Previously unreleased 1968 recordings by Bleu Forest, an interesting garage-psych band from Ventura County, USA.This is powerful stuff under the influence of Hendrix, Moby Grape and Steppenwolf.The LP is recommended to fans of a.o. The Contents Are and Beauregard Ajax, and limited to 500 copies in gatefold covers.A detailed story by the band’s only surviving member Jack Caviness and rare pix are included. By the way, these recordings were made for a planned release on Tower Records, which obviously didn’t materialize back in the day.
Limited to 500 copies on vinyl in gatefold cover including a detailed story by only surviving member Jack Caviness. USA produced such a vast variety of garage bands, that were highly influenced by major known bands of the time like Jefferson Airplane, Jimi Hendrix & The Experience and The Grateful Dead. Every little town in the US has been over-flooded with teenagers full of enthusiasm and ideas reflecting the electrifying times, when everything suddenly seemed to be possible. One of the better local bands, that came and went with the ‘60s fading into plastic '70s were Ventura County’ Bleu Forest. So far only a handful of people heard these 1968 unreleased recordings, which were hidden in Caviness (only surviving member) basement and let me say this: What we have here is a lost psych-garage classic. A crossover between groovy melodies of Moby Grape mixed with Steppenwolf heaviness. Available on Golden Pavilion records……
In late 1965, drummer Jack Caviness was recruited by guitarists and vocalists Michael Cullen and Gary Heuer. All were from the same small town, Moorpark, CA. The three of us worked on original songs written by Michael for 6 months. At that point we added Ed Steele on bass guitar and spent time bringing him into the fold.
When ready we began playing small gigs around Moor parkand surrounding areas and received a good reception on the original music. Then we were booked into 'an open mic night at the Troubadour in Hollywood. That is where we were discovered by future music icon Jimmy Haskell. Mr. Haskell immediately scheduled us to record a demo at his home studio which we did. We could never have believed what happened next.
Both Gary and Michael were drafted were drafted into the armed service as Vietnam war was going strong. Both evacuated themselves to Canada, they were there several months prior to Gary’s return. We then reformed the original members less Michael, added Larry Wiseman on keyboards and Rohn Barkley on le guitar and vocals. With Michael’s blessing we used the original music written by him and added more original songs to our set. We were now off and running as the Bleu Forest heard on this album. That’s when Jimmy Haskell called.
He had scheduled us to go into Valley Recording Studios in North Hollywood, CA. to record what you are hearing on this album, A Thousand. Trees Deep. Upon arriving there we met our engineer, Freddie Piro, another future icon of the LA recording industry. Freddie had produced The Grassroots previously and would go on to work with Ambrosia and many others. We spent over six months recording the album and another month was spent mastering.
This album was recorded on a very but new for the time period Ampex 8 track 2" recorder. At that time, it was state of the art. I don’t recall the brand of mixer used, but it did take up quite a great deal of space at the engineer’s console. When we first came in to begin recording, we attempted to play at the volume we used live and the engineer freaked out and demanded we lower the volume. This was very confusing to us because it altered our sound dramatically. That is where the fuzz tone came into play. Our live sound was based more on very loud overloaded amplifiers for distortion rather than on devices. In a live environment, the fuzz was only used as an overdrive, not as a fuzz tone. The actual studio was only one room, 20’ x 30’, with one isolation booth at the rear. The booth was only used for overdubs (I wanted to isolate the drums but to no avail).
They used one mic per amplifier with no baffles between and three mics on my drums. I played a state of the art set of Ludwig “Super Hollywood” drums with a Rogers dyna-sound snare and all Zildgen cymbals. They were awesome sounding live but are not as pronounced on the recordings insofar none of the cymbals were individually miked.
To expand a bit on the abrupt beginning on the opening track: During the time period in which this was done, engineers and producers were trying many things that make no sense today. For instance, tracks played in reverse and recorded were very popular such as the one heard on Bitter Sweet, which, by the way, was entirely rearranged from the live version. They did not like all of the stops and starts from the live version which added greatly, in my opinion, to the dynamics of the song.
When I really think back on the recording process one thing comes to mind: The entire six month process was completely paid for by both Freddie Piro and Jimmy Haskell because of their belief that the band could become something far more than a “garage band”. They believed enough in us to really go on and hit the big time. They personal accepted all of the costs themselves. This is why we simply went along with what we were told would work or not work in the studio. The abrupt ’ ginning to track one was simply something that had not been done before and they believed it would be accepted as different and unique.
There was much interest from various major companies in Hollywood. We had a tentative deal with Tower Records pending some remastering. Several months passed during this period and Rohn left the group for personal reasons. Without our vocalist, we had no record deal. Although there were some creative ideas brought forth to a few of the songs during mastering, I believe that these tracts give a general idea of our sound, although our live sound was much heavier as it was performed much louder. I hope everyone enjoys this as much as I enjoyed performing it. by Jack Caviness…………….. This is another one of those long lost late '60s bands that recorded enough songs (for an LP at least) only to see it unreleased. This 29 + minute album was supposed to be issued on the Tower label, but losing their vocalist the deal fell through. The band hailed from Moorpark, Ca. and was influenced by any number of bands of that period. These tapes came from band member, drummer Jack Caviness, who had them in his basement.
The band was Gary Heuer and Rohn Barkley-guitars, Larry Weisman-keyboards, Ed Steele-bass, and drummer Caviness. The well known Jimmy Haskell handled the studio chores and financed the band’s recordings. This isn’t some long lost treasure, but it is an example of the many bands from that era who tried to “make it” but for whatever reason didn’t. But this isn’t a bad album, especially hearing it from the vantage point of 2016. It has that period flavor sometimes reminiscent of other late '60s bands like Fever Tree.
Is this worth your money? That depends on how much you like bands from this era. Personally I like hearing lesser known bands–there’s a certain freshness and personal attitude that comes through the music. Will this stay on the player a lot? Maybe not. But this is something I’ll pull out (like Farm, Marvin Gardens, J Rider/Anonymous, We The People/American Zoo) when I want to hear something a bit off the regular path of more well known late '60s era bands….ByStuart Jefferson…………………..
A previously unreleased American psych/acid-rock album from 1968. Tower Records showed interest in the band, but unfortunately, when things were about to happen, two of the members got drafted and the band broke up. The music is seriously organ driven and at times Seeds influenced. Now at last available on CD!…………
Tracklist A1 A Thousand Trees Deep A2 Look At Me Girl A3 Bitter Street A4 Story Of A Sort A5 That’s When Happiness Began B1 Words In My Mind B2 Through With You B3 She Said She’s Leaving B4 Knock Knock B5 Trouble