17 March 2009
"HOLY GHOST RECEPTION COMMITTEE #9 - THE TORCHBEARERS" (CHRISTIAN 60s GARAGE PSYCHEDELIC X-IAN US 1969)
"The Holy Ghost Reception Committee #9" did two albums and "The Torchbearers" is the second.
"Dennis Blair" (guitar), "Larry Johnson" (bass guitar, organ and rhythm guitar), "Bob Kearney" (guitar),"Rich Esposito" (guitar) and "Mark Puleo" (lead guitar and harmonica) met while attending New York City's "Regis Jesuit High School".
Their intentions was to find a way to alleviate the monotony of weekly mass by writing and singing their own songs.
They started writing and playing their own music at daily Catholic masses.
Somehow convincing Jesuit Anthony Myers and school administrators to support their Rock Star visions, they ended up with a recording contract with the Catholic "Paulist Press".
"Torchbearers" album (Paulist Press P-04426, 1969) featured 12 original numbers, though roughly half of the tracks were apparently written by non-band member fellow class members.
Nearly every track is a winner.
From jangling Byrds styled Folk-Rock ("Walk Across The Waters", "You Think Differently" and "Rise Up"), to the Acid-Punk of "Hey Lord" (which always reminds me to "Faine Jade"'s "It Ain't True") or "Magnificat 70" this album is an appealing record.
With a trebly thin and chiming electric guitar strumming stark, yet endearing Folk-Rock, "Songs For Liturgical Worship" sounds strikingly similar to the minimalist moments of "Volume One" by the "West Coast Pop Art Experimental Band", Psychedelic embellishments which echo "C.Q." by "The Outsiders", along with some jangly Byrds guitars and appropriate ringing bells characterize the sound of "The Torchbearers".
Tracks like Fuzz guitar propelled "Know They're You", the title track and "Rise Up" showcased an array of subtle and non-so-subtle religious and social commentary overtones, but this time around the band (these guys were only 15 - 16) sounded more comfortable and confident in their studio surroundings, opening up and giving the album a more musically diverse and appealing sound.
Sure, there's lots of mention of God, but for the most part the sentiments are subtle, rather than in-your-face.
Musically the collection's also surprisingly impressive.
The results aren't perfect, but the set's sense of INNOCENCE and RAW sound are quite appealing.