Bruce Mackay

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Although the ESP label is most known for its far-out free jazz and wacky rock bands, it also made a few bids at recording folk-rock in the last half of the 1960s, albeit folk-rock of a somewhat off-kilter…
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Although the ESP label is most known for its far-out free jazz and wacky rock bands, it also made a few bids at recording folk-rock in the last half of the 1960s, albeit folk-rock of a somewhat off-kilter kind. In addition to Pearls Before Swine, there was Randy Burns and the even more obscure Bruce MacKay, who did an album for the company in 1967. The self-titled LP combined elements of Bob Dylan (in the free-associative rambling wordplay), Tim Buckley (in the reverbed guitar lines), Donovan, and the aforementioned Pearls Before Swine without adding up to anything substantial. The long-winded songs tend to drift along interminably, without enough melodic interest and lyrical insight to spark, let alone maintain, interest. It branches out a bit beyond the usual folk-rock guitar/organ instrumentation with some flute, brass, and (on "The Song About the Railroad Shack") a dueting woman vocalist. The ESP ethic comes into play with ragged timekeeping and execution, implying that the songs were either somewhat improvised or not given much, if any, of a polish in the studio.