Kak: Brace for the Obscure (60s rock)! — July 6, 2022

THE GREATEST SONGS OF THE 1960s THAT NO ONE HAS EVER HEARD

507) KAK — “Lemonaide Kid”

I think someone definitely spiked the lemonade on this gentle but epic psych-folk-rock track from Kak’s only album (’68). Gio Arlotta says that:

[“Lemonaide Kid” is] one of the most evocative unknown songs of the late ’60s . . . . This song’s light, sativan* riff flies like a colored butterfly above leaves of droning tablas and flowers of sitars. You’ve reached the astral plane but you’ve got cotton mouth, the only cure is Lemonaide, kid.

https://isyourclaminajam.com/2014/02/16/kak-lemonaide-kid/amp/

Richie Unterberger opines that “Kak were best, and least derivative, at their quietest, as on . . . the good-time wistful psych-folk-rock of “Lemonade Kid[.]” (https://www.allmusic.com/artist/kak-mn0000296359) The album “is a beloved masterpiece, full of the inspiration and promise associated with the California psychedelic dream.” (https://www.forcedexposure.com/Catalog/kak-kak-lp/MAG.001LP.html)

Gio gives the Kak-story:

Kak were formed by the remnants of the Oxford Circle, a garage beat band from San Francisco . . . . Frontman Gary Lee Yoder would then go onto heavier stuff with Blue Cheer, but here we find a band ethereally floating around like a falling leaf in the summer of love’s comedown. Kak were signed to a major label before having even recorded anything and were given a mansion to live and write in in San Franscisco. They recorded one album worth of material, Kak-Ola, in 1969, which at the time didn’t have the success they were hoping for — it has since gained a cult like status — and unfortunately, the band disbanded shortly afterwards.

Unterberger somewhat dismissively adds:

The self-titled Kak LP was minor-league San Francisco psychedelic rock influenced by a lot of bigger Bay Area bands, particularly Moby Grape . . . . Kak’s album was barely promoted and didn’t sell well. It didn’t help that the band played less than a dozen shows before breaking up in early 1969 . . . .

Alec Palao gives his take on his friend Gary Lee Yoder and Kak:

A rapid local notoriety notwithstanding, it was in the psychedelic ballrooms of San Francisco that the [Oxford] Circle’s legend was made manifest . . . . [O]ut front was Yoder, parlaying either a dark folk-rock croon or demonic blues howl on a selection of Brit R&B or his own punk originals, often delivered whilst writhing on the stage floor, or with the coaxing of otherworldly feedback from his Gibson guitar. Something as fierce as the Oxford Circle was bound to burn too bright to last, and despite their popularity, the group only managed one single, some failed auditions and a gigging schedule that barely took them out of Northern California. A new group was quickly assembled at the end of 1967, when Yoder ran into an admiring Gary Grelecki, nascent songwriter with some intriguing connections. Grelecki instigated a deal with Epic Records and . . . . [t]he group spent most of 1968 lollygagging in a tony San Francisco townhouse whilst waiting for their album to come out, only to fracture immediately after its release, with just a handful of gigs under their belt.

https://acerecords.co.uk/news/2021/gary-lee-yoder-obituary

“Life’s road is not clear to me. You know the mapwork has not been laid. I thought I’d take a little detour and go sit in the shade. Well I got to take it easy babe, I better watch out what I do. I saw the lemonaide kid on the peppermint sticks he had a mindblowing kitty. He said he’d set it aside for you. Lemonaide and I went walking. We met a man down the path. He said he was Donk the feast-giver, oh this can’t last. Oh no yes it can, due to the kid’s luck. You know the feast was good. Well we drank our fill and we ate until the sun went down and the moon stood still. Here’s the road again. Oh no we can’t be sold. Just when things were getting good, the kid had to go. Well, I’ll see you later. I hope you can make it back again some day. Gotta lot more tricks to show you and I gotta lot more places we can play. Life is just a play and the world is its theater. Do you want to have a bit part or do you want to be a leader? You got to think for yourself. Don’t want to put any notions in your head. Cause the only one that counts is watching inside you and the way you act he might as well be dead.”

* a reference to marijuana!

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