CA Quintet - Last Trip at Lake Pepin (LP Swordfish)
The ongoing interest in ever more obscure '60s recordings has thrown up some good stuff along the way. In the past they'd be released in dire quality bootleg pressings but these days things have gone up a notch. Good pressings and -gasp!- at affordable prices. So here's one more LP to add to your, ummm, iPlod.
Back in 1969 Minneapolis quartet CA Quintet got together to form, what past for in those days, a psychedelic sound fused with garage. They stuck at it for 2 years during which time they put out one album, the now much loved 'A Trip Through Hell' in an edition of 1000. A cruddy bootleg version of it came out in the early '80s. Avoid it like the proverbial wotnot. A far, far superior re-release has just been put out by the reliable Sundazed label both in cd and double-LP format, with 12 previously unheard recordings and an info-jammed booklet. S'good.
So where does this Live album, the only live recording the band made, fit in? In response to the bootleg LP that came out, in 1984 the band put out three live tracks (not sure what format) from their final show. Then in 2006 the master tapes of the show were found.
The album itself is a rollocking good listen and slightly bizarre. The band give it a bit of welly, as every garage band ought to, so there's an urgency in their rough and ready playing. They were certainly heavier than all the West Coast bands and would give many of the New York bands a run for their money, but if you're expecting something on the lines of Jimi Hendrix at his wah-wah best when you see the word 'psychedelia', forget it. There's no such thing. Clearly live CA Quintet couldn't replicate their far more colourful and adventurous studio work, so instead they went for the full-on garage sound.
Doug Reynolds keyboards give it that all important Hammond swirl. He'd been draughted by the army just before their studio album came out and had only just rejoined the band. Ah well.
The audience are.... well, dead silent. Either the band went down like Jonathan King at a jamboree or the microphones didn't pick up the sound. The sound quality is much better than expected. They run through a few crowd pleasing (?!) covers like 'And Your Bird Can Sing", 'Born to be Wild', 'Light My Fire', 'Badge' and a version of 'I'm a Man' which is only outdone in inappropriateness by the version done by The Chancellors in 1965.
Vocalist and songwriter Ken Erwin, who also doubled up on the bass playing duties for the absent Jim Erwin who had left the band by the, has written some fine liner notes for this edition, filling in a few of the many holes in their history.
Pressed up in 180g vinyl and a limited edition, although no-one's saying as to how limited. Another well-presented release by the Swordfish label. HM