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7 Jun 2017

Troyka “Troyka” 1970 Canada Heavy Psych

Troyka “Troyka” 1970  Canada Heavy Psych
watch full biography…..
A progressive rock trio from Edmonton, Alberta, though local collector Tim Holden tells me no one can remember much about them now. The album was recorded at Round Sound, Edmonton, Alberta. The band took care of the arrangements, words and music themselves. Most of the tracks - Early Morning, Life's OK, Rub-A-Dub-Dub Troyka In A Tub, Dear Margaret (Malgasia) and Troyka Finale are progressive rock style instrumentals. Another Rolling Down The Back Road has a sorta guitar freakout and Go East Young Man Beautiful Pink Eyes culminates in a sorta guitar jam. Certainly not for everyone but if guitar-driven instrumentation is your scene this could be for you. Certainly an unusual album. Often compared to Gun and Warpig................

One could say that Troyka’s self-titled 1970 Cotillion album came out of left field, but that wouldn’t quite do it justice. It really belongs on its own planet. Though there are strong elements of hard rock and psych that have made it a favorite among collectors, Troyka’s mad concoction also stirs in elements of folk, traditional Ukrainian music, Polish spoken-word bits, prog and even funk. And in spite of the musical aptitude required to achieve such diversification, the Edmonton, Alberta trio manages to do it all with a sense of humor -- including a few double-entendres underscored by horny gruff vocals. It is, quite simply, a singular achievement in the annals of music history that’s unlikely to ever be remotely imitated, let alone duplicated. After a number of shoddy bootlegs, this first-ever legitimate reissue offers remastered sound from the original tapes and detailed liners by Doug Sheppard of Ugly Things magazine, plus pictures and a bonus track supplied by the band. A cult classic extraordinaire, yours from Real Gone Music! ................

This is one crazy record. Power trio hard guitar oriented rock with some eastern European influences. But good lord, the singer sounds like Edward G. Robinson on robin eggs. The long play rocks and the music is good, if you can get past the singer, and I could, you should like this .........

Wow, Troyka. Where do I start? I guess 1965, with Edmonton, Alberta’s rock-and-roll group The Royal Family, a group of four young Edmontonians who released two singles on the Apex label, one of which contains a comp’d garage-punker called Solitude. After touring and recording for a while it became apparent that Apex was pushing them towards a more pop-sound, something the band members did not wish to do. It was decided that Rob Edwards (guitar), Rumor (Ron) Lukaweitski (bass), and Michael Richards (drums) would split to form Troyka. With the contacts they made recording for Apex, they landed a deal with Atlantic’s new division Cotillion, even having infamous Velvet Underground producer Shel Kagan get involved.

Round Sound Studio was created, the first home-studio in Edmonton, and the group decided to have jam sessions open to the public on Friday nights. These sessions were packed by locals, either fans of the Royal Family or the new burgeoning “psychedelic scene”. Each song on the Troyka album was born from one of these sessions, which helps to explain the sometimes erratic (in a good way) nature of the album.

Unlike so many stories that usually end right here with the group producing an acetate that never saw the light of day until it was found and reissued by labels like Rockadelic, Troyka’s album was finished and released. I have no idea how the album sold, but it did receive a review from Rolling Stone (Issue #58, 1970) of which Rob Edwards wrote a hilarious 35-year late reply that I will post below. However, after the fact, the album has become somewhat legendary amongst psychedelic collectors.

The album sounds very much like the manner in which it was recorded; over a series of sessions. While it can be argued there is no “consistent vibe” to the album, Shel Kagan and Troyka did an amazing job at ordering and choosing the tracks in a way that makes the album have a natural flow. It is obvious the band was having fun, experimenting, fooling around, all the while making good music. Everything is captured on here: wild hard-psych with grunted lyrics, East-European influenced awesomeness (is that a Kobza on Dear Margareta?), dreamy soft-psych (see early morning below), melodic 6 minute psychedelic guitar jams, and all complete with awesome theme’d interludes, keeping the flow together. Overall? This album is amazing. There is not one thing I would change. It is unique, charming, hilarious, weird, outrageous, exciting, and brilliant. The type of album you could show to people who don’t get record collecting and they would briefly understand.

It shoud also be noted that the group recorded many of these sessions, and that somewhere these tapes exist…

After releasing their album the band went their separate ways. Michael Fraser, who became increasingly interested in spiritualism and yoga, left to British Columbia and has not been heard from since. Rob Edwards continued to write music and is now a music teacher (visit his web-site below, both informative and funny). I’m unsure what Ron Lukaweitski is doing now, but him and Rob are still friends, and even recently performed as “Troyka” and “The Royal Family” (with assistance from Holgar Peterson, who produced the ACME Sausage Company album I reviewed on here).

I have had the pleasure of meeting Rob Edwards on several occasions, and it has been nothing short of awesome. It’s weird, I never really thought about it before hand, but he could very well have been a crusty old psychedelic dude more interested in reviving his Troyka heritage than actually discussing music. Nope, instead I got a stream of hilarious e-mails and anecdotes, and I can say he is a good reflection of the album itself. He’s even a fellow record digger/collector, even going on a short to trip to the flea markets with me one saturday morning. “I’m like you Aaron, I’d rather find that stuff for a buck in a thrift store!”.

Finally, for an album that rarely gets negative reviews these days, an album that is scarce even in the city it was made, an album that is sought after by many psychedelic collectors the world-over, it is surprising that you can still get it for cheap on eBay. In fact, I am completely bewildered by this every time I see a copy selling. But, this is to your benefit. So go and get a copy (there is a German reissue, but I’m unsure as to the legitimacy of it)

Robert Edwards (guitar, mandolin)
Michael Richards (drums, vocals)
Ron Lukawitski (bass, bongos)

A1 Introduction 0:37
A2 Natural 2:47
A3 Early Morning 3:52
A4 Life's O.K. 4:03
A5 Burning Of The Witch 2:54
A6 Rub-A-Dub-Dub Troyka In A Tub 2:19
A7 Tryoka Lament 0:33
B1 Troyka Solo 0:37
B2 Rolling Down The Back Road 4:04
B3 Berry Picking 2:48
B4 Dear Margaret (Malgosia) 2:33
B5 Go East Young Man Beautiful Eyes 6:12
B6 Troyka Finale 0:30

johnkatsmc5, welcome music..





Cassete Deck

Cassete Deck