Subject: I have found a CD that I think you would enjoy
Genres: Pop, Rock, Classic Rock
1967 - 1969 ... The BEST of Boston
Christopher B. Brill | Wesrbrook, Ct. | 03/10/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I've always loved ORPHEUS ever since I bought their first album back in 1967. Being from Marblehead Ma., I was lucky to see them perform live may times, the largest event being a multi-group concert on the Boston Common ... Just me and 30,000 other people on a warm spring day. ORPHEUS was unique for the time in that their lyrics and musical chops could not really be defined in any particular format. To be sure, they were tagged with the rediculous title as one of the best of the "Boston Sound" ... (No such thing in reality)... Bruce and Jack harmonized perfectly Live and on vinyl, and their guitar playing (primarily acoustic,) ... WOW! From being there during their heyday, I can assure you of this ... If you purchase this CD, you will have one of the best examples of the late 1960's East Coast "feel good" psychadelic albums ever recorded. Also, give a listen to the groups "LISTENING" and "BEACON STREET UNION" ... One of the greatest eras in music proudly lives on. Peace & Love."
Musical evolution of a group mind
Phil Rogers | Ann Arbor, Michigan | 06/05/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Previously I wrote a review of 'Orpheus Complete' (all 4 of their albums on 2 CDs), which is no longer available. My thoughts on that compilation (from Italy) also apply to the 'Best of'.
"The 1st Orpheus album sounds like Chicago (Transit Authority) several years before they made the scene. (Did CTA get the idea for their original name from the earlier San Francisco R+B band Pacific Gas & Electric - one was a public utility, the other public transit, both with rather long names.)
Despite the fact that Orpheus was from Boston, not Chicago - the Buckinghams, the Cryan Shames, New Colony Six are other Chicago bands of the time that come to mind. Lots of horns and/or electric pianos, rock and jazz organs, clean guitar, even orchestral strings, depending on the given song.
But Orpheus' lyrics were often an altogether different sort of animal.
It's as if Orpheus was in the business of refining and deepening, and, yes - giving an underground edge to the obvious pop ethos of the time. In New York, Circus Maximus (Bob Bruno, Jerry Jeff Walker and their amazing band mates) were also strenuously transforming our understanding of the styles of pop/rock during this period. Also working in relative obscurity, they were less mellow, more attacking - but just as otherworldly, often with an unbelievably intense allegorical edge. CM of course started out dabbling brilliantly in folk-rock and early punk, but traversed at least 7-8 styles by the time they were through - jazz-rock, soft rock, flower-power, visionary folk-pop, acid-rock, acid-punk - all this in the space of only two albums!
Orpheus was decidedly not a `rock' band, though fitting in the overall category of rock music, which hadn't yet splintered (in the public mind) into the plethora of genres and sub-genres. Like the band's namesake (Orpheus the hero/demigod of the Greek legends), they traveled into the underworld to seek their lost loves/souls, and eventually emerged still wearing the mantle of convention. But those clothes now had maps etched indelibly onto the surface of their fabrics - everyone who gave a careful listen could not help but being swept up in what was beginning to be trumpeted and/or breathed to/through them.
This was quietly, powerfully heralded (musically) only on the final cut of album #1; but becomes more and more obvious in the 2nd album.
On the 3rd album, many songs remind one stylistically of the Association's album cuts, but with good arrangers and engineers. The Association had it all on their singles, and almost nothing on their other songs. And it probably wasn't any of their fault - chalk it up to a nearsighted, baffled producer.
There's also a bit of the smoother edge of Motown running through the 3rd's veins, maybe even a glimmer of things like the Fifth Dimension. And don't forget Glen Campbell in his more philosophically-revealing moments.
The 4th album on the other hand turns musically very philosophical/psychological, even visionary/spiritual (the lyrics had been that way intermittently all along). Orpheus' new band member wrote almost all the songs on #4 and sang/projected them not too unlike Tim Buckley, but with a voice and intent that overtakes and draws you in rather than smashes/bleats/blares at you. Very steadying even while being charismatic and impregnating. Rather sparely arranged, with lots of acoustic guitar, hinting by turns at blues, folk and psychedelia but studiously keeping apart from any stock "sound of the times". As virile and deep as the whole movement, yet seemingly employing a tender, personal grasp of the listener's heart and mind.
Imagine someone in your small living room at twilight, strumming and singing just to you and for you. The effect is startlingly refreshing, engaging in an almost aboriginal manner, friendly to an extreme degree. There are hints/gleanings of some kind of incoming personal revelation. Your eyes begin to take on/in more light.