Tuesday, November 13, 2012

The Blues Mcgoos - Kraft Music Hall (1967)

The Blues Magoos are one of those bands that receive very little credit for the hard musical turn that rock and roll took in the late 1960’s. Hailing from the Bronx amid the British Invasion, you had to have something more potent than just Dion and the Belmonts, as the "times, they were a changin’.”
I’m in the middle of reading Pete Townshend’s autobiography, and in it he recounts the beginnings of the acid-rock scene in London about 1966. He was introduced to Ron Gilbert and Ralph Scala; two members of the Blues Magoos;  and  who were also  interested in the extraterrestrial conspiracy theories of George Adamski, who is considered to be the first human being contacted by aliens from another universe. That event happened on November 20, 1952. It was an incredible claim for the time; and still would be today. That event made him famous but also drew the ire of the military and corporate world, both of which went out of their way to heap ridicule upon him in an attempt to discredit his claims. His works are still studied by UFO enthusiasts today.

At the same time as this, Pete Townshend was also reading “The God Man”, a landmark book by British author Charles Purdom; which chronicles the life of Meher Baba; a Hindu mystic who passed away in 1969. He claimed to be a direct descendant of one of the Supreme Deities, and amassed quite a following during the 1940’s and on through his death in 1969. He believed that man is part God, and was also very opposed to the use of psychedelic drugs as a means to expand the mind.
While all of this may seem to be a bit rambling and unconnected to the video above; it’s not. The 1960’s was a very turbulent decade, one in which people all over the world were exploring their intellectual limits. Some called it expanding their minds, while some just tuned in, turned on and dropped out; and still others went on to achieve a self-satisfaction and inner peace unattainable through ordinary means. For some that meant drugs; and for others it meant spiritualism.

I suppose the only relation that all of this does have to the video concerns the conversation between Jack Benny and the band at the end of their wildly lit rendition of “Tobacco Road.” While it may seem as if the band is putting Mr. Benny on concerning the fusion of light and sound, they were deadly serious. All over the world people were looking at new ways to create the sounds of a new age. More about that in next weeks review of Pete Townshend's autobiography, which brought my attention to the Blues Mcgoos as an influential rock band. Until now I had always considered them merely average, so perhaps, along with Jack Benny, I just didn't "get" it either! 

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