When Scopes Collide

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Six years after the end of the Kaleidoscope, members Stuart Brotman, Chris Darrow, Solomon Feldhouse, Paul Lagos, and Chester Crill (alias Max Buda, alias Templeton Parcely) teamed up again to record this reunion album for Mike Nesmith's Pacific Arts label. (It has also been reported that the "De Paris Letante" credited on the album is, in fact, another ex-member, David Lindley.) The song selection is, if anything, even more eclectic than the band's earlier work. Covers of the Coasters ("Little Egypt"), Duke Ellington ("Black and Tan Fantasy"), and Chuck Berry ("You Never Can Tell") are included, along with the traditional folk song "Man of Constant Sorrow," Middle-Eastern-inspired music, and even an Eastern European bit, "Stu's Balkan Blues." Feldhouse's bag of exotic instruments has expanded, and both he and Brotman play tuba(!). The results are less exciting than all this might indicate, seemingly underproduced and a bit lacking in spirit. But there are highlights, the most effective being the Feldhouse-sung recasting of "Ghost Riders in the Sky" as a slow, spooky tune (it's reminiscent of Gregg Allman's solo version of "Midnight Rider") featuring two ouds -- and where else could you hear that?

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