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4 Aug 2017

Merrell Fankhauser And (His Trusty) H.M.S. Bounty! ‎ “Things!” 1967 US Psych Rock

Merrell Fankhauser And (His Trusty) H.M.S. Bounty! ‎ “Things!” 1967 US Psych Rock

Fine, tuneful '60s psychedelia with a pop edge, featuring Fankhauser's first-rate songwriting and warm vocals. About half of the tunes are excellent, especially the country-rocker "Your Painted Lives," and the folk-rock ballad "Ice Cube Island," and "A Visit with Ashiya," one of the best raga-rock songs ever cut.... by Richie Unterberger....

This was one of many Merrell Fankhauser bands throughout the mid to late 60?s and early 70?s. Things was released in 1968, sandwiched in between Fankhauser’s Fapardokly and Mu albums. Mu is agruably his masterpiece, an innovative slab of slide guitar desert psychedelia from the early 70?s. Things has more of a bona fide 60?s sound, coming across like a meeting between Buffalo Springfield, Spirit, the Byrds and Cream. 

This album is much more psych minded than 1966?s folk-rock inclined Fapardokly too. A Visit With Ashiya is possibly Fankhauser at his most psychedelic, awashed with stoned vocals and walls of sitar. It’s also one of the album’s centerpieces and a raga rock killer that ends with some thick fuzztones. Things has a handful (about 4) of tuneful, melodic folk-rockers that hark back to earlier times. Ice Cube Island is one of the best of these folk-rockers, being so blissed out and eretheral. 

It’s an excellent example of acid folk-rock. Other songs like Madame Silky, What Does He See In You and Rich Man’s Fable work really well too and are characterized by paranoid vocals and liquidy fuzz guitar leads. For most listeners though, the highlight of this album is Your Painted Lives. It’s one of those incredible 60?s songs, an early foray into country psych that chugs along with echoed vocals and once again, hard fuzz guitar riffs. 

Things is delicate and raunchy all at once and a great, American underground rock record. Fankhauser would go on to make better albums (Mu and his 1976 solo effort) but this record still deserves a special place among the psychedelic 60?s....Rising Storm review...

One of the all-time lost 60's classic albums. This 1968 release comes to you courtesy of cult legend Merrell Fankhauser, who also brought forth the Exiles and later the band Mu (a collaboration with guitarist Jeff Cotton). But the HMS Bounty album is really something special. Influences include Cream, Buffalo Springfield and probably the Association and Strawberry Alarm Clock as well. The songs are all extremely catchy, but with enough heavy guitars and psychedelic textures to keep things interesting. (The first two tracks are actually more in a sunshine pop/ blue-eyed soul vein, but they're still totally excellent songs.) All in all, this record is a lost treasure and comes enthusiastically endorsed by this fan! ..

Following the collapse of the criminally overlooked band Fapardokyl, singers/guitarists Merrell Fankhauser and Peter Drodd continued their collaboration in the Los Angeles-based Merrell Fankhauser and H.M.S. Bounty (manager Normal Malkin reported picked the name in an effort to give the band more of an English aura). Recruiting former Impacts bassist Jack Jordan and drummer Larry Meyers, the quartet was quickly signed by Uni Records short-lived Shamley label. 

As a hardcore collector, I've become accustomed to dealers over-hyping obscure bands (yes I'm guilty of it myself), but I have to tell you that for the most part this is one of those rarities - an album that lives up to and perhaps even exceeds the hype. Easily one of the era's undiscovered treasures, over the years I've owned and sold this album at least a dozen times. The thing about it is each time I've sold a copy I've regretted the move and ended up buying a replacement copy (frequently for more than I sold the earlier copy for). I can't say that about many albums in my collection. So before going on, one word of warning - while the album has distinctive psychedelic influences throughout (check out 'Drivin' Sideways (On a Wrong Way Street)'), it's probably better described as a pop effort. 

Teamed with producers Norman Malkin, Jack Hoffman and Glen MacArthur, 1968's "Things!" served as somewhat of a showcase for Fankhauser. In addition to serving as front man, main singer (his voice was surprisingly well suited for commercial material), Fankhauser penned and arranged all twelve tracks. Musically diverse, the set showcased a wonderful mixture of top-40 pop ('Things (Goin' Round In My Mind)' and 'Your Painted Lives'), chiming guitar-propelled folk-rock ('Girl (I'm Waiting for You)' and 'What Does She See In You'), and psychedelic influences ('Drivin' Sideways (On a Wrong Way Street)' and 'Madame Silky'). Elsewhere, the Eastern-tinged raga 'A Visit with Ashiya' and the jazzy 'Ice Cube Island' served as precursors to Fankhauser's forthcoming work with the band Mu. To be honest the material wasn't particularly original, inviting a game of spot-the-influences (touch of Roger McGuinn twelve string guitar, bit of Beatles-styled harmony vocals, etc.), but the material with done with such a sense of energy and pleasure that it managed to overcome whatever creative shortcomings existed. It's literally one of those rare albums where it sounds like the band was having a blast during the recording sessions. 

- Everytime I hear 'Things (Goin' Round In My Mind)' it reminds me of something the Bobby Fuller Four might have recorded had namesake Fuller survived into the mid-1960s. Musically it offered a glistening slice of jangle-rock that managed to combined the best of The Byrds and English merseybeat bands. Simply wonderful and easy to understand why Shamley tapped it as a single ... rating: ***** stars 
- Showcasing Fankhauser's sweet voice, 'Girl (I'm Waiting for You)' was a breezy, easy-going, and radio-friendly ballad. Like the first song, this one also boasted a great jangle guitar solo that would have made Roger McGuinn proud. rating: **** stars 
- I think Dodd may have handled lead vocals on 'What Does She In You' - not that it mattered a bit since this rocker was easily as good as anything on the album and even sported one of the collection's best guitar solos. rating: **** stars 
- Dual lead guitars including some squealing fuzz gave 'Lost In the City' one of the album's toughest edges and found the band dipping their collective toes into Frank Zappa-styled rock. Okay, it was more commercial than most of Zappa's catalog, but had the same weirdo vibe to it with both Dodd and Fankhauser sharing lead vocals ... did I mentioned the great fuzz guitar ? rating: **** stars 
- 'Your Painted Lives' found the band returning to folk-rock with dazzling results.  Perhaps side one's standout performance, this one had everything going for it including a killer melody, wonderful harmony vocals, and tasty fuzz lead guitar. rating: ***** stars 
- In case you couldn't tell from the title, 'Drivin' Sideways (On a Wrong Way Street)' was the album's most psychedelic-tinged track. That did nothing to reduce the song's commercial impact since Fankhauser and company managed to meld a great garage rocker with some hysterical autobiographical ? lyrics. Shame it faded out so early. Ah, life in mid-1960s Los Angeles ... rating: ***** stars 
- How could radio programmers missed something as bouncy and overtly commercial as 'In a Minute Not Too Soon'. Simply one of the best fuzz-guitar powered pop songs you've ever heard with an amazingly bubbly lead vocal from Dodd and Fankhauser, rating: ***** stars 
- So remember this came out in 1968 which goes a long way to explaining the raga flavored 'A Visit with Ashiya'. It may not have aged all that well ("I'll get up on a sunbeam and take it for a ride ..."), but still stands as one of the best pop-raga hybrids I've ever come across. rating: **** stars 
- My pick as the album's most overtly commercial offering, 'The Big Gray Sky' was a near perfect radio single with an instantly memorable melody and wonderful harmony vocals. The Monkees would have killed for a track this good. rating: ***** stars 
- My pick for best performance, 'Rich Man's Fable' was a pounding rocker (kudos to Larry Meyers for his nice performance) with a nifty guitar-and--keyboard lead and one of Fankhauser's best vocals. rating: **** stars 
- A pretty and slightly lysergic-tinged ballad, 'Ice Cube Island' has always struck me as a precursor to what Fankhauser and Dodd would focus their attentions on with Mu. A bit too flighty and fey for my tastes, though the harmony vocals were too-die-for ... rating: *** stars 
- While it wasn't as wild as 'Drivin' Sideways', 'Madame Silky' may have been the better song, managing to blend a driving garage rock beat with some enigmatic, acid-tinged lyrics, and another hyper-catchy melody. rating: **** stars 

As mentioned above, the album was tapped for an obscure single: 

- 1968's 'Things (Goin' Round In My Mind)' b/w 'Rich Man's Fable' (Shamley catalog number S 44006) 

There was also a non-LP 45: 

- 1969's 'I'm Flying Home' b/w 'Girl (I'm Waiting for You' (Shamley catalog number S 44008) 

In spite of an active performance schedule, the album failed to sell and by early 1969 the band had called it quits. Fankhauser and Dodd quickly reappeared in the previously mentioned Mu.

Merrill Fankhauser's one-off [of many] short-lived psychedelic bands that I, for one am encountering for the very first time. 'Things' was initially released in 1968. I've definitely been wanting a physical copy of this under-rated gem for awhile now. Tunes here that more than make this CD reissue a keeper include "Girl (I'm Waiting For You)", the power-house full-on psych "Lost In The City", "Your Painted Lives", the stunning "Drivin' Sideways (On A One Way Street) - sort of maybe has a Monkees feel to it, the toe-tapping "In A Minute Not Too Soon", " A Visit With Ashiya" (I know I have this tune on at least one various artists compilation), the beautiful "The Big Gray Sky", the all-too awesome "Madame Silky" and the tripping closer "I'm Flying Home". Faukhauser - guitar, sitar & lead vocals, Dick Dodd - guitar, organ & vocals, Jack Jordan - bass & vocals and Larry Meyers - drums & tabla. Worthy of many - many repeated plays.....By Mike Reed..

2013 repress. One of the all-time '60s classics, coming out from the California desert of Antelope Valley where HMS leader Merrell Fankhauser lived for a couple of years. This was released on Uni in late 1968, and gosh it's a killer! Flower power psychedelia, great all original songs, this is one of those albums you shouldn't miss under any circumstance. Remastered sound, original artwork and an insert with liners by Merrell and a great photo from his own archive....

it's the magical 1968 psychedelic masterpiece 'Things', recorded by Merrell Fankhauser's H.M.S. Bounty and originally released by Uni Records' subsidiary Shamley. The album is awash in stoned vocals, walls of sitar and thick fuzz tones, and is best described as acid folk-rock. The music has been linked to bands as diverse as Buffalo Springfield, Spirit, The Byrds and Cream. With a background in early '60s surf music, Fankhauser made other more excellent obscure recordings in the late '60s/early '70s with Farpardokly and Mu. 

Merrell Fankhauser (born in Kentucky, but raised in the Los Angeles area) is one of rock's true originals. He debuted with the surf band Impacts, whose album Wipe Out (Del Fi, november 1962) was one of the first instrumental surf albums. Fankhauser wrote the title-track, which became a hit for the Surfaris. Then he moved on to form the Exiles, whose material would later be collected on Merrell and the Exiles (Ocean), a folk-rock combo with Captain Beefheart's cohorts Jeff Cotton and John French that recorded about 20 Fankhauser songs for Glenn Records, initially in the style of folk-rock (Lila, Supermarket) but later in a more "acid" vein. A few of the 1963-66 singles were collected on Fapardokly (Universal, 1966), which is an Exiles album despite the fact that the label forgot to print the band's name on the cover. 
Fankhauser's next project was the HMS Bounty, which actually was simply most of the Impacts. Their Things (1968 - Cherry Red, 1985) contains mellow garage-rock and folk-rock songs (Drivin Sideways On A One Way Street). 

Fankhauser briefly jammed with Captain Beefheart. In 1969 Beefheart's guitarist Jeff Cotton and Fankhauser formed Mu (basically a reunion of the Exiles). Their first album, Mu (RTV, 1971), reissued as The Maui Album (Reckless, 1988), contains the mystical/tribal suite Eternal Thirst, the exotic novelty Mumbella Baye La La, a spastic blues number a` la Beefheart (Ain't No Blues), the ethereal psychedelia of Blue Form and Brother Lew. Mu released three singles before disbanding: Ballad of Brother Lew/ Nobody Wants To Shine (Mantra, 1972), One More Day/You've Been Here Before (MU, 1972), On Our Way To Hana/Too Naked For Demetrius (MU, 1973). Cotton moved back to Los Angeles and became a priest. 

The material recorded in 1973-74 for Mu's second album would eventually surface on The Last Album (Appaloosa, 1982), reissued as End Of An Era (Reckless, 1988). This material is less psychedelic and more exotic, laid-back, spiritual. The double-disc MU (Sundazed, 1997) contains a selection of both albums and the singles. Children of the Rainbow (Blue Form, 1985) collects some unreleased 1975 sessions. They all pale compared with Mu's first album. 

Fankhauser had already (1973) moved to Maui (Hawaii) and recorded his first solo album, Merrell Fankhauser (1976), a collection of acoustic vignettes (Make A Joyful Noise). Calling From A Star (1983), A Day In Paradise (Source 2 1985) and Doctor Fankhauser (1986), recorded in 1982, returned to acid-rock, and were followed by one of his masterpieces, Message To The Universe (One Big Guitar, 1986), a metaphysical rock opera. 

The autobiographical concept Psychedelic Dreams (1988), whose songs "tell the story of Merrell's musical career", Back This Way Again (1989), Flying To Machu Picchu (1991), Jungle Lo Lo Band (Legend, 1994) kept the legend alive. 

Fankhauser and drummer Ed Cassidy of Spirit also recorded the bluesy On The Blue Road (D-Town, 1995). 

Eventually, Fankhauser resurrected the Impacts to make albums of instrumental surf such as Eternal Surf (Ocean, 1997) and Sex Wax And Surf (Ocean, 1999), thus returning to his origins. 

Fankhauser worked seven years on the epic 73-minute Return To Mu (Captain Trip, 2000), that includes remakes of Waterfall and On Our way To Hana, and its follow-up Man From Mu. (It is not true that the albums contain old material that were lost in the jungle of Maui, etc etc: the story was made up by the USA distributor). 

Rockin And Surfin (Ocean, 2004) is a solo instrumental surf album.

Bass, Vocals – Jack Jordan
Drums, Tabla – Larry Meyers 
Engineer – Jim Hilton 
Lead Guitar, Organ, Vocals – Bill Dodd
Lead Vocals, Guitar, Sitar, Written-By, Arranged By – Merrell Fankhauser 
Producer – Glen MacArthur, Jack Hoffman, Norman Malkin

A1 Things (Goin' Round In My Mind)
A2 Girl (I'm Waiting For You)
A3 What Does She See In You
A4 Lost In The City
A5 Your Painted Lives
A6 Drivin' Sideways (On A One Way Street)
B1 In A Minute Not Too Soon
B2 A Visit With Ashiya
B3 The Big Gray Sky
B4 Rich Man's Fable
B5 Ice Cube Island
B6 Madame Silky

johnkatsmc5, welcome music..





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