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"Ford Theatre is the place where Abraham Lincoln was assassinated and the liner notes explain that "the six musicians chose this name because it corresponds to what they are trying to create - a vision of America in all its present chaos and agony".
The group were probably from Milford, Massachussets, given that their first album gives a credit to ?the population? of that town. Produced by Bob Thiele (Eden?s Children, Free Spirits), Harry Palmer and Fred Cenedella, Trilogy For The Masses is excellent in parts, particularly the nine minute 101 Harrison Street. All the tracks were written by Harry Palmer and Wally Magee (who also lead the string quartet present on some tracks).
It?s a pity that their follow-up, ?a musical concept? album was not as interesting. "
"Jay Sneider?s first band The Electrons came together in Saco, Maine in 1963. They soon changed their name to The Id and would release two 45s that have become highly prized by collector?s, the second as Euphoria?s Id to differentiate them from several other Ids around at that time. Around 1967 Sneider and drummer Skip Smith formed Fate.
The album was recorded in 1968 under the guidance of Thomas Jefferson Kaye at Studio 3 in New York, where Billy Joel?s Hassles would record their debut LP. Demos were sent out and the popular DJ Roscoe (also the voice on an album by John Berberian) started playing it. It would be picked up by a couple more NYC stations, yet the only record label to show any interest was Musicor. Still the band?s production company (Elephant 5) chose to pass on the offer, nothing further happened and a disillusioned band went their separate ways.
Such a shame; this is an accomplished opus and so evocative of its time. The mood is reflective, often sombre, but also confrontational (as in the overtly anti-Vitenam title track). Stylistically it varies from baroque-rock with psychy flashes to hard melodic rock, and a strong hint of The Doors on the more introspective cuts. The latter comparison used to irritate Jay Sneider but the setting, key and timbre of Frank Youngblood?s vocals makes this unavoidable. Sexual Fantasy #8 is an immediate stand-out; it has a pealing George Harrison-like guitar motif that?ll haunt you for months. Elsewhere they take on the blues and Bo Diddley in a hard-rock setting with searing guitar.
Jay Snyder recounts his musical odyssey and the stories behind his songs in revealing detail on both CD and LP. A very welcome and recommended release.
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