A trio of great late 60s RCA albums on a single set – the first two from The Brotherhood, and one more from the related Friend Sound! First up is the first album ever from The Brotherhood – an offshoot of Paul Revere & The Raiders, filled with some of that group's greatest early players! The core of the group features Drake Levin on guitar, Phil Volk on bass, and Mike Smith on drums – romping with the kind of raw, party-styled energy they brought to their work with their previous group – but at a level here that's way more heady, and definitely shows a stronger influence from psych! Tunes are still plenty catchy, but have some weird undercurrents too – in a cool Sunshine Pop sort of style – and the range of instrumentation is nicely fresh, and even a bit richer than usual for this sort of record. Titles include "Somebody", "Pastel Blue", "Close The Door", "Seasons", "Love For Free", "Lady Faire", and "Ice Cream
". 1969's The Brotherhood is an even tighter set than the first album from the group – and one that has the group really finding a way to tap into their older garagey roots, while still keeping plenty of fuzz and psych intact! The drums are great – that powerful punch that Mike Smitty Smith always brought to his earlier pop work – but the themes are moodier, and the guitar nicely trippy, while still staying tight – sometimes with a bit more strut than we ever would have expected from these guys. The album features a few surprising covers – like "California Dreamin" and "Rose Garden" – plus nice original tracks "Deep Blue Sea", "Love Sketch", "Destination Unknown", and "Don't Let Go". But most amazing here is the Friend Sound album – an offshoot project recorded between the two Brotherhood albums – a wild batch of instrumental psychedelia – with plenty of avant garde touches thrown in! This is the sort of record that always restores our faith in major labels – and it makes us realize that no matter how many Elvis Presley albums RCA was selling in the 60s, there was also room to put out odd little record like this one. The enigmatic Friend Sound sound like a loose collective of hippie jazz musicians – playing flute, organ, guitars, percussion, piano, recorder, shovel (shovel?), finger cymbals, and just about anything else that seemed to be handy – and they had a style that was kind of like free-jamming jam band work – almost like the band and the engineers took a bucketful of drugs – so many that they got really mellow and dark – then went into the studio to cut a tripped-out album of instrumentals. The whole thing comes across with the same "anything goes" spirit of the NY 60s underground film scene – but with none of the silliness of bands like The Fugs – and it's that kind of energy that makes us love this one. Titles include "Childhood's End", "Lost Angel Proper St", and "The Empire Of Light".