Trilogy for the Masses

Trilogy for the Masses

ABCS 658 September 1968

        [Performed AS IS in One Take!]

Produced by BOB THIELE (Eden's Children, Free Spirits) for ABC Records and HARRY PALMER and FRED CENEDELLA for Javelin Enterprises Inc.
at Fleetwood Studios, Revere MA Spring 1968

ENGINEERS: RUSS HAMM, BOB ARNOLD, DAVID GREENE/ Ford Theatre: Mazz–organ, vocal/Butch–guitar/ Harry–guitar/Jimmy–bass, ld vocal on 4/Bobby–drums/ Joey–ld vocal. STRING QUARTET: CHARLES McCRACKEN, BERNARD EICHEN, AARON ROSAND, GEORGE RICCI/ ARRANGERS: String Quartet by WALLY MAGEE/ all other instrumentation by Ford Theatre/ Total concept by HARRY


    Ford Theatre is the place where Abraham Lincoln was
assassinated. And in these days of horrifyingly regular pub-
lic murders, it's reasonable to ask what kind of name this
is for a rock and roll group. A sick joke?
    Absolutely not. These six young men are deadly serious,
and they chose their name because it corresponds in a
way to what they are trying to create -- a vision of America
in all its present chaos and agony.
    Harry Palmer, the leader, talks about it with the inten-
sity of a man who feels he has got to be heard. "We're try-
ing to get at the kind of desperation and searching that
people are going through," he says. "This is as much a
dramatic work as a musical one. We're trying to create a
whole environment -- an ominous kind of environment."
    All the lyrics are in the second person, addressed to us.
We're on the spot -- and there are very few of us who won't
see parts of ourselves in these lines, or recognize the kind
of tension that builds up in these long, corrosive instru-
mental breaks.
    The very least you can say about this album is that it's
original, and fearlessly honest. And that's not nearly as
common as some people think it is.

Contributing Editor
Jazz & Pop Magazine


Bob Thiele • Faith and Green from Larry Newton, President ABC Records • Pauline Rivelli (Jazz & Pop Magazine) • Dick Summer • Chuck and Joe • Ronnie Pagnini • Bill Garcia • Jefferson Kaye • Dr. John Cicchetti • Joe Thomas • Good Ol' Buck Spurr • Mark Shuman • Uncle T • Chuck Bean, Jr. • Mickey Wallach • Brian Interland • Bud Katzel • Mike Martineau • Moe Preskell • Chet Gierlach • Tom Phillips • Lili Seyfert • Steve Cremer • Mel Cheren • Arthur Jordan • Vern Marsden • All The Parents • The Entire Population of Milford, Massachusettss • Dawn and Jim • Nancy • and Especially Karen and Amy and Sandy.

All Music Guide review:

Ford Theatre was typical of the sound of Boston psychedelic rock circa 1968: dark, foreboding, somber songs, sometimes quite long, with sub-California acid rock guitar, and more weight on the organ than many bands of the period carried. Certainly the instrumental break on the 14-minute "Wake Up in the Morning" owes a lot to Doors songs like "Light My Fire." The gothic, classically influenced "Theme for the Masses" is reprised a couple of times after it opens the album, giving the record a thematic aura that really isn't borne out by the contents. It's easy to imagine audiences grooving out to the lengthy breaks on "101 Harrison Street (Who You Belong To)" on those nights when there weren't any major headliners passing through town, settling for a reasonable approximation of psychedelic rock heavyweights. "Back to Philadelphia" takes a funkier, more straight-ahead approach, though the lyrics maintain a sense of displacement and disillusionment that permeates much of the music and lyrics. "Postlude Looking Back" closes the album on a gentler, almost countrified note, though again with the sort of muted gloom characteristic of the rest of the material. On the whole, not a bad acquisition for the insatiable psychedelic collector looking for something typical of the era that hasn't been reissued on CD, though it's not that distinctive in approach or quality.

––Richie Unterberger, All Music Guide


  The JOYFUL NOISE (JM/JA/BW/RT) '67 Acetate TOTAL TIME = 55:05

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He sarcastically spoke small thoughts
        About the way he couldn't open eyes
   And how he tried to open
                  Eyes, eyes, eyes.

    Another time, eyes had meant so little.
            But tomorrow he will re-create himself
                 And see and see and see
   Where his efforts have taken him.

                             A. C. (1967)

Time Changes