Quality: 3.5 out of 5
Trip-O-Meter: 3.75 out of 5
Dino Valente rates as San Fraciscan, Summer of Love royalty. Among his flower child qualifications are his contribution of the song "Get Together" as part of the hippy lexicon, as well as his involvement founding the Quicksilver Messenger Service. Of course, due to a drug bust he didn't actually record with that band until it was arguably past its prime. This solo album dates from shortly after his release from prison. It's basically psychedelically folksy shambles, but it's far more coherent then the truly unhinged solo releases of Skip Spence or Syd Barrett, of which this album compares to (sort of).
If there's a problem here, it's the lack of diversity. Valente's voice isn't bad, but he seems pretty incapable of any kind of range or modulation. He does sound fully involved though, so we'll give him a past. Most of the tracks are ornamented simply with a reverb-laced acoustic guitar and a bit of spare instrumentation that's also been blasted through an echo chamber. When we finally get some orchestration on "My Friend," it's like a light shining through the clouds and manages to creep into Tim Buckley territory. Other highlights here are the sprawling, epic "Children of the Sun," and the opening track, "Time." "Me and My Uncle" is an enjoyable rendition of that grammatically incorrect standard. I also have an affinity for the strange and experimental "Test," although it's pretty atypical for the album.
This is a decent release with some solid songwriting. The sound here exists in a pretty thin range. If that range happens to push the right buttons, you may rate this as a buried classic. The rest of us will likely get one or three spins out of this before heading out for new sonic horizons.
Dino Valente - 1968 - Dino Valente