Did you hear that they crowned a new Ms. Wheelchair because the original winner was spotted walking around like some asshole? That would suck, to have the title of Ms. Wheelchair suddenly ripped from your entrails. But one controversy that the major news outlets have left untouched due to their cowardice is this: what if the original winner had actually been BORN with the last name "Wheelchair"? Would they still have made her relinquish it? Her own given name? I need to know this, and I don't care if I have to found my own newspaper press to find out the answer to this, my quandury re: et al.
But we're not here on http://www.markprindle.com/gandalf.htm to talk about lying rolly bitches. So let's talk music. If you lived in New Jersey or New York in the late '60s, and recorded a 31-minute psych album with only two band-written originals on it, and if your singer had a high voice that reminds me of Kaleidoscope UK or Ride and your band played electric guitar (mostly just for rhythm lines), bass guitar, drums and lots of Hammond Organ, vibes, pianos, harpsichords and other keyboardy things, and if your music alternated between sensuously mysterious, majestically regal, and organ-heavy rock in the Zombies style, and if your arrangements utilized lots of ethereal echo, delay and reverb for a mysterious nighttime mood, and if most of your songs were played in minor keys and you were friends with Gary Bonner and Alan Gordon of The Magicians who also wrote lots of hits for the Turtles, and if your band was led by Peter Sando and broke up after only one album, then chances are you were a member of legendary no-hit wonders Gordon Lightfoot.
Gandalf was a band with all these aspects and more, though not many more because their album was only 31 minutes long and they broke up just seconds after completing it. Their dark erotic tones, sexy vibes, alluring hot hardcore action and sweet sucking sounds of sheer nudity vibrate hornily through the suburban homes of all who hear them, even though three of the songs were originally by Tim Hardin, a dead impotent heroin addict. But mortality, softness and horses could never stop a gand like Bandalf, a band like Glandalf, or a grand show like Alf from winning the haea
You know that Stereolab album Sound-Dust? How it has all those dusky vibes and eerily entrancing Freudian/Bacchanalian/Mephistophelean/Nitzschean/Sussudio underwashings of arousing midnight fairy dust twinkle tones? That's the same feel I get from this record. But these guys were THERE. Making it HAPPEN. Where Stereolab just FAKED IT, and made A GREAT ALBUM. Gandalf. Yes, Gandalf. Star of Peter Jackson's Brain Dead.
Romance, violins, recorders, flutes, scary Hammond organ, echoed vocals, stereo separation of guitar and bass. That's what you'll find in "Golden Earrings," formerly a hit for Peggy Lee. GOD, what a song. I'd fuck the dead pope in his AIDS-ridden ass to write a song like that. Not only does "Golden Earrings" make me feel like I'm slipping into "The Twilight Zone"; it also makes me stick my dick in the police radar for a nice load of "R
Other hits include the Hardin cover "Hang On To A Dream," which Gandalf has converted into a sultry, hetero-erotic red rose for a scantily-clad mysterious French woman. Other hits include "Scarlet Ribbons," which go well with "Golden Earrings." HA! "Tiffany Rings" do too, but that's a shitty song. "Scarlet Ribbons," however, is a baroque and regal lullaby for a little princess girl in a magical fairy kingdom. Other hits include the lovely ballad "Me About You," which is better known as a Turtles song, but Gandalf did it FIRST! (or second, depending on who did it first). But bets of al
Bets of Al is one of the two originals: "Can You Travel In The Dark Alone." This song is SOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO cold, morbid, frightening, disorienting, disturbing and aspertame-kicking, you'll think that somebody had stolen early Pink Floyd, caged it up in a zoo and fed it rotten meat for four weeks until it was seeing nothing but psychedelicized anger-canes growling down for the chew. Featuring sitar, a mindblowing bass/guitar BeNdYbEnDy break between each line, piano taps and the spookiest disembodied vibe notes since A Saucerful Of Secrets, this great great creepy Nugget must-own deserves to be spoken of in reverent tones -- and I don't mean "The Reverent Horton Head!!!!"
The rest of the album can basically eat a dick, but it's okay. As far as dick-eaters go. Some minor-key melodies aren't as good as others - who's to blame? Eden Ahbez? Tim Hardin? The guy in the band that wrote that one song? No no no. God is to blame. Keep up the good work, Moses! Oh wait, also "Tiffany Rings" spoils the mood with its Association-esque hippy peace shit vibes so don't listen to that song. The other 29 minutes are Wowsville Paranoia! Can you feel my Pride and Joya? Grenadine has an album called Goya! Michael Jackson touched my butt while I balled Latoya!
That was my little song of peace for the victims of Indonesia. God bless you, Tsunami people! Particularly Jenny Toomey, as she also played in Grenadine. Grenadine had an album called Goya. Are my gags startin' to annoy ya? Well, you know what The Clash said: "It is the Wrong 'em Boyo".
14 London Derry Bridge Port
My Dearest Mr. McSquiggle,
Thank you for your letter of the 24th. I realize that you are likely sitting down for your afternoon tea at the moment, but I fear I must interrupt your relaxing endeavor in order to broach a particularly troublesome subject. I am speaking, of course, of my daughter's dowry.
As you know, we are living in difficult times. One man may enjoy a hearty bowl of soup while his less fortunate brother is reduced to chewing on a depressing old sock. This being the situation, I must admit that when you offered a dowry of Gandalf 2, I trusted that you were referring to a priceless antique painting or stone gem. For you see, I would never have agreed to betroth my own flesh and blood in exchange for a mediocre compilation of hippy folk demos, particularly to a young man with a loose, jiggly boil covering the entire left side of his face.
Please don't misunderstand me, Mr. McSquiggle. I certainly appreciate that Gandalf 2 showcases the original songwriting of band leader Peter Sando, who only managed to secure spots for two of his compositions on the original 1969 LP. And I would have to be a deaf-mute not to notice that the mood of this disc is much more down-to-Earth and folksy than the sparkly, sexy self-titled classic. It's filled with acoustic guitars, flutes, and much lower, more mid-level vocals than appear on Gandalf. Why, it nearly sounds like an entirely different pop combo altogether, especially on the laidback '70s Grass Rootsy "Bird In The Hand" and "Bad Dream." Still, you can buy it on half.com for $8.66 + shipping, which hardly seems equal to an entire human being, particularly one with my daughter's natural charms.
You know, Eggs, in many ways you and I are quite alike. We both enjoy good company and fine wine, and I'm told that you are nearly as fond of Chaucer as I (though I find that hard to believe, for "No-wher so bisy a man as he ther nas And yet he semed bisier than he was!" But I jest.). The problem is that this particular transaction goes far beyond personal follies and foibles; to be blunt, I fear that you've intentionally fooled me into underselling my fair angel childe and heir to your heinous disease of an offspring. Are there some solid melodic ideas on Gandalf 2? Certainly there are. "Julie (The Song I Sing Is You)" is driven by beautiful three-part vocal harmonies; Bonner/Gordon's "I Won't Cry No More" sounds as heartfelt and natural as the finest of Gram Parsons material; and the band performs a splendidly choogling live version of Charles Berry's "Downbound Train." But compare my daughter's haunting green eyes to the corny 'tuff' drama of "The Dance At St. Francis," her naturally rosy cheeks to the abominably hamfisted organ solo in "Golden Earrings," her gentle nature to the vomitous Raspberries sissy soft pop of "Tears Of Ages." I ask you straight out, from one man to another: do you honestly feel that this exquisite female specimen is fairly represented by a CD where most of the songs only have like one good part? Yes, the guitar arpeggios are lovely; I mean not to insult anybody's instrumental prowess. But the songs are, quite honestly, mostly sub-par. And don't tell me you didn't notice that there is at least one out-of-tune musical element in every single one of these demos. They're DEMOS, for the love of the Queen! No sir, this is no fair barter at all indeed.
There is still time for you to do the right thing, admit your chicanery, and return my beloved daughter in exchange for this disappointing rare tracks compilation. Your failure to do so will simply prove to the world your negligent worth as a man.
I anxiously await your response.