Various Artists

Mystic Males: Soft Sounds for Gentle People Presents Tripped-Out Troubadour

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Compiled by the same Pet Records crew that previously assembled the three-volume folk-rock smorgasbord Soft Sounds for Gentle People, Mystic Males unearths 23 weird-beard psych-folk obscurities from the late '60s, spotlighting the hirsute singer/songwriters that sprouted like weed in post-Dylan Greenwich Village and post-Byrds Los Angeles. Though created in the laboratories of metropolitan America, much of the material here boasts a pastoral, back-to-nature sensibility. Between them, the sensual delights of either flora or flesh dominate virtually every song. Meanwhile, Svengali-like figures including Curt Boettcher, Tom Wilson, and Terry Melcher lurk on the sonic periphery, contributing the trademark touches that make this music so wonderfully emblematic of its era. Highlights include Harumi's heady "Hunters of Heaven," Bob Ray's Donovan-inspired "(Girl with The) Cameo Ring," and Dick Domane's heavy-lidded "Bad Dream."