Saturday, January 5, 2013

Bob Smith - The Visit - 1970 - Full Album

This album is a very ghostly visit from Bob Smith. On much of the album the music seems to draw together the various strains of west coast psych and folk rock, and then slathers it with reverb and hay production. Mr. Smith's voice also helps with his fine, expressive baritone. He often comes across as a far more chilled out Jim Morrison, complete with metaphysical hippy 'poetry.' The music itself manages quite a bit of variation, with some first rate guitar, fun touches such as vibraphones, and a truly groovy rhythm section. There must be a few samples lurking about in Maury Alexander's and Smith's production for those who have already cashed-out on David Axelrod's albums.

This albums starts of strong, with the first three tracks all making a positive impression. "Please's" bittersweet vibe and distant harmonies are custom for a documentary soundtrack where they cover one of those San Fran festivals with headbands and hippy moms breastfeeding. "Constructive Criticism" does the same before launching into a fun, full throttle acid-guitar and cheese organ groove. I'm sure at the time this music seemed about two years or so behind the times, but I'm willing to say that doesn't matter 40 years after the fact. I find that "Mobeda Dandelions" is a particular standout. It starts sounding much like a "Morrison Hotel" outtake before launching into a wild, almost krautrock-sounding rave-up. "Can't You Jump Rope" also catches my attention through some great interweaving guitar parts. The primary flaw here is really just another example of the double-album curse. The atonal plodding of "India Slumber" really disrupts the flow, and if you also cut the somewhat dull blues of "Source You Blues," you'd have an even better single album.

While there is some mild experimentation, "The Visit" doesn't do a whole lot that you haven't heard before. It is, however, a top rate encapsulation of some late 60's (especially West Coast) styles. With it's distinctively late 60's production and find performances throughtout, I find it's mostly a joy to listen to and a great, poppy psychedelic obscuritiy.


All tracks written and arranged by Bob Smith.
01. Please - 3:08
02. Don't Tell Lady Tonight - 3:09
03. Constructive Critique - 4:39
04. Ocean Song - 4:48
05. The Wishing Song - 5:01
06. Can You Jump Rope - 5:43
07. Latter Days Matter - 3:27
08. India Slumber - 7:47
09. Source You Blues - 6:00
10. Sunlight Sweet - 3:09
11. Of She, Of Things - 3:15
12. Mobeda Dandelions - 3:18
13. The Path Does Have Forks - 5:20
14. Try, Try, To Understand Yourself - 3:13

- Bob Smith - lead guitar, lead vocals, producer
- Daryl "Captain Keyboard" Dragon - keyboards, vibes
- Don Preston - Moog, Mellotron
- Stan Keiser - flute
- Mike Degreve - rhythm guitar
- John Lantini - bass
- Skip Schneider - drums
- James Curtis - hand drums
- Larry Chapman - violin
- Mark Taylor - producer

info from

Don Preston was a member of Frank Zappa's Mothers Of Invention and Daryl Dragon was with The Dragons. Daryl worked on various projects with his brothers Doug and Dennis (Farm, A Sea For Yourself, et. al.) before finding fame and fortune as the 'Captain' in Captain and Tenille. Bob Smith continues performing locally in Florida and has finished a new recording, The Visit - Destiny 2000 From Bob Smith which he will make available on his own Southern Rose label.

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