AN ALL-TIME PERSONAL FAVORITE! SIMPLY INCOMPARABLE OUTSIDER 70s ROCK DAMAGE!
"It's a miracle any copies of this privately pressed album survived -- but be thankful it did, for here is an individual vision. Some people worry about when we'll run out of oil. A rather smaller proportion of us worry about when we'll run out of discoverable, deep-end thrills like this. There is just no way in the world items like Donald Hooker's 40-year-old privately pressed LP should even exist as a thing -- it more than likely only ran to about 99 copies in its original format, so how the hell did even one of those survive to create these new digital and analogue versions decades later? Connecticut-based Hooker -- a tall, slim hippy with a history of substance abuse -- was much given to wearing the sort of austere robe he sports on the sleeve, a fairly outré move even then. In early 1972 he hired a gang of local scene musicians to flesh out his wonderful songs and after a few brief rehearsals the band began recording. As soon as they were done they split -- some never even heard the finished album, and what a treat they missed. Hooker's arrangements are truly beautiful; a simple, swinging pop song like Weather Girl exists somewhere between the Doors and Curtis Mayfield, whereas The Bible ('If they're knocking the Bible, be sure they are bent/ Just see and you'll understand the book is heaven sent') has the propulsive drive of a pained George Harrison ballad crushed up against some of Neil Young's freeform, string-banging joy. Then there's The Sea, with its rolling religious allegories and the remarkable Free which marries a growling hard rock throb to a vampirically groovy synth line. Hooker's masterpiece is Forge Your Own Chains, which is part conga-led, lounge-funk soul and part, questing psychedelic dream. To think this entirely individual worldview would have once languished, unloved, in a series of under-the-racks cutout bins. And how much more magic like this is there out there?" --Rob Fitzpatrick. ON RECORDS reissue.