Exposé Online banner

Uther Pendragon — San Francisco Earthquake
(Guerssen GUESSCD059, 1978/2016, 2CD / 3LP)

by Henry Schneider, Published 2016-02-26

San Francisco Earthquake Cover art

San Francisco in the mid-60s was an incubator for a lot bands. In 1966 a group of teenagers got together and formed a garage band that lasted from 1966 to 1978. Over that 12-year period the band went through many name changes, phases, and musical styles. They were known as Blue Fever, Time, Hodological Mandala, Kodiac, Justus, and Uther Pendragon, but the core musicians remained the same: Mark Lightcap (rhythm guitar, vocals), Bruce Marelich (lead guitar, vocals), and Martin Espinosa (bass, vocals). Once they settled on their final drummer in Mike Beers, they became Uther Pendragon in the early 70s. Despite recording tapes and demos in different studios, they never released an album. Now over 40 years later, Spanish label Guerssen has released a triple LP, San Francisco Earthquake, of music culled from the band’s vast archive of tapes spanning their entire career. This set consists of 24 songs that include their unknown 7” acetate from 1967, unreleased demo tapes, and tracks recorded in their home studio in Palo Alto. This excellent set features a range in styles and influences. The set opens with “Intro – You’re a Human Now” with cymbals recalling Popol Vuh mixed with a bit of The Animals' “The Black Plague” that sounds a bit like a soundtrack to a 70s horror movie. After the intro the band begins to rock. The music ranges from pure psychedelic rock, psych-folk, pop psych, psych-blues, blues rock, punk psych, to rock-a-billy with similarities to many different bands including Max Frost and the Stormtroopers, Jefferson Airplane, Grateful Dead, Byrds, The Association, Quicksilver Messenger Service, Mountain, Ramones, and Rory Gallagher. Bruce Marelich was an outstanding guitarist with most songs featuring great guitar solos and breaks. There is something for everyone in this set, even a drum solo on the 11 minute “10 Miles to Freedom.” Some of the influences are more obvious than others. For example, “A Man of Means” bears a strong resemblance to “Mississippi Queen.” One of my favorite tracks is the fantastic instrumental “Spanish Fly” with its Spanish / Gothic Western mood that reminded me of Quicksilver Messenger Service’s “The Fool.” If you are a fan of undiscovered garage-psych, then by all means this decades late release is for you.


Filed under: Archives, 2016 releases, 1978 recordings

Related artist(s): Uther Pendragon

More info
http://guerssenrecords.bandcamp.com/album/san-francisco-earthquake

Latest news

2020-01-15
Carlos Alvarado RIP – Carlos Alvarado, pioneering composer, multi-instrumentalist and pioneer of progressive rock and electronic experimental music in Mexico, passed away January 14th, 2020 at age 68 after a two year battle with cancer.  » Read more

2020-01-12
Wolfgang Dauner RIP – Pianist Wolfgang Dauner, one of the pioneers of both European free jazz and jazz rock, has died at the age of 84. With his own groups and with the United Jazz+Rock Ensemble, his playing and compositions were a prominent presence in European jazz from the mid-60s until just recently. » Read more

2020-01-12
Michael Allison RIP – Michael Allison, who since 1997 has been recording as Darshan Ambient, passed away on January 9th after a long and brave battle with cancer. He has been at at the forefront of the new ambient/electronic music scene, with over eighteen releases to his credit. » Read more

2020-01-10
Neil Peart RIP – One of rock music's defining drummers has died at the age of 67. Neil Peart's work with Rush provided one of the templates for percussion in rock, and he certainly ranks in the top ten most influential drummers of the 20th Century. Peart retired from playing in 2015 due to health issues, and succumbed to brain cancer on January 7, 2020. » Read more

2020-01-07
Joel Vandroogenbroeck RIP – Word has reached us of the death of Joel Vandroogenbroeck, best known as one of the founders of Brainticket, He also recorded electronic music under a variety of names. He was born August 25th, 1938 in Brussels, Belgium and died December 23, 2019 in Arlesheim, Switzerland, aged 81. » Read more


Previously in Exposé...

Serge Blenner - Ars Oratoria – Serge Blenner was born in France in 1955 and studied composition at Mulhouse Conservatory. He moved to Germany in 1975 and has been recording independently since 1980. This fourteenth album of his has...  (2000) » Read more



Listen & discover



Print issues