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From The Vault: Mazeville Crossing - “Mazeville Crossing” (1975)


With the album jacket emblazoned with a tipped out three dimensional tic-tac-toe game and a streaking shooting star to indicate a winner, Mazeville Crossing are the duo of Scott Bruning and Cary Steinberg, who present exactly what you’d expect in the mid 70’s, at the tail end of what remained of the psychedelic age, an unpretentious and slightly unambitious take on the music of other people, along with a few original songs.

It’s interesting to read about these two, with nearly everyone saying something to the effect of “ … along with some fine original compositions,” though it’s those same people whom always mention the cover of Dylan’s “All Along The Watchtower” first, and which to my way of thinking had been covered far too often by 1975, and fully overblown now, as the song belongs to Jimi Hendrix, and there’s little that anyone else has been able to bring to the table in order to update or make the track that much more inspiring.

Considered a warm folk psych album of sorts, it’s not the music that makes this album so highly sought after, it’s the fact that it was self released in very limited numbers, and now commands top dollars for being rare rather than good [in the neighbourhood of $75US, with an autographed copy going for around $150US]. I remember seeing these two as an opening act at the Ogden Theater [if I remember correctly] in Denver, Colorado, where they were very much an opening act, with deeply delivered vocals, trading and sparring guitar chords, along with song verses that made them seem just too cute and fuzzy to be taken seriously as they finished each others sentences and thoughts.

The band was local to Colorado Springs, with Scott and Cary playing both electric and acoustic guitars backed by yes, a six man band, which means they were certainly taking themselves very seriously. Recorded on the Strawberry Records label [a nod to The Beatles song “Strawberry Fields Forever”], side one consists of entirely cover versions, with side two consisting of all original material.

It’s not a fine album, it’s almost nearly OK, and nothing more. This is something for the record collector only as it offers up little that is memorable, nor does the music distinguish itself in any manner from the untold thousands of other bands of the day who thought that they could make a living picking guitar strings, when in reality, what they should have done was to stash away a few hundred copies of this album and sell them off over the years as an added source of income.

And now after saying all of this, I remember being at the merchandise table where I picked up a sealed copy, was quoted a price by Scotti or Cary [who could tell them apart with their black hair and big mustaches?] and said, ”But there’s a big bend on the corner.” To which they both replied in unison, ”Take it, we’ll never be able to sell that one anyway,” so I did, though it never managed to live in my collection for very long. Who knows, if you have copy with a bent lower righthand corner, that just might have been mine.

Another interesting note is that the album artwork never seemed to have been centered correctly, you’ll see issues with the tic-tac-toe game in various positions on the cover. As to the sound quality of the vinyl, I remember that it seemed to sound as if the record needed a cleaning, as if the stylus was unable to settle into the grooves comfortably.

- Jenell Kesler
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