The Electric Prunes

Mass in F Minor

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For fans of the Electric Prunes, the 1968 Reprise album Mass in F Minor is a disaster, but for aficionados of failed and bizarre concept records of the late '60s, it's definitely worth investigating. The eight tracks on this religious-based rock opera (with lyrics sung in Latin!) were written, arranged, and conducted by classical composer David Axelrod and spurred on by then-Prunes manager Lenny Poncher and record producer Dave Hassinger. Evidently, all parties involved, including the band, agreed that this project would propel the Electric Prunes from minor-league garage rockers into a finely tuned psychedelic ensemble to be taken seriously as musicians and artists. Unfortunately, the Prunes were not prepared to tackle Axelrod's complex and involved arrangements without a major struggle. In order to keep the sessions from going into costly overtime, Hassinger brought in studio musicians to finish the project. The results were completely unlike the group's previous two releases, with the majority of the tracks being performed by ad hoc Prunes. Shortly after the album's release, the original lineup faded into obscurity, taking Mass in F Minor with them. However, an eerie version of "Kyrie Eleison" received fleeting attention when it was featured in the film Easy Rider.

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