Saturday, August 4, 2012

Wizards From Kansas - Wizards From Kansas (1970 us, splendid rural psych folk rock with west coast breeze)

Truly The Wizards From Kansas are America’s finest horseman to gallop the spirited clouds of the Cherokee.The Wizards started their journey as Pig Newton launching their 1968 debut album Still In Kansas that pushed out a wah wah sapped version of Dylan’s “All Along The Watchtower” and the speckled “Exchange Of Clouds”. Wizards From Kansas blew Bill Graham’s mind during their enduring gifted sets at the Fillmore East in the summer of 1970. These convincing live performances gave the group a recording break which put out their self titled masterpiece.

The lineup now slightly changed has John Paul Coffin playing some of the most exact lead breaks ever to slit the Stars & Stripes particularly on the galloping “Ride With The Witches” where the vox command of Robert Joseph Menadier and his fortified bass takes full charge and authority.The obvious strength of the group was ex Little Boy Blues drummer Marc Evan Caplan who rolls with an incredibly deliberate shuttle, often in jazz restrain. The songsmith behind the Wizards was twelve- string guitarist Robert Manson Crain who wrote six tracks while guitarist Harold Earl Pierce often helped out on vox when Caplan took percussion.

The Wizards were in the same esoteric drift as Clear Light or Emitt Rhodes without Coffin’s fiery breaks.The acoustic tranquility is crystalline as it flows through “Misty Mountainside” and even more meditated upon is the spaced version of Bill Wheeler’s “High Flying Bird” far more voluptuous than We Five or Judy Henske. A stimulating edge spits through Buffy Sainte-Marie’s “Codine” influenced by the Quicksilver jam session with Blood Sweat & Butterfield Mark Naftalin on keyboards.
by Shiloh Noone
1. High Flying Bird - 5:07
2. High Mister - 2:36
3. 912 1/2 Mass - 5:00
4. Codine - 5:56
5. Freedom Speech - 3:42
6. Flyaway Days - 4:07
7. Misty Mountainside - 3:38
8. Country Drawn - 2:22
9. She Rides With Witches - 4:06

The Wizards From Kansas
*Robert Joseph Menadier - Bass, Vocal
*Marc Evan Caplan - Drums, Percussion
*John Paul Coffin - Lead Guitar
*Robert Manson Crain - Guitar, Vocals
*Harold Earl Pierce - Guitar, Vocals

Free Text


  1. Thank you for uploading Marios specially made for me. This is a great album that I ever tried and I've done a great gift. I consider it a gesture of friendship that unites us in the great world of rock music. Many thanks again.

  2. @Marios once again thank you for restoring these treasures
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    All the Best,

    It sounds kind of Jefferson and Grateful but a little bit of Byrds too,a perfect mix! To me, everything is clear has its own space.
    This group is primarily known for their devastating version of High Flying Bird. This song is on their only album from 1970 which bears the strong influence of Jefferson Airplane’s masterpiece Volunteers (which is also from 1970).

    The Wizards from Kansas started off in the late 60′s playing festivals alongside other, more well known bands. They have a disc of late 60′s outtakes and alternate versions that are trippier and more psych oriented than the above album. It took me a while to get into this album, but I now consider it one of the best San Francisco style acid guitar LPs. As mentioned before, High Flying Bird is radically reworked into a psychedelic tour de force, full of hard distorted guitar and great Airplane-like vocals. The Wizards also do a powerful cover of Codine, which is slow, progressive and tripped out. The originals also hold up, mixing country, psychedelia, folk and rock into a heady brew. Hey Mister and Country Dawn are standout rural rockers, the latter is really one hell of a tune with a classic intro. Mass is a great psychedelic rocker with acid leads that twist inside and out recalling Jerry Garcia’s guitar style.

    Anyone into the Grateful Dead, Jefferson Airplane, the Youngbloods or H.P, Lovecraft will really appreciate this great, unknown record. By the way, these guys were from Kansas....>>>

    1. The Wizards from Kansas were an obscure country-psych rock group from Kansas. In 1968, four of the five original members (from the Kansas City area) formed a band called New West, and began playing in the Lawrence, Kansas area, at clubs and parties, near Kansas University. Guitarist Robert Manson Crain, from California, joined the group soon thereafter, expanding to a quintet. At that time, the guys were calling themselves "Pig Newton", then Pig Newton and the Wizards from Kansas. The name Pig Newton was apparently one of their inside jokes, however, as there was no one named Pig in the group. The band would often make up stories about Pig Newton to confuse people, according to Crain (whose songs, incidentally, are credited to either "C. Manson Roberts" or Mance Roberts). The five-man group played shows in the local area, and in the summer of 1969, toured the east coast. They were invited to play the Fillmore East in the fall of that year, a gig that led to them being offered a number of record deals, which they initially turned down. Finally, towards the end of the year, Mercury Records persuaded the band to sign a contract. The label reps did not like the "Pig" part of their name, however, and made the group drop it.
      The album (Mercury Records SR 61 309) was issued in October (their biggest influences seem to have been Northern California-based groups like "Jefferson Airplane", "Quicksilver Messenger Service", and "The Grateful Dead", and it shouldn't really come as a shock to discover that "The Wizards From Kansas" was recorded in San Francisco, between July and August of 1970), but a week before its release, drummer "Marc Caplan" and bassist "Bob Menadier" decided that they'd rather play Jazz instead of Rock and left the band to pursue those interests. With no band to promote the record, "Mercury Records" lost interest and the album sank without a trace.
      The Wizards From Kansas disbanded shortly thereafter. (Incidentally, Marc Caplan is not the same Marc Caplan who was the lead vocalist in the Chicago-area garage rock combo Little Boy Blues). In 1993, the Afterglow label re-issued the band's long out-of-print album on CD for the first time. In 2002, the Texas-based Rockadelic label announced plans to reissue a vinyl-only release that promises to contain five songs from their Mercury album, along with previously-unreleased demos -- including a few recorded for Elektra -- and live tracks that were recorded in a church.

      "The Wizards From Kansas" is a Killer laid back Rural Rock/Psychedelic album full of brilliant songs with complex melodic vocal harmonies, spaced out guitars and good original dreamy and melodic songs. The musicianship is top-notch, and the songs are pleasant.

      The band's guitarist, "Robert Manson Crain", wrote six of the nine originals, including the warbling, Country-ish "Hey Mister", "Misty Mountainside", "Country Dawn", and "She Rides With Witches".
      They also cover "Billy Edd Wheeler"'s "High Flying Bird", radically reworked into a Psychedelic tour de force, full of hard distorted guitar, a song that was previously waxed by "Jefferson Airplane" during one of their first recording sessions in late 1965 (it wasn't released until their 1965-1970 compendium of unreleased tracks, "Early Flight").
      This classic was also covered by celebrated Folk artists, including "Judy Henske" and "Richie Havens", among others, but here it gets a visceral Psychedelic-Rock workout, highlighted by "Robert Manson Crain"'s guitar.
      Their lengthy cover of "Buffy Sainte-Marie"'s "Codine" is excellent as well, and obviously inspired by "Quicksilver Messenger Service"'s jam version, which approximated the one popularized by "The Charlatans".
      Enjoy it!!!

  3. Wonderful - thanks so much for this (Cor & Marios).

  4. So great to find this here, and with links still active! thanks

  5. how can i download this music from