Peter Sando: Brace for the Obscure (60s rock)! — January 8, 2022

312) Peter Sando — “Bird in the Hand”

OK, after yesterday’s blog, featuring dirge-like music and bleak lyrics, I thought I would lighten the atmosphere by playing a song with upbeat/finger-snapping/funky-cool music . . . and bleak lyrics.

Peter Sando, of the legendary psych group Gandalf, recorded “Bird in the Hand” as a solo artist in ’71. It was not released until ’07 as part of the Gandalf 2 CD, following the official CD release of the sole Gandalf LP. Richie Unterberger in All Music Guide says that:

Gandalf sounded something like a more psychedelic/ progressive Left Banke. . . . Though Gandalf’s sole album was barely noticed upon its initial release in the late ’60s, it eventually attracted enough of a reputation among collectors to warrant a[n official] CD reissue [following years of bootleg releases]. Impressed and gratified by the surge of interest in the record decades later, Gandalf’s Peter Sando dug up enough acetates, demos, and live tapes from 1968 to 1971 to fill up this disc of largely previously unreleased material. . . . Much of it’s nicely haunting, wistful period folk-rock-pop with an only very slightly bittersweet tinge. . . . Individually, most of the disc’s cuts are pleasant and impressive, though not brilliant.

Um, Richie, a fair number of the songs on Gandalf 2 (“Bird in the Hand” foremost among them), can fairly be described as brilliant. Not that I need my opinion validated, but let me validate my opinion. Marios says that “[a] thorough search of Sando’s tape vault revealed a fabulous stash of spellbinding demos and acetates, unheard for decades.” ( And Michael Saltzman says that “Bird In The Hand . . . qualifies as Sando’s genuine lost classic . . . a ringing psychpop number with an exotic beat, whistling flute, and a big, bounding chorus to boot.” ( So there!

Many years before “Synchronicity II,” here is the tale of a man ground down by both the corporate rat race and women. It’s infectious!

“From the minute that you’re born you put your share of the corn into your fat face but you wake up one mornin’ just to find that you were born into a rat race. Well if you’re lucky and you score you’ll be the first to want some more of what you don’t got and when you’re runnin’ out of time you go and spend your last dime on a grave plot. So catch it if you can but try and understand you’ve got the bird in your hand. So catch it if you can. A man needs a lover. When he gets her he’ll just shove her to the wayside and then he’ll start to miss her so once again he’ll kiss her. It’s a hayride. She goes along for awhile but she sees through your style like a clear day. It may sound funny but she only wanted money from you anyway. . . . The city people say they haven’t had a happy day. They’ve been knocked down, they move to the sticks, but when they want to get their kicks they miss the big town. Well, if you really want to know what you’re missin’ just take the time to listen to a bum talk. There ain’t nothin’ gonna suit you so you wind up with your future on the sidewalk. So catch it if you can but try and understand you’ve got the bird in your hand so catch it if you can. . . .”

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