Music Emporium - s/t. 1969 USA

Music Emporium - s/t. 1969 Sentinel

CD reissue: 2001 Sundazed

LP reissue: 2001 Sundazed

While on the topic of great US psych albums, none are better than Music Emporium in my mind.

Packaging: Always one of the most sought after psychedelic albums, Music Emporium's sole effort was getting multiple thousands of dollars in the catalog market until a box of sealed ones showed up from a band members' ex-wife (I'm thinking this happened in 1994 if memory serves me right). I can remember having the opportunity to buy one for $800 - still way beyond my budget back then. Probably even now too LOL. I dunno, that would be tempting as it's gone back up... Anyway, like the Morgen yesterday, this one lived in the gutters of the pirate market forever. Especially egregious was the Psycho LP reissue, which only had ONE CHANNEL. I know at least one knowledgeable collector who told me he hated this record. When I asked what version he had - he said it was the Psycho one. Well no wonder, dude! So if you've only heard that version - or downloaded it from some crappy website, then double check the source. The Sundazed CD and LP are the way to go here. Both are superb - the LP featuring a wonderful die-cut gatefold. The CD filled with excellent liners (as is the LP). I bought both of these immediately when they came out. I would guess they too are now hard to find, and wouldn't be surprised to see this back in the pirate controlled waters. Trust me - get the Sundazed version(s) at all cost.

Notes: Of all the private psychedelic pressings to come from America in the late 1960's, none were better than Music Emporium. Featuring two guys and two gals playing organ, guitar, bass, and drums, Music Emporium were able to combine both high energy rock with a dreamy/trippy psychedelic vibe. All the members were music majors at universities in and around Los Angeles and were inspired by jazz, classical, avant-garde, and rock. Their brand of psychedelic was far more sophisticated than the average garage band of the day despite the fact that the majority of the tracks were under the four minute mark. In fact, only the two minute 'Times Like This' could be considered a "normal" song. 'Nam Myo Renge Kyo', 'Prelude', and 'Sun Never Shines' are barnstormers with some fantastic Farfisa organ by bandleader Casey Cosby and some incredible drumming from Dora Wahl. Music Emporium are at their best when they go for the psychedelic dream sequence soundtrack styled song. These are characterized by dual male/female vocals, tranced out organ chords, and jagged rhythms. 'Velvet Sunsets', 'Catatonic Variations', 'Gentle Thursday', and 'Winds Have Changed' are examples of this style. The longest track is 'Cage' which is, not surprisingly, the most complex and angst ridden song on the album. The closer, 'Day of Wrath', is a quasi-religious apocalyptic ending with Farfisa providing what would normally be the church pipe-organ. Overall Music Emporium were a solid two to three years ahead of the pack when it came to creative musicianship. The fact this was done on a private budget makes the album even more extraordinary. Certainly one of the top five psychedelic releases ever!

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