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Saturday, 2 June 2018

Euphoria "A Gift From Euphoria" 1969 US Psych Folk Rock,Country Rock


Euphoria  "A Gift From Euphoria" 1969 US Psych Folk Rock,Country Rock
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From the liner notes of release Various - Mindrocker: “Euphoria took it’s rise in California in 1966. For the most part the band consisted of only two musicians/songwriters, Wesley Watt and William Lincoln. These two guys and their followers headed for Housteon, Texas in the fall of ‘66, and the influence exerted upon them by the local rock scene was pretty high. In December 1966 the group recorded 'Hungry Woman’ and 'No Me Tomorrow’ as a single. 
The group leaves no stone unturned and plays hard while putting a premium on melody and classic song structure. Some time in 1968 Watt and Lincoln went back to California, recorded an album in summer 1968 ('A Gift From Euphoria’) and then folded.”….~


This album – which was “produced in Hollywood, Nashville and London by Messrs. Watt and Hamilton” (aka Hamilton Wesley Watt and William Lincoln) – is today considered a cult classic among those who find themselves trekking across the West Coast rock tundra, circa 1969. Psychedelic country-rock, folk-rock, and bluegrass – abetted by lushly downcast orchestral arrangements and the occasional sound effect – are combined here in a heady and confident manner. The opening track, “Lisa,” is a sweeping orchestral piece which is eventually brought to a resounding end with the crash of a tympani drum. Then, the listener is abruptly hustled into a barrelhouse bluegrass-style romp, “Stone River Hill Song,” which wouldn’t sound too out of place on an album by Dillard & Clark, or, perhaps, even the Grateful Dead. Banjos, tack piano, and fuzz guitars collide in “Did You Get the Letter,” which veers into Beatlesque White Album territory – replete with backward guitars, cuckoo clocks, TV audience laughter, gunshots, explosions, someone speaking in Vietnamese, crying babies, and various sonic effluvia – before returning to the song’s main theme. Whispered vocals and a regal harpsichord elevate the stately and sublime “Lady Bedford.” “Sunshine Woman” (covered in 1971 by Bernie Schwartz on his fantastic solo album, The Wheel) is another of the album’s more memorable moments. It ends with a suicide note to the “World” and existence itself (“I hope we meet again someday”). In fact, it seems fair to point out that much of the moody lyrical content herein seems to be about drug use and acts of suicide. There’s no real dross or dead weight on this overlooked work of ambitious scope that reveals the considerable talents of its two songwriters/producers. Originally released by Capitol, this album remained out of print for many years until it was reissued on CD by See for Miles in 1996…by Bryan Thomas….~


This only album by Euphoria is a pretty decent mix of psychedelia and some country rock elements. Most of the psych rock tracks are solid but the weakest parts here are the country tracks like “Stone River Hill Song” for example. Luckily there aren’t many of those total country tracks even if many of these songs have influences from it. 
All in all I think this pretty rare album deserves three stars out of five. I don’t think it’s anything exceptional but it’s listenable and quite entertaining. I’m just not into country music in general so those country elements reduce my rating a bit…by…CooperBolan ….~


Yeah, there’s a lot of hype surrounding this one. Most people acquire it, expecting the second coming. A real shame, because the record simply can’t deliver on these unreasonable expectations. Many (myself included) are drawn to this via there non-LP single, which is an excellent slice of psych, expecting a whole LP’s worth of the same. The reality: it’s a mix of strongly country flavored rock featuring steel guitar and some ballads, and some harder psychedelic rock featuring fuzz guitar, lots of sound effects, forwards and backwards tape loops, and dreamy vocals. Despite all this, the majority of psych flavor is often hidden, daring the listener to seek it out. For me, it wasn’t the easiest find, but worth the effort. The end result is a bit of a Jekyl/Hyde type collection, much of it good, though not great, and the rest awful. Originals are now quite scarce, probably the rarest Capitol collectible, and always go for at least three figures for good copies. My advice: save your money and grab a reissue. You’ll want to hear this, but probably not that bad…..by…tymeshifter ….~


Like so many of my purchases in 60’s psych or posike genres, I rely on what others have to say to gauge if I should investigate farther. This lp was one of the few that I had not read a negative word about. The worst that I came across was to the effect of good but not essential. So, I bought a copy with high expectations. One of the things that had been pointed out in alot that I read was the schizophrenic way in which the band (duo?) changed styles from track to track. Even knowing that before listening, it was still a bit of shock. From the opening maudlinesque symphonic opening of 'Lisa’ to the hillbilly country of 'Stone River Hill Song’ to the psychedelic mash up of 'Did You Get The Letter’, (and that’s all in the first three tracks!), the album takes you on a trip. This schizoid nature doesn’t detract from the album but instead, somehow, pulls it all together. While listening in whole, I get the sense that there is a BIG MESSAGE attempting to be conveyed but I’ll be damned if I can figure out what it is. Whatever, the trip and attempts make for a great listening experience. These guys were signed to Capitol, given a nice recording budget and apparently left alone by the suits to craft the lp that they wanted. That must be the way it went down as it is hard to fathom Capitol giving direction to the band and this being the end result for it truly is a kind of stand alone album and one that I’m sure Capitol didn’t know how to market. Obviously, it sank without a trace to be discovered and appreciated by later generations. It kind of defies classification due to it’s all over the musical map nature but don’t let that put you off. This is a great album that deserves to be heard…..by…heyday2day ….~


A Gift From Euphoria is one the better late sixties albums I’ve “discovered” in a while. The closest comparison I can think of is The Byrds’ albums of 1968-1969. If you add late sixties Scott Walker to that, you’re getting pretty close to what this sounds like. I’d guess The Beatles were an inspiration too. 

Despite my starting with comparisons, I don’t think this sounds exactly like anything else. I like the mixture of country/country-rock and psychedelia that The Byrds came up with, especially on The Notorious Byrd Brothers. Euphoria is similar but the strings and varying vocal styles they employ give them a sound different from the Byrds. There are also sound effects and whatnot mixed in with all this. It’s true that there’s a lot of different things going on but, to my ears, everything works well together.. These Euphoria dudes, whatever their names are, were good songwriters too. The material is strong and the production is good. Count this as a loss for Capitol Records and a win for me…..doctorklopek ….~


A great surprise!! Only the country atmosphere of “Stone River Hill Song” is a little pedestrian - yet we’re in 1969 and The Byrds were doing exactly almost the same thing! - so the album stands strongly well with the sum of all parts. Some decades later Mercury Rev tried to emulate this in their “Deserter’s Songs” (with excellency we must say), carving a bunch of songs where orchestral arrangements were strangely mixed with nocturnal lysergic singing. The opening “Lisa” has an awesome tragic pathos and “Did You Get the Letter” is a psychedelic mess that suited well; “Something For the Milkman” is a perfect minute-Haiku and there’s plenty inspired arrangements in the rest of the songs (a fuzzy eccentric electric guitar, a sober honky-tonky feeling, again a whispered voice) that we easily must consider this a lost 60’s masterpiece…..by…antonbildern …~


A Gift From Euphoria is a well-funded album loaded with symphonic arrangements, excellent studio musicianship, psychedelic audio collage, and sound effects. It’s probably near to the apex of experimental rock from this era, and of the melding and juxtaposition of different styles of music. 

The first two tracks on the record demonstrate the pace. Lisa an expansive and string laden orchestral number gives way to a legit bluegrass-country tune with banjo and pedal steel. Wait a little longer and you’ll get some fuzz guitar brain melters. Euphoria is all over the place on this album, which was recorded in Hollywood, London, and Bradley’s Barn. Some of the best session men in town put this one together, and it shows. Nary an unprofessional sound is on this record and some of the arrangements are stunning. They could use this album to replace the orchestra at the Boston Pops. 

This is the only album released by the short lived Euphoria. The liner notes imply that the members disappeared, but parts of the liners are as out there as the sounds. Get this one for a supreme example of country and rock gone suicidally psychedelic, sounding remarkably fresh today….Rising Storm review….~


A Gift From Euphoria is a well-funded album loaded with symphonic arrangements, excellent studio musicianship, psychedelic audio collage, and sound effects. It’s probably near to the apex of experimental rock from this era, and of the melding and juxtaposition of different styles of music. 
The first two tracks on the record demonstrate the pace. Lisa an expansive and string laden orchestral number gives way to a legit bluegrass-country tune with banjo and pedal steel. Wait a little longer and you’ll get some fuzz guitar brain melters. Euphoria is all over the place on this album, which was recorded in Hollywood, London, and Bradley’s Barn. Some of the best session men in town put this one together, and it shows. Nary an unprofessional sound is on this record and some of the arrangements are stunning. They could use this album to replace the orchestra at the Boston Pops. 
This is the only album released by the short lived Euphoria. The liner notes imply that the members disappeared, but parts of the liners are as out there as the sounds. Get this one for a supreme example of country and rock gone suicidally psychedelic, sounding remarkably fresh today. 
by Brendan McGrath…..~


Pretty cool but somewhat typical pychedelic rock album out of 1960’s LA scene. Has a bit Rolling Stones, Byrds, Love, and Beatles mixed in together (and they claim they were heavily influenced by the Bee Gees too). If I had to think of an album that is similar to “…Euphoria” it would be “The Notorious Byrd Brothers”('69) because of it’s eclectic nature and over-emphasis of studio effects. 
What this album signifies to me most is not that it’s a lost/ignored masterpiece but what could have been if these guys kept at it and had more support. There are some fairly strong songs here, the most obvious being Did You Get The Letter, but just about all of them have some good points to them. The liner notes seem to have a bloated sense of importance- which is typical of many artists/reviewers that haven’t moved on from their heyday. 
All critism aside, this is an interesting time piece. It’s got bluegrass, country, baroque pop, and pyschedelic rock. They knew how to make a decent groove, and the harmonies were pretty cool- decent song writing too….. allismile0….~

A varied collection of music that really gets you thinking at times. Incredible guitar and bass playing. These two lads put together quite a collection of original material. Moves from orchestral to country to rock with transitions of interest. All the genre’s that are represented on this album are played to perfection. It is a wonder why this wasn’t a huge album heard by millions. Perhaps it covered too much or was too far ahead of the curve. Well worth the investment. The more you hear it, the more it amazes and delights the listener….. william lincoln….~

A remarkable effort by two friends and songwriters back in the late 60s. It was originally released on Capitol Records. It did not sell very well at that time, but it has taken on a life of its own during the following years. It is now considered a highly collectable record and it has been re-released twice on two different labels in the years since. It was just re-released again on Rev-ola Records with a much better format and more liner notes with additional pictures. A much improved CD with all the additional information. Buy it…you’ll love it….Lynda Krahenbuhl….~

Painstakingly assembled and selfproduced, this was the debut album from one of rock’s oddest couples, Hamilton Wesley Watt Jr and William J Lincoln. After a mammoth five years in the making, this comprehensively baffling kaleidoscope of influences and ingredients was finally released with little or no promotion in November 1969. 
Recorded in locations as far afield as Hollywood, Nashville and London’s Pye Studios, and touching base en route with influences running all the way from 13th Floor Elevators to the Bee Gees, the many and varied moods of this extraordinary album anticipate the stylistic and atmospheric blends of landmarks as diverse as Abbey Road and the psychedelic country of The Notorious Byrd Brothers. There are at the very least three distinctly schizophrenic strands running through the album: the lush symphonic arrangements, the banjo-driven country interludes and the excursions into psych-rock, with the whole made even more surreal by the liberal ransacking of a sound effects library. Who knows what fate might have befallen A Gift From Euphoria had Apple taken up their option to release it before Watt and Lincoln signed with Capitol. File under ‘C’ for ‘curio’. Or should that be ‘A’ for ‘audacious’?…by…by Grahame Bent..Record Collector….~

In 1969, Capitol Records in their wisdom pumped rather large sums into a number of groups, to be released on their new-style green label…Gandalf, Food, The Common People, and perhaps the oddest and best, Euphoria Universally known as Capitols follies, these groups all made a particular type of music, caught between Pet Sounds and Prog, that no one seemed to get…until now. Euphoria had formed in Texas as part of the scene which gave us The 13th Floor Elevators…but by the time they descended on Hollywood, London, and Nashville and produced this album with the enigmatic Nik Venet (a man responsible for acts from the Beach Boys to Fred Neil) they were far, far away from the garage…yes indeed…a collage of lush, sweeping orchestration, sound effects and abrupt, disturbing transitions of style, it may take you by surprise as much today as it did audiences in the day…with much of the lyrical content appearing to deal with heavy drug use and acts of suicide…these boys were not messing!! Until today, the group themselves have remained elusive, giving rise to the most bizarre and spurious tales of death, unacceptable behaviour, and sex change surgery…Now, here for the first time is the full, untold story, and the unique, unrepeatable sound of Euphoria. This album has been completely remastered from original tapes in a style befitting it’s epic sweep! With a lavish fold-out booklet with the full, never before told true story of Euphoria and never before published pictures of the fabled sessions and In depth notes by Tim Forster featuring interviews with band members this is a classic re-presented in true Rev-Ola style!…~

Stating it out on the very beginning, Euphoria‘s sole album Gift From Euphoria is amongst the best psych albums I’ve ever heard in my life. And I heard quite a few. 
This US duo, existed for a very short time, released their debut back in 1969. With so many psych albums being released on a day to day basis, the echoing guitars in the streets of LA hadn’t really penetrated the studio when Euphoria was playing. 
I’m saying it just to point out that this is not the typical fuzzed out guitars, groovy drums patterns and reversed vocals. Not at all. 
What we have here is a collection of beautiful songs that touches bluegrass and folk, elements of blues and even baroque in some places. Picture the Greatful Dead meets Gene Clark (we’ll mention him again in a shortwhile) But what’s really interesting in this album, is the high budget the duo got for production. I don’t know the number of course, but whatever it was – it was enough to get the best session players, and strings arranger. 
That’s why Gift sounds like no other. No, really. It reminds me of No Other, by Gene Clark. 
High production value, powerful emotional strings, band that sits perfectly and tight, and most of all – sounds more professional then almost 90% of the music that was going on in what they call psych rock. 
Too bad this album had never achieved a cult status like, say, Forever Changes. But that’s probably because Arthur Lee is a genius and the guys from Euphoria are just a plain fantastic duo. Nevertheless, you don’t have to be a high psych fan to like this album, it’s easy and nice and even the fuzz guitars are not that harsh. For some reason, it always brings to my mind the cult album In An Aeroplane Over The Sea. 
Maybe it’s that wilderness mood that’s hovering above, maybe it’s the combo of folk-psych-bluegrass that the two bands share, and maybe it’s because they’re both an idiocentric albums that one needs to dig hard to find, but when you do find them – you hit the jackpot……~


Personnel 
*William D. Lincoln - Bass, Vocals 
*Hamilton Wesley Watt - Vocals 
*Doug Delain - Guitar 
*Dave Potter - Drums 
*Irwin Webb - Orchestral Arrangement, Direction 
*Nikolas Venetoulis - Direction


Tracklist 
A1 Lisa 3:53 
A2 Stone River Hill Song 2:28 
A3 Did You Get The Letter 5:14 
A4 Through A Window 2:46 
A5 Young Miss Pflugg 2:53 
A6 Lady Bedford 3:03 
A7 Suicide On The Hillside, Sunday Morning, After Tea 1:28 
B1 Sweet Fanny Adams 4:21 
B2 I’ll Be Home To You 2:02 
B3 Sunshine Woman 2:59 
B4 Hollyville Train 3:03 
B5 Docker’s Son 2:47 
B6 Something For The Milkman 0:54 
B7 Too Young To Know 0:48 
B8 World 3:08 

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