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From The Vault: The Glass Family - “Electric Band” (1968)


Being the perpetual opening band, The Glass Family, displaying an invitingly harmonic surf and garage sound, nearly channeling the likes of Spirit, this good natured band of eccentrics, who opened for groups such as The Doors, The Grateful Dead, Gram Parsons, Vanilla Fudge, and Love, have more backstage stories than you could ever imagine. Perhaps one of the best being the time Owsley Stanley was walking around in the shadows dosing tiny paper cups of punch laced with LSD, handing them out to the band, and then disappearing into the audience with a tray of the same, setting minds on fire, melting walls, and increasing the intensity of the music ten fold.

The Glass Family weren’t always called The Glass Family, they began their career on a lark, as a way of making money for beer and surfboard wax, often playing the same venue and parties under a different name, mere days apart ... using monikers such as The Carpet Baggers and The Soul Survivors. It was an ideal time to young and idealistic in L.A. back in 1967, where they experimented with instrumentation, fuzzed out guitars, and vocal arrangements emphasizing the softer side of psychedelic rock.

And though they were never a hit, and received nearly no radio airplay, this assemblage of talent set the pace for many bands to follow, and anyone who saw them live stumbled home with hallucinogenic musical imagery dancing in their heads ... sounds that were interwoven with groups like Country Joe & The Fish’s “Death Sound Blues,” or The Beatles with “Do You Remember,” along with sustained and much better 13th Floor Elevator grooves.

I personally didn’t discover the magic found here until I was knee deep in the mud of Vietnam, where the music of The Glass Family rode on a breeze from the east, so thickly laced with distant memories that I could nearly smell America and hear muffled voices along with dancing feet ... hoping for all the world that I would find my way home, and that a bit of the magic I imagined, and so deeply needed, would be there waiting for me on my return. And now, nearly fifty years out, as these songs filter from my speakers, I find that I can taste the times, and still long for those heady days and electrifying nights.

- Jenell Kesler
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1 comment:

The Triumph of the Thrill said...

Nice review, it's good to familiarize oneself with this obscurity but a comprehensive description of the music would have made the review better. Nice nostalgic touch at the end though.