This album adds a "chapter zero" to Time's story, as the demos included here predate the material released on Dog Days. These 35 minutes of music were recorded in January 1968, when Tom McFaul, Lynn David Newton, Richard Stanley, and David Rosenboom drove twice from Buffalo to a recording studio in Toronto. Their original brand of psychedelic music had already gelled, as songs like "Introductory Lines" and "Sad Benjamin" illustrate. The 11 tracks included here go back and forth between post-Sgt. Pepper's psychedelic pop and acid folk with medieval leanings. The inclusion of Stanley's solo rendition of "Kemp's Jig" is somewhat surprising -- the same traditional tune would become one of medieval progressive icon Gryphon's early live staples. "A Song for You," "Introductory Lines," and "Elin Experience" are the most interesting tracks. Quite experimental for 1967, they feature odd meters and shifting sections of straight pop songwriting and abstract developments. "Dover Beach" is a straightforward pop song in the Kinks/Turtles vein, while "Waking" and "Lily Has a Rose" fall back to delicate folk, with Stanley playing the lute. Despite the obscurity of the band and the imperfect sound quality (the tapes were discovered over 30 years after they were recorded), Before There Was... Time makes a very decent listen. This band had stumbled upon something good early on. It is a shame that they could not develop fully in Buffalo's conservative climate.
Share this page
AllMusic Review by François Couture