From long lost private press albums recorded by the unknown and forgotten, to an album recorded after a newfound ability and diehard record collectors dreams. These albums are some of the numerous Psychedelic Folk albums I have come across on my finds throughout the past months of hard research and digging online and offline. The hard work of my research has lead me to these great Psychedelic masterpieces and have helped me re-enter into the world of blog writing online.
MIJ -Color By the Number / Yodeling Astrologer
A man with the only thing he has is his magical voice, whistling sounding yodel, his guitar, and a little studio magic. Bound to the fate of obscurity MIJ’s long lost forgotten album is a masterpiece of its own kind.
Drenched in the echos of a mysterious figure playing, magical voice, and echos traversing never-ending soundscapes that seem to never fade away or be disturbed.
MIJ also is known as Jim Holmberg was a man who was discovered in Washington Square Park on a summer day playing his guitar in 1968. Supposedly he had been in a vehicle accident and fractured his skull. This had changed his life completely leaving him viewing the world differently. He perceived music, colors, and his vision differently and put all of the new certain views into his music.
Mesmerized by his persona the record label executives (which worked at the famous label ESP known for their Free Jazz) pulled him in for an impromptu session recorded on the same day. This session ended up occurring in one day and for him to not be heard from again until the late 2000s appearing in two youtube videos of his songs and the early 2010s on the music site Rateyourmusic. Where he would write a lengthy summary of how he became MIJ and what he did after the album.
He begins by saying how the reverb was a freak accident that benefitted the Psychedelic feeling to the album. He then proceeds to say how he had his first out of body experience.
“I went out of my body in a football game … 200 feet over the field seeing the trees and buildings below me … before I suddenly re-entered the body like a shock wave ….. but that instant of time looking down I suddenly KNEW … .. and this is the strange thing about it …. this was TOTAL KNOWINGNESS … I just KNEW that I KNEW EVERYTHING ….. but I didn’t KNOW WHAT I KNEW … I JUST KNEW I KNEW.”
The post proceeds to tell how he perceived the world differently when he succumbed to a vehicle accident and how he entered into a UFO. Inside the UFO he claims to have seen aliens that he calls “grays” and within this experience, they communicated to him on a spiritual level through telepathy. He was filled with sounds and knowledge and sent back down. After this experience, he went on to record the album and travel the world for the next 40 years.
The album begins with the song Two Stars. At first, you hear just clicking from a mouth and nothing else until someone says “Two Stars take one.” The clicking becomes echoed and reverbed until the guitar appears. Though the guitar sounds nothing really special, you start to hear the enhanced voice of a man singing. With it fading out as echoes, like yelling into a cave, the sound dies out with no response to come.
After this, the second song. This is the best song on the album in my opinion. And when it starts it takes you to a whole other place that you have never heard of previously. Grok (Martian Love Call) is a Psychedelic Folk masterpiece. You hear a powerful guitar playing in a Latin style and above it the sounds of a man whistling yodeling sound. In which these sounds come and go as they start to fade. The song is about a man who has sinned who is on the run and hiding from presumably the devil. This leads him begging for the Lord to hide him. He ends up with the Lord talking to him and says to the man that “He should be a prayin’.” He then begs the Devil to hide him but the Lord will not allow that. Consequently, the Lord allows him to come into the church ending the feud. In between these interactions you hear the sounds of whistling yodeling sound. These with the added reverb and echo elevates the track as a whole to another level of experience.
The next four tracks Romeo and Juliet, Little Boy, and Lookin’ Out Today are very tamed and standard folk songs for this album. Romeo and Juliet is a song about freedom in life with a couple trying to run away from their presumably everyday life and go to a “mystical” land.
The next track Little Boy is a song about a kid growing up and we hear his progress in life. It chronicles events like his mother joining a war when he was very young, his father abusing him, and the death of his grandmother or rather him not being able to meet her anymore. The song concludes with him crying out “why” and it fades away along with the song.
The song Lookin’ Out Today is a song about being outside and free with his mother, who is sad about returning home to her husband. The song then goes on to sing about being free across “an open bay.” and then ends with his magical whistle.
The next songs Door Keys and Planet of a Flower are in the same vein. Both of these songs are a hippie’s wet dream following an era of peace. This was well before the end of the era with it being a complete 180 from what I consider the end of an era. The release in question being Dave Bixby’s – Ode To Quetzalcoatl (Which I previously wrote about on here). Jim says that Planet of a Flower is one of the best songs stating:
“I keep looking at the poetic genius of Planet of a flower and how all the parts fit perfect …. I still can’t believe that song came out of me. and we couldn’t get our songs out in those days, unless it was sex related or a protest song … just take your album to a record company and he check 5 seconds on each track and say it isn’t what he wants“
Planet of a Flower then is followed by the last two songs. Never Be Free and Look Into the (K) Night. Both of these songs feature heavy heavy reverb to the point of the songs being some of the most psychedelic songs on the record. Never Be Free is a fun song that features MIJ’s voice trying to go high.
Look Into the (K) Night is the final song on the album and is a good note to end on. The song starts with a reverb-heavy MIJ and his guitar. The song continues to become more and more reverbed heavy until it borders noise and features MIJ’s whistling on top of it. This goes on for a while as it becomes more and less intense like waves hitting a sandy beach. The song ends with a ringing feedback echo and his voice giving it an ominous tone but the perfect way to end an album of this caliber.
Timmothy – Strange But True
Timmothy also known as Tim Ward is a Guitarist from Michigan. Tim began his recording career by playing for the bands Ides Of March (not the band who put out Vehicle) and The Blues Company as the lead guitarist and vocalist. Ides Of March was formed in 1966 as a Garage Rock band. They only released one 45 and paid 27.50 to record it onto vinyl. They also had their name stolen from them by the band who would go on to be famous for the song Vehicle.
Awhile after that Tim would go onto form The Blues Company. A Garage Rock band who put out three singles between the years 1968/69 before he would go on to make his solo album. There most notable song is Experiment in Color which has appeared on various compilations over the years.
Following the Post-Hippie Rock movement of the 1960s, Tim put out his one and only album under the name Timmothy called Strange But True. Strange But True is a sought out private press record by vinyl enthusiasts with only 300 copies ever made. It has a very Loner Folky-Rock based record with strong lyrical writing with a mix of Electric and Acoustic Guitar, Bass, and Drums with subtle influences of Blues sprinkled around and greatly influenced by an early Neil Young.
The opening track Blue and Grey is a fantastic opener to the album with it presenting the tone of it right away. The song begins with a fade in and is very reminiscent of Neil Young’s track Down By The River and, as noted from the Acid Archives, sounds lyrically similar to Wooden Ships by Crosby, Stills, and Nash. This piece is a lyrically heavy melancholic acoustic song which is about a person who lost their loved one and wants to be on “the other side” with them. He sings about how it has been three years since he’s last seen her and wishes she was here with him.
The next song You’re Stayin’ Here Tonight is a very average droney folk tune simply about a guy wanting his romantic interesting staying over at night with him. He assures the person staying over that everything is going to be all right. He is saying this as he is trying to love her more but she is changing without him leaving him behind with or without him but he begs her to just stay for the night with him.
The next two songs after this are one and the same in my opinion and these songs are A Woman and Evil Woman. A Woman is an energetic yet calmed out Psychedelic Folk-Rock song drenched with fuzzy electric guitar, exceptional echoing vocals, and killer playing from the drummer. The song has very simplistic lyrics compared to the rest of the album but is pure at its core. It follows along the lines of a person being happy about holding hands with his woman leading one to believe he’s just started a relationship with her. This matches up well with the energetic vibe of the song with the drum fills, excellent guitar soloing, and hollering vocals.
On the other hand, though Evil Woman tones it down by using just a minimal acoustic/electric guitar, bass, and drums with Tim playing a very rhythmic style on acoustic guitar and the drums sounding like it’s being played outside somewhere in a swampy bayou. The track at its core is a jam track about an evil woman who has left the person in the song and they are trying to find her.
Down Country & Rich Get Richer are two very lowkey tracks that follow the flows of the album and are some of the most enjoyable songs of the album. Down Country is a fun little track with energetic lively guitar that sounds very similar to F.J. McMahon’s style of playing with fast country bluesy bends, fun chords, and great composition.
Rich Get Richer is a very Neil Young orientated style song with the highlight of the track being the acoustic guitar and bass. Rich Get Richer is a song about how evil money can be to one person and how the rich constantly get richer and the poor will constantly get poorer.
The Sky & Good Morning are the two last tracks on the album and they are great. The Sky is one of the highlights of the album with it being an absolutely great track. With echoing guitars that shimmer so loud in reverb they sound like strings being played, a nice tight drum kit that fits very well within the modern age of boom-bap, and the great vocals from Tim.
Good Morning is a more or less a standard acoustic song with bass and a second guitarist playing on an acoustic guitar. The track is very lowkey like the intro with it having a Loner Folk sound and a dark tone but also sounding very uplifting. After this track ends it leaves you satisfied and wanting more out of the Timmothy album.
Strange But True is a forgotten gem overlooked by many for other popular private press Folk albums released at the time. With its intricate lyrics, unique playing style, and vocals the record with just a little bit of time and exposure could have been a hailed as a forgotten classic like many other albums have followed. This, unfortunately, may not ever happen unless by chance it gets a nice re-issue, as deserved.
Ferris Wheel – Supernatural Girl
Supernatural Girl is a very special and unique album. Ferris Wheel’s Supernatural Girl is one of the most obscure and sought after UK private press album ever made. With only a small amount of copies known to exist and a copy of it selling on Discogs for $12,345.68 (which may or may not be faked.) Though it may be very sought after and rare just because of its price tag it has more to offer than that.
Ferris Wheel was comprised of three members Ed, Rich, and Stan who recorded this masterpiece in 1974. Their last names are never given and they have not been heard from since. The lack of information adds to the atmosphere this album holds. The album could have been made in the 1950s by pre-hippies ahead of their time or the 60s by three guys in a basement jamming out on a trip or even now as an obscured release inspired by the past.
When you listen to it time stops in its place and takes you to a lysergic, ethereal, and hauntingly world. With the albums wide variety of sounds from jangly folk, sad & beautiful melancholic songs, and Lo-Fi joyful fuzziness it has a very special and unique sound to it that no other Folk album has ever or will ever replicate.
The album opens up with a magical joyful song called Mermaid. The song is about a Mermaid in the ocean is free and swimming along the currents. The song has nothing special lyrically but the instrumentation is simply great. Featuring shakers and raw drums, a clinking rhythm guitar, and beautiful harmonic vocals all combined to tap into this magical sound that’s rarely heard in music.
The next two songs I’d like to mention are I’m Remembering You and When I Look at You. I’m Remembering You is a song about reminiscing on an old love once together in heart now only experienced in memory. Paired up with poetic like lyrics with a dirty clean sounding guitar matched up to create an alluring ballad.
The song Flowers is a Lovely Jangly Folk song and one of my favorites of this album because of how raw and intense it is. With melancholy sounding instruments being played, the song about a certain person coming into the guy’s garden. She made the flowers look “dole and gray” because of how beautiful she looked. Stunned by her beauty he became unenthused by the looks of the flowers.
When I Look at You is one of the best songs off of this forgotten gem. This song is a very mysterious yet enchanting song. The song at heart is about a man falling in love or being in love with someone dear to him. When he looks at her she is like “the sand is to the sea.” or “a ship is to the breeze.” The raw yet smooth sounding guitar playing an intoxicating riff being played over a second guitar and dirty bass fading away due to age. This gives the song a very opaque view of the world we transported into.
Such A Sad Sad Day is another one of my favorites on this project. The only way to compare it to anything else is like a forgotten Beatles like band inspired by folk lost to time. Such A Sad Sad Day is a beautifully haunting song about a girl who has left the man singing. He is heartbroken and wonders how he can go on with life without her in his presence, with only a letter left to him by her. The acoustic lead guitar paired up with the Lo-Fi jangly electric guitar and amazing vocals from one of the guys give it an intrinsically yet ominous sound.
The songs Angel and Princess are very fun songs. Angel is a very Lo-Fi song that pulls you in with its wondrous guitar countermelody and warmth that welcomes you into its atmosphere. With its calm and soothing vocals from the singer singing about a girl who makes him feel welcomed and loved.
Princess is one of the most fun songs on this album. The song is very simple yet a pleasing love ballad. This love song has one of the best solos on this album using a kazoo to make a very playful feeling. The tune fades leaving you wanting more of its short run time but you are surprised to hear a psychedelic guitar solo being played backward which sets the tone for the next song.
Andrea and Yes I know are mysteries to me. I could not track down the song Andrea anywhere but it could be buried somewhere in the album. The song Yes I Know is another ballad about a man loving a girl and knowing she is the one for him. The instrumentation is also exquisite on this track and is worth checking out!
Sad Eyed Lady is a song in which is a very minimalistic and unusual Folk song using a Wah-Wah Pedal and simplistic drumming giving it an ethereal sound and atmosphere of pure raw noise. The raw power of the song matched with the depressing yet dreary lyrics of a man trying to help a depressed girl feel loved. He wants to wipe the tears away from her eyes as she cries and knows he can help her.
Flowers Two is the shortest song on here is really a sequel to the song Flowers. He still continues to walk around his garden pondering why they are not as beautiful as they were. The weary vibe is matched well with a hypnotic slide and fuzzy guitar being played elevating the atmosphere to a haunting level.
The title track song Supernatural Girl is another one of the greatest songs off here. With a cheery yet lethargic atmosphere to the song with the lovely signature sounding lead electric guitar backing the vocals of a guy longing to meet the Supernatural Girl again.
Piscean Ride is one of more darker sounding songs on here and it is also another favorite of mine. With the bass being the center of focus it adds a vibe of mystery as someone plays an acoustic guitar in the background and you might possibly hear a piano playing. The man in the song is questioning itself why everything goes wrong for him and wants his women to come back. He knows that the stars will bring her back to him and wishes she was here.
The last song Ferris Wheel is a perfect song to end the album with. It combines all the magical elements of the album with hauntingly beautiful vocals, Lo-Fi Jangly magic from the guitar, and lyrics that are pure at heart. It’s combining psychedelic sounds that are never heard on the album again and fade it into obscurity. The album ends in a mysterious matter with a heavy psych acid-driven solo paired with the raw drumming of the player. It leaves you satisfied yet wondering what you just heard.
Supernatural Girl is a very mysterious and ominous album from a lingering lysergic age that has been long forgotten by many but stands the test of time to prove it happened. Ed, Stan, and Rich tapped into a wonderous stream of music that will never be made again as they are the only ones capable of doing so. This album is one of the greatest forgotten private press albums in my eyes and ears making you wonder whatever happened before and after they made this. Though this mystery may never be solved the magic these three guys left us is an amazing gift that really is a long-forgotten gem.
The Tree People – The Tree People
The last and final album of the night is not really as Psychedelic as the albums above it but more of a laid-back classic one. And yet, it still is a stand out amongst other ones from its time. The Tree People – Self Titled is one of three albums released under this name. Formed by Stephen Cohen in 1979 after a long journey of Hitch-Hiking, Communes, and having many adventures between the 60s and 70s Stephen Cohen ending up in Santa Fe, New Mexico where he would perform regularly at coffee houses in the surrounding area.
After this, he would soon go on to record the album with Jeff Stier on Percussion, recorder, vocals, and orchestra bells, Rachel Laderman on Flute, and James Thornbury on Bass, and Slide Guitar in Eugene, Oregon. He met them performing in coffee houses around the areas and invited Jeff to join him who would invite his friend Rachel with him to record and the rest was history.
The well-mixed album opens up with the song Stranger, a very quiet and wonderful opener with fantastic vocals from Stephen about a stranger wondering around. As he is playing guitar you hear the sounds of drums fade in and out as they crash in and out of the song. You then hear a flute being played and the sounds of mallets which adds a comforting atmosphere around the song which follows the rest of the album.
The next couple of songs Sliding, Pot Of Gold and Opus are very calm and relaxing sounds that immerse you into a different world of its own, as Ferris Wheel does too.
The song Sliding is a very Prog-Folk like a song using a slide and Drums as the two main instruments throughout the entire song. The rhythms they create are very hypnotic and otherworldly at points of the song making it a very enjoyable song.
Pot Of Gold is a more serious matter toned song with the highlight of the track being amazing Flute work done on the song. The song could be a metaphor for how everyone is trying to make money but do not focus on the big picture of the joy of life and living the best out of it. They use the line “did you lose your rainbow in the pot of gold.” signifying that people lose their heart for the money.
Opus is another Prog like track with having no vocals on it but having the best Flute work on the entire album all centered into this song. The Flute has a very mesmerizing sound to it giving the track an ethnic middle eastern but also mysterious sound to it.
The next songs Morning Song, Space Heater, and Pineapple Song are some of the highlights of the album.
Morning Song is a laid back chilled tune with Stephens great vocal work being sung over a samba like Guitar and more Flutes all over. Space Heater is a very ambient drone song with more hypnotic type playing on it and is one of the more darker sounding songs of the album. After this, we go into one of best songs on the album Pineapple Song. The mix on this song is very clear and great as you hear the thumping Bass in the center, beautiful Flute, and mystical Guitar and Mallet combo. Pineapple Song is very much more or less a love song dedicated to nature and it’s natural surroundings.
No More School and Bring In The Water are the two last tracks on this album. No More School follows in the sound of the other two Prog like songs using very different sounding guitar making it sound like American Primitivism at some points.
The Song after No More School is the last and final song on the self-titled album. Bring In The Water is a hauntingly beautiful ballad using the vocals of Stephen and Rachel as a duet of about living on the land and doing tasks like bringing in the water and chopping wood. This atmosphere is matched well with the duet of two guitars. One playing slide and the other using a finger-style type guitar. For the final song, this is a really calming and melancholy finisher.
The Tree People’s self-titled album from 1979 is a very unique and different album for its time. Using prog-like folk influences, wonderful vocals and beautiful instrumentation and mixing, the album makes you want to be one with nature while listening to this as it bleeds that sound. This album is the embodiment of the Folky Nature music people dream of making and it does it wonderfully.
Alfaios. “Ferris Wheel – Supernatural Girl (Uk 1974).” Ferris Wheel – Supernatural Girl (Uk 1974), Tyme-Machine, 17 Apr. 2011, tyme-machine.blogspot.com/2011/04/ferris-wheel-supernatural-girl-uk-1974.html.
“CLEAR SPOT.” Clear Spot, www.clear-spot.nl/item/366000/ferris_wheel_uk_supernatural_girl.html.
“CLEAR SPOT.” Clear Spot, www.clear-spot.nl/item/410342/ferris_wheel_supernatural_girl.html.
Holmberg, Jim. “Jim Holmberg RateYourMusic Review.” Rateyourmusic, 24 Feb. 2009, rateyourmusic.com/collection/jimbear/reviews.
Kotal, Kent. “What’s In A Name? (The Ides Of March Weekend – Part One).” What’s In A Name? (The Ides Of March Weekend – Part One), 15 Sept. 2012, forgottenhits60s.blogspot.com/2012/09/whats-in-name-ides-of-march-weekend.html.
“The Tree People Interview with Stephen Cohen.” It’s Psychedelic Baby Magazine, 17 Oct. 2011, www.psychedelicbabymag.com/2011/10/tree-people-interview-with-stephen.html.