Psychedelic-Rock'n'roll: Shadrack Chameleon - Shadrack Chameleon (PSYCHEDELIC FOLK-ROCK US 1973)

4 April 2011

Shadrack Chameleon - Shadrack Chameleon (PSYCHEDELIC FOLK-ROCK US 1973)

Shadrack_Chameleon,1973,steve_fox,psychedelic-rocknroll,iowa,lazy_river,igl_records,front"SHADRACK CHAMELEON - SHADRACK CHAMELEON" (PSYCHEDELIC FOLK-ROCK US 1973)

For an album created by a revolving group of friends from three separate bands, "Shadrack Chameleon" is quite a cohesive surprise. "Steve Fox" is the only constant on each of the six songs on the album, and, in a way, could be considered "Shadrack Chameleon" since his guitar, bass guitar, songwriting, and vocal talents come to the forefront.
"Shadrack Chameleon" was not so much a band as it was a collective of musicians from a couple popular late-'60s Iowa Rock bands. "Steve Fox" and "Randy Berka" were close friends growing up in Fort Dodge, Iowa in the early '60s where they were inspired to pick up guitars after hearing "The Beatles".
"Steve Fox"' family moved to Illinois in 1964 but returned three years later to Humboldt, near Fort Dodge. By this time, "Randy Berka" had started a band with organist "Jon Porter", drummer "Tom Northup", and guitarist "John Callahan", which evolved into "Lazy River".
With "Ardie Strutzenberg" taking over drum chores from "Tom Northup" and with the addition of "Mark Flanagan" on bass guitar, "Lazy River" became a popular band, playing gigs throughout the region.

"Steve Fox" started his own band, "Crosstown Traffic", with mates "Dan Dodgen" (drums), "John Brandsgard" (guitar) and "Doug Sandvig" (bass guitar).
By the outset of the '70s, internal conflicts ran high in both bands, and "John Callahan", "Ardie Strutzenberg", and "Mark Flanagan" formed Goo, taking "John Brandsgard" with them.
"Randy Berka" and "Jon Porter" asked "Steve Fox" to join them, and Shadrack was born.
Excerpt of interview with "Ardie Strutzenberg" from Lysergia site: "Let me start by saying Shadrack WAS Steve Fox. He formed, wrote, sang, played, financed, produced, booked, recorded, engineered (get the picture?) that whole thing. I was Steve's close friend and drummer for the group "Lazy River". For the Shadrack LP I was a hired gun to play on a coupla tracks that Steve wrote".

Shadrack_Chameleon,1973,steve_fox,psychedelic-rocknroll,iowa,sonic_202,i_wonder_why,it_was_meShadrack: "I Wonder Why" / "It Was Me", Sonic 202, 1971

In the summer of 1972, the owners of "IGL Records" in Iowa had heard Shadrack play and were impressed enought to record a single as Shadrack ("I Wonder Why" / "It Was Me", Sonic 202, 1971) with the band, but by 1973, Shadrack was all but over, with members going off to college and other pursuits.
At the end of 1973, various personnel from "Lazy River", "Crosstown Traffic", and Shadrack (with "Steve Fox" the constant) recorded "Shadrack Chameleon" LP (IGL Records STLP-132, 1973) on a reel-to-reel tape machine (Fox' "Teac 3440" reel-to-reel tape deck) in a studio in Dakota City they had built from an old storage shed.
Only 300 LPs were released by "IGL Records" under the name "Shadrack Chameleon", the 'Chameleon' added as an afterthought.

Shadrack_Chameleon,1973,steve_fox,psychedelic-rocknroll,iowa,lazy_river,igl_records,photo_shotOne of those 'special' albums you'll either get and love or probably find exciting.
Very "Neil Young" / "Crazy Horse" vibe to the music, but there's a sort of Garage desperation / enthusiasm thing going on.
Very solid, simple songs and melodies with more straightforward Folk-Rock elements here and there. "Chameleon (I Love You)", "Granite Feast" and "Beyond Eternity" are definitely tops.
"It's the kind of album that at first sounds like it has nothing to it, but after a few listens really starts to sneak up on you" (AM).