Psychedelic-Rock'n'roll: The Wizards From Kansas - The Wizards From Kansas (PSYCHEDELIC ROCK US 1970)

The Wizards From Kansas - The Wizards From Kansas (PSYCHEDELIC ROCK US 1970)

The_Wizards_From_Kansas,1970,mercury_records,psychedelic-rocknroll,front"THE WIZARDS FROM KANSAS - THE WIZARDS FROM KANSAS" (PSYCHEDELIC ROCK US 1970)

"The Wizards From Kansas" are, according to the back of the album jacket credits, "Robert Joseph Menadier" (Monster Bass and Vocal Grace), "Marc Evan Caplan" (Snakey Snakes and Footler Breaks), "John Paul Coffin" (Guitar Lead and Strings That Bleed), "Robert Manson Crain" (Twelve String Roll and Songs of Soul), "Harold Earl Pierce" (Rhythm Machines and Vocalized Dreams).
"The Wizards From Kansas" were an obscure Country-Psychedelic Rock group from Kansas.
In 1968, four of the five original members (from the Kansas City area) formed a band called "New West", and began playing in the Lawrence, Kansas area, at clubs and parties, near Kansas University. Guitarist "Robert Manson Crain", from California, joined the group soon thereafter, expanding to a quintet.
At that time, the guys were calling themselves "Pig Newton", then "Pig Newton and The Wizards from Kansas".
The name "Pig Newton" was apparently one of their inside jokes, however, as there was no one named 'Pig' in the group.

The_Wizards_From_Kansas,1970,mercury_records,psychedelic-rocknroll,white_promo_labelThe band would often make up stories about "Pig Newton" to confuse people, according to "Robert Manson Crain" (whose songs, incidentally, are credited to either "C. Manson Roberts" or "Mance Roberts"). The five-man group played shows in the local area, and in the summer of 1969, toured the East Coast.
They were invited to play the "Fillmore East" by "Bill Graham" in the fall of that year, a gig that led to them being offered a number of record deals, which they initially turned down.
Finally, towards the end of the year, "Mercury Records" persuaded the band to sign a contract. The label reps did not like the 'Pig' part of their name, however, and made the group drop it.
Six months later, in July and August of 1970, "The Wizards From Kansas" recorded their eponymous debut album, "The Wizards From Kansas", in San Francisco.
The album (Mercury Records SR 61 309, 1970) was issued in October (their biggest influences seem to have been Northern California-based groups like "Jefferson Airplane", "Quicksilver Messenger Service", and "The Grateful Dead", and it shouldn't really come as a shock to discover that "The Wizards From Kansas" was recorded in San Francisco, between July and August of 1970), but a week before its release, drummer "Marc Caplan" and bassist "Bob Menadier" decided that they'd rather play Jazz instead of Rock and left the band to pursue those interests. With no band to promote the record, "Mercury Records" lost interest and the album sank without a trace.

"The Wizards From Kansas" is a killer laid back Rural Rock/Psychedelic album full of brilliant songs with complex melodic vocal harmonies, spaced out guitars and good original dreamy and melodic songs.
The musicianship is top-notch, and the songs are pleasant.
The band's guitarist, "Robert Manson Crain", wrote six of the nine originals, including the warbling, Country-ish "Hey Mister", "Misty Mountainside", "Country Dawn", and "She Rides With Witches".
They also cover "Billy Edd Wheeler"'s "High Flying Bird", radically reworked into a Psychedelic tour de force, full of hard distorted guitar, a song that was previously waxed by "Jefferson Airplane" during one of their first recording sessions in late 1965 (it wasn't released until their 1965-1970 compendium of unreleased tracks, "Early Flight").

The_Wizards_From_Kansas,1970,mercury_records,psychedelic-rocknroll,backThis classic was also covered by celebrated Folk artists, including "Judy Henske" and "Richie Havens", among others, but here it gets a visceral Psychedelic-Rock workout, highlighted by "Robert Manson Crain"'s guitar.
Their lengthy cover of "Buffy Sainte-Marie"'s "Codine" is excellent as well, and obviously inspired by "Quicksilver Messenger Service"'s jam version, which approximated the one popularized by "The Charlatans".


the purpleone said...

thanks for this one , been on the must listen to list for some time, you have some great stuff here, i'll be back, cheers from Oz.