Quicksilver Messenger Service: Happy Trails (LP) 1968

Quicksilver

Messenger

Service

Happy Trails
Capitol 120

Recorded 1968 (Fillmore East and West, and Golden State Recorders), released March 1969 (US & UK), reached #27.

Rating:**** (Recommended)


An exercise in excess if there ever was one, a
pparently a mix of different live shows fused with studio work, “Who Do You Love” stretched out for the entire first side, or at least the song dominates the side, opens and closes it, sandwiches a bunch of acid-fueled madness, and if that wasn’t enough, side two opens with “Mona,” blurring Bo’s beat into a messy acid-rock sound that sounds like it’s helping to invent a new version of space rock and is certainly one of acid-rock’s defining moments.  Like with “Who Do You Love” on side one, “Mona” squeals into some noisy feedback-drenched jamming, except while side one returned to Bo’s beat with a bass-driven vengeance, this feedback continues until a brief version of the title track (Dale Evans) closes the set.

 

This album might be a bit too much for some, but this definitely has some killer moments.  At least this group had the sense to use Diddley’s beat to help power the monster along,contrasting the meandering madness with some thumping bass-heavy punch.  While this group had a promising debut, they climaxed with this set.  It’s much better than most of the West Coast jamming from this era, miles ahead of Iron Butterfly or the Grateful Dead.  While the Dead’s jamming sounded like a drunken hippie staggerring aimlessly down a dirt road, this at least uses some muscle to carve out a ditch.  The lunatic music certainly bounces around inside the groove, but it’s got some direction.  If you ever wanted to go back in time to Frisco in 1968, this is probably as close you’ll ever get.  Light up and kick back, and even if your stash is running low, you can probably catch a buzz just listening to this album.

— winch

author of Kalamazoo: Growing Up Sideways in the 1970s

http://www.eight-track.com/kalamazoo.html

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