Unreleased West Coast guitar psychedelia? Yes, please. I mean what’s not to like?

Uther Pendragon,it seems, are a forgotten psychedelic band from San Francisco who existed between 1966-1975 yet never actually released an album or a single. A quick scan through my copy of 'Fuzz, Acid and Flowers' confirms the band's legendary status. There appears to be no mention of them at all. Did they actually exist?

What we do know is that the band had numerous names before deciding on Uther Pendragon in the early 1970s and they have a vast archive of material which this collection is compiled from.

So, I am wondering what delights unfold from these tapes.

It is plainly obvious from the word go that the train these guys were riding did not seem to involve wearing flowers in their hair.

'Love Lock Temperature Drop' from 1967, one of the earliest tracks we are treated to, hints at the Lemon Pipers and the Summer of Love, but by 1969 with 'Ten Miles to Freedom' the band was channelling the Beatles and Pink Floyd. A fine piece of work, it is trippy and sprawling with rolling percussion and fuzz guitar and all of ten minutes long.

Interestingly the compilation is not chronological and flips between the 1960s and 1970s in a random manner. This actually works quite well, especially if you listen before checking the recording dates. For instance, 'Who’s Gonna Try' from 1975 is a dead ringer for the Spencer Davis Group's Gimme Some Lovin' from the mid’60’s. It is a great cut expanding the riff with some searing guitar,harmony vocals and a freaky wah-wah sound.
There are hints of Moby Grape and Jefferson Airplane ('Spanish Fly', 1974)while 'King Muskrat' from 1975 is a downright dirty 12 bar blues with about as much finesse as a sledgehammer.

'San Francisco Earthquake' documents the history of one of the many unknown bands to emerge from that productive era. Uther Pendragon, of their own admission, were not hippies and the progressive element in the music confirms the restlessness they felt as they constantly changed names to move with the times. The tracks featured here are guitar heavy and progressive often reflecting the musical influences around them, 'Troubles' (1975), for example, sees them entering Harvest label Deep Purple territory with a heavy dark riff and twin lead guitars guaranteed to get heads banging.

This is an impressive and important document of an undiscovered talent full of invention and a sense of real anarchy. Uther Pendragon forged their own path in true garage/D.I.Y. fashion and only now can we hear what we were missing.

There is much here to enjoy. Young pretenders take note!

For a full run down on the band there is an excellent interview at
psychedelicbaby.blogspot.co.uk.












Related Links:

http://pendragon.homestead.com/
https://www.facebook.com/Uther-Pendragon-San-Francisco-Earthquake-887310804720929/


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