Saturday, December 29, 2012

Magic - Enclosed (1968-69 us, fabulous guitar psych rock with soul and sunny folk shades, Gear Fab release)

Enclosed was the title of Magic's debut album released in 1969, and this Gear Fab reissue by the same name includes the entirety of that debut, but also adds a 1968 single from the original lineup and songs from the 1971 sessions on Motown imprint Rare Earth that culminated in their second self-titled album, so it really can be considered the definitive document of the band. 

On the original single, the band leaned toward rock & roll that was very much informed by black music -- one side was a cover of the Otis Redding classic "That's How Strong My Love Is," the other a Duane King original that Sam & Dave could have easily torn into; in fact, Magic, and particularly its most talented songwriter, King, displayed an almost magic knack for penning songs that sound like lost Southern soul classics. 

King's lead vocals could be strikingly bluesy, and the band cooks throughout the album, moving from the loping country-rock & soul of the opening track "Keep on Movin' On" to the electric blues of "Who Am I to Say?" to the sunny country-rock of "California" to the Stax-styled ballad, "You Must Believe She's Gone." Stax is, in fact, a good reference point for the entire debut album. 

The rhythm section consistently locks into a transcendent groove, and Joey Murcia's fabulous guitar work is slightly busier than Steve Cropper's but approaches the work of that legend, with a proper grit to it that is never wasted. It is surprising that Magic never quite found a wider audience. 

The final track from the first album, "Sound of the Tears Is Silent," sounds as if it could have come from the pen of Smokey Robinson, and it leads perfectly into the band's subsequent stint on Motown's Rare Earth label. 

Most of the songs from that period that show up on the Gear Fab reissue, however, seem to veer closer to streamlinened, hard blues-rocking territory (with a couple of country-ish cuts) and are, as a result, not quite as appealing as the previous soulful material. Still, the early Magic songs alone make this a welcome reissue, especially for lovers of Stax and Southern soul music. 
by Stanton Swihart
1.  Keep On Movin' On (Duane King) - 3:22
2.  Indian Sadie (Joey Murcia) - 3:57
3.  You Must Believe She's Gone (Duane King) - 4:04
4.  ETS Zero (Duane King) - 2:42
5.  Wake Up Girl (Duane King) - 2:35
6.  One Minus Two (Duane King) - 2:37
7.  Who Am I To Say? (Duane King) - 1:57
8.  I'll Just Play (Duane King, Joey Murcia) - 11:55  
9.  I Think I Love You (Duane King) - 2:38
10.That's How Strong My Love Is (Jamison) - 3:07
11.California  (Joey Murcia) - 2:51
12. Sound Of The Tears Is Silent (Duane King) - 2:59
13.I Do (Duane King) - 3:26
14.Hold Me Tight (Duane King) - 3:35
15.Compassion (Duane King) - 2:44
16.Be At Peace With Yourself (Duane King) - 3:23
17.Too Many People Starving (Joey Murcia) - 3:45

*Nick King - Bass, Backing Vocals
*Gary Harger - Drums
*Duane King - Guitar, Lead Vocals
*Joey Murcia - Lead Guitar
*Clyde Hamilton - Organ, Trumpet, Backing Vocals
*Paul Rankin -  Steel Guitar
*Mike Motz - Guitar

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  1. Guitarist Duane King and his bassist brother Nick joined the Lansing, MI band the Next Exit in 1968. The rest of the band included Gary Harger on drums, Mike Motz on lead guitar, and organist Clyde Hamilton. After a name change to Magic and a single on their own label in early 1969, Hamilton left the band and Motz was replaced by Joey Murcia, a Miami native who had played with that city's Birdwatchers. Murcia, as it happened, was a session player for TK Records in Miami and assured the band he could get them a record deal, so Magic packed up everything and moved to Miami. TK Records had an entirely black R&B roster at the time, but Magic, who often covered R&B songs, fit right in, becoming the label's first white signee. They recorded their first LP Enclosed in the summer of 1969, which was officially released on their own Armadillo label. The summer of 1970 found Magic returning to Lansing in search of a major-label contract. A Detroit producer, Scott Regan, helped to get the band signed to the Motown-owned Rare Earth label, and, in 1971, Magic began recording their second album. The self-titled album was released in 1972 to favorable reviews and featured Stevie Wonder playing keyboards on several songs, but not long after the album's release, Motown shipped off to California, closing down Rare Earth and leaving Magic without a label. They recorded some demos in hopes of landing another record deal, but the band never recovered from the Motown move and called it quits. Murcia went back to session work and played with numerous major artists -- the Bee Gees, Joe Walsh, and Joe Cocker among them-- who recorded in Miami.

    Once again a very rare album as the original first pressing of the vinyl. When this unknown US psych band released this debut album in 1969 the high point of the psychedelic movement was already gone and the hippie times were coming to an end.
    There were numerous really good bands who released just one album which failed to chart in the end of the 60's and Magic was doubtless one of those.

    "Enclosed " LP recorded in May, 1969. The full reissue from the Master Tapes, plus their Armadillo and monster 45s plus 5 previously unreleased tracks from the Enclosed sessions, never before heard!! Psychedelic guitars abound on this project, debut album American band's, referring to the style of Led Zeppelin and the Allman Brothers Band (two guitars). I recommend especially great, extensive song 'I'll Just Play' It's just amazing for the whole 12 minutes with all of those backward sounds and great guitar parts it's a really good work still and recommended for the acid rock fanatics.

    The A-side of the album includes good psychedelia pieces after another. "ETS Zero" and especially "One Minus Two" are the biggest highlights of the first side. Both are really impressive but the rest of the songs are entertaining too. Side B begins with "Who Am I to Say" which ain't nothing special. It's pretty much just an intro to the grande finale jam "I'll Just Play". The album is a real Jekyll/Hyde release, with most of side 1 comprised by comparatively weak commercially oriented rock with some country flavor, while side 2 features an extended psychedelic guitar jam along the lines of Neil Young's "Down by the River", but they played with even more passion! Exactly what you want in your hippie rock great songs, jaw-dropping jam at the end!

    Thx Marios.

  2. Please share also Magic self titled album. Thanks a lot!

  3. VERY Interested....Any chance for re-UP?