I Shall Be Released #2: Fingletoad, Strange & Siho — “Marshlands”: Brace for the Obscure (60s rock)! — February 22, 2023


742) Fingletoad, Strange & Siho — “Marshlands”

From the Chicago suburbs comes a magical, haunting, Lennonesque rock song from an album that saw fewer than 100 souvenir LP’s stamped in ‘70. The Eternal Now says the album is “westcoast-influenced 1970 rock and psychedelia with a warm live sound, a big wide-open heart, and acid guitar leads on top.” (http://lysergia_2.tripod.com/LamaWorkshop/lamaEternalNow_older.htm) P Funk describes the song as “an evening ‘with a lover in the dusk’ . . . interspersed with images of a nihilistic hobo and the prince of darkness”. https://www.tinymixtapes.com/music-review/fingletoad-strange-siho-mazzola). That’s the Chicago I remember!

Talk about cultural appropriation — Jason Ankeny says that the album is “an artful appropriation of West Coast canyon rock and folk-pop idioms”! He gives some history:

Psychedelic trio Fingletoad, Strange & Siho formed in the spring of 1965 in the Chicago suburb of Oak Park, IL. Bassist Roger Glienke (aka “Nigel Fingletoad”) and guitarist Philip Novak (“Siho”) first collaborated in the high school garage band known variously as the Philters and the Illusions before settling on the Generation circa the 1966 arrival of drummer and third vocalist Richard LaPointe (the future “Neil Strange”). A staple of local teen clubs and school dances, [they] . . . split[] in the fall of 1968 as Novak went off to the University of Notre Dame. As classmates at the University of Illinois, Chicago, Glienke and LaPointe continued their partnership and in October 1969 recruited bassist Bob Cabanban to record an unreleased LP, Fingletoad and Strange. A year later Novaki returned to Chicago long enough to cut a second album [from which today’s song is drawn] dubbed Mazzola and issued in a vanity pressing of less than 100 copies. The trio effectively dissolved soon after . . . .


P Funk is not impressed:

Like a lot of capable artists who never catapult into the limelight, Fingletoad, Strange & Siho bear the stamp of influence like a pathology, obsessively crafting an entire album from a single flashpoint. Or at least that’s what it sounds like is going on here, as practically all of their second album hearkens back to Neil Young’s “Cowgirl in the Sand” and “Down by the River.” Like the two side-ending tracks from Young’s Everybody Knows This Is Nowhere, FS&S’s 1970 recordings project ennui and male desire onto knotted electric guitars. By dwelling in this melancholy, anxious space for a spell, these guys transformed standard insecure-young-adult fare into fantastical and absurd imagery.


Hey, P Funk, funk you! It is L-E-N-N-O-N-E-S-Q-U-E, in the best way.

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