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5 May 2017

Fantasy “Fantasy” 1970 US Psych Prog

Fantasy “Fantasy” 1970 US Psych Prog

Hailing from Miami, Florida, Fantasy came together in 1967 around the talents of lead guitarist Jim DeMeo, drummer Greg Kimple, lead singer Billy Robbins, his twin brother Bob on bass, and keyboardist Mario Russo.. Still in their teens the band gained a local fan base playing school dances, local clubs, including a stint as house band for Miami's Thee Imagine and eventually gaining greater exposure opening for national acts like Cream, The Doors, The Grateful Dead. and Iron Butterfly.Signed by Imperial, the band made their 1968 debut with the single:
- 'I Got The Fever' b/w 'Painted Horse' (Imperial catalog number 66394)
Sadly after having mysteriously disappeared, front man Billy Robbins' body was found in the Everglades in mid-1970. Initially thought to have been a suicide, a subsequently investigation indicated Robbins had died in a drug deal gone wrong. The surviving band members decided to continue onwards eventually recruiting 16 year old singer Lydia Jamene Miller as a replacement. Signed by Liberty Records, later in the year the revamped band released their debut LP - the cleverly-titled "Fantasy." While the band were quite talented, the spotlight was clearly on the attractive Miller who had a truly impressive voice recalling the likes of Lydia Pense, Janis Joplin (at least on 'Understand'), or perhaps a pissed-off and very uptight Grace Slick. While Miller had a power instrument, like Pense and to a lesser extent Slick, her performances sounded tightly wound, arch, and occasionally barely under control; almost as if any sign of fun or enjoyment would kill her. Not sure operatic is the right adjective to use in describing her voice, but it came close ... That also encapsulated my major complaint with the collection. Technically all of the performances were quite good, bouncing between folk-rock, progressive, and conventional rock (frequently mixed together in one song), but they were plagued by a suffocating sense of self-indulgence that effectively eliminated almost any sense of fun, or enjoyment from the proceedings. And these guys were from Southern Florida for gawds sake ... you would have thought they'd know how to loosen up a bit...Bad Cat...........

It was a time of peace signs, protests and tie-dye. It was 1967, the Summer of Love. Psychedelia was sweeping the globe and bands like the Vanilla Fudge, the Doors and the Jimi Hendrix Experience were on top of the world. Every major city had its own scene and in Miami the band on the rise was Fantasy.

Fantasy was formed in 1967 and was comprised of 5 teenagers, Billy Robbins (Lead Vocals). Bob Robbins (Bass). Jim DeMeo (Guitar), Mario Russo (Keyboards), and Greg Kimple (Drums). Fantasy started out playing at teen dances and graduated to performing at The Experience, a Miami underground hippie hangout. From 1967 through 1970 the band, led by its charismatic young singer Billy Robbins, was developing a following.

In 1968 The Experience closed its doors and morphed into Thee Image, a large converted bowling alley which featured the biggest artists of the day. Fantasy was chosen as the house band and every weekend they found themselves on the bill with the likes of Cream, Grateful Dead, The Doors, Steppenwolf, Iron Butterfly, Frank Zappa and Led Zeppelin to name a few. The bands regional popularity was soaring when tragedy struck. In the Summer of 1970, Fantasy's lead singer Billy Robbins disappeared.

Dates were postponed and then thirty days later, their worst fears were realized when Billy Robbins was found dead. Several months later the band began its search for a new singer, settling on a 16 year old female vocalist Jamene Miller. Where Billy Robbins was all charisma, Jamene was all talent. She got on board and the Fantasy train kept a rollin'. It was only a matter of months before the band signed a manager and hooked up with the Liberty/United Artists record label This album/CD, is the first and only true Fantasy album.

It is a pure and honest testimonial to its time. Unfortunately for Fantasy, egos, immaturity and questionable management fragmented the band. Where are they now? Fantasy lives on only in the music on this record.
by Greg Kimple..............

*David Robert Robbins - Bass Guitar
*Lydia Jamene Miller - Lead Vocals
*Vincent James Demeo - Lead Guitar, Vocals
*Mario Anthony Russo - Piano, Organ
*Gregory Scott Kimple - Drums 

Happy 5:24
Come 6:11
Wages Of Sin 3:37
Circus Of Invisible Man 5:32
Stoned Cowboy 5:55
Understand 4:42
What's Next 9:24

johnkatsmc5, welcome music..