Search - Quicksilver Messenger Service :: Sons of Mercury (1968-1975)

Sons of Mercury (1968-1975)
Quicksilver Messenger Service
Sons of Mercury (1968-1975)
Genres: Pop, Rock, Classic Rock
  •  Track Listings (14) - Disc #1
  •  Track Listings (16) - Disc #2

Given its 30 tracks, this two-disc overview is all the Quicksilver anyone but fanatics and scholars of the '60s San Francisco scene will ever need. The band had a couple of powerful spearheads in stinging electric-guitar m...  more »


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CD Details

All Artists: Quicksilver Messenger Service
Title: Sons of Mercury (1968-1975)
Members Wishing: 12
Total Copies: 0
Label: Rhino / Wea
Original Release Date: 7/2/1991
Release Date: 7/2/1991
Genres: Pop, Rock, Classic Rock
Style: Psychedelic Rock
Number of Discs: 2
SwapaCD Credits: 2
UPCs: 081227074722, 081227074746

Given its 30 tracks, this two-disc overview is all the Quicksilver anyone but fanatics and scholars of the '60s San Francisco scene will ever need. The band had a couple of powerful spearheads in stinging electric-guitar master John Cipollina and songwriter Dino Valente (who authored Jefferson Airplane's "Let's Get Together"), but they infrequently made musical sense of their own instrumental prowess and pretensions. But as the excellent but truncated live recording of "Who Do You Love" indicates, QMS was the definitive acid-rock band. Fans of Pink Floyd and Phish will find a kindred spirit in the arch, ambling music Quicksilver made. This is a frequently fascinating, rarely humdrum collection. --Roy Kasten

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Member CD Reviews

Toni B. (twintoni) from ORANGE PARK, FL
Reviewed on 7/29/2006...
classic Quicksilver.

CD Reviews

Very mercurial, very "psychedelic" and ... very, very good
jayhikkss | 10/28/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)

"This two-CD set first appeared in 1991. Rhino released it, which is very lucky because this label chooses mastering engineers who really know their job : the digital transfers are first rate, even after 15 years. It remains, to this day, the best anthology of the music laid down by one of the finest bands to come out the Bay Area's improvisatory acid rock scene in the '60s band.

The set begins with QMS's earliest released tracks, both of folk origin: "Babe I'm Gonna Leave You" and a cover of the Buffy Sainte-Marie classic "Codine". Both tracks first appeared on the OST of "Revolution" (1998) when the signature sound of this first incarnation of the band was already fully formed.

"I Hear You Knockin' (It's Too Late)" was not previously released on the original band LP's; it is a lovelorn ballad quite nice to hear but not really outstanding either.

Five of the band's six original tracks released on their debut LP come next. The twin guitars of John Cippolina and Gary Duncan bring out the kind of sonic dreamscapes that marked the finer examples of the genre.
Although Cippolina's highly melodic, twangy, vibrato laden, individualistic lead guitar style dominates the proceedings, Gary Duncan should not be considered a second gun; his interest in Jazz as well as his guitar interplay with Cippolina was crucial to the Quicksilver sound as a whole.
Whilst Duncan favored electrified Gibson L-5 and tube amplification, Cippolina woud go for a solid state amplification for his bridge pick-up and would use tube amps to amplify his neck pick-up. This was used, at will, with lots of effect pedals controlling, among others, a series of Wurlitzer tweeters. Manager Ron Polte's composition "Too Long", the weakest track on the first LP is left off whilst the single "Bears" (10/1968) - something of a rarity - is included. This "rarity" really sucks as far as I am concerned and I think that it would have been better to include Polte's title instead (so delivering the whole content of their first LP).
While some may prefer the mostly live "Happy Trails", this eponymous collection is, IMO, their strongest set of studio material. Despite the guitar pyrotechnics, the band lays the accent firmly on melodic folk-rock.
Highlights include their cover of folksinger Hamilton Camp's "Pride of Man," probably their best studio track; "Light Your Windows" is possibly the group's best original composition; and Dino Valenti's catchy "Dino's Song". "Gold and Silver" is their best instrumental jam, and the 12-minute "The Fool" reflects some of the better aspects of the psychedelic era.

This is followed by a large portion of their highly acclaimed follow-up, "Happy Trails", which combined concert tapes later "sweetened" in the studio. The whole of side two of the LP is included. This suits me fine as I have always like this LP side better. As regards the long and quite patchy "suite" featured on side one, it is represented by the single edit of "Who Do You Love". This is because the full-length live version does take up an entire first side of the LP. This will not please the devotees but this compilation is not released with the completists in mind.

Disc two opens with four tracks from their third LP titled "Shady Grove". Gary Duncan having departed, he was "replaced" by ace British session pianist Nicky Hopkins. I recall being quite surprised to hear this LP in 1970 but it grew on me and I still find it very good to listen to today. It his, however, very different from their previous guitar-dominated LP's.
There are really outstanding songs on this album. I am particularly fond of "Flute Song" and Hopkins' tour de force titled "Edward, The Mad Shirt Grinder". I think this album is really underrated.

One year later, Gary Duncan came back with Dino Valenti in the third incarnation of the band. From this point on, the compilation cherry picks the arguably best tracks from their subsequent LP's, which became increasingly self-indulgent. I can attest that every track chosen by Rhino is of great artistic quality. "Cobra", "Fresh Air", "What About Me", "Fire Brothers", "Hope" and "Don't Cry My Lady Love" are really choice quality stuff.

I wholeheartedly recommend this set.
Quicksilver and the San Fransisco sound
B. K. Richardson | Albuquerque, NM United States | 12/04/2001
(4 out of 5 stars)

"This is an important album for anyone who is in the process of establishing a collection of historic music during the late 60's and early 70's when the Bleeker street sound was by far the definition of what the media later called the flower power sound. At the time you would pop into a small club or bar and there would be at least two bands. Often one or two of the members of the previous group would get on stage with the next group because everyone knew each other.
In the first CD of this compilation the raw sound of the time comes out, blues based with plenty of new guitar and vocal technique. By the way who was that mystery female singer?
Influence and contribution of other California bands is evident. The second disc may catch some listeners off guard because the first 4 cuts are rather low key and spiritual. but this gets better if you start with cut 5. The two discs seem to be divided between when the band was located in the Frisco area and later North in Marin county. This is a recording to save to show your children and grandkids that you are not as square as they think! Its fun too!"