While the band was short lived Angel continued to play music in Florida, but was disheartened by the experience. “Because it was the south anytime I’d play one of my classical instrumentals. they would not know what to do and people were yelling 'Play Jimmy Buffet’”. Well, that’s enough to make anyone retire! Angel opened a business and continues to live in Florida. The songs on this album somehow reflect the true essence of the term “outsider art”. Angel Peterson was a young artistic soul who was exploring music on her own terms and following her heart. 
While the group’s career path may have been tragically flawed it certainly does not take away from the validity and wonderful charm of this work. From the classically inspired songs like the beautiful “Take It Bach” to the story of a day in the life of a young person striking out on his own 'Son (We’ve Kept the Room Just the Way You Left It)“ this album is sure to strike a chord in your heart - just like it has done mine - and we are certainly happy to be sharing it with Tiffany Anders ……. 

*Robert Gorman - Bass 
*Michael John Hackett - Drums 
*Angel Petersen - Electric Autoharp, Vocals 
*Steve Bohn - Guitars 

1. West - 2:49 
2. Come to Me - 1:56 
3. This Bird - 3:19 
4. Son - We’ve Kept the Room Just the Way You Left It - 4:25 
5. Medley: Take It Bach/Michaelangelo - 5:30 
6. It’s Crying Outside - 3:53 
7. 300 Watt Music Box - 2:39 
8. Okay - 2:00 
9. Half a Top - 3:05 
10.One Voice Many - 7:10

Pazy and the Black Hippies “Wa Ho Wa” Nigeria, 1978 Afro beat,afro funk reggae

Pazy and the Black Hippies “Wa Ho Wa” Nigeria, 1978 Afro beat,afro funk reggae. 


While Reggae music had its prominence in 70s Nigeria, it was highlife and Fela Kuti’s afrobeat that gave the country its own musical national identity. Originally from Southern Nigeria’s Benin City, Edire “Pazy” Etinagbedia and his band The Black Hippies released their second LP, Wa Ho Ha on EMI Nigeria in 1978 building on a body of work that effectively glides between these styles creating an incredibly unique record that has become a cult classic. Wa Ho Ha features Pazy and his Black Hippies engaged in call and response vocal anthems all backed by incredibly deep rock steady grooves and afrobeat rhythms filled with funky horns and psychedelic guitar accents. Recorded in the legendary EMI Nigeria studios, Wa Ho Ha typifies the 70s Nigerian sound enthusiasts the world over have come to know and love, but puts an inimitable twist on it. 

This rare gem has been lovingly remastered and the original art work painstakingly restored. Used copies seldom appear on the market, and when they do, it’s usually in small private circles and you could put yourself through a semester or two of community college for what it costs to obtain a beat-up copy. Available on CD and vinyl, Secret Stash is proud to partner with Comb & Razor to present the first ever reissue of this funky rarity. As always, the LP version includes a free digital download of the entire album and the CD version comes in a premium digipak. … 

It’s there in the jubilantly self-referential shout of “Hippies!” that punctuates the driving tropical groove and stretched horns of Wa Ho Ha. Or in the half-crazed yipping that rolls through the wah-wah phased soundscape of “Papa’s Black Dog.” It’s a sense of ramshackle funk, of a boogie-down band barely holding together as it rampages across the dance floor, that sets Wa Ho Ha apart from so many of the reissues that come across the door of the Afropop office. 

Although the band is Nigerian (hailing from Benin City in the nation’s south), it stands apart from the larger Afrobeat crowd through its adherence to the sound of the reggae that was then streaming from Jamaica. While the ’80s would see no small supply of Nigerian bands whose music reflected Bob Marley’s continent-wide impact, Wa Ho Ha (which was released roughly a half-decade before this glut) is cut from a very different cloth. For one, the record lacks any hint of the synthesized slickness of so much African reggae. Instead, the band grooves with an almost psychedelic intensity, resulting in a sound that is danceable, but remains peculiarly (and pleasingly) skewed. Songs are a frequently a mess of rolling echo and studio effects, sounding as if a garage-rock band, with all the trebly distortion and hoarse-voiced half-sing that implies, was let loose to ply their art amid the ghosts and gadgets of Lee Scratch Perry’s Black Ark studio. 

It’s strange to say, but in many ways the best thing about Wa Ho Wa may be the ways in which its music fails to live up to its Jamaican inspiration. While the band readily adopts the languid horns and guitar upstrokes that would seem to mark the influence of reggae, the genre’s underlying feel eludes it. Unable to shrug the rhythmic and tonal inheritance of their musical background, the group never quite manages to get it right. As a result, the album is left as strange hybrid. The beat–which in Jamaican reggae is a rock-solid touchstone, delayed, dragged, rushed, and messed with, but always maintained–floats in a way that utterly refuses to settle. Augmented by a hyperactive rhythm section, the songs overflow reggae’s laid-back swagger, pulling in a host of funk (and Afrobeat) influences to arrive at a space of caffeinated exuberance, a bedrock rush that courses through the entirety of the album. Any number of wonderful details accumulate around this core– Pazy’s wildcat vocals, the rockabilly-abandon-meets-Fela logic of the lead guitar, the wonderfully flat harmonies and horns–but the album’s central pleasure remains this energy. It’s what sets it apart, transforming what might be heard merely as a fascinating curio into a full-on album, the kind that you listen to over and over. Not because it’s cool, or rare, but because you genuinely want to hear it. It’s just that contagious. Hippies!……. 

Bass Guitar – Makos 
Drums – Colins Osokpor 
Lead Vocals, Lead Guitar – Pazy Etina 
Organ – Jack Stone 
Rhythm Guitar – James Etina 
Tenor Saxophone – Fuzzy 
Trumpet – Richard 

01. Johojah Comfort Me 4:44 
02. My Home 3:50 
03. Come Back Again 4:25 
04. Elizabeth 2:49 
05. Wa Ho Ha 5:00 
06. Papa’s Black Dog 3:12 
07. Lahila 5:56

Jokers “Jokers” 1972 Tehran Iran Heavy Rock

Jokers “Jokers” 1972 Tehran Iran Heavy Rock 


Hailing from Tehran, Iran, the JOKERS were arguably Iran’s heaviest underground rock group during the early 70’s. Having visited the UK for a short period, Vaheed, the lead singer and guitarist of JOKERS returned to Iran with new ideas and influences. After hearing groups like MC 5 & Cream, the JOKERS decided to pursue this type of sound, and subsequently recorded a heavy psychedelic blues album in a garage circa 1972 using nothing more then a reel to reel and two microphones. 

Filled with heavy fuzz, loud wah guitars and screaming vocals, the album sounds unlike any rock artifact unearthed from Iran so far. Sadly no record label would releasie their album, so they continued to perform at local venues, and even managed to get a performance at the German Embassy before disbanding. 

Here for the first time ever is a limited edition pressing taken directly from the reels they recorded in 1972. Fully licensed, this is a one time pressing only. The 500 copy LP is housed in a heavy old style paste-on jacket with extra heavy cardboard stock. The 1000 copy CD comes in paste-on mini-LP jackets with inner sleeves to mimic their LP counterpart…… 

Heavy psychedelic Blues/ Psych from Tehran Iran 1972.. Apparently the guitarist went to England and was impressed by Cream and wanted to do the same thing himself. The results are on this rehearsal tape the trio recorded on reel to reel taperecorder in 72. If ya like really Raw Heavy Cream style jamming combined with a The Firebirds (!) kinda, fast n loose playing style, you’ll love this. I love this n recommend it to ya all. Talent has no borders as we all know. Share with your friends because this is very rare. Rock On!!! ….. 

01 - Going Away [00:03:16] 
02 - Southern Blues [00:05:53] 
03 - All Wrong [00:06:37] 
04 - Jokers Theme [00:14:51]

Life “Life” Canada 1970 Montreal Psych Rock

Life “Life” Canada 1970 Montreal Psych Rock 


Few people took notice when Montreal band, Life’s lone eponymous album slipped out on Polydor Records at the tail end of 1969. Arguably one of the era’s most obscure releases, it has taken over 40 years for listeners to finally discover this criminally overlooked record. 
Take the incredibly crisp production, which is head and shoulders above the quality of most of the Canadian albums recorded at that time (not to mention many of those by the band’s American and British contemporaries). Then, there is the exceptionally strong and highly original material, brilliantly arranged and executed with aplomb. 
Packed full of inventive ideas, not to mention dazzling sound effects, Life is a superlative record that fuses together jazz, funk, soul, psychedelia and rock effortlessly. 
Life (the album) was the brainchild of Montreal native Neil Ship (aka Neil Sheppard), an incredibly talented singer/song-writer (and part of the Brill Building stable), who was looking to get his songs recorded with a group. 
In 1960, at the precocious age of 14, he’d scored a deal with Columbia Records in New York and recorded a long lost gem “Beyond The Shadow of a Doubt”. 
After years working in the Big Apple, where he amassed a wealth of experience in production, arrangement and song-writing, Sheppard landed a deal with Polydor Records Canada and started to put together a band to record his songs.  
Sheppard had several musicians in mind for the Life project. First on the list was one of his brothers, keyboard player and singer Michael Ship, who was working in Montreal band, The Scene alongside bass player Danny Zimmerman, drummer Marty Simon and two long forgotten guitarists. The quintet had been around on “the scene” for a number of years and had evolved out of earlier bands, The Humdingers and (before that) Marty Simon and The Capris. 
During his time in New York, Sheppard had met Hank Medress and The Tokens, owners of the Bt (Bright Tunes) Puppy label, and had done some studio work for them. In late 1967, he helped his brother by landing a one-off single deal for The Scene, which resulted in the psychedelic pop outing “Scenes (From Another World)” c/w “You’re In a Bad Way”. 
While the single didn’t really do much chart wise, Sheppard was excited by the band’s potential and felt an album was an obvious progression. In late 1968, he linked Scene members - Michael Ship, Marty Simon and Danny Zimmerman with lead guitarist Barry Albert, a veteran of Bartholomew Plus Three. 
Formed by Albert with another of Sheppard’s brothers, keyboard player and singer Gary Ship (aka Gary Gardos), Bartholomew Plus Three also comprised bass player George Gardos and drummer Corky Laing. 
Albert’s band had released two singles for the Toronto-based Quality Records label in 1965-1966 before switching to Can-Am for two further releases. 
Thanks to Sheppard’s efforts in New York, Bartholomew Plus Three got the opportunity to record some material for Atlantic Records with Cream’s producer Felix Pappalardi at the helm. A single coupling “When I Fall In Love” with “I Can’t Go Back” came out in November 1967 and even became a minor Canadian hit, peaking at #80. 
Two years later, Laing would land the prestigious drum spot in Pappalardi’s new group Mountain as a direct result of these sessions and would compose that band’s hit “Mississippi Queen”. 
Born in London, England, Albert had moved to Canada at an early age and met Sheppard during his teenage years. According to the guitarist, the concept for the songs behind the Life project stemmed from conversations they had had in early 1969. 
“Neil and I were musical buddies from the time we were 16 and planned every move,” he says. “I picked the tunes from what he wrote and then we changed the name of the band to Life. We were trying to accomplish what we had done with Bartholomew Plus Three, except this time we used a studio in Montreal instead of New York.” 
According to Marty Simon the band used a small rehearsal room in the basement of a building on Pine and St Laurent Boulevard to perfect the material. Once the songs were ready to cut in the studio, recordings took place at Stereo Sound Studios, a state of the art recording complex owned by RCA on Cote des Neiges. 
In an interesting side note, the studio also housed a rehearsal room in the basement, which in April 1968, was the scene of an informal jam with Jimi Hendrix. 
“My manager/agent for Bartholomew Plus Three had booked Jimi into one of the Montreal arenas and after the show got him to our studio,” says Albert. “Word got out and there was a line-up around the block - we had a stage there and room for approximately 35 people. Marty, Danny and Michael were our friends and The Scene was there.” 
While the album would take several months to record and perfect, the basic tracks were recorded very quickly over a matter of days, says Simon. 
“It was after that when Neil would work with Michael on vocals and ask me to contribute bongos, vocals and even a melody line in the middle solo for ‘Ain’t I Told You Before’. I believe that Neil played the piano on ‘Needing You’, the last track we recorded.” 
The first song recorded for the Life project, and the opening cut on the album was Sheppard’s brilliant “Hands of The Clock”, a powerful rock ballad that the composer had conceived one night at the Winston Churchill pub in Montreal. 
“Every night the place closed at about two or three in the morning and I remember I used to come in and sit down at the organ and start writing,” says Sheppard. “One night I just sat down and that love song popped up.” 
“‘Hands of The Clock’ was a project started by Neil and myself,” adds Albert. “I told Neil it would take six months after I picked the song but he was in a hurry so we did it in three months even though I wasn’t happy about the tightness or the vocals.” 
Sheppard did most of the production on “Hands of The Clock” and Albert helped out with the arrangement. The incisive and stunning guitar work that punctuates the song was not planned according to the guitarist. “I fluked a pretty good guitar lead, which was created in the studio like a jam session,” says Albert. 
Released as the band’s debut single in June 1969 (although the catalogue lists it as the second release), “Hands of The Clock” became a modest hit, reaching #19 on the national RPM chart two months later. 
In the aftermath of the single’s release and its rise up the charts, Life played its biggest concert of its short-lived career - the First Montreal Bi-Cultural Pop Festival, held at the Montreal Forum alongside Triangle, Robert Charlebois and headliners Steppenwolf. 
“It was the first time a local act had been billed in the 20,000 seat hockey arena,” says Simon. “[We were] hometown boys making good.” 
With “Hands of The Clock” in the can, Albert insists that he only remained long enough to lay down a guitar part to the bed track of one other song - the dazzling horn-driven jazz rocker, “Ain’t I Told You Before”. 
“Marty had exceptional feel - one of the best drummers I ever worked with,” says Albert looking back. “[However] I only remember doing those two cuts.” 
Dissatisfied with the way the recordings were progressing (and the arrival of second guitarist Jean Pierre Lauzon), Albert made his excuses and left to join label mates Tapestry, another promising band fronted by singers Jack Winters, Judy Harmon and Heather Woodburn. 
Albert’s recollections of recording these two tracks chime with Simon, although the drummer is sure that the guitarist did provide bed tracks to several other songs before leaving. Indeed, several of the songs, most notably the brilliantly funky “Sweet Lovin’” - to this listener one of the album’s highlights - definitely features the work of two guitar players beautifully trading off each other. 
“I don’t think I ever did a session with JP [Lauzon] but I think I did other tracks and he dubbed at another time,” says Albert. 
In an interesting turn of events, Lauzon had succeeded Albert in Bartholomew Plus Three when the guitarist had left to become a member of Life. Lauzon had previously worked with a number of notable Montreal bands, including Our Generation, J B and The Playboys, The Jaybees and The Carnival Connection. 
Another addition to two of the album’s songs was Zimmerman’s wife Lorraine Nidgelski (aka Neid), who had been working with Montreal band, The Munks. As Simon recalls, Neid sang the chorus on “Ain’t I Told You Before” and contributed joint lead vocals on the band’s cover of The Beatles’ “Strawberry Fields Forever”. 
Life’s interpretation of this Beatles’ classic is a real revelation. Imbued with a strong jazz feel, the track is notable for Lauzon’s exquisite flamenco guitar solo. “I heard JP playing a particularly jazzy guitar chord and I heard a full arrangement in my head and immediately started telling people where to jump in and play some music,” says Simon, who arranged the basic form and style of the cover. “After we had a progression of sorts, I revealed what my idea was - they would have laughed if I had mentioned the track beforehand - when I began to sing ‘Strawberry Fields’ and we knew we had something there!” 
With a beautiful horn arrangement by Sheppard, and graced by a superb guitar lead from Lauzon, the track was released in an edited form as the band’s second single (but incidentally with a catalogue number that predates “Hands of The Clock”). With hit record written over it, “Strawberry Fields Forever” should have been the international breakthrough for Life but remarkably didn’t even trouble the Canadian charts. Even so, that didn’t stop Polydor releasing the single in several European countries, including Germany where the 45’s picture sleeve features Lorraine Neid on the cover. By this point, Zimmerman’s wife had become a fully-fledged member and would tour with the band throughout the latter months of 1969. 
As strong as the album is, however, not all of Life stands up so well after all these years. In particular, Sheppard’s “Desire”, with its rather jarring “Kiss Me” refrain, and “Come To Me” are not in the same league as the song-writer’s “Hands of The Clock”, “Sweet Lovin’” and “Needing You”, not to mention the band’s covers of “Strawberry Fields Forever” and “Lovin Time”, a Terry Reid song performed by Simon’s pre-Life band, The Scene. 
“‘Lovin’ Time’ was a cover of an original version that Danny Zimmerman and I discovered on a Terry Reid album,” explains Simon. “Life performed this song so well with its rhythm changes that we decided it would be great to record it on the record.” 
Also worth checking out are the two instrumentals that bookend and kick off sides one and two - “Lifetime 1″ and “Lifetime 2″; both have a sonic charm and feature some impressive backwards guitar, courtesy of J P Lauzon. 
Equally impressive is the closing number, Sheppard’s “Needing You”, featuring the composer on keys. A haunting ballad with sumptuous piano work and aching strings, it is a fitting ending to a largely brilliant album. 
With the basic tracks recorded at Stereo Sound Studio, additional work was done over the next few months to enhance Sheppard’s superlative production work. 
“Those tracks were transferred to a home studio owned by Andre Perry, a Montreal studio wizard who had the first eight track recorder in Canada,” says Simon. “Neil was meticulous in getting the large colours of Life’s rock band core instruments, vocals, cellos and other overdubs to hold together and the eight track recording helped provide the space and mix.” 
Perry, who would soon after record John Lennon and Yoko Ono’s “Give Peace A Chance” at their “bed in” at the Queen Elizabeth Hotel in Montreal, played a significant role in taking Sheppard’s brilliant production to the next level. 
It also didn’t hurt that Polydor had been generous enough to give Sheppard a sizeable budget to cut the album. “I think we had a $7,000 budget,” he says. “It was like a million dollars today.” 

While completing the final overdubs for the album, Sheppard received a visit from former Influence drummer Frank LoRusso (affectionately known as Yum Yum), who brought with him Englishman Malcolm Tomlinson. 
Since arriving in Canada in January 1969, Tomlinson had been a member of Anglo-Canadian band Milkwood and added a wonderful flute solo to “Lovin’ Time”. 
“He [Tomlinson] was hanging around the studio and had worked on something recently” says Sheppard. “He asked if he could stay for the session. We developed a flute part and I asked him if he wanted to come out and do it. It was a last minute thing.” 
With the album readied for release, Life, joined by a second guitarist - Bill Hill, a friend of Lauzon’s from his days with The Playboys, The Jaybees and Carnival Connection, hit the road but soon after its release the band imploded when Simon left for New York. 
“I did not see a future in Montreal or, without a manager that could take the group forward,” says Simon who quit joining gospel-rocker Mylon LeFevre with JP Lauzon. 
“Corky [Laing] called me when Mountain’s management was putting together a band for Mylon in Atlanta. By 1970, Corky had a huge hit and Mountain was headlining and I was drumming in Mylon’s band, Holy Smoke, in the studio with Jerry Wexler, Tom Dowd and opening a cross country tour with The Who. Talk about your dream coming true.” 
Then in 1972, Simon moved to London and played in Sharks with Andy Fraser from Free and guitarist Chris Spedding. While there he played on Brian Eno’s debut solo album and also worked with Mick Jagger and Jimmy Page, among others. 

Back in Canada, Simon recorded with April Wine, co-wrote and played on Wilson Pickett’s 1980 album I Want You, and co-wrote Celine Dion’s French language hit, “Des Mots qui Sonnett” before later gaining success as a composer for feature films and TV shows. 

The founding director of MRD-Music Revenue Data Inc, Simon administers publishing catalogues worldwide for hundreds of Film and TV programmes, including Capote, Being Julia and Ryan, the 2005 Academy Award winner for Best Short Film. He also serves on SOCAN’s board as a film and TV music publisher. 

Like Simon, Neil Sheppard also spent time in the UK during the early 1970s where he began work on a solo album for RCA Victor with Barry Albert. The solo set, which was subsequently scrapped, featured contributions from noted session bass player Herbie Flowers, Sheppard’s friend John Entwistle from The Who and guitarist Peter Frampton. 
Undeterred by the setback, Sheppard began working with American singer/songwriter Tim Hardin and contributed the song “Till We Meet Again” to Tim Hardin’s 1974 album Painted Head (Ed: he also added piano and harmonium and did the production). 

Back in New York by the mid-1970s, Sheppard wrote the hit single “Let’s Call It A Day Girl” for The Razors Edge, which was also recorded by Bobby Vee and The Four Preps. Not only that but he’s seen his songs covered by everyone from The Everly Brothers to Gene Pitney, Long John Baldy and Herbie Mann, to name just a few. 
As innovative as ever, he also scored an underground disco hit in the late 1970s when The Love Symphony Orchestra recorded “Let Me Be Your Fantasy”. Like Simon, he also extended his talents into TV work and wrote the documentaries The World of Horses and Do Blonds Have More Fun. 
As successful as they have both been, Life remains a cherished experience for Sheppard and Simon. This author is currently working with Canadian re-issue label Pacemaker to license the tapes from Universal and release it on CD for the first time. 
Looking back, Sheppard has this to say: “I can only remember trying to make a great album at the time, doing whatever I could to make my concept come alive, yet remain as natural and unsynthetic as possible. It wasn’t a worldwide hit record but it was an honest attempt at creating an impression of the period that I am still quite proud of.” 

Huge thanks to Neil Sheppard, Marty Simon and Barry Albert. 

Nick Warburton is a UK-based freelance writer, who has written for Shindig, Record Collector, the Garage Hangover website, Vernon Joynson’s book series and Richard Morton Jack’s new book, Endless Trip 

thanks museum of Canädian Music for informations

A1 Hands Of The Clock 3:17 
A2 Desire 2:55 
A3 Come Into Me 2:40 
A4 Lovin' Time 4:37 
A5 Lifetime 1 (Inst.) 0:60 
B1 Lifetime 2 (Inst.) 0:60 
B2 Sweet Lovin' 4:10 
B3 Strawberry Fields 4:03 
B4 Ain't I Told You Before 2:37 
B5 Needing You 3:18 

johnkatsmc5, welcome music..