Garage/Psychedelic Rock U.S.A. (Tracks)
The West Coast Pop Art Experimental Band (Los Angeles, California, U.S.A.)
“Shifting Sands” (written by Baker Knight) A1 (opening track) included on the album “Part One”
Released on Reprise Records ( R 6247) in February 1967
Hal Blaine – Drums
Kenny Bobo – Vocals
Dan Harris – Guitar
Shaun Harris – Bass, Vocals
Michael Lloyd – Guitar, Vocals
Ron Morgan – Guitar
Bob Markley – Composer
Art Direction – Ed Thrasher
Design – Charles E. White III
Engineer – Lee Herschberg
Photography By – Carl Frith
Producer – Bob Markley, Jimmy Bowen
You know the love I gave you
Is slipping from your hands
‘Cause I was born to wander
Like the shifting of the sands
They say that I did hurt you
But they don’t understand
That I was born to wander
Like the shifting of the sands
They say that I will follow
Beware my heart commands
For I was born to wander
Like the shifting of the sands
Track List :
|1.||“Shifting Sands”||Baker Knight||3:54|
|2.||“I Won’t Hurt You”||Lloyd, Markley, D. Harris||2:21|
|4.||“Help, I’m a Rock”||Frank Zappa||4:22|
|5.||“Will You Walk With Me”||Bonnie Dobson, D. Harris||2:57|
|6.||“Transparent Day”||Markley, D. Harris||2:15|
|7.||“Leiyla”||Markley, D. Harris||2:51|
|8.||“Here’s Where You Belong”||P.F. Sloan||2:47|
|9.||“If You Want This Love”||Knight||2:47|
|10.||“‘Scuse Me, Miss Rose”||Bob Johnston||3:01|
|11.||“High Coin”||Van Dyke Parks||1:52|
One of the more offbeat acts to emerge during the psychedelic era, the West Coast Pop Art Experimental Band were certainly eclectic and ambitious enough to live up to their slightly clumsy moniker, capable of jumping from graceful folk-rock to wailing guitar freakouts to atonal, multilayered, avant-garde compositions at a moment’s notice, but they also reflected a strongly divided creative mindset, with Bob Markley, the lyricist and ostensive leader of the group, on one side and the rest of the band on the other.
Danny Harris and his brother Shaun grew up in a musical family — their father, Roy Harris, was a respected composer, and their mother, Joanna Harris, was a pianist who taught at Juilliard. In 1962, their family relocated to Los Angeles and the Harris Brothers joined a local rock band called the Snowmen, with Danny on guitar and Shaun on bass. Danny and Shaun attended the same high school as Michael Lloyd, who was playing guitar in another, more successful local group called the Rogues; Shaun was recruited to join the Rogues as bassist, and soon Michael, Shaun, and Danny began working together on music of their own. They installed a makeshift recording studio at Lloyd’s house, and cut a handful of fine singles under the name the Laughing Wind, with John Ware as their drummer. The Laughing Wind had become acquainted with noted L.A. producer and scenester Kim Fowley, and Fowley introduced the band to Bob Markley, the Oklahoma-born son of a wealthy oil tycoon who had studied law but had ambitions of making a name for himself in music, having released an unsuccessful single for Reprise Records. Markley owned a large mansion in Hollywood where he played host to the Yardbirds, who played a party at his home when they found they couldn’t book a public show due to problems with work permits. Markley was impressed by the attention the band received from the audience of music business insiders and teenage girls, and decided he wanted to form a band rather than work as a solo act. Markley liked the Laughing Wind well enough that he made them an offer: if he could join the group as vocalist and lyricist, he would bankroll touring expenses and new gear, including a full light show. The band agreed, and soon Markley had renamed the group the West Coast Pop Art Experimental Band; he also drew up contracts that saw to it that he owned the group’s name, as well as their publishing.
In 1966, Markley arranged for the West Coast Pop Art Experimental Band to release their first album, Part One, which appeared on a small local label, Fifo Records; it was largely devoted to covers (many recorded by the Laughing Wind before Markley’s involvement), though he did contribute some originals such as “Insanity” and “Don’t Break My Balloon.” While the album’s sales were modest, the band won a following in Los Angeles for their adventurous sound and elaborate light show, and they landed a deal with Reprise Records. The WCPAEB’s first major-label album, Part One, was the first full flowering of the group’s musically ambitious side, through Markley’s lyrics tended to draw a polarized reaction from listeners; the album also saw the group expand into a sextet with the addition of guitarist Ron Morgan, another former member of the Rogues who arrived as tensions grew between Markley and Lloyd, the latter of who thought little of Markley’s talents. Lloyd was gone from the lineup for their third LP, Vol. 2: Breaking Through, released later in 1967, with all but two songs credited to Markley and Shaun Harris. By the time the group began work on their third album, the WCPAEB were beginning to splinter — Danny Harris left the band due to health problems, with Morgan handling all the guitar chores, and John Ware was out as drummer, with session musician Jim Gordon taking his place. The finished product, A Child’s Guide to Good and Evil, is often cited as the band’s best and most adventurous work, but Markley’s convoluted lyrics became increasingly pretentious and bizarre, and when the album failed to sell, they were dropped by Reprise.
The Harris Brothers and Lloyd formed a short-lived group called California Spectrum, but when Jimmy Bowen, who had produced the group’s earlier work, launched his own label, Amos Records, the WCPAEB landed a new record deal. The group’s 1969 release Where’s Daddy? credited Markley and the Harris Brothers, though Michael Lloyd and Ron Morgan also played on the sessions; the album featured several songs that dealt with young women in a somewhat disturbing manner, and once again they failed to connect with a larger audience. Even by this band’s standards, the West Coast Pop Art Experimental Band’s swan song was curious: Markley opted to rename the group Markley, and recorded an album titled A Group, though the full WCPAEB lineup appeared on the LP. A Group received little notice, and soon the group was history under either name. Lloyd went on to a successful career as a producer and A&R man, Shaun Harris launched a brief solo career before going into film, Ron Morgan went on to play with Three Dog Night, Danny Harris divided his time between acting and folk music, and Bob Markley produced material for other artists before he died in 2003.
Robert Markley was a bizarre and eccentric musician of the 1960s who formed the West Coast Pop Art Experimental Band in Los Angeles in 1966 with guitarists Shaun Harris and Dan Harris, and help from Kim Fowley. Following a collection of covers titled Volume One (Fifo, 1966), the psychedelic music of their second album, Part One (Reprise, 1967 – Sundazed, 2001), fragile and dreamy, had little in common with the bands of their era (Shifting Sands). The third album would be released only 24 years later, as The Legendary Unreleased Album(Raspberry, 1980).
The following album Breaking Through Volume 2(Reprise, 1967) was less successful in recreating that surreal atmosphere, despite the lengthy Smell Of Incense and the Fugs-ian satire of Suppose They Give Us A War And Nobody Comes. The first two official album are summarized on Transparent Day (Edsel, 1986).
The band released A Child’s Guide To Good & Evil(Reprise, 1968), which increased the similarities with the Fugs, both in terms of agit-prop satire (Until The Poorest People Have Money To Spend, A Child Of A Few Hours Is Burning To Death) and in terms of bizarre collage techniques (Anniversary Of World War 3, with proto-glitch music), Where’s My Daddy(Amos, 1969) and Markley A Group before disappearing.
A founding member of the West Coast Pop Art Experimental Band, producer Michael Lloyd, assembled the musicians who recorded October Country (1967) and the ones who recorded The Smoke (1968 – Kismet, 2012), both studio project that never had a follow-up. The latter album includes the Turtles-esque Self-Analysis, the Beach Boys-esque October Country Cowboys And Indians, clearly derivative of the Hollies and of the musichall of the Bonzo Dog Doo Dah Band, Odyssey, a melodic collage that toys with the Beatles‘ Magical Mystery Tour and with horn-driven soul music, and especially the Frank Zappa-esque instrumental The Hobbit Symphony. Lloyd was one of the most creative producers of the age of “bubblegum”, of the one-hit wonders artificially constructed in the studio.
The West Coast Pop Art Experimental Band – “Part One” Album cover photo (front)
The West Coast Pop Art Experimental Band