state of mynd: Music Catalog B

Beauregard Ajax - Deaf Priscilla (1968)

Beauregard Ajax - Deaf Priscilla (1968)

Artist: Beauregard Ajax
Album: Deaf Priscilla
Released: 1968
Label: 2006 Shadoks Music 068
Genre: Psychedelic

"Why would I give this flashback from the 60's such a high rating? Because I was the drummer! I found the album released by Shadoks while searching my old band's name on the internet. I was surprised to hear that tapes of our group somehow circulated in Europe for a number of years before Shadoks got hold of them. No one in the band is getting any royalties, but it was nice to see the work we did with producer Bob Keane (Ritchie Valens, Bobby Fuller Four,etc.) finding an audience after 38 years!" (C. Leo Hartshorn)

"Southern California's Beauregard Ajax recorded Deaf Priscilla in late 1967 and early 1968, with legendary Del-Fi Records founder, Bob Keane producing, but the record was shelved when the group disbanded. Decades later a vinyl pressing was issued, and in 2006 Shadoks Music released it on CD for the first time, with four bonus tracks. As was the case for countless aspiring American rock collectives, the British Invasion from a few years earlier heavily influenced the five-piece (the singer even picked up an accent along the way), but as this was psychedelic age, the songs are augmented with slightly fuzzed-out blues licks. The actual tunes possess pleasing melodies, resulting in an overall light psych sound. Lyrically, the tone is usually pretty heavy, though, with such darker subject matters as loneliness, depression, failed relationships, and boredom. The group shows a whimsical side on "Kaleidoscope," and the bubblegummy "Happy Brontosaurus," but they are at their best when embracing the melancholic aspects of day-to-day life on such numbers as "Loneliness Is a Sometime Thing," "Goodbye Again," and "Blue Violins." One of the best and more bizarre tracks, "Deaf Priscilla," is the mysterious tale of a horrific domestic dispute, which the protagonist can partly ignore due to loss of one of her senses." (All Music Guide)

"As labels like Shadoks, Radioactive, and Akarma endlessly scrape the bottom of the barrel in an effort to capitalize on every psych "gem," it becomes increasingly difficult to take every claim of a "lost masterpiece" seriously. And while it’d be a bit overzealous to call Beauregard Ajax’s posthumous release Deaf Priscilla a masterpiece, it’s a fantastic example of ’60s West Coast psych, sitting nicely amongst Los Angeles bands like Love, The Seeds, and The Doors.

David Ferguson and Charlie Hendrix act as the Lennon/McCartney team here, sharing songwriting responsibilities and vocal duties. It’s difficult to tell who is who, and similar to The Zombies’ Colin Bluntstone, both croon with a soft, vulnerable wail. Lyrically, they range from simple youthful love laments to surreal stories and the free-associative trippiness popular of the time. The oddest and most intriguing example of this lies within the Mellotron-laden title track, in which a deaf girl may or may not be aware of the pain she’s caused by pushing her elderly mother down the stairs. She messes up her pop pretty bad, too, and it’s gems like this that separate Beauregard Ajax from other American acts of the ’60s.

All mysteries aside, and forgiving a few very minor quality issues (there are occasional moments of sound loss that reek of a shitty source tape), Deaf Priscilla is a fascinating document of a band that could’ve amounted to so much more and is essential listening for those interested in early American psych."

Line up:
David Ferguson (vocals, guitar)
John Boutell (vocals, guitars)
Charlie Hendrix (vocals, pipe, recorder)
Clinton Williams (electric bass)
Leo Hartshorn (drums)

1. Loneliness Is A Sometime Thing 2:18
2. Goodbye Again 2:30
3. I Will Be Looking Away 1:56
4. Dr. Jebediah Webb 3:09
5. Is Tomorrow Thursday 2:29
6. Dead Woman Blues 2:16
7. Blue Violins 3:33
8. Things Will Work Out Fine 2:42
9. Happy Brontosaurus 2:01
10. Deaf Priscilla 2:25
11. Feather In A Bottle 2:06
12. Take You Far Away 2:04
13. Love Is A Prize 2:04
14. Kaleidoscope 2:29
15. Blue Violins II 3:34
16. Dead Woman Blues II 2:16
17. Goodbye Again II 2:30
18. I Will Be Looking Away II 1:52

Get it here: Beauregard Ajax - Deaf Priscilla (1968)