23 June 2009
"THE MANDRAKE MEMORIAL - THE MANDRAKE MEMORIAL" (PSYCHEDELIC ROCK US 1968)
"The Mandrake Memorial" were a Psychedelic Rock quartet which helped pioneer the use of electronics in Rock music.
The "Mandrake Memorial" were "Randy Monaco" (lead vocals, bass guitar), "Craig Anderton" (lead guitar, modulator, sitar), "Michael Kac" (keyboards, vocals) and "J. Kevin Lally" (drums).
Attending the University of Pennsylvania, "Craig Anderton" found time to play in an outfit called "The Flowers Of Evil".
"Michael Kac" started out as a folkie playing Philadelphia coffee houses, before hooking up with "The Candymen" (later renamed "Cat's Cradle" ).
The Candymen: Michael Kac's first band (Michael is on the far left)
"J. Kevin Lally" and "Randy Monaco" cut their professional teeth in the New York City based "The Novae Police".
The four came together through Philadelphia promoter "Larry Schriver", who was looking for a Rock group to serve as the house band for "Manny Rubin"'s Philadelphia-based "The Trauma Club".
With help from "Manny Rubin", the quartet began an in-demand local act, opening up for various nationally known touring bands.
The resulting buzz saw them start to attract attention beyond Philadelphia including touring throughout the North East, eventually catching the attention of the "MGM Records" affiliated "Poppy Records".
Signed to the label, the "Mandrake Memorial"'s cleverly-titled "The Mandrake Memorial" debut album ("Poppy Records" PYS 40 002, 1968) teamed them with producers "Tony Bongiovi" and "Tony Camillo".
The Mandrake Memorial from left to right: J.Kevin Lally, Michael Kac, Craig Anderton and Randy Monaco, photo courtesy by Elbert Budin
Their self-titled debut album is absolutely brilliant.
The synergy created between the breathless vocals of "Randy Monaco", the elaborate keyboard playing of "Michael Kac", and the searing guitar work of "Craig Anderton", is stunning at times.
This amazing musicianship applied to very interesting and melodic original material makes for a very special listening experience.
The Mandrake Memorial live in Philadelphia, 1968
"The Mandrake Memorial" sound is baroque, exotic, ethereal, and utterly infectious.
With their harmonies and interplay between guitar, electric keyboards, and occasional sitar, they were very much a band of their age, but played with a drive and precision that anticipated Progressive Rock.
Nevertheless, it went on to sell a respectable 100.000 copies mainly in Philadelphia, Boston and New York City.
see also "THE MANDRAKE MEMORIAL - PUZZLE" (PSYCHEDELIC ROCK MASTERPIECE US 1969)