Review Summary: One amazing gem to stumble upon
There are forgotten gems in music that fade away. Some even so good, they are just waiting to be stumbled upon many years later. Gandalf
is one of those gems. So who is Gandalf? Well the name would suggest a certain wizard from middle-earth, however that is not the Gandalf we will refer to. This band was formed during the late 1960's in New York. They released one and only one album on Capital records. The Record company distributed with the wrong record inside the sleeve, and did little to promote their debut, which damaged the bands career. With all the copies recalled, it mark a pretty fatal blow to Gandalf. It is such a shame as their debut was, and still is a very memorable one.
Vocals and Guitar
From the Start of Gandalf
it is much like a journey. Having not re-visited Psychedelic rock in quite some time, it was a very nostalgic experience; much like hearing an earlier release from The Doors. However Gandalf's sound is a separate sound from them. The vocal styles of Jim Morrison and Pete Sando could not be more different. While Morrison had a very deep and rigid style, Sando leans toward a soft, crooning approach, which works most effectively. Within the opening song, Golden Earrings
, he radiates his a calm yet impressive power within the lyrics he sings. His singing is not the only thing, but a major component it making this record sound like it does, which is a classic 1960's psychedelic record, much like The Fifth dimension
did on the song Aquarius
Frank Huback also brings a lot to the table for Gandalf
. The synthesizers work perfectly with Sando's vocal style and the rest of Gandalf's
line up. Never to far
and Scarlett Ribbons
showcase Huback in some very bright moments, and are prime examples of effectively using certain keys at the right moments. With Huback there is also Davey Bauer. He has a jazzy and controlled pace with drumming. Bauer and Huback seem to be a cohesive unit with good timing and patience.
The song Can You Travel In The Dark Alone
has the prime example of those two executing good timing together. This same song also displays Sando's ability outside of singing with a some excellent guitar sections.
The Lyrics on here are very well written by Gandalf
. They are not whiny, nor do they try to sound too intelligent, they just sound good. Everynight I'm in my room, Wondering where to throw my stone, Everynight I Watch The Moon, Can't you see I'm all alone
from I Watch the Moon
is to go with. They are very simple and they also work effectively with the style of music Gandalf creates. I Watch the moon
is the albums closer and a terrific song on an outside note.
The record flows very well. No song felt out of place or even too long, which is another thing to love about this album. At ten songs and a running time of about 32 minutes, it is well-made to be consistent. The only thing to be disliked is that there is not more to listen to. This album leaves you hungry for more of what Gandalf
can create, and it is quite the shame that will never happen. In the end, the only thing that really matters is at least we are left with an amazing record, one that stands the test of time even to today. Say what you what, but this is one amazing gym to stumble upon.
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