THE GREATEST SONGS OF THE 1960s THAT NO ONE HAS EVER HEARD
829) H.P. Lovecraft — “The Drifter”
This Chicago band put the LSD in Lake Shore Drive, and in a folk classic. Richie Unterberger says that “[t]he . . . vocal blend was particularly stirring on the cover of ‘The Drifter’ (penned by folkie Travis Edmonson, half of the duo Bud & Travis) . . . .” (http://www.richieunterberger.com/hplove.html) As to the first album, from which I take “The Drifter”, hieronymous says “the sound is folk rock meets psychedelia[, t]he vocal sound reminds me of Jefferson Airplane – some of the vocals seem melodramatic at first, but stick with it . . . the combination of Michaels and George Edwards is actually pretty magical.” (http://www.progarchives.com/Review.asp?id=2340776)
H.P. Lovecraft was “a potentially important psychedelic act of the ‘60s that couldn’t hold together.” William Ruhlmann, https://therockasteria.blogspot.com/2019/10/hp-lovecraft-dreams-in-witch-house-1967.html)
Like the stories of the author after whom they were named, H.P. Lovecraft’s music was spooky and mysterious, a vibe well-suited for the psychedelic times . . . . Their remarkably eclectic balance of folk, jazz, orchestrated pop, and even bits of garage rock and classical music, was too fragile and ethereal to keep afloat for any longer than that, perhaps. It lasted long enough, however, for the group to gift us with two uneven, occasionally brilliant albums that are among the most intriguing obscure relics of the psychedelic age.http://www.richieunterberger.com/hplove.html
Featuring two strong singers (who often sang dual leads), hauntingly hazy arrangements, and imaginative songwriting that drew from pop and folk influences, H.P. Lovecraft was one of the better psychedelic groups of the late ’60s. The band was formed by ex-folky George Edwards in Chicago in 1967. [He] and keyboardist Dave Michaels, a classically trained singer with a four-octave range, handled the vocals, which echoed Jefferson Airplane’s in their depth and blend of high and low parts. Their self-titled 1967 LP was an impressive debut, featuring strong originals and covers of early compositions by Randy Newman and Fred Neil, as well as one of the first underground FM radio favorites, “White Ship.”
With the exception of a couple of badly dated tracks, th[e first album] is one of the best second-division psychedelic albums, with strong material that shows the immediately identifiable Edwards-Michaels vocal tandem at its best. According to the LP notes, the songs were largely inspired by novelist H.P. Lovecraft’s “macabre tales and poems of Earth populated by another race.” It’s more haunting than gloomy, though, with deft touches of folk, jazz, and horns.https://www.allmusic.com/artist/hp-lovecraft-mn0000948429/biography, https://www.allmusic.com/album/h-p-lovecraft-i-mw0000461464
George Edwards [real name: Charles Ethan Kenning] tells us:
I played Folk Music in high school, then in Chicago area clubs, and later toured the country playing most of the many Folk venues that had become popular in the early 60’s. . . . In the mid sixties, I began my association with Dunwich, working with them as a writer and session singer, eventually recording a series of singles for them. We recorded some of my original songs, and the Lennon/McCartney composition “Norwegian Wood” among others. . . .
In addition to my solo career, I was also working as a backup singer with a trio, playing supper clubs in the midwest. David Michaels was also part of this group. I was still pursuing a recording career, and had just recorded a Chip Taylor tune “Anyway That You Want Me” for my next Dunwich single. After listening to the finished record, I decided to invite David to come in and add a harmony vocal. We had been singing together in the above mentioned group for a couple of years, and had developed a very good musical rapport, and a tight vocal blend. . . .
[M]uch of the material on the first LP was from my folk days. . . . “The Drifter” is a Travis Edmundson tune, also from my folk material.https://www.psychedelicbabymag.com/2011/07/hp-lovecraft-interview-with-ethan.html
Here is Travis Edmundson:
Here is Edmundson live:
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