Music Emporium — Music Emporium
(Sundazed SC 6166, 1969/2001, CD)
by Jon Davis, Published 2005-03-01Music Emporium’s self-titled 1969 album is one of the rarest gems of the late 60s LA psychedelic scene, with only 300 copies originally pressed and an elaborate die-cut sleeve. Unlike some ultra-rare items from rock history, this one has musical value to back up the obscurity. The band was formed by accordion virtuoso Bill Cosby playing mostly organ, with a female rhythm section of Dora Wahl on drums and Carolyn Lee on bass, and guitarist Dave Padwin. Cosby and Lee handled the vocals, taking turns on lead and harmonizing with each other. Their primary influence was Iron Butterfly, with great interplay between the organ and fuzz guitar; the male-female harmonies recall a more refined Jefferson Airplane. The sound of folk, classical, and rock elements merged with psychedelia leads to an intriguing style, though the softer moments are less interesting than the heavy side of the band. At their best, Music Emporium could stand with any of the greats of the West Coast scene, and only random chance left them out of the popularity many of their contemporaries enjoyed. Highlights include “Nam Myo Renge Kyo” (imagine an Iron Butterfly version of a Buddhist chant), “Prelude” (with an organ part Rick Wakeman would have been proud of), and “Day of Wrath” (with the great lyric “There is no question that there will be peace on Earth, but will Man be here to enjoy it?”). All the players are very imaginative throughout, with guitar parts ranging from intricate finger picking to fuzzbox freakouts.
Related artist(s): Music Emporium
Tomasz Stańko RIP – Tomasz Stańko, one of the greats of Eastern European jazz, has died at the age of 76. Stańko's career started in Krzysztof Komeda's quintet, where he contributed trumpet from 1963-1967, when he formed his own group. He worked extensively with Edward Vesala, Don Cherry, Zbigniew Seifert, Chico Freeman, Howard Johnson, Cecil Taylor, and many others. Many of his recordings have been released by ECM, an association that began in the mid-70s. » Read more
Soft Machine Set to Release New Music – It's been 50 years since The Soft Machine changed the face of music with their first album. Their blend of psychedelic rock and jazz was unique, and while the band went through many changes before disbanding in 1981 — by which time there were no original members remaining — they remained an innovative force with a style all their own. » Read more
7d Surfaces Happy Rhodes Back Catalog – We've covered singer Happy Rhodes before, both for her solo work and recently with The Security Project, but her 11 albums have been hard to track down. Until now. 7d features high-quality downloads of all her releases, and several of them are also available on CD. » Read more
Fred Chalenor RIP – We have news of another sad passing in the world of creative music. Bassist Fred Chalenor, whose creativity featured on albums by Tone Dogs, Caveman Shoestore, and many more, died on June 23, 2018 after a long battle with Alzheimer's. Tributes have poured in from the many musicians and fans whose lives he touched. » Read more