Glass Prism Reviewed

the single:

“The Raven”

GLASS PRISM – ’The Raven’/’Eldorado’ (RCA 74-0205) August 1969

I don’t usually write about records from 1969 but I’ve had the set of released Glass Prism records for years and have always enjoyed listening to them when I fancy a change from my usual 1965-67 vinyl spinning at EXPO67 HQ.

Glass Prism have a surprisingly healthy presence on the internet, they even have their own website. I’ll post the address with my last Glass Prism posting within the next couple of days. It is from their official website that I have learned that they started life in the early/mid 60s as The El Caminos. They were essentially a Beatles ’tribute’ band but gained a healthy reputation in Berwick, PA.

It seems that the band name at this point in time was taken from a model of a popular Chevrolet car – the El Camino. By late 1968 they had secured a record deal with RCA Records and it was suggested that a much more hipper name for the group would be used – they decided on Glass Prism.

The early Glass Prism recordings were a musicalization of Edgar Allan Poe’s macabre poems. More about those later. Two tracks were taken from their debut RCA album ”Poe Through The Glass Prism” with the top side being ’The Raven’ – at four minutes long I’m thinking that this was risky, although having said that, the single was a local top 10 hit. The more immediate side for me is the punchy ’Eldorado’ – with it’s powerful and rather interesting bass runs.

the albums:

GLASS PRISM – ’Poe Through The looking Glass Prism’ (RCA LSP 4201) August 1969

The first Glass Prism album was a collage of psychedelic rock to the words/poems of Edgar Allan Poe. One would naturally assume that this late 60s concept just wouldn’t work but not only does the marriage reap fine results, Glass Prism produce one of the most interesting psych albums of the late 60s. Surprisingly it’s a piece of work that is virtually ignored.

In my opinion the recording is best listened to in it’s entirety, from the opening song on side one ’The Raven’ to the closer on side two ’A Dream.’ Perhaps my favourite cut on the album is the flower psych dreaminess of ’A Dream Within A Dream’ with it’s lush instrumentation and Association style harmonies. It’s a song just waiting to be discovered and compiled.

All songs were produced by Gene Weiss at Les Paul’s studio in Mahway, New Jersey.

Billboard – August 1969

GLASS PRISM – ’On Joy And Sorrow’ (RCA LSP-4270) 1970

The second Glass Prism LP is a little more progressive than their earlier recordings with the always present late 60s organ sound. If anything, ’On Joy And Sorrow’ is a much more melodic album with some memorable songs including ’She’s Too Much’, ’Extension 68’ and ’Maggie Don’t You Hear Me’.

Gene Weiss was once again selected as producer and work took place at RCA’s Studio C in New York City during early 1970. This album appears to have had little, if any promotion, no single was taken from it as a taster, so the release was probably only snapped up by eager fans in PA.

Soon after ’On Joy And Sorrow’ the group disbanded, although some members went onto form Shenandoah in 1971.


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