Psychedelic-Rock'n'roll: Beauregard Ajax - Deaf Priscilla (WONDERFUL PSYCHEDELIC FOLK-ROCK US 1968)

12 March 2009

Beauregard Ajax - Deaf Priscilla (WONDERFUL PSYCHEDELIC FOLK-ROCK US 1968)


"Beauregard Ajax" hailed from Southern California; the quartet initially "The Dumplings" formed in 1966, moved to Hollywood the following year, and gigged for a while after hooking up with producer "Bob Keane" ("Sam Cooke"'s, "Ritchie Valens"'s, "Frank Zappa"'s, producer). "Beauregard Ajax" were "David Ferguson" (guitar, singer, songwriter), "Charlie Hendricks" (singer, songwriter), "John Boutell" (rhythm guitar), "Clint Williams" (bass guitar), and "Leo Hartshorn" (drums).
"Beauregard Ajax"'s music seems to be a mixture of Southern California electric Folk-Rock, along with touches of 60s Garage Rock, Psychedelic Rock, and a little Beatles-inspired electric sitar-mysticism thrown in.
There's a West Coast Psychedelic too like "The Kaleidoscope", but theirs is a sound that's kinda hard to put your finger on, even now: sometimes you'll hear jangling rhythm guitars and lightly-Fuzzed lead guitar, other times there'll be an understated lead guitar and dreamy harmonies, but each song is interesting, to say the least, with a strong personality of its own.
"David Ferguson" writes all the band's songs, incidentally, with the exception of two which he co-wrote with singer "Charlie Hendricks".
He also plays all the lead guitar parts.
Neither have a particularly strong vocal talent, but it doesn't seem to matter as their lilting vocals fit these songs perfectly.

BEAUREGARD_AJAX,DEAF_PRISCILLA,PSYCHEDELIC-ROCKNROLL,FOLK-ROCK,CALIFORNIA,DEL_FI,KEANE,LIVE"David Ferguson" and "Charlie Hendrcks" act as the "Lennon/McCartney" team here, sharing songwriting responsibilities and vocal duties.
It's difficult to tell who is who, and similar to "The Zombies"' "Colin Bluntstone", both croon with a soft, vulnerable wail.

BEAUREGARD_AJAX,DEAF_PRISCILLA,PSYCHEDELIC-ROCKNROLL,FOLK-ROCK,CALIFORNIA,DEL_FI,KEANE,dumpling,poster,BYRDS"The Dumplings" are playing shows in Los Angeles, nearly every weekend.
They're even invited to open up for "The Byrds" up in Santa Barbara, at the "Earl Warren Showgrounds".
At this point, the band decide to call themselves "Beauregard Ajax".
"Bob Keane" actually prefers another name they suggest, Sleep, because it's what he thinks their moody Folk-Rock sounds like.
He even writes it on one of their master tapes in his skittery handwriting.
"Beauregard Ajax"'s playing is quite good, with a strong rhythm section, generally confident vocals and some particularly nice, understated lead guitar work.

The opening song, "Loneliness Is A Sometime Thing", has some of the weakest singing, a warbling around notes without settling.
But later tracks show a good grasp of both Pop vocalization and dreamy harmonies that put the band above the average 60s Rock/Pop outfit.

BEAUREGARD_AJAX,DEAF_PRISCILLA,PSYCHEDELIC-ROCKNROLL,FOLK-ROCK,CALIFORNIA,DEL_FI,KEANE,dumpling,poster,BYRDS,SLEEP_LIVEIn 1968 "Bob Keane" takes the band's nearly finished masters to "Western Sound Recorders" for a mix-down session (the date on the tape box is April 11, 1968).
"Beauregard Ajax"' album, "Deaf Priscilla" is just about finished, but a few overdubs are needed, a few re-recorded vocal tracks are needed.
It's close, but the album is NOT quite finished.
It's around this same time that the members of "Beauregard Ajax" travel down to Hollywood one weekend in April only to find that the front door of "Stereo-Fi Records" has a rather large iron chain and padlock on the front door.
They peer through the darkened glass door and don't see ANYONE inside.
The lights are off, nobody's home.
They're STUNNED, as you can imagine.
They sit down on the curb on Selma Ave. and suddenly realize the gravity of the situation as it all begins sinking in.
They don't have any way to get in touch with "Bob Keane" -- NO home phone number or address. Perhaps more importantly, they don't even have a copy of their own album tracks that they've been recording for the past several months.


Anonymous said...

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