The Paupers

Ellis Island/Magic People

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The Paupers appeared at the Monterey Pop Festival in the summer of 1967, and this two-LP-on-one-CD compilation goes a long way toward answering any musical questions about them, summing up as it does a major part of their recorded legacy. One might suspect that it is no better than quasi-legal, but for the fact that the sound quality is excellent (and it is a manufactured CD), and that the artwork is of good quality. For reasons best known to themselves, the makers programmed the more ambitious Ellis Island tracks, mostly anchored in psychedelic blues, ahead of the cuts from the preceding Magic People album. Ironically, the tracks from that album, though much more overtly pop-oriented, actually come off stronger overall, as they succeeded rather better at what they set out to do -- mostly under four minutes and retaining a beat, and with a punchy garage band texture, they prove that less can be more next to the psychedelic excursions of their later material. The latter is overloaded with lots of fuzzed-out guitars, swirling organ, and some fairly standard blues-rock-style vocalizing, broken up by a few slightly lighter folk-rock moments, one languid, spacy interlude ("Ask Her Again"), and the pop/rock goof "Julliana." And given that Universal -- which owns the Verve catalog -- is unlikely to ever reissue any of this material, the interested and the curious may find it necessary to track down this CD.