Quality: 4.5 out of 5
Trip-O-Meter: 4 out of 5
This one was not particularly obscure in its time, but this is a band that has perhaps unjustly drifted towards the edges of obscurity in the time since. Although Country Joe McDonald is still notorious for his "F-I-S-H" chant at Woodstock, I rarely come across any discussions of this absolutely fantastic debut album. You can take the mid-60's Beatles, Americanize them with the Byrds and the Buffalo Springfield (should that be Canadianize?), and then throw them directly into the psychedelic eye of San Francisco armed with jug band sensibilities. With absolutely stellar songwriting and execution, this easily stands up with any of any of the other Summer of Love luminaries. I grew up with this LP in the family record collection, and to this day when I hear the term 'psychedelic rock,' this album cover is usually the first thing that pops to mind.
Everything on this disc is pretty good. Those first two tracks, "Flying High" and "Not So Sweet Martha Lorraine" drag you right on in as rough-edged, yet poppy confections that have San Francisco scene written all over them. You get the full psychedelic lightshow, ballroom blast on the seven minute long "Section 43." My father told me on multiple occasions that he had wanted "Porpoise Mouth" played at his wedding (it wasn't), but I could never tell if he was joking or not. "Superbird" serves up another top-notch, full-tilt shuffle, while "Grace" ends the album by taking us to the ghostly outer atmosphere of Height Ashbury-laced folk rock.
I imagine quite of few of those reading this are already completely down with this recording, but I'm guessing that this'll be new for some of you. This is one of those psychedelic uber-
classics along the lines of "Surrealistic Pillow" or "Buffalo Springfield" again, but I have the impression that it's gotten a little lost in the wilderness. I could be wrong, but this is prime, key rock to groove along with.