Monday, March 4, 2013

Bob Smith - The Visit (1970 us, mystical atmospheric psych with hard rock, upbeat folk and jazzy experimentation)

Singer guitarist Smith was apparently a member of various Los Angeles-based bands including The Lid and Silverskin.  It would also be interesting to learn how he came to be signed by the L.A.-based Kent Records which was better known for it's R&B recording roster.
Although 1970's "The Visit" featured support from eight musicians (including Darryl Dragon (credited as Captain Keyboard)) and Mothers of Invention keyboardist Don Preston), the focus was clearly on namesake Bob Smith.  In addition to handling all of the vocals and lead guitar, Smith wrote all 14 tracks, arranged, directed, and along with Mark Taylor, co-produced the album.

Musically the set was quite diverse, taking credible stabs at pop, blues ('Source You Blues'), hard rock, psych, jazz ('Ocean Song') and even occasional detours into outright experimentation. 

Luckily aural experiments such as the instrumental 'Indian Summer' were far and few between, leaving most of the set with a surprisingly commercial sheen.  Exemplified by tracks like the harpsichord-propelled 'Please' and 'The Wishing Song' Smith had one of those flexible and likable voices that allowed him to find a nice balance between commercial and non-commercial moves. 

Material like 'Constructive Critique' and 'Source Your Blues' also demonstrated Smith was quite an accomplished guitarist.  Personal favorites included the opener 'Please', 'Don't Tell Lady Tonight' and the scorching rocker 'Can You Jump Rope'.   (Anyone seen the John Kress poster insert that came with the album?  It's supposedly quite cool.)    Bottom line; this one's a keeper that should be in every psych collector's stash.  
1. Please - 2:08
2. Don't Tell Lady Tonight - 3:10
3. Constructive Critique - 4:40
4. Ocean Song - 4:50
5. The Wishing Song - 5:04
6. Can You Jump Rope - 5:48
7. Latter Days Matter - 3:29
8. Indian Summer  (Instrumental - 7:55
9. Source You Blues - 6:02
10.Sunlight Sweet - 3:04
11.Of She, Of Things - 3:16
12.Mobeda Dandelion - 3:13
13.The Path Does Have Force - 5:23
14.Try, Try To Understand Yourself - 4:14
All compositions by Bob Smith

*Bob Smith - Vocals, Guitar
*Mike Degreve - Guitar
*Larry Chapman - Violin
*Stan Keiser - Flute
*Dan Preston - Mellotron, Keyboards
*Skip Schneider - Drums
*John Latini - Bass
*Darryl Dragon - Keyboards, Vibes

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