"Mendelbaum" 2 CD
Genres: seventies rock, psychedelic, folk-rock
PO Box 150 117
Sep 22 - 28 2003
Mendelbaum was a late-sixties/early-seventies psychedelic band with a
twist. Blending elements of folk, rock, pop, and even gospel, the group,
who featured saxophone and organ among the instrumentation, was like none other
at the time. This two-disc set, released by German psych reissue label
Shadoks Music, contains nine studio tracks and twelve live songs recorded at
legendary San Francisco clubs The Matrix and Fillmore West.
The songs that Mendelbaum played were often dark lyrically and yet
fiercely melodic. The first, studio-based disc kicks off and jumps right
into psych mode with "Days Gone By," a catchy, positively delicious
tune with great guitar soloing and terrifically used organ that adds an Iron
Butterfly-esque flair to the mix. Its chorus and overall feel
deserves to have been a hit, thanks to songwriter Tom LaVarda's terrific
talent. Organist J.D. Sharp's single songwriting effort, "Key
of Be," is another gem, with a bit more of a low-key style. Second
principal songwriter (along with LaVerda) Chris Michie also
contributes a number of solid tunes, including joyous romp "I'm a
Fool" and dark, upsetting "Blood of the Nation," which is about
the wounded and orphaned children of the Vietnam War.
The live disc is much longer than the first. It captures the Mandelbaum
live sound well, in all its energy. Exciting "Rhyme of Time"
and "Message for the People" are juxtaposed with calmer numbers like
"They Don't Know." The whole thing is really terrific and
definitely worthwhile for fans of psychedelic music.
Very, very recommended.
[Vitals: 21 tracks, distributed by the
label, released 2003]