Stone Circus - s/t. 1969 USA-Canada

Here's another Mainstream label gem, and possibly my favorite album on the label. These Montreal based musicians (save one), decided to journey south of the border to New York to find their scene. Known as The Funky Farm, Mainstream decided to change their name for the release of the album. In typical record business style, Mainstream didn’t even inform the band of the name change! Featuring an outrageous psychedelic cover of a very colorful and oversized clown engulfed in flames emerging from an earthquake, it certainly would catch ones attention even for 1969, when such a sight was more common. I probably listened to the album 5 times in a row, as the music is the closest I’ve heard to that most magical of 60s psych bands – Strawberry Alarm Clock. Stone Circus possess the same songwriting qualities, and period instrumentation (fuzz guitar, old organs). It does miss that magic ingredient of naivete, that SAC was able to tap into so perfectly. Whether it’s the California sunshine, or the late date of 1969, it’s clear there's a little somethin' missing. Maybe a bit too much Velvet Underground? 'What Went Wrong', 'Adam's Lament', 'Mr. Grey', and 'Carnival of Love' are the more obvious tracks where the comparison holds to SAC. Side 2 does deviate from that particular harmony psych unfortunately. Stone Circus ends wonderfully with a fuzz psych jam in 'People I Once Knew'.

Personal collection
CD: 2007 Fallout (UK)

I just purchased an original LP of this one, but unfortunately it was over graded significantly and I had to send it back. It was just too expensive to rationalize keeping. As for the CD, we already know the Mainstream label is locked up tight by Sony, and they've shown zero intention of reissuing these important works. So this reissue is of suspect provenance as they say. And that would apply to just about every other LP and CD reissue as well. Tragedy that. There is one intriguing reissue out there from P-Vine of Japan. Now it is very possible they entered into an agreement with Sony Japan for this reissue. They are an entirely a legit concern, so that would have to be considered the definitive reissue at this point. Or at least on the surface it would seem that way.

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