Beware the Frumious Bandersnatch . . .In answer to the prayers of psychedelic and West Coast 1960s aficionados the world over, Ace Records is proud to present over seventy minutes worth of previously unissued vintage acid rock by Frumious Bandersnatch, a bona fide legend of the era and one of the few bands truly deserving of such a status. Even the name sounds sort of trippy, following as it does in the "White Rabbit" tradition of Lewis Carroll-inspired madness.Prior to this release, the only glimpse of the Bandersnatch afforded the outside world has been their eponymous 1968 EP, released in minute quantities around the San Francisco Bay Area and consequently one of the most coveted artefacts in Christendom. Us lesser mortals lacking the ¬£200-odd currently required in order to possess an original copy can at least hear it on an earlier Nugget From The Golden State, The Berkeley EPs (Big Beat CDWIKD 153). So what did they sound like? And do they live up to this enormous reputation? Well, they could be likened to a late 1960s equivalent of the revered New York new wave outfit Television. This analogy refers principally to the guitar playing of David Denny and Jimmy Warner, some of the finest acid-soaked, heavy-on-the-whammy-bar stringbending this side of Garcia and Cipollina. Fans of the genre would be hard pressed to find a better example than the track Can-A-Bliss which, corny title aside, is fifteen minutes of out-of-control psychedelic mayhem. The guitar duels in 45 Cents and Woodrose Syrup (the latter an ode to cough medicine!) are further examples of the interwoven, jagged yet melodic styles that Denny and Warner wowed audiences with in the Bay Area, and which still sound breathtaking over twenty five years later.The rhythm section weren't slouches either-.-both Ross Valory - later of Journey - and his replacement Jack Notestein were driving and inventive bass players. The Bandersnatch were rounded out by singers Jack King and Bob Winkelman (drums and rhythm guitar respectively), whose strong songwriting skills provided the group's repertoire. Winkelman with Beatlesque gems like Rosemary's Baby and Chain Reaction-.-King with the apocalyptic, Airplane-inspired Pulpit Huff and What Is A Bandersnatch? And those boys could sing their butts off, too.Along with maybe Moby Grape, there was probably no other group with a similar endowment of riches. But if the Grape's flirtation with fame was brief, the Bandersnatch's was non-existent. As the extensive liner note tells, the group broke out of their East Bay suburban garage band beginnings to become a bright, energetic leading light of San Francisco's second wave-.-and the only to see their dreams shot down by bad management and morale-crippling personnel changes. Frumious alumni did achieve commercial recognition later as members of popular 1970s acts like the Steve Miller Band and the aforementioned Journey - the latter steered to megabuck success by one time Frumious roadie Herbie Herbert - but the magic was never quite the same again.Compiled as it is from studio outtakes, TV soundstage tapes and live performances, A Young Man's Song is perhaps not the definitive statement that the Bandersnatch would have made, had they had the chance during their brief lifespan. But compiler Alec Palao worked closely with the band to programme the disc using the best source material available, coming up with an eminently listenable collection. And it helps to explain just what it is that makes the eyes of psychedelic music fans light up when they hear the name Frumious Bandersnatch.
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