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The Ghost (60s Rock): When You're Dead - One Second

Album Notes

The sole album by this British band was a strange entrant into the field of late-'60s/early-'70s psychedelia, mixing folk-rock, much heavier West Coast-influenced psych, and early hard rock. The lead-off track, "When You're Dead," is the most effective and famous (at least in the world of psychedelic collectordom) cut. Lead singer Paul Eastment sounds much like Family's Roger Chapman, but even creepier (and more ostentatious), as the group vamp around a skin-crawling riff, anchored by an almost garagey shrill organ. Yet the second song, "Hearts and Flowers," could almost be the work of an entirely different outfit, with the band's other lead singer, Shirley Kent, shining on a pretty folk tune reminiscent of some of Fairport Convention's most precious early numbers. The dichotomy between the songs featuring Eastment and Kent isn't as extreme on any of the following tracks, but it contributes to an uneasy balancing act between hard rock and folk-rock that's not entirely successful. At times they sound like a far grimmer Jefferson Airplane; at others, they come off like a second-line British hard rock/early progressive band with a demonic tinge. Most of the time, the music has a peculiarly unremittingly tense, almost angst-driven edge, the songs and overall approach lacking enough variety to sustain as much interest as the promising initial pair of songs. The CD reissue on Mellotron adds the non-LP 1970 single "I've Got to Get to Know You" as a bonus track. ~ Richie Unterberger


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