Victoria – Kings, Queens & Jokers (1971) review

July 11, 2013

Victoria – Kings, Queens & Jokers (1971) review

Victoria – “Kings, Queens & Jokers” (Shadoks, 2013)
A US group from New Jersey who made one lone
private-press album back in 1971. I have to say this is a particularly lovely
collection of fantastically dreamy songs, all composed and produced etc by a
hugely talented fellow named Greg Ruban. The songs are presented within a
kind-of rural, almost homespun-sounding production landscape; not too
dissimilar in places (although nowhere near as abrasive sounding) to the sound
of the remarkable New Dawn and Summer Sounds combos; beautifully raw and pure.
Much of what’s on offer belongs in a
post-psychedelic, progressive realm, with Maureen Deidelbaum, Cherryl Simpson
and Sharon Barton’s pleasantly ethereal vocal presence leading the way, lending
a wispy-folky atmosphere to some of the corners and edges. The mostly genteel
arrangements are also, on occasion, interrupted by some excellent blasts of
blisteringly distorted lead guitar, while a few songs have also been
embellished with one or two tasty brass / orchestral fanfares.  One of the highlights is the lengthy ‘Village
Of Etaf’ sojourn, which is easily one of the strangest, and most
mystical-sounding cuts on the album. 
This latest, extravagant-sounding reissue (the
vinyl apparently boasts a red velvet cover) adds to the already magisterial
eight-song original set by way of some thoroughly engaging acetate tracks and
reel-to-reel demo finds, the best of which includes earlier versions of the two
stunning pastoral beauties that open the album, ‘Peace’ and ‘Cumberland’, in
addition too we get ‘Wheels’, a glorious, charm-infused number which would’ve
been perfect as a 45 outing for them back in 1969. Yeah, I want a copy of this!
Review made by Lenny Helsing/2013
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One Comment
  1. bk

    truely a fine album- lived in NJ my whole life never heard of them. Any more details- cant find anything anywhere other than this

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