Sunday, 24 June 2018

6 Feet Under “In Retrospect 1969-70” 1998 CD Compilation US Garage Psych


6 Feet Under “In Retrospect 1969-70” 1998 CD Compilation US Garage Psych
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Formed in 1966 out of the ashes of the Marc 5 and Sonix, this Colonia, NJ ensemble captured the changing times and sociological upheaval of the pre-Woodstock Nation. Like the Jefferson Airplane, Neighb'rhood Childr'n and United States Of America, 6 Feet Under was blessed with a dynamic diva who soared amidst searing fuzz leads, swirling organ chords, and gifted songwriting with prophetic lyrics. This 78 minute CD documents the underground ‘60s Counter-cultural aesthetic in full bloom…..~


There were teen garage groups in the late '60s and early '70s, playing material that was far more psychedelic and heavier than the garage punkers of the mid-'60s. They’re not nearly as well documented by reissues, however, since they have not been judged by history to be as hip and worthy as their predecessors. For that reason, this disc stands out from the usual '60s teen rock reissue. It’s not that good or that bad; it’s just representative of how suburbanites of that time emulated the rock sounds of the day, with the organ of the Doors and Iron Butterfly, the guitar of Hendrix and the vocals of the Jefferson Airplane being some of the audible inspirations. Most of this disc, consisting of studio recordings, home recordings, and odds and ends, is original material in a minor-key, ominous but innocuous vein…by Richie Unterberger….~


As Bar Mitzvah presents, Jerry Dobb receives an Acetone electronic organ with Kalamazoo Amplifier and Scott Julian receives an Epiphone electric guitar and amp. The friends decide to form a band in the archetypal New York City suburb of Colonia, New Jersey. First band is named the Marc 5 (for no reason that I can now remember - no one named Marc in the band). The band consists of Jerry and Scott, Bob Briendel on bass (he had no idea how to play. Scott showed him where to put his fingers), Phil Mazuski on drums and the only real musician, Joe “Musky” Muscolino on saxophone. 
The band had a repertoire of about 10 songs, including “Summertime,” “Tequila” and “The Batman Theme.” Playing a private pool party and someone requested “Moon River.” Musky knew it, so we faked it behind him. It was pretty awful, but the guests were too drunk to care and actually gave us an extra tip for playing it! The thirteen year olds in the band hook up with a seemingly much older, 17 year old singer named Pete (don’t remember his last name) and change the name of the band to the Sonix. Pete is an R&B enthusiast and the song list changes to include “I Got You,” “Mustang Sally” and other soul songs. Pete performs James Brown style with spins, splits and yelps. 

The hand uniform is pointy-toed black shoes, black pants, pink Italian high-roll collar shirts and burgundy button front sweaters. The band decides that they’d like to follow a more hip and hippy style of music. Pete departs and the group reforms as Six Feet Under. Phil is replaced by Ritchie on drums. Bob, who never really took to music, is replaced by Duanc Ulghcrait on bass. Joe leaves for an established soul band. A girl singer (name unknown) briefly comes and goes. Ritchie, while an excellent drummer, proves to be volatile and is replaced by Hector “Tico” Torres fromSayerville N.J. Where did the name Six Feet Under come from? Well after the Sonix, the hand wanted a new hipper name. 

The first thing decided was that the name shouldn’t begin with “The.” After some brainstorming, someone mentioned that the British band Ten Years After didn’t start with “The” and was kind of cool. So we started coming up with phrases that fit that pattern; a number, a noun, and an adverb. We also wanted a name that was kind of dark and slightly threatening, like the Grateful Dead. Ultimately someone came up with Six Feet Under, and we immediately realized that it was the perfect moniker. Later, when Nannette joined the band the sound softened a bit, but the name stuck until the end. 

When the dust settles it’s Jerry on organ and vocals, Scott on guitar, Duane on bass and Tico on drums. Tico plays a drum set that belonged to his dad, circa the mid-1940s. The bass drum was oversized and the tom-toms were nailed onto the bass. A friend of Tico’s paints a beautiful oil painting of a woman’s head floating above a grave with ghostly hands reaching up, trying to retrieve it. This is cut out and inserted into the front of the bass drum. A simplified line drawing of the painting is used as a promotional hand-out. 

The band plays at least one night most weekends and improves. Gigs include dances, Rutger’s University fraternity parties, battle of the band competitions and local festivals in and around Northern New Jersey. The songs now include a lot of Doors material, Cream, Hendrix, and the signature song, a relatively faithful rendition of the complete “In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida.” The First original songs appear, including “The Six Feet Under Theme” and “Karen.” Around this time the opportunity to record appears. 

Fifteen year old Nanette DeLaune joins the band as “chick singer” a la Grace Slick. Jay Crystal begins as drummer. While preparing to record the band continues to play gigs, many times two a weekend. The material now includes songs by the Jefferson Airplane, Rolling Stones, Santana, Ten Years After and Blind Faith. Show stoppers include a rousing version of “Soul Sacrifice” and a 15 minute set of songs from the Who’s “Tommy.” Original material is written by Jerry and practiced. 

The band records at the Scepter Studios. Jerry uses a Hammond B-3 with Leslie tone cabinet for the first time. “Inspiration In My Head” is “released.” The band is angry because the extended instrumental break at the end of the song is edited out. Friends and relatives convince a local record shop to order the single and buy a few dozen copies. A local radio station plays it once on the air. The band listens in a car and can’t believe that they’re on the radio. Nothing else happens. The band goes back to the studio to record more songs. 

By late fall of 1970 the band decides to split up. Jerry, Scott and Duane head to college. Jerry assembles an ad-hoc band and records some solo songs. These are never released. Nanette does some further recording also, but nothing comes of it. Jerry studies filmmaking at college and ultimately becomes a corporate video manager. Scott ends up as a chef in a prestigious hotel. Duane becomes a candy salesman. Musky lands in Utah where he plays and books local bands. Don’t know what became of Nanette, Jay, Bob, Phil, Ritchie, or Pete. But Hector “Tico” Torres, the guy who wasn’t good enough to record, hooked up with a younger boy from Sayerville named Jon Bon Jovi and the rest, as they say… by Jerry Dobb….~

Driven by the keyboards of band leader Jerry Dobb and guitarist Scott Julian, 6 Feet Under has that organ-heavy murky sound that defined the heavy sound (not heavy metal, mind you; that’s still a few years off) in the late 60s. The material presented on this record, both covers and original, reflects this: longer pieces with extended drum and/or guitar solos. This is exemplified by the band’s version of `In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida,’ which clocks in at 11:52! 

But, what adds to the band’s presentation, what elevates it above being a guy band playing long songs is the brilliant addition of a female singer; a la Grace Slick. Now, I’m not saying Nanette DeLaune had the power and range of Ms. Slick; in point of fact, she didn’t. But, despite a somewhat thin voice with - at least for me - less than desirable power, the combination works very well. The band was probably well received on the college, club/bar circuit. I can truly see myself enjoying the hell out this band, dancing under strobe lights. 

Unlike many/most groups in this period, 6 Feet Under briefly recorded for Scepter Records and therein lies a story. The feedback from the audition was “You need a better drummer and vocalist.” This is how 1) the original drummer - a guy from Sayreville named Hector Torres, who goes by “Tico” - is fired and 2) Nanette is brought in. The changes are good for band (and for Tico who, a couple of years later, joins an outfit from his home town) as it is this line-up that performs and records most of the material on this album…. Jersey Kid…..~


1998 release; unheralded “countercultural psych from New Jersey”. “Formed in 1966 out of the ashes of the Marc 5 and Sonix, this Colonia, NJ ensemble captured the changing times and sociological upheaval of the pre-Woodstock nation. Like the Jefferson Airplane, Neighb'rhood Childr'n and United States Of America, 6 Feet Under was blessed with a dynamic diva who soared amidst searing fuzz leads, swirling organ chords, and gifted songwriting with prophetic lyrics. This 78-minute CD documents the underground '60s counter-cultural aesthetic in full bloom.”…~

Very nice collection of counter culture psych from obscure New Jersey psychedelic band 6 Feet Under: “Like the Jefferson Airplane, Neighb’rhood Children and United States of America, Six Feet Under was blessed with a dynamic diva who soared amidst searing fuzz leads, swirling organ chords, and gifted songwriting with prophetic lyrics.” 
They released a couple of flop 1970 singles on Scepter before disbanding. Influenced by the Doors, Iron Butterfly and Jefferson Airplane, they favored gloomy minor melodies and naively earnest songs reflecting the state of social unrest and psychedelic exploration in the counterculture circa 1969-70. 
This reissue includes previously unreleased material that approximates what their debut album might have sounded like, along with some unissued home, live and rehearsal recordings. Prior to recording for Scepter, their drummer, Tico Torres, had been replaced on the grounds that he wasn’t good enough; he became the only member of 6 Feet Under to make it in the music business, as part of Bon Jovi….~


6 Feet Under 
*Jay Crystal - Drums 
*Nanette DeLaune - Vocals 
*Jerry Dobb - Keyboards, Vocals 
*Scott Julian - Guitar 
*Hector Torres - Drums 
*Duane Ulgherait - Bass 
*Richie - Drums (only on track #9)


Tracks 
1 Inspiration in My Head - 2:28 
2 Freedom - 4:07 
3 What Would You Do? - 3:43 
4 Baby I Want to Love You - 8:08 
5 In Retrospect - 4:04 
6 Fields - 3:04 
7 Running Around in the Sun - 3:28 
8 Black Movies - 3:20 
9 Six Feet Under Theme - 2:46 
10 Suzy Q - 6:18 
11 City Blues - 5:12 
12 In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida (D. Ingle) - 11:52 
13 Basement Jam - 0:47 
14 Sonix Commercial - 0:58 
15 Inspiration in My Head - 2:51 
16 Freedom - 4:30 
17 What Would You Do? - 5:53 
18 Fields - 3:05 
19 Boogie Man Bash - 0:44

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