Psychedelic-Rock'n'roll: The Other Half - The Other Half (RAW RHYTHM AND BLUES PSYCHEDELIC US 1968)

1 February 2009

The Other Half - The Other Half (RAW RHYTHM AND BLUES PSYCHEDELIC US 1968)

other_half,holden_randy,mr_pharmacist,psychedelic-rocknroll,san_francisco,ACTA,FRONT"THE OTHER HALF - THE OTHER HALF" (RAW RHYTHM AND BLUES PSYCHEDELIC US 1968)

"When "The Other Half" records, all their amplifiers are turned to maximum volume…it is the hope of "The Other Half" that you enhance your enjoyment of this record by playing it at least once at FULL VOLUME".
-Anonymous original liner notes to "The Other Half" (1968).
Despite the cover looking like every inch a typical San Franciscan 1967 cash-in after the fact like the cover of the "Revolution" soundtrack, "The Other Half"'s sole album contains awesome incendiary rock performed with amplifier knobs glued to the most clockwise position available, and there they stayed for the duration.

Of their five singles, all but the first (the legendary "Mr. Pharmacist"/"I've Come So Far") were on the "ACTA Records" and of those four, all but one B-side ("No Doubt About It") provided the bedrock upon which a further two tracks were recorded, creating an album, "The Other Half", with a running time just squeaking under 28 minutes.

other_half,holden_randy,mr_pharmacist,psychedelic-rocknroll,sunn_amplifier,sons_of_adam,gnp_crescendo_378The Other Half: Mr. Pharmacist / I've Come So Far 1966 GNP/Crescendo 378

But for all its brevity, an inordinate supply of elevating mind destruction prevailed, most of which was provided by the guitar work of "Randy Holden".
Already more than halfway on the road between his previous group and side 2 of "Blue Cheer"'s third album, "Randy Holden" had been continually pushing the sonic envelope as his forays into controlled Feedback, sustain and pure channeling of power through volume nearly blew all the fuses as his extraordinary battery of customized pedals and amps wove sound into towers of near-uncontrollable Feedback, howls and unending lines of sustain.

Oh, "Randy Holden" steps out in a most roughshod manner here, despite the album's straight-jacketing record company hi-jinks like adding fake audiences to the first two tracks.
As the liners explain, they took the advice of engineer "Leo De Gar Kulka", and "faithfully duplicate their live performance such as at "The Avalon Ballroom" in San Francisco, where they draw 'turn away crowds'".

other_half,holden_randy,mr_pharmacist,psychedelic-rocknroll,vogue_french_EP_int_18112The Other Half: "Mr. Pharmacist" / "I've Come So Far" / "It's Too Hard" / "I Know", 1966 French EP Vogue Int. 18112

"Randy Holden" then quietly informs Nowlen after his harmonica solo that he's in the wrong key, and It's clear they've already given up with playing along with the charade, so they sneak in a final exchange that probably sent "Leo De Gar Kulka"'s blood pressure skyward:

"Ain't gonna say it!"
"Every time you sing it --"
"--Clap hard."
"I don't want the clap."

(Wild applause) Just as the torrential downpour of Beatlemania screaming ensues into the red, OH NO...

"The Other Half" really begins from this point on as the group have now hurtled themselves headlong into a blistering whirlwind of "Arthur Lee"'s unissued classic, "Feathered Fish" (which for some reason is credited to "Country Joe" on the album).

Following is "Flight Of The Dragon Lady", opening with a jaunty bass line and lightly-tapped drums'n'cymbals when -- WHOOOM!!! -- right into another Golden "Randy Holden" Opus of ultimo sustain, navigating completely controlled, earsplitting guitar through hairpin back alleys of silence with a super-slowed grace that manages to JUST FIT the tempo and what the rest of the band are doing.

other_half,holden_randy,mr_pharmacist,psychedelic-rocknroll,nowlen,vogue_french_EP_int_18112If anyone else had blinked for even one millisecond, it would’ve fallen apart, but "Randy Holden" just keeps reigning it in with a lot of space, control and even more volume.
He hits a note in the middle section break that is placed sonically somewhere between the lowest foghorn and the worst public fart never lived down.
It's a wonder someone had not only the ability or desire to play that, but got it down as early as "Randy Holden" did.
On record, no less. But it just gets better...

Despite its title, "Wonderful Day" is a first Love LP moody downer with its heart planted firmly in the 1966 greaser tradition of beaten-off women frustration.
And "I'm frustrated", too, because "Randy Holden" has temporarily suspended all Fuzz and sustain monopolization for the time being.
But he returns like he never left for the penultimate outing of side one, "I Need You".
A freakin' high-energy releasing shit storm whose opening is a 1965 live Who guitar and drum freak out/destructo-barrage, it settles into an immediate course into the late night railroad junction of "Baby, Please Don't Go".
Except here "Randy Holden" releases a stentorian double slash of guitar after every line as accent AND IT IS LOUD AS ALL FUCK.

other_half,holden_randy,mr_pharmacist,psychedelic-rocknroll,garage,blue_cheer,san_franciscoThe Other Half in 1966 from left to right: Jeff Nowlen (Vocals), Larry Brown (Bass Guitar), Randy Holden (Lead Guitar), Daniel Wood (Drums), and Geoff Westen (Rhythm Guitar, Vocals)

It's so RAW and SAVAGE, it applies even more of a crunch as vocalist Nowlen has taken to enunciate ala "Mick Jagger" during his highly affected "Lady Jane" period.

The freakily titled "Oz Lee Eaves Drops" opens with tight, hammering drumming that serves to shore up Nowlen's proclamations of unearthly powers ("I can bring the sun up/Yes, and "I can turn the tide").
Everything cuts out for a sudden, near-random harmonica and guitar interplay except those moronic insistently, non-stop drums.
Finally, Nowlen states "Only I can get you high!" and repeats it during the stuttered ending, guffawing up a storm in all certainty because that quip probably sent old man "De Gar Kulka"'s hypertension to hover even above the decibel level of "Randy Holden"'s amplifiers.

"Bad Day" begins the second side, almost an "answer song" to the previous side’s "Wonderful Day" bum-out as it runs at a carefree clip, sunny and clean being the forecast for this particular sublimated "Satisfaction"-riff out, with extra Fuzz guitar snarling-age thrown in for good measure.


Anonymous said...

¡¿Thank you very much for this !

helena said...

thank you!!!! nice upload >.<