Monday, May 11, 2020

TCCDM Pulls One Out..."The Holy Mackerel" (1968)

"The Holy Mackerel" - The Holy Mackerel

This is a lesser-known psych album led by...Paul Williams.  Yeah, Paul Williams gets a little bit trippy on this "one-and-done" album.  Most of the songs float around in a folk-psych pool that's gentle and sometimes floaty.  There are also a few country-rock tracks that are reminiscent of what Michael Nesmith was trying to do.  I liked those songs as well, but they sorta broke the spell with their placement.  Still, nothing boring or cheap.  There are occasional flutes and sitar and good harmonies.  And apart from one silly stinker that closes out Side One, "The Holy Mackerel" is an enjoyable spin worth picking up.

The band also included bassist Jerry Scheff who played on The Doors' "L.A. Woman" and was a member of Elvis' "TCB" band.  My favorite tracks include the 4-minute "Wildflowers" ...a very "float downstreamish" psych-driven song.  "Scorpio Red" has a mysterious and beautiful pop-psych vibe that really jumps out of the speakers.  The flutey opener "The Secret Of Pleasure" with its great harmonies set the table nicely.  "Bitter Honey" is a Paul Williams lost gem.  AM radio should've eaten this one up.  Over-all this is an enjoyable "soft-psych" spin and I liked it a lot.  I grabbed my original copy online.  I wanted the album for the Paul Williams connection, not the rainbow...and the music was a pleasant surprise.

"The Holy Mackerel" (back)

Reprise Records label

Reprise company sleeve

"Scorpio Red" - The Holy Mackerel / "The Holy Mackerel" (1968)

A1  "The Secret of Pleasure"  (3:35)
A2  "Scorpio Red"  (3:26)
A3  "The Lady Is Waiting"  (2:05)
A4  "Wildflowers"  (3:59)
A5  "The Somewhere in Arizona at 4:30 AM Restaurant Song (And Now I Am Alone)"  (2:25)
A6  "Prinderella"  (2:44)
B1  "Bitter Honey"  (2:22)
B2  "Nothin' Short of Misery"  (2:35)
B3  "The Golden Ghost of Love"  (2:42)
B4  "The Wild Side of Life"  (2:52)
B5  "10,000 Men"  (3:42)
B6  "1984"  (4:27)

Paul Williams - (vocals)
Mentor Williams (rhythm guitar, vocals),
Jeremiah Scheff -  (bass, vocals) 
George Hiller (lead guitar, vocals)
Cynthia Ann Fitzpatrick (flute, vocals)
Michael Cannon (drums)

Good stuff.

Casey Chambers


Jimcomics said...

Also in Holy Mackerel was Paul Williams' brother, Mentor Williams, who became a successful producer and songwriter- he wrote "Drift Away."

Casey said...

I love "Drift Away." I didn't know that. How cool.