Reviews

Spanish label Guerssen rolls out the acid-folk, acoustic and psych releases

If you’re unaware of the Spanish label Guerssen I urge you to point your web browser at their page post haste. Guerssen has increasingly turned its hand at finding late ’70s releases that maintain the spirit of the initial hippy era; one such talent is ALAN MUNSON who cut two solo albums in ’75 (Good Morning World ) and ’79 (First Light). Vocally Munson’s gentle voice recalls Merrel Fankhauser as do his emblematic hippyish West Coast songs, which stay close to the Crosby, Stills and Nash harmony format at all times. The multi layered vocals and Munson’s apt guitar parts are always mellow and often enlightening.His earlier duo from ’72, COOLEY-MUNSON’s In Debt, has charm (both lads were only 19) but it isn’t as musically assured as Munson’s later albums.

ALAN MUNSON / GOOD MORNING WORLD (GUERSSEN/SPAIN)

Recorded after releasing a duo album in 1972 with Bill Cooley “In Debt” ; Santa Barbara, CA based singer songwriter Alan Munson’s cassette-only released 1975 solo debut “Good Morning World” is being released for the first time on CD.

The jacket has been changed but includes a printed booklet inside as well as a lyric card.

It starts off well with the first song, “Good Morning World”, a beautiful piece of work reminiscent of the early Beatles.

The 7th song, Freedom, is a great song. It is pure, youthful and refreshing and the kind of song that you would like to recommend be used in the movie, “Little Love Melody”.

Alan’s appeal is in his ability as a songwriter and composer as well as his sweet vocals.

With an electric sound as a back-up, he skillfully utilizes the beautiful acoustic sounds, and the feeling throughout has a mellow psychedelic feel to it.

Already having composed more than 400 songs, we can only hope that with this comeback Alan will continue to provide us with more beautiful sounds.

ALAN MUNSON / FIRST LIGHT (GUERSSEN/SPAIN)

For the first time, Alan Munson’s second solo album released by Parallax Records in 1979, will be released in CD form, including a lyric card. Singer/Songwriter Alan Munson was based in Santa Barbara, CA.

It contains a rich variety of psychedelic, folk and country rock.

Highly recommended is the 4th song, It’s Cold Outside. The mellow vocals and acoustic guitar, vocals and harmony are interwoven into a beautiful sound that is absolutely fabulous.

Fans of CTI’s “Flow” or Chuck and Mary Perrin’s first album are sure to like it. It is sure to become one of the albums you want to include in your favorites of 2008. Amazing!!

Cooley – Munson “In Debt” LP/CD

This is an extremely rare 1972 release of <cooley-munson “in=”” debt”=””>private folk music LP made by two young Californians. It`s a masterpiece from a Guerssen perspective that is half psychedelic rock and half acid folk with a soft West Coast twist. The vocals are sweet, gentle, and gives off a soft ambience that fits into the genre of great folk music. It`s a great piece that is enhanced by the exquisite guitar sounds and beautiful vocals with a British folk tone. Being remastered at the Shadoks studio ensures that truly high quality music is guaranteed. Great!!

COOLEY-MUNSON / IN DEBT (GUERSSEN/SPAIN)

Santa Barbara, CA based singer/songwriter Bill Cooley and Alan Munson are releasing their 1972 independently produced (Studio West Records) only duo album for the first time on CD. It includes a lyric card.

Only 500 original copies were ever produced and it is a collectors item that is in high demand.

One feels early Beatles influences in “I Need A Change”, with a soft psychedelic sound and a guitar solo that is out of this world.

“Reflections” does not quite amount to 10CC’s famous tune “I’m Not In Love” but it can handle a bit of criticism. This may be giving it a bit too much praise but this kind of LP is the reason that fans love independently produced records.

The highlight of the album is the mellow psychedelic song “Where Is The Change”.

Listening to the intro with the mellow vocals with the psychedelic guitar just makes your heart melt. The guitar comes in later and takes the music like a storm but at times can be gently uplifting. The vocals that come after the break just melts you away.

It is a song that you will become addicted to. Japanese GS fans will love it.


Alan Munson : Good Morning World (US,1974,re.2008)

The beautiful vocal harmonies on this solo album are still there, as if he never quit as a duo, just like the impression on the back cover, where you can see him taking a pose before a landscape (right),.. with himself (left). The liner note introduction mention an important pre-dating experience which changed his life as a musician, which started with a feeling of disappointment after having visited a producer in LA, who said he had to work on more self-experienced songs before coming back. And that’s what he did, literally and drastically, leaving us with a witnessing album of such an experience.

In what we know about Buddhism and other researches for enlightenment or spiritual relief, we often hear about the idea that we should quit our daily lives to be able to meditate on our direct way of experiences. If we should do that literally any time it could also mean a fleeing of any responsibilities and commitment, while we could also have practiced this by making only a conscious distance with our personality alone, while taking only a distance from daily life in mind, while still consciously participating with attention to all the confronting deepest inner needs which we could gradually fulfil in this context as well.- Just at the emotional highlight with a relationship and meeting point, being afraid that one day this might change to something bad, that’s where the songwriter left, trying to keep to good feeling and memory, that should be able to kept high also without this. (I must say I have experienced a likewise situation, but now I know that such decision also destroyed that special connection, and that it wasn’t able to live on without it. (Later I realised that eventually, in a commitment, you are destined to go to a next level, where we can experience who we as individuals and as caretakers for others really are, so that for those who really care about the other this feeling can not become worse, while only illusions and situation-depending experiences can be destroyed by time and change). Alan Munson went for keeper of the energy of the experience itself, which, captured in a moment on an album, of course was able to bring something of that special moment of this, into words and music.

Read the original review here


Alan Munson : First Light (US,1979,re.2008)

April 2008, by Gerald Van Waes
“Psyche Van Het Folk” radio show, Radio Centraal, Antwerp, Belgium

A few years after Alan’s debut I think he still delivered a strong context-bound next chapter to the two previous albums. There is a little less attention to deeper arrangements, but the songs still sound fine, even when several of them are a bit more influenced by country-rock. The overall feeling is light and reveals some contentment and a certain positivism expressed by sunny flavours and a happy and a light feeling which may be somewhat typical for citizens from sunny California. The song “Good morning world”, standing for a hopeful new beginning, is taken also to this second solo album, with a radio friendly happy version. And also that old love isn’t forgotten, which can be noticed in almost every song, but despite my remarks on the previous album, the positiveness and energy of it, is still able to live on and feed his actions further. I also like very much the 12-string driven songs. The bonus track, referring to the funny feeling that at 30 years old he still is playing rock’n roll is a bit lighter in style, but as a song still fits well as an addition to this chapter or period.

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Cooley / Munson : In Debt (US,1972,re.2008)

This duo from Santa Barbara, California shows creatively all the sunny/beach healing energy of the bay area, in an extremely relaxed way and with a distance to the world and also to their own experiences. “In Debt” deals with their own consequences in relationships, in committing and in leaving, looking for change that was never found. The front cover says “we will no longer be responsible for debts contracted by ourselves on any other person”, while at the same time they also deal with the whole reality of what is left behind. The side path, outside it all, makes above all a very creative meditation. It is even as if the 60s sounds come to a halt now, with new free expressions of honest and calm retrospective songs. The lead vocals are beautifully gentle, and so there is little percussion. The dual guitars work like gentle breezes. The attractive songs are kept relatively simple, and because the melodic-rhythmic ideas of the guitars are well adapted to the song melodies, this gives them a rather timeless feeling. “In The Rain” has a really beautiful melody-driven acoustic guitar tune, taking its place to develop. “Sightly Sue” has a certain surf-effect on the guitar, revealing a California beach feeling, perhaps even something of an island, separated from the land. More often it is acoustic and electric guitar that are combined. The song “In Debt” is also worth a mention for its beautiful vocal harmonies. A recommended, enjoyable album.

Read the original review here