...these cats were always a little bit too real to be front runners in the san francisco ballroom scene, a scene that seemed to demand long acid fused choogle with brain melting guitar to drip the lysergic drop into the mindsoup...the grape like to pack some soul into the rock'n'roll attack, the garage RnB and working class country twang also infused themselves into the fabric they wove, a fabric of busy patterns with three guitars threading their way around the tunes and the fact they all liked to vocalise gave way to some fine non chorale bleating, all having their say and sometimes with some good natured ferocity making the tunes explode with an abundance of generosity...this compilation grabs ahold of some demos, audition tapes, alternate takes and a smidgen of live recordings all from the fabulous grape years of 67/8, not one bummer on the entire disk, almost certainly due to the focused outlook they had for their music (if only they had been focused when it came to dealing with squares, their manager a complete crook and the record company publicity department boned headed enough to release their first LP as singles as well as the usual twelve inch 33RPM, a scheme that is common place today, but in the flower power haze it smacked of life sucking capitalism, a major stumbling block that would plague the band forever and a day), at least they were focused for a while, the second album 'wow' took focused to a whole new level, a level they would never reach again what with sound poems and screeching rocking blare all colliding with orchestration and horn arrangements that sound like 'the electric flag' on overdrive and adventurous without vanity, they strove to meld popular musics into a new whole, a 'cosmic american music' all given a dose of FAB4 lysergic varnish via the byrds (a heavier byrds it must be said)...this is a most welcome addition to the moby cannon and a reminder of times when musics organically spread and mutated, not endlessly sampled into 'new' patterns with dizzying regularity...a somewhat ridiculous front cover aside, a cover that makes them look anonymous, it's more appropriate for pink floyd or some lazy 'prog rock' ensemble, aside from that major foray into stupidity this can't be faulted, grape with great sound, wonderful wine will ensue for imbibing with optimistic regularity...

...a double disk of live gubbins from the mighty grape years '66/'69 with most concentrating on '67/'68 so it's a goodly snoot-full of HEP moby with varying sound quality but cool enough to get real cozy with when the mood takes...what we do notice is their jams were not of a total lysergic nature, they had a jazz infusion that pulled them away from intrinsically heavy jammers like QMS/dead and more into a night club feel, a psychedelic night club but with a more liberal attitude to life and art, not hierachy driven like the early frisco scene, once they realised they had a scene it was the beginning of the end, (that must have been about the time the good acid ran out, replaced by government sponsored 'drug'), down the slippery slope to consumer-ville, and a return to 'values' more deviously authoritarian than those from which most hippies fled back in the suburban 'mom&pop/school salute/cop days'...at times they come on like a semi lysergic 'butterfield blues band', surely testament enough to the greatness of the vine from whence cometh the grape, a lighter touch than the 'bbb' but arriving via the grape fascination with alchemy, the desire to meld the varying strains of american musics into a new though by its very nature always revolving and evolving, sound...especiallydigable on a few different levels is tracks 4/5 on disk two, the title track in two parts, a suite of avant-squealing-punked-out-acid-hard-rock in 1966 at the avalon ballroom, a total floatation in the mind soup, and that's a fact that won't be denied any way it's looked at...other times in the '69 contribution the country rocking is becoming evident, not an amalgamation of rock and country now, but a genre and sound on its own though they could still blast away in the R&B/soul rocking vein when they got amped up physically/mentally and volume-wise for some greasy garage beer stained funkiness...the disk ends somewhat mysteriously with the single from early tributary of the grape, 'peter and the wolves', a nice R&B groove but out of place here, but having said that, overall this is most assuredly a hot rocking groove and another welcome addition for the mystic citizen of GRAPEville...


  1. WoW!! I've been waiting about 40 years for this!
    There's no "Omaha" here - but what the hell - it's amazing enough that they did it once! Still every cut is hot - Jerry M. is smokin' - the guitars burn like a branding iron. Thank you S.S. - As per, you are the man!

  2. these tapes have been out and around for ages in various qualities so its nice to have them in one place at the same time, glad you're digging them...

  3. "What's purple and swims in the ocean?"