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1 Apr 2017

The Moon “Without Earth” 1968 + “The Moon” 1969 US Psych Rock Baroque Pop

The Moon “Without Earth” 1968 + “The Moon” 1969 US Psych Rock Baroque Pop
full two albums……

The Moon  "Without Earth" 1968

Mothers And Fathers 2:04
Pleasure 3:19
I Should Be Dreaming 2:34
Brother Lou’s Love Colony 4:59
Got To Be On My Way 2:01
Someday Girl 2:41
Papers 1:00
Faces 2:04
Never Mind 1:48
Give Me More 2:45
She’s On My Mind 2:24
Walking Around 1:52

The Moon “The Moon ” 1969 

Pirate 2:56
Lebanon 1:43
Transporting Machine 1:37
Mary Jane 2:10
Softly 2:56
Not To Know 2:40
The Good Side 2:55
Life Is A Season 2:19
John Automation 2:15
Come Out Tonight 2:45
Mr. Duffy 2:52

The Moon were somewhat of a second tier 60’s rock super group. This group was headed by David Marks and Matthew Moore. Prior to the Moon, Marks had been in the Beach Boys (rhythm guitar) and played on their first four albums. After this stint he fronted Dave and the Marksmen who enjoyed several local hits. Moore had been in the Matthew Moore Plus Four and had previously recorded with Capital and White Whale. The Moon formed right after Marks had disbanded his latest group, the Band Without a Name, who themselves recorded 2 singles for Tower and Sidewalk.

The Moon recorded two albums in 1968 and 1969 for Imperial. At this point the lineup was Matthew Moore (piano, chief songwriter and lead vocals), David Marks (lead guitar), Larry Brown (drums) and Drew Bennett (bass). The above debut, Without Earth is by far the stronger record with more psychedelic arrangements and a greater consistency – though some fans would argue this, favoring the more mature sounding sophomore effort. There’s a clear Magical Mystery Tour feel to this album and the group covers two songs off Colours’ (another obscure American popsike group) debut album. Of the two tracks, Brother Lou’s Love Colony catches the ear most, with its nice little sitar flourishes and Beatles influenced bridge. The remaining 10 tracks are Moore originals, all really good but none sound like they could have reached top 40 radio. The group hit a good hard rock groove on Got To Be On My Way, a tune notable for its liquid distorted guitar. I Should Be Dreaming and Walking Around are spacey psych pop gems whose backward cymbals glitter and flicker while the sitars and vocal echo help convey an authentic acid experience. One of the best tracks off the album, Someday Girl, is a beautiful venture into soft pop with a heavenly melody and even prettier strings. Another similar track, Face, sports a nice pro sound with great fuzz bass and a catchy chorus while Give Me More achieves fragile beauty.

Jon Stebbins chronicled both the Moon and David Marks’ story in “The Lost Beach Boy.” In this book author Jon Stebbins mentions that Give Me More was what he felt to be the group’s most enduring track and a work that defined the Moon’s sound best. This album may not be as distinctive or original as the Smoke but it’s still a mini gem of Beatles inspired rock – even the cover art recalls the psychedelic era Fab Four. Without Earth was recently reissued by Rev-Ola and includes the group’s much inferior followup, The Moon….Rising Storm review……………..

Moon were a sort of second-tier supergroup in the late 1960s, led by pianist and songwriter Matthew Moore, drummer and producer Larry Brown (late of the Bel-Aires and Davie Allan & the Arrows), and ex-Beach Boy David Marks on guitar, with Andy “Drew” Bennett on bass (Bennett was replaced by the time of the group’s second album by David Dawson, formerly of Hearts & Flowers). For all that pedigree, though, Moon received little support from their label, Imperial Records, and the group’s two albums, 1968’s Without Earth and 1969’s Moon, went virtually unheard when they were released. Fans of period pop psychedelia found the albums irresistible, however, and the group has enjoyed a kind of low-key cult status ever since, leading to Rev-Ola’s reissue of both albums on one CD, along with a handful of bonus tracks that include a couple of mono 45 mixes and three tracks from Moore’s pre-Moon band, Matthew Moore Plus 4. Sounding a bit like a low rent version of the Zombies or the Left Banke, it is easy to see why fans of baroque-‘60s pop are so enamored of Moon, but like many bands from the era who fell under the influence of the Beatles, the absence of strong songs and melodies all too often renders the heavily phased and string-laden arrangements forgettable as soon as the next track begins. Not that the group doesn’t get close to |pop-psych heaven here with songs like “Someday Girl,” the goofy, sitar-laced “Brother Lou’s Love Colony,” or the ultra-Beatlesque “Give Me More” (all from Without Earth), it’s just that the swirl of the arrangements can’t hide the fact that none of these songs are particularly front line. The songs from the second album, Moon, fare better, as Brown (both albums were recorded at his Continental Sounds studio) cuts back a bit on the orchestration and Moore simply delivers better material, like the haunting, beautiful “Lebanon” or the intriguing “Life Is a Season,” which has Moore singing lines like “comprehension wields the sword that kills the fear” with agile, melodic ease. Also worth mentioning is the reincarnation revenge song “Pirate,” which has a plot line so bizarre that it can’t help but be memorable. When all is said and done, one wishes Moon had gotten a crack at a third album, since they were clearly inching toward the kind of uniqueness that might have allowed them to rise above their influences…. by Steve Leggett……………

The music recorded was an effort to contribute an augmented level of warm, meaningful, and enjoyable listening fare for all of the creatures that hear. The beginnings were mainly generated by the songs being written by Matthew Moore. Matthew’s brother, 'Daniel Moore’, was an independent record producer in Los Angeles and had produced several singles with Matthew as the artist.

Daniel had arranged a meeting with 'Mike Curb’ at Sidewalk Productions, in an effort to find a recording contract, and Mike was very helpful in providing the producer, and engineer, and drummer, and keyboardist: (Larry Brown), and in encouraging Matthew to seek out musicians that would form a group to record his compositions. Larry Brown introduced “Drew” Bennett to the proposed gathering, and Matthew had been running into David Marks around town, so he approached David with the idea of recording a few trial tracks. Within a few weeks the project was under way.

The Studio was to be, “Continental Studio”, in Hollywood, and the four young adventurers set up camp and locked the doors. These young men were still not yet 21 years of age. The tremendous technical and organizational task had began. All were single, all were very accomplished musicians, all were ridiculously fearless as to the huge undertaking they had embarked upon. It was agreed upon from the beginning that the fewest possible distractions and interruptions during the recording process must be the rule.

The doors were locked and only food deliveries and an occasional visit from Mike Curb was allowed during the basic track recording phase. Sleeping, eating and playing music….that was all. The quest for perfection was the standard, many re-takes, many 'start all overs’, and many heated discussions concerning choices of parts to be played or parts, not to be played. Matthew: “ I remember waking up ..having slept on the floor near the piano. A dim light was on in the booth, so I tried to walk to the door out of the studio.

I kept stepping on boxes and kicking over cans and bottles but I made my way to the light panel to bring up the light in the room. I couldn’t believe the amount of clutter and trash we had accumulated. We had to take a day off to allow the janitors to come in and clean. I still can recall the 'Warnings’ we invoked, to "be careful and not move any wires or mikes or touch any set up instruments”. We had to go out into the world for a day and entertain ourselves. Dave and I went to a $.50 triple feature western movie downtown and watched the winos sleep. A few days later we resumed our quest.

No one knows for sure, how many hours or days or weeks or months it took to finish the first album, (Without Earth) but we do remember the final moment when we all looked at each other and nodded in agreement that it was finished. The second Album (The Moon), was actually time logged by Larry Brown. He said It took 470 hours, from start to finish. The first one took much more time. ………
The Moon’s only two lps that were released/recorded back in '67 & '68 are quite ahead of it’s time, considering the debut lp was done on a three track, the later on a 4 track! The sound is hugh with psych “analog” punch (especially the bass). Although the debut lp “Without Earth,” is a little bit bright (nothing a good EQ can’t change), there’s still that big bottom end “full of wall” sound. Nevermind the some songs are killer “Beatles (think Magical Mystery Tour era) Psych style” full tilt. Others that have over the top hooks, and even one track that has sort of a funk groove (Got To Be On My Way) going on. The real candy psych tracks- Pleasure, I Should Be Dreaming (backward drums), Brother Lou’s Love Colony, Someday Girl, Papers, and Faces, keep you coming back for more and more (I couldn’t stop plqaying this disc for weeks!). The 2nd lp “The Moon,” has a more rounded “sound production,” but not nearly as psych as the debut lp. More laid back, but still some real good gems too. My personal favorite track “Mr. Duffy,” brings back some psych flavor mixed with a Paul McCartney solo style vibe, with beautiful string arrangements! That song that I still go back listening to, over and over again. If you haven’t picked up this underground band that never got the attention they deserved, highly recommend picking it up and adding it to your “psych collection!” 5 Stars!………ByD. Larsen………..

I found the Moon - Without Earth album in a junk shop in London aroung 1970.
I’ve been in love with it ever since, but never found a soul who had ever heard of the band. In fact I wasn’t even sure from the sparse album info if the band was called The Moon or Without Earth.
Since the advent of CD I’ve been wondering, without much hope whether it might one day appear.
Fooling around on Google one day, there it was !!
This is amazing psychoBeatles stuff and you owe it to yourself to hear it.
Why else would I have spent fifteen years anxiously searching for a CD version of it??………ByMike Wade…………

There are only a few artists that make it to the top and Moon is just one of the many groups that got lost in the crowd. Matthew Moore is a decent songwriter whose style roughly fits into the same category as Emitt Rhodes or Eric Carmen. The two albums are catchy and enjoyable, but not one song could be considered to be an absolute killer for an a side on a single. Simply put, they sound like a mixture of the Beatles, Bee Gees, Zombies, and Hollies while never actually sounding like themselves. Maybe a diiferent producer could have coaxed Moore into writing in a more original style, but don’t let that stop you from buying this lost gem……..BySir George Martini………….

The best children’s books I ever read were always ones where somebody discovers a world that they never knew existed…one a lot like the one we’re accustomed to, but different in some wonderful and unsuspected way. I always wished that could happen to me. Well, lately it HAS been happening, as I discover new worlds of recorded music that actually existed in a time I thought I knew well, but never suspected. This CD is the latest source of wonder and marvel to brighten my stereo.
As others have noted, the songs of “Without Earth” do indeed rely heavily on the psychedelic cliches of the era…the pop-psych drum rhythms, reverse tracking, phasing, etc. And it’s true that the tonal balance is heavily skewed to the treble; and on this release, the low bass, leaving the midrange highly neglected. But despite all that, I still cannot fault the songs, because they are absolutely masterful and totally satisfying examples of their genre.
It’s the second album, “The Moon,” that really blows me away, though. It should not be compared directly with the first album. In the year between them, the band found a direction for themselves, and this is a very different animal.
Individual listeners may or may not feel the songs are as strong as the first, depending on their tastes, but I certainly think so. These are songs with heart and substance. Some provide a foretaste of the age of art rock, exploring themes that would become the conventions of that genre, while mostly avoiding the pretentions. A few are not unlike what the Beatles were doing at that time. Most are simply unique unto themselves.
Musically, “The Moon” is much more mature and innovative than its predecessor. In “Without Earth,” the bulk of the odd chord changes are there simply because they can be. They sound intriguing, but serve little real purpose other than to please the ear for a moment. There are fewer of them in “The Moon,” but they are used very effectively to highlight the mood of the songs.
Instrumentally, “The Moon” really shines. The band’s own playing is first-rate on most of the tracks, and so are the vocal harmonies. The track “John Automaton” comes closest to being Beatle-esque in its use of guitar, drums, organ and backing vocals. “Pirate” and “The Transporting Machine” will remind you of the sound of Genesis a few years farther along, perhaps with a hint of Klaatu thrown in here and there.
Now, it is true that orchestral instruments had been used effectively by the Stones, Donovan, the Beatles, and others already. But although you might therefore expect the strings, winds and brass in “The Moon” to merely sound like what had gone before, think again! Yes, all the sounds ARE familiar to us–now–but keep in mind that these tracks were laid down in 1969! Here you will find horns being used in ways that Chicago would try a year or two down the road. The string section produces glorious sounds that ELO wouldn’t master for 6 to 8 years yet. Clarinets and oboes weren’t used in quite the same way again until Carly Simon in the mid-Seventies, and to a certain extent, King Crimson.
The production values of “The Moon” also far outstrip “Without Earth.” The sound, apart from a little tape hiss, is cleaner than The Beatles on the White Album, and approaches the impeccable production of “Abbey Road.” It will call to mind the studio technique of a lot of mid-Seventies producers, in fact.
Between “Without Earth” and “The Moon” and the singles, The Moon produced some music that was grounded in their own time, but also some music that was years ahead of its time. Only now do we get to appreciate it properly, and what a voyage of discovery it is!…………….

This is beautifully produced orch-psych with great singing. It’s great for fans of the Beatles “Sgt. Pepper’s”, Billy Nicholls “Would You Believe” and Status Quo’s “Matchstick Men” It’s not nearly as immediate as those albums, but after a few listens there are many magical twists and turns. This is my favorite reissue so far from the Rev-Ola label…………..ByRobert Keith…………

Even with their Peter Max influenced album jacket and Magical Mystery Tour influences, The Moon traveled virtually unnoticed, delivering spacey soft-pop psychedelic arrangements [more worthy than those delivered by Syd Barrett of Pink Floyd], where fuzzed out distorted acid-laced guitars, shimmering backward cymbals, and outstanding harmonies melted into melodic melodies dripping with intoxication, over which vocal echoing visions sought to convey an actual LSD experience. And as good as all this sounds, the band, with their fragile beauty, never managed to make much of an impression … lacking both a supportive single and the nurturing of their record label. Yes, the song “Someday Girl” was heavenly, and could often be heard on very late night radio, or serving as background music to a liquid light show as the audience drifted into a venue … and that’s a real shame, because The Moon had genuine talent, treading lightly on the progressive baroque elements [championed by groups like Smoke, The Left Banke, and The Zombies] that were just around the corner, moving with a consistency that should have had them sitting in the first few rows, and not the balcony.

Headed by David Marks and Matthew Moore, The Moon spun from impressive backgrounds. David Marks had been a member of The Beach Boys, playing rhythm guitar on their first four albums, and then with Dave & The Marksmen … while Matthew Moore perfected his craft while heading Matthew Moore Plus Four, with both having a series of notable singles. Be all that as it may, none of the tracks found on Without Earth even managed to chart on Top 40 Radio, leaving The Moon off course, awash in a sea of music that was rapidly changing, and finding a home, if not a bit of cult status, in the hearts and minds of those for whom pop-psychedelic was totally irresistible.

Make no mistake … Without Earth should be heard on vinyl, allowing it to be a vision in and of the times………by……streetmouse ……..

This is really well executed and beautifully produced. It seems to almost totally avoid some of the classic trappings of psychedelic pop albums in 1968/9. It is thankfully devoid of any weak filler (often in the form of beat flashbacks or painfully twee music-hall style numbers) or cringe worthy lyrics (Brother Lou’s Love Colony {admittedly a cover} comes close but is musically strong enough to keep the lyrics in check).

'Without Earth’ is incredibly poppy yet it stays quite hip and fresh and therefore seems less antiquated and shallow than other similar efforts of the time. The arrangements are all top-notch with all the psychedelic sitars, horns, strings and harmonies you could hope for without any real experimentation or noodling. This last factor could be either a strength or weakness depending on what you’re after. Suffice to say that this is certainly well-crafted, tight pop music rather than trippy, sprawling experimental/rock. The songs are short, punchy, and playful and I think that works wonderfully……..foxtrot stowaway ………..

Without Earth was the first of the two albums this short-lived band ever made. The Moon’s debut album includes a quite listenable set of psychedelic pop and baroque pop tracks. This is definitely not a great album but not a bad one either. Some of the songs are fun and solid but there are a couple of lame fillers as well. But most of the material is mediocre. So in my opinion this is not a very balanced record.

This record is better than their second S/T album if you ask me. Without Earth has enjoyable parts mixed with lame moments but their second album has mostly just weak material. The Moon is definitely not one of my favourite bands when it comes to the psych pop of the late 1960’s….by…..CooperBolan …………

The Moon is one of those mid-1960s Southern California bands that gets widespread praise, but for some strange reason seems to consistently get lost when it comes to people’s list of favorites.

Formed in 1967, the band had quite a talented line up with three of the four members having already recorded material. The lone exception to that statement was bass player Andy Bennett.

- Drummer Larry Brown had been a member of The Bel-Aires and Davie Allan & the Arrows. He was also an in-demand sessions player having worked on scores of Hollywood exploitation soundtracks.
- Rhythm guitarist David Marks replaced Al Jardin in The Beach Boys as the group’s rhythm guitarist, recording several albums and touring with the band prior to Jardin’s 1964 return to the lineup. All of 16, he fronted Dave and the Marksmen, and recorded some material as a member of The Band without a Name.
- Singer/multi-instrumentalist Matthew Moore had fronted Matthew Moore Plus Four and recorded solo material.

My copy of the LP came with some Imperial promotional material, including a band photo and a brief band history which I’ll go ahead and quote for it’s entertainment factor rather any bibliographical value:

“The Moon is causing a high tide of admiration from pop music fans across the United States. "Without Earth,” The Moon’s first Imperial records LP, is causing this wave of acceptance and has promoted critics to heap praise on this versatile and talented group. The Moon was formed in Los Angeles in the summer of 1967 and is composed of Matthew Moore, Drew Bennett, Larry Brown and David Marks. The group is unique in that it is completely self contained. Members of the group play all the instruments, write all the tunes, and produce and engineer all of their recording sessions. Larry Brown, drummer of the group, in addition to being a musician is a recording engineer. he was born and educated near Hollywood and has been involved in the music industry for five years. His first job was playing piano at private parties. Drew Bennett, bass, has a varied entertainment background. He has worked in television and movies as an extra and has toured with several pop groups. Bennett, a Los Angeles native, has been recording and writing tunes for five years. In his pare time he is learning the art of karate. Guitarist David Marks also brought a vast amount of pop music experience to The Moon. He has recorded and traveled with groups for more than five years. marks is a native of Lake Erie, Pa. Rounding out The Moon is lead vocalist and multi-talented musician, Matthew Moore. Moore, in addition to his vocals, plays nearly every keyboard instrument.  A native of Oregon, he has been recording for four years. This is The Moon and it’s music will never be eclipsed.“

Produced by Brown, 1968’s "Without Earth” fell a little short in terms of originality, but the band deserved credit for having good taste when it came to their influences - a dash of Brian Wilson and Beach Boys, a touch of The Bee Gees, and a big heaping of 1967-era Beatles. Largely penned by Matthews, it all came together in a wonderful mix of acid drenched pop-sike. (Yes, the band members have admitted they were ingesting various illicit substances while recording the album.) The lack of creative originality was largely made up for by their enthusiasm, the set’s commercial orientation, and the general sense of fun found on tracks like 'Mothers and Fathers’ and 'Someday Girl.’ Add to that Moore had a voice that was perfectly suited for the genre (his performances frequently reminded me of Emmit Rhodes). Some of my favorite American mid-1960s pop-sike.

- 'Mothers and Fathers’ started the album off with a great slice of English influenced psychedelia. To their credit, unlike many California bands these guys actually turned in passable English accents. One of the most commercial tracks on the album with a killer hook that’s almost impossible to shake, it was easy to see why Imperial tapped it as a single. rating: **** stars
- The lysergic flavored 'Pleasure’ made it clear the band had been listening to more than their share of “Sergeant Pepper” and “Magical Mystery Tour”. With it’s sweet harmony vocals and heavy trance-ish orchestration, the song was a nice nod to The Fab Four … rating: **** stars
- Reaching back to The Beatles catalog for inspiration 'I Should Be Dreaming’ borrowed dreamy Lennon-esque vocals, sitar, backward guitars, and taped effects to come up with another attractive lysergic ballad. Fantastic song to listen to on quality headphones, or through top flight speakers. rating: **** stars
- One of two tracks penned by Colours’ Jack Dalton and Gary Montgomery, 'Brother Lou’s Love Colony’ melded Coral electric sitar (including a solo that would have made George Harrison proud), with a nice pop melody. A classic slice of sunshine pop that deserved to have been a hit. rating: **** stars
- Opening up with a searing Clapton-esque guitar solo from Marks, 'Got To Be On My Way’ found the band dropping the Beatlesque influences in favor of a straight forward rock attack. The result was one of the album’s highlights. Fantastic track !!! Had Emmitt Rhodes recorded this one he would have been a massive star. rating: ***** stars
- Continuing to play it straight, 'Someday Girl’ was a glorious pop tune that was radio ready. You just ha to scratchy your head and wonder how the buying public missed this one … rating: **** stars
- 'Papers’ started out as one of the album’s best compositions, but hit a brick wall after roughly a minute, Shame they didn’t finish it. rating: *** stars
- 'Papers seamlessly morphed into 'Faces’ which was one of the labum’s most attractive vocal performances. Great melody and multi-part vocal arrangement with another hook that you’ll be hard pressed to shake. rating: **** stars
- Another highpoint came in the form of 'Never Mind’. Musically this one sounded like a cross between A Michael Nesmith-penned Monkees tune and 1965-era Beatles. Killer two minutes of pop majesty. Only complaint was I wish it were longer. rating: ***** stars
- The harpsichord-propelled ballad 'Give Me Moore’ was pretty, but kind of fey. Not one of my favorites. rating: *** stars
- The second Dalton-Montgomery composition, 'She’s On My Mind’ sounded like something The Free Design would have recorded. With its intricate gorup harmonies, it was a very MORish track, but in a cool kind of way. Since I’m a big Free Design fan, it gets high marks from me. rating: ***** stars
- Opening with an odd sound effect that reappeared midway through the track (Theramin, oscillator?), 'Walking Around’ turned into one of the album’s best pop efforts. Another radio-ready slice of top-40 pop. rating: ***** stars

Imperial also tapped the album for a single in the form of:

- 1968’s 'Mothers And Fathers b/w 'Someday Girl’ (Imperial catalog number 66285)

It isn’t perfect, but remains one of my favorite mid-1960s American pop-sike albums. Well worth tracking down, even more so given you can still find affordable copies……by……….RDTEN1 ……………..

*Matthew Moore - Piano, Vocals, Guitars
*David Marks - Guitars, Background Vocals
*Larry Brown - Drums
*Dave Jackson - Bass
*Joe Foster - Synthesizer
*Nick Robbins - Synthesizer
*Bob Klimes - String Arrangements
*Dave Roberts - Horn Arrangements 

johnkatsmc5, welcome music..





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