21 Nov 2011
Bubble Puppy - A Gathering of Promises - Obscure Classics
Hot Smoke & Sassafras was a big enough single to warrant a reasonably successful cover in England by the Mooche, and the original version was the biggest selling single released by International Artists, outselling all of the Thirteenth Floor Elevators singles. It's a psychedelic, proto heavy rock track with an unusual flute refrain and while it's the track that lead me here and is most often featured on compilations, I'd have to say it's not the best thing on offer.
The highlight for me is Elizabeth, which manages to combine a frantic, eastern dual guitar riff with tight but slightly atonal vocal harmonies.
Also of note is I've Got to Reach You, which covers all of the bands strengths ; mournful harmonised vocals that wouldn't sound out of place on an early Fairport Convention record and some scorching hard rock guitar workouts that build impressively before shifting effortlessly into a half time jazz feel.
All in all this is a pretty great late 60's rock album. They released a second album as Demian - it's entertaining, but lacks the subtleties of this release and is more of a straight forward heavy rock album, albeit a pretty good one.