ALMOST THERE | ISSUE TWO
Keep your mind open
A juicy slice of sixties psychedelia.
No. 1 Kaleidoscope, ‘Keep Your Mind Open.’
Kaleidoscope. The original line-up.
Back row L-R: David Lindley, John Vidican, Max Budda. Front row L-R: Solomon Feldthouse, Christopher Darrow.
In popular culture you occasionally get a period of creative output so original and so intense, it helps define a particular moment in history. Thus in many people’s minds the late 1960’s will always be associated with the psychedelic sounds and the groovy, colourful styles (and lifestyles) of the so-called ‘Flower Power’ era.
There was already a thriving underground hippy scene in San Francisco in 1966, but the whole thing really exploded—on both sides of the Atlantic—the following year. For a short while LSD-inspired art, design and especially music were centre-stage. But it went deeper than just pop culture. There was a belief amongst some, especially the young, that this could be the beginning of a new age, the start of a more enlightened way of looking at the world.
Whether all this was just a passing fad or a naive dream too fragile to survive is a question I cannot answer. All I know is psychedelia left us a significant creative legacy. I will use this feature to share some of my favourite music of that time.
Formed in the summer of 1966, Kaleidoscope were unusual for the sheer variety of their musical tastes and influences. They were into jazz, rock, traditional folk, blues, country, bluegrass and, in the case of one member, Solomon Feldthouse, Middle Eastern music. Feldthouse was of Turkish extraction and was able to play any number of unusual instruments- the caz, the oud, the dobro, the doumbeg... Add acid to the mix and you got a band with an exciting, exotic sound that were great live (particularly when Feldthouse booked in belly dancers to perform onstage with them). And though they released a number of well-received albums, sadly they never achieved the acclaim enjoyed by many of their West Coast contemporaries.
Keep Your Mind Open, a dreamy yet poignant anti Vietnam War song, is taken from the band’s first album Side Trips (1967). If you like it and wish to know more about the band, there’s plenty of information about them on the web. Wikipedia is probably as good a place to start as any.
Kaleidoscope concert poster from 1968
Click on the Dansette to listen
to Keep Your Mind Open