Thomas & Richard Frost

Visualise

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Visualise, the long lost album by Thomas & Richard Frost (ex-Powder), is not only available -- 33 years after it was originally recorded -- for the first time on compact disc, but for the first time in any format. In some ways, the album represents that rare occurrence when a genuine obscurity actually turns out to be better than expected after such a long wait. Indeed, Visualise turns out to be not just a lost classic from the late '60s, but a sublime and stunning "soft pop" wonder. The discovery of this "lost masterpiece," in fact, should create the kind of fervor that Billy Nicholls' long sought after and legendary Would You Believe album created when it was finally released on CD in 1999. In 1970, Thomas & Richard Frost had already recorded a handful of classic pop singles for Imperial and Liberty, including "She's Got Love," which charted at number 83 on Billboard's Top 100 singles chart. Each subsequent single was a step further toward what was sure to be their artistic tour de force, Visualise. Unfortunately, plans to release this album were inexplicably aborted in the 11th hour by Imperial's decision-makers, even though the master recordings were already in the can and the album had already been assigned a catalog number (LP-12450). Imperial was in disarray, and the Frosts were, unfortunately, victimized by what was going on behind the scenes. (In 1968, the Transamerica Corporation, the company that owned United Artists, bought the Liberty/Imperial labels and merged them with UA, but by 1970 UA transferred most of Imperial's artists to Liberty for future releases -- by 1971, Imperial had essentially ceased to exist as a distinct new-product label.)

Fast-forward to 2002: Rev-Ola's Joe Foster discovers the album and negotiates the release of Visualise in its entirety -- tracks one through 12 were the originally planned album, from the introductory "Prelude" to the album's "Outro" -- but Foster also thankfully includes the duo's original mono singles. For these fantastic 1969 recordings, the duo was backed by Kim Fowley's usual Imperial session gang -- including Skip Battin (ex-Skip & Flip, the Byrds, the Flying Burrito Brothers, and the New Riders of the Purple Sage) and Steppenwolf guitarist Mars Bonfire -- along with the cream of the crop of L.A.'s "Wrecking Crew" session players, including Barney Kessel, Larry Knechtel, and legendary drummer Hal Blaine (Allen Breneman also contributes drums). The album sessions, incidentally, were produced by Ted Glasser, who also co-wrote "If I Can't Be Your Lover" with singer Vic Dana. This excellent reissue's liner notes -- by archivist and renowned West Coast music expert Alec Palao, who also produced this amazing reissue for Rev-Ola -- were provided with input from Tom Martin, who also supplied various photographs and other memorabilia to expand the planned original sleeve. This release is sure to be praised far and wide by fans of West Coast psych-soft pop and bands like the Millennium, Sagittarius, or any other Curt Boettcher-produced releases from the same time period.

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