Sunday, March 23, 2014

Harp of Glass

video
Wait, what now??? It's Phil Keaggy's 63rd birthday and it doesn't even merit a Wikipedia music birthday portal page mention? What is the world coming to? And exactly who is Phil Keaggy, you ask? Oh, just one of the greatest living guitar players, no big deal Wikipedia. No need to mention him at all; it's not like he has anything, in terms of pure instrumental prowess and career longevity, on the singer from the Lemonheads or nuthin'.
Slights like this cannot go unrejoindered, so just for that -- after I made an entry on there for him -- I pulled out this classic 1971 Glass Harp set from KSAN-FM in the Bay Area and set about a little light remastering. You see, before Phil was a Christian Contemporary artist, he was 1/3 of one of the heaviest, jammingest psychedelic rock outfits around, and in the Fall of 1971 they came west from Ohio to play in San Francisco, with a stop in nearby Marin County for the late-night radio concert I am posting here for your ongoing auditory pleasurization.
And oh, what a set they played. You listen to this and you say to yourself, wait just a second.... this guy was twenty years old when he played this show?? Guitar players many times that age would struggle to come up with the kind of melodic inventiveness and sheer improvisatory eloquence Mr. K is laying down on this tape. Just what he gets into with the volume pedal alone, you're like "Whaaaaaaaaat? He did not just do that."
After 45 minutes of bluesy, open-ended prog-rock mayhem, the unaccompanied guitar solo section of the last, marathon tune diverts into a classical recital on Les Paul Goldtop Standard, and then segues into a Chet Atkins-ish country venture that treads closer and closer to Hendrix "Electric Church" blues territory before exploding into full Voodoo Child Shuffle mode as the band come blasting back into it. Then it settles back down into a really nice flute solo by the bass player. Do you miss the 1970s yet?
As for the remaster, I threw a little sonic pixie dust around to help emphasize Phil's (epic, razor sharp, highly influential) guitar a little more, as I felt the guitar is essential to this music and it was buried a bit in the mix. Some of the track breaks were all over the place, so I corrected these, as well as eliminating some repeated tape overlap material at the very end of Children's Fantasy. There were also numerous sector boundary errors to mend and a big ol' dropout in the California Jam where one channel faded out for about ten seconds and the mix migrated to the other channel. I fixed this to shift to mono during that part for smoother, less intrusive listenin'. The spectral analysis for this wasn't your typical FM off-air capture by any means -- it had presence all the way up to 18 or 19,000 Hz so it could conceivably be a pre-FM reel, I haven't a clue.
 Glass Harp
Pacific High Recorders
Sausalito, CA
9.26.1971
EN remaster

01 Intro by Tom O'Hare
02 Never Is a Long Time
03 California Jam '72
04 Village Queen
05 Song of Hope
06 Changes
07 Look In The Sky
08 Children's Fantasy
09 Can You See Me

Total time: 1:13:17

Phil Keaggy - guitar, vocals
John Sferra - drums, vocals
Daniel Pecchio - bass, flute, vocals

KSAN-FM broadcast, possibly from a pre-FM reel
434 MB FLAC here
Phil Keaggy, agree with his religious beliefs and his abandonment of this style of music for Christian fare or not, is one of the world's greatest living guitar players and his birthday deserves a mention on the Wiki page for the subject of Musician's Birthdays, goddammit. Anyway this is a good way to celebrate despite that unconscionable omission, so enjoy this utterly smokin' live-in-the-studio concert by Phil's original group, themselves acknowledged by many to have helped invent what is now termed the "jam band" genre. --J.