Salem Mass - s/t. 1971 USA

For such a relatively remote place like Idaho - especially in the early 1970s - it's hard to imagine that not only one, but two bonafide underground rock albums emerged. One is the archival Stone Garden, and the other did manage to get released on LP privately, and that's the one we're talking about today. In reading other reviews of this album, it's clear few are taking into account the remarkable progression this album portrays, given the circumstances from which it arrived. Comparing Salem Mass to Black Sabbath or any other major label British or American band from 1971 is comparing things as all things equal, when they had no chance to be. And yet Salem Mass is quite an accomplished record on its own accord. It is definitely heavy, with fuzz guitar galore, and also plenty of fat organ sounds. And I kind of like the raw vocals that fits the music perfectly. But the shocker here is the use of the Minimoog (don't forget the Minimoog went into production only in 1970). Where the heck did they get one of those? In Caldwell, Idaho? I mean it's one thing for ELP to break one out, but for a local hard rock band playing the outlaw cowboy beer bar scene? Are you kidding me? Just for this alone, the album should be held in high esteem among those who look for quality more thoughtful underground albums. What other underground hard rock band (non major label) used a Minimoog this early? The music is quite melodic, and definitely has a late psych era vibe, which was more common here in America during that time. This one is a must listen.

Personal collection

LP: 1999 Akarma (Italy)

This reissue comes in a fine heavy textured cover. As I stated on Discogs recently: Akarma has a checkered past, no question about it. But not this title. It was licensed directly from Gear Fab and even includes their insert! Unfortunately someone had removed the Gear Fab association without backup data and now nobody can sell the album on Discogs because of the (once) incorrect appellation (I changed it back to legal). Though to be fair, it's the label's own fault, as they had far too many questionable releases. Guilty by association I guess.

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