20 April 2008

The Tea Company - 1968 - Come and Have Some Tea With...

Quality: 4 out of 5
Trip O Meter: 4.5 out of 5

Since April 20th has become a silly, unofficial holiday for us Americans (420 is supposedly the police call number for marijuana) it seems like a fine day to take a look at The Tea Company's sole freak out of an album. Yes, they want you to come and have the kind of tea that you smoke with them. Fortunately, these guys managed to crank out a fine psychedelic album that sounds good even without those particular controlled substances.

The Tea Company started out in New York City as the Naturals in 1963. I'd imagine that they went through several stylistic changes as this LP is pretty far out there. There's a base of Beatles-influenced pop in terms of the songwriting, but the real signature of this band lies in their wild delay and some extended instrumental space voyages which actually sound damn good.

The first thing you'll notice looking at the track listing is that the band has done an eight-minute cover of "You Keep Me Hangin' On." They do a better job than Vanilla Fudge with the extended, ironic cover, but it turns out to be the least essential thing on the album. Then you rock scholars may notice "Don't Make Waves," but this is not a cover of the Byrds' outtake, but rather a minute and a half of gurgling sounds. So let's focus on the rest of the disc, which is very good.

"Flowers" provides us with another long track at nine minutes, but they really hit the nail on the head with this one. The affair begins with a nice bit of hard-edge acid rock before blasting into a improvised hall of echoing sound that gives Pink Floyd's "Interstellar Overdrive" a run for it's money.

There are four more conventionally structured tracks filling out the album, and they're all pretty swell. The open title track is especially awesome with the production building up into a wall-of-sound crescendo. The whole obscurity aside, I feel that the Tea Company should be in the running to be labeled as an American counterpoint to Barrett-era Floyd. "Love Could Make the World Go Round" and "Make Love Not War" are pretty up front with their flower power sentiments, but the smears of psychedelic sound keep it all from sounding too cliched. "As I Have Seen You Upon the Wall" even finds a place for a waltz and a bit of the same vocal delay that Gandalf used (they were both from around NYC; could be the same piece of equipment). The only points against this band other than their ill-informed Motown cover is the fact that their vocalist isn't quite as good as I would hope. He still sounds fine most of the time and any shortcomings often vaporize in the walls of delay.

Psych fans are often on the prowl for artists that reach the heights of British psychedelia, and they're usually looking at other Brits. These Americans are often lost in the crowd, but really do make some sounds that the Pretty Things or Syd Barrett would have been envious of.

17 comments:

Anonymous said...

http://rapidshare.com/files/108821900/Come_And_Have_Some_Tea_With__1968_.rar

raistuumum said...

say, when are you gonna review "S.F. Sorrow"?

Dr. Schluss said...

I'll get to that one eventually. Probably "Emotions" and "Parachute" too. Maybe even "Get The Picture" if folks want that.

raistuumum said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
raistuumum said...
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Anonymous said...

It is better than I remembered, but I always hated the mix on this one. There's no bottom! Some of the freakouts are as shrill as... well, a teapot on full boil. If they ever do reissue this one, I hope they remaster it as well.

Dr. Schluss said...

My new computer speakers don't have very much bass, so I'll have to take your word for it. Everything sounds a little shrill right now!

Anonymous said...

Ahh, well I have a subwoofer!

As it turns out, there is a CD reissue. It just went up over at ChrisGoesRock's. Seems to have a little more bottom than the original, but it's not as if they totally remixed it. Definitely worth getting.

db said...

great music!
check out
calisoulbrother records
for rare PSYCH, PROG, soul, jazz, funk, brazil & latin records!

ElGaucho said...

wow, awesome. thanks for all the hard work.

frank carretta said...

Glad you liked our musical journey.We were able to perform most of the album live,nightly.My use of the 12string Rickenbacker is still apart of my playing to this day.please visit Frankie Carr on youtube or dreamkila Frankie Carr,to see the Rickenbacker&Vox amp today.PEACE&LOVE,FRANKIE CARR lead guitar,lead vocal THE TEA COMPANY

Anonymous said...

I respect this post alot,as this is very nice music,but I have a comment on the structure of ur blog: why not to put the track listing when ur talking about it?
I came in looking for it,and I didn't find it directly.maybe that's something,maybe that's not.
psychedelic good lucks ;)

Paul said...

I really dig the Supremes cover. REEEAALLY dig the Supremes cover. And I collect "You Keep Me Hangin' Ons" too!

Britinvdon said...

A tip of the Tea Cup to you, Dr. S!

Anonymous said...

Don't Make Waves by The Byrds was not an outtake, it was the theme song for a Tony Curtis/Sharon Tate Movie that was released as a single. It did appear on Younger than Yesterday CD as an "extra track"

jop said...

Thanx for sharing this gem, keep up the good work!

greetings from italy

peace

Anonymous said...

Hi

is a reupload possible?

Peace!