It's A Beautiful Day
December 8, 2017 8:52 PM   Subscribe

Truly delicious psychedelic rock from 1969: It's A Beautiful Day. [full album] Side A: White Bird, Hot Summer Day, Wasted Union Blues, Girl With No Eyes

Side B: Bombay Calling, [which on the album runs into] Bulgaria, [which on the album runs into] Time Is
posted by hippybear (30 comments total) 23 users marked this as a favorite
 
All the individual tracks are ripped from vinyl, so clicks and pops but also yay!
posted by hippybear at 8:52 PM on December 8, 2017 [3 favorites]


The band was almost invited to play at Woodstock. When Michael Lang was negotiating with Bill Graham to get the Grateful Dead to appear, Graham insisted Lang put one of two other acts that he also managed on the bill. Lang then listened to a tape of both It's a Beautiful Day and the other band and liked them both so much that he couldn't decide, so he flipped a coin and It's a Beautiful Day lost. The band that won was Santana, who became stars overnight.

Also, the story behind White Bird
posted by philip-random at 9:32 PM on December 8, 2017 [3 favorites]


The Wikipedia page for the album has some fun facts, and notes that the arrangement for Bombay Calling was used by Deep Purple in their song Child in Time.
posted by filthy light thief at 9:32 PM on December 8, 2017


Girl With No Eyes

Grl.
posted by Greg_Ace at 9:37 PM on December 8, 2017 [14 favorites]


This is why I find U2's "It's a Beautiful Day" a bit unsettling, i.e., I already had a musical association for the phrase.

During the divorce-related division of the albums, I let this go without a word—I knew it meant more to my ex. For similar reasons, he let go of all the Springsteen bootlegs.

And thanks, hippybear, for sending me on another unexpected trip back in time.
posted by she's not there at 9:41 PM on December 8, 2017 [2 favorites]


Really loving Hot Summer Days. Thanks for sharing
posted by TestamentToGrace at 9:42 PM on December 8, 2017 [2 favorites]


Great band.

I discovered them a few years ago, when I was on a jefferson Airplane inspired Frisco Rock kick and they seemed to fit in.
posted by MartinWisse at 10:51 PM on December 8, 2017 [1 favorite]


I had "White Bird" in my head for a while some time ago and had no idea where it came from. I must have heard a random phrase or something to spark the mental replay. Thanks for posting!
posted by I_Love_Bananas at 5:16 AM on December 9, 2017


Remembering that I always thought that if Jefferson Airplane had gone in a more folky, less rock-y direction, this is what they would have sounded like.
posted by I_Love_Bananas at 5:18 AM on December 9, 2017 [1 favorite]


This live version adds a double-time beat which really changes the vibe! Not sure I like it... :-/
posted by I_Love_Bananas at 5:20 AM on December 9, 2017


Seems like it was in & out of print for a long time, with various re-pressings coming & going. My parents had the vinyl, but it wasn’t until maybe 6 years ago i finally came across a CD pressing, & it stands up incredibly well. When I had the vinyl at hand, I pretty much put it on side 2, & that run of songs in particular still blows my mind.

Makes me nostalgic for the San Francisco of my youth, which of course doesn’t exist any more.
posted by Devils Rancher at 6:43 AM on December 9, 2017


I discovered them a few years ago, when I was on a jefferson Airplane inspired Frisco Rock kick and they seemed to fit in.

I seem to remember ( I could be mixing up years ) that Toni Brown's gathering in Blakeslee had both It's a Beautiful Day and ... geez, was it Starship at that point on the same bill.
posted by mikelieman at 6:48 AM on December 9, 2017


We got the vinyl in a bin a few years back and it’s awesome. Gonna go listen to it today! Especially since it’s NOT a beautiful day outside.
posted by freecellwizard at 6:53 AM on December 9, 2017


I have loved ‘White Bird’ since the first time I heard it.
I ripped the album to digital for my sister in law a couple of years ago and fell in love all over again.
posted by Gadgetenvy at 8:32 AM on December 9, 2017


About ten years ago, I was doing some tourism development consulting work in Mendocino County and was surprised to discover that guitarist Hal Wagenet was serving as an elected County Supervisor. He was terrific.
posted by carmicha at 9:04 AM on December 9, 2017 [1 favorite]


I first hear White Bird in Hawaii, performed live by Leon & Malia.
posted by mule98J at 10:28 AM on December 9, 2017


I've been thinking about it for a while and having trouble defining psychadelic rock — for myself and my son who I want to introduce to some examples. I know it's musically distinct, but all I can think of is the "one pill makes you smaller" drug references in the lyrics.
posted by spbmp at 10:58 AM on December 9, 2017


I will say, that sweet repeating guitar lick at 9:16 (middle of Hot Summer Days) really nails it for me as psychedelic
posted by spbmp at 11:03 AM on December 9, 2017


I've been thinking about it for a while and having trouble defining psychadelic rock — for myself and my son who I want to introduce to some examples. I know it's musically distinct, but all I can think of is the "one pill makes you smaller" drug references in the lyrics.

Try this: Grateful Dead - Dark Star / The Other One / Dark Star / Wharf Rat / St Stephen ( 12/31/1978 - Winterland; SF, CA )
posted by mikelieman at 11:06 AM on December 9, 2017 [1 favorite]


I've been thinking about it for a while and having trouble defining psychadelic rock

I tend to think of psychedelic rock as how the instrumental breaks progress and how dislocated they make you feel. I don't have a good definition myself, but I know it when I hear it.
posted by hippybear at 11:13 AM on December 9, 2017 [1 favorite]


Try this:...
Yes, sweet. I came in as a bit of a Grateful Dead skeptic and still need to see how it sits with me for a longer listen, but then you had me from the first couple of seconds of guitar.
posted by spbmp at 12:03 PM on December 9, 2017



I saw "It's a Beautiful Day" way back in college (1970 or so). They were an amazingly good live band, long takes on songs and you really couldn't sit still once they got going. And there were far too few people at the concert for how good the band was.

Got their albums and probably still have the vinyl in my collection'o'vinyl that mostly I don't pay attention to much.
posted by Death and Gravity at 1:28 PM on December 9, 2017


Yes, sweet. I came in as a bit of a Grateful Dead skeptic and still need to see how it sits with me for a longer listen, but then you had me from the first couple of seconds of guitar.

I did sleepaway camp as a kid/teen ( 1979 - 1982 ) then worked as a CIT and later Staff through summer 86.

My first Dead show was fall 87 at the Spectrum in Philly. I *immediately* recognized the "Sing Along" nature of the whole thing, and I had fall tour tickets for 1995, but never used them :(

Check out "First Sets", which were definitely more Rock/Folk/Country than the "Second Sets" where they let loose with the psychedelic jam thing.
posted by mikelieman at 1:52 PM on December 9, 2017


Not to abuse the edit, but really, when I was taping shows, I NEVER IMAGINED that pretty much everything would be available all the time, streaming to any devices I might have.

https://archive.org/details/GratefulDead

has... Everything?
posted by mikelieman at 1:54 PM on December 9, 2017


I heard a live set of It's A Beautiful Day once that went from Bulgaria into Time Is with such an insanely long sustained moment of suspension I thought I might go entirely mad before it resolved itself. When it finally landed, it felt like an orgasm or like coming up from underwater to finally grab breath or maybe both of those things combined. They're one of the few bands to create that kind of tension within me.
posted by hippybear at 2:32 PM on December 9, 2017


It's a Beautiful Day occupies a curious space in between psych and progressive rock for me due to the violin and movement-oriented songwriting. Fun Fact: the bassist went on to the original lineup of Pablo Cruise.

David LaFlamme's first solo album has remade versions of White Bird and Hot Summer Day with a bit better production/pressing. Fun Fact 2: this album was the first production credit of Mitch Froom (Crowded House, 40% of everything you heard in the 90s, etc.).
posted by rhizome at 9:08 PM on December 9, 2017


I've been thinking about it for a while and having trouble defining psychadelic rock —

I’ve been listening to some Spirit lately, & I think they’re a fine example. Fresh Garbage, Uncle Jack, Mechanical World, are songs that encapsulate the ideal.

Nothing beats Airplane’s Lather.
posted by Devils Rancher at 9:29 PM on December 9, 2017


Hah, now I'm listening to this stuff. It replaces the psych of It's A Beautiful Day with trumpets and stuff.

Swept Away is five and a half minutes of solid instrumental Love Boat B-roll. Deep cut!

Easy Woman brings out the Mormon shade of David as he fends off the advances of a randy lady. Note the quote of Traffic's "I'm a Man," all over the place. Intentional?

This Man is above-average white funk mixed with something that's not quite disco.

'course there are some stinkers, too, saved only by the fact that it's early jingo-beat, 15 years before Lee Greenwood.
posted by rhizome at 9:41 PM on December 9, 2017


I don't know why but there are very few good male/female duets, with Leather and Lace perhaps the least of them.

Jefferson Airplane and X are the two rock bands I know of that made the most of it. If you like It's a Beautiful Day, the albums "Jefferson Airplane Takes Off" and "Early Flight" (with Signe Anderson instead of Grace Slick) may be more to your liking. I saw a sort-of reunion when Anderson and Paul Kantner showed up to a Hot Tuna show in Portland, and it was pretty amazing.

High Flyin' Bird
Running Around this World
J.P.P. McStep Blues
It's Alright
Blues From An Airplane
Chauffeur Blues
It's No Secret
posted by msalt at 9:54 PM on December 9, 2017


Not a musician but I've heard that technically, one of the prime characteristics of psychedelic music is the use of modal melodies. I think a lot of acoustic bands (like Nick Drake) are as psychedelic as various rock bands.

If we're talking about the Grateful Dead, you should start with their first 3 live albums (plus "Alligator" off of Anthem of the Sun, which was a studio/live hybrid.) That 1978 cut is OK, I guess, but far better IMHO, are these 3 tracks:

- The Other One (April 28, 1971) - full speed improvised hard rock. Amazing.

- Jam after Truckin' aka Epilogue (London, May 26 1972) Jazzy, delicate, beautiful group improvisation

- China Cat Sunflower => I Know You Rider, classic crowd pleaser, from May 3, 1972. The first song kind of distills the optimistic, "magical" side of the psychedelic sound.
posted by msalt at 10:21 PM on December 9, 2017 [1 favorite]


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