Search - Kaleidoscope :: Bernice

Genres: Dance & Electronic, Pop, Rock, Classic Rock
  •  Track Listings (10) - Disc #1

U.K. reissue on the Demon label & the CD debut for their 1970 album, released just prior to their disbanding that year. 10 tracks, including 'Chocolate Whale', 'Another Lover' & 'Sneakin' Thru The Ghetto'.


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CD Details

All Artists: Kaleidoscope
Title: Bernice
Members Wishing: 3
Total Copies: 0
Label: Edsel Records UK
Release Date: 8/19/1997
Album Type: Import
Genres: Dance & Electronic, Pop, Rock, Classic Rock
Styles: Ambient, Folk Rock, Psychedelic Rock
Number of Discs: 1
SwapaCD Credits: 1
UPC: 740155153427


Album Description
U.K. reissue on the Demon label & the CD debut for their 1970 album, released just prior to their disbanding that year. 10 tracks, including 'Chocolate Whale', 'Another Lover' & 'Sneakin' Thru The Ghetto'.

CD Reviews

Kaleidoscope Goes Out With... ?
Audio Obscurica | Spectrum of Sound | 12/25/2005
(3 out of 5 stars)

"This CD is a British reissue of the album "Bernice" by the Kaleidoscope, which was initially released in 1970.
The Kaleidoscope is generally considered to be the masters of the art of psychadelica, doing an intercontiental brand of music no one else could. They blended middle-eastern music with conventional pop and rock, and just a tad of soul. Soul? How that word would come back to haunt me. I listened to this "Bernice" album...
First off, if you own this, you know that if you are going to turn someone on to this band you will hide this where absolutely no one is going to find it, because it may turn someone off or prove you to be a master of bad taste. Want to make a new batch of Kaleidoscope admirers? Go pick up "Egyptian Candy" or a similar comp, they'll love you for it :)
Anyhow, let's talk about the band. After "Beacon From Mars" was issued in 1968, the group started to fall apart. John Vidican was an incompetent (duh!) drummer and Chris Darrow, bassist-mandolinist-whathaveIleftout extraordinare who had other interests (like playing in the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band...)left the band. In came Paul Lagos on drums, and Stuart Brotman on bass, and mane, if this didn't produce the tightest unit I've ever heard! They did the "Incredible Kaleidoscope" album and all looked well on the horizon. Then they did this. "Bernice".
The album starts off with Solomon Feldthouse's oud, which is gone within 8 seconds (bull!) and gives way to a peculiar white-boy-wanna-be-funky tune decked out with overzealous Motown-wanna-be (I've used that phrase two times so far) backup singers harmonizing over the "Chocolate Whale" (it's a vehicle, don't get uptight), and things get hideous with the next track "Another Lover", and soul is not in The Kaleidoscope's bag. Jeff Kaplan, a new guy they picked up right at the end, takes lead on "Sneakin' Thru The Ghetto", a political statement/country tune, that switches back and forth between soul and Roy Rogers territory. I wouldn't say its horrendous until the voice at the end tells us "that was a real knee slapper...". It's an OK song, put I draw the line at that kind of critique... "To Know Is Not To Be" is a wanna-be (...) psych number sung by Kaplan, written by Lagos. Lagos, by the way, thought he owned the group by this time. I'll prove this with two more songs, you'll see. "Lulu Arfin Nanny" - hmm, if you follow this band, you've heard this before. Perhaps you remember a fast-paced single they did before the "Side Trips" album called "Little Orphan Annie". Same song... "Lie and Hide", Solomon Feldthouse sings once again, and Paul Lagos provides a half-baked "rap" that panders the worst apsects of hippiedom. David Lindley steps up with the improvement over this mess of "Ballad of Tommy Udo", inspired by a Richard Widmark film. Paul Lagos makes his presence known by voicing Udo. "Bernice" is a number by the schizophrenic (in names, not mentality...:) Chester Crill/Fenrus Epp/Templeton Parcely/Connie Crill/Max Buda/etc, etc. and Jeff Kaplan sings it. The lyrics are hard to understand. But anyhow, Feldthouse comes back with a country-with-strings ballad called "Soft and Easy", and it has some dobro in it! I like it. Unusual sorta track for this band, but it kind of saves the album. "New Blue Ooze" gets a bad rapping from reviewers, but this track was intentional "filler". There were three songs (who knows what they were) deemed too controversial by the folks at Epic Records, and so they were pulled and the band put this track together to cover the missing three... So you can't say the band was being intentionally bad... Sure it goes nowhere, but it flows and it holds up on repeated listens...
Epic wanted this to be a single-releasin' band, not only an album band. So The Kaleidoscope gave them singles (complete with Beatlesque production, you know, vocals shoved in one channel?) Nothing on here made it to 45 RPM (to my knowledge, but I wasn't particularly looking) and nothing here was THAT commercial.
They don't sound like a band on their last legs, but they DO sound like a band in territory they have no business being in, that's for sure.
The band (well, Lindley, Brotman, Lagos and Kaplan, anyway) cut two tracks for the Zabriske Point soundtrack. The band gradually fell apart but gigged for a while. They even backed up Bruce Palmer (Buffalo Springfield) on his "The Cycle Is Complete" album (don't hold it against them) and Lagos and Kaplan backed Leo Kottke.
For you death hags out there, you might take note that Jeff Kaplan died of a drug overdose in April 1972. David Lindley says he didn't know what to sniff and what to swallow...
Anyway, I took the long way around giving you my take on the album. If you can pick it up for cheap (certainly not what they are charging for it) then let your curiosity get the best of you..."