Monday, July 18, 2016

Crystal Mansion - Crystal Mansion feat Johnny Caswell (1969 us, essential sunny folk psych r'n'b, Vinyl edition)

The Crystal Mansion's relatively short story is that of a white R&B band moving towards groovy psychedelic rock in the '70s. At times they sound like Rare Earth but lack some of their force. The origins of the band are found in a cover band called the Secrets that existed from 1962 to 1968. The original setting included drummer Rick Morley and guitarist Ronnie Gentile. Later singer Johnny Caswell and organist Sal Rota were recruited. In 1968 they released The Thought of Loving You, their first single to get national airplay, and in the process decided to change the name to the Crystal Mansion. 

Capitol Records showed interest and let the band record The Crystal Mansion, an album that turned out a disappointment for all involved and did not sell much. A bass player had been lacking for a longtime but finally Billy Crawford was recruited, and in 1970 the single Carolina in My Mind was released, but only got to number 44 on the national charts. This song hinted a shift towards pop, maybe even sunshine pop similar to that of groups like the Mamas & the Papas, but that was never to be.

Percussionist Mario Sanchez joined the band in 1971, and in 1972 the album Crystal Mansion (the title confusingly similar to that of their debut album) was released on the Motown label Rare Earth. This time the group made much more use of their funky qualities but also showed strong influences from the psychedelic and progressive rock scene. 
by Lars Lovén
1. For The First Time (Dave White) - 3:22
2. I Used To Be A Boy (Dave White, Johnny Caswell, Vince Baldino) - 2:21
3. Everything's In Love Today (Dave White, Johnny Caswell) - 3:19
4. Country (Eric Faulkner) - 3:23
5. Hallelujah (Dave White, Johnny Caswell) - 2:53
6. I Got Somethin' For You (Dave White, Johnny Caswell, Rick Morley, Ronny Gentile) - 3:33
7. The Thought Of Loving You (Dave White) - 2:33
8. And It Takes My Breath Away (Dave White, Johnny Caswell) - 4:12
9. Barbara (Dave White) - 4:13
10.Wishful Thinking (Johnny Caswell) - 2:38
11.Rhapsody (Dave White, Vince Baldino) - 2:28
12.Goin' To The Fields (Dave White, Johnny Caswell) - 7:05
13.The Thought Of Loving You (Mono Single Version) (Dave White) - 2:29

The Crystal Mansion
*Jerry Marlow - Bass
*Rick Morley - Drums
*Johnny Caswell - Vocals
*Ronny Gentile - Guitar
*Vince Baldino - Organ, Piano
*Dave White - Piano, Vocals
*Eric Faulkner - Vocals, Musical Assistance

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