Various Artists

Fifth Pipedream Vol. 1

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Matthew Katz, manager for both the Jefferson Airplane and Moby Grape in their early days, was behind the assembly (and co-producer of) this late-'60s anthology of San Francisco rock acts. Only It's a Beautiful Day, represented by two tracks, will be known to most fans; also on board are Tripsichord Music Box, Indian Puddin' & Pipe, and Black Swan. It's run of the mill late-'60s Bay Area psychedelia for the most part. None of the groups possess the strong material or distinctive sounds that the likes of the Airplane and the Grape had (although the influence of the Airplane is sometimes pervasive, particularly in It's a Beautiful Day's vocal arrangements). At times, and particularly on the Tripsichord Music Box tracks, you can hear the charm of the early San Francisco sound starting to get subsumed by a lumbering heaviosity (especially in the guitars). Indian Puddin' & Pipe and Black Swan take a lighter and folkier approach than the other acts, and the two cuts by Black Swan ("Lady Blonde" and "She Encircles Me") are actually the standouts. They have the engaging, trippy melodies and vocal harmonies typical of much Haight-Ashbury rock, and a somewhat poppier and brassier take on things than their peers on this LP, without sounding like ordinary pop/rock.

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