Sunday, November 22, 2020

Kak: Kak - Ola 1969 (Reissued 1997)

Although formed in Davis, California, Kak were based in San Francisco for a good part of 1968, when they recorded their only album. Lead singer, guitarist, and primary songwriter Gary Lee Yoder and lead guitarist Dehner Patten had been in the Oxford Circle, an obscure early Northern Californian psychedelic band that had cut one garage/psych single ("Foolish Woman"/"Mind Destruction") and played some shows on the San Francisco psychedelic circuit, while bassist Joe Dave Damrell had been on a 1965 single on Scorpio Records with Group "B".
The self-titled Kak LP was minor-league San Francisco psychedelic rock colored by a lot of influence from bigger Bay Area bands, particularly Moby Grape; the vocal harmonies and curling guitar work on

tracks like "Disbelievin'" and "Everything's Changing" in particular sounded like a more pedestrian Moby Grape. There were also more distant echoes of Quicksilver Messenger Service (in the guitar work) and the Grateful Dead (in faint traces of country-blues-rock). Kak were best, and least derivative, at their quietest, as on the gentle country-tinged rocker "I've Got Time, " the good-time wistful psych-folk-rock of "Lemonade Kid, " and the harpsichord-decorated ballad "Flowing By, " which was as derivative of Donovan as much of their other songs were of Moby Grape.

Kak's album was barely promoted and sold little. It didn't help that the band played less than a dozen shows before breaking up in early 1969, Damrell having already quit prior to the split. Yoder did a single for Epic and then joined Blue Cheer. The Kak album eventually became a pricey collector's item, and was reissued on CD by Big Beat (with the new title Kak-ola) in 1999 with plenty of bonus cuts, including previously unreleased acoustic demos and Yoder solo tracks from the late '60s.
Gary Lee Yoder (born 1946) is an American musician who was part of several 1960s San Francisco psychedelic rock bands, including Kak, the Oxford Circle, and Blue Cheer.
Loder was born in Pasadena, Califormia. Oxford Circle (formed in 1966) and Kak (formed in 1968) were both formed in Yoder's hometown of Davis, California, and featured the same nucleus of

members. While Oxford Circle frequently shared the stage with greats such as the Grateful Dead, Jefferson Airplane, and Janis Joplin, they did not achieve the same level of fame and never got a record deal. In 1997, a live album, Live at the Avalon 1966 was released. It made #6 on Record Collector's list of Top 50 reissues of 1997, ahead of reissues of Pink Floyd, Grateful Dead, and Santana, and also received a favorable review in Mojo.
Kak would release only one record in 1969, the eponymous Kak, which has become a collector's item. It was reissued by Big Beat Records in 1999 as Kak-ola. This recording additionally contained unreleased solo work by Yoder. In 1999, Kak would be reissued on CD as Kak-ola with a host of unreleased demos and Gary Lee Yoder solo recordings that featured Paul Whaley on drums.
[Although this is actually the Kak album with a bunch of bonus tracks, it merits a separate entry both because this version boasts a different title (Kak-Ola), and because the bonus tracks make this disc twice as lengthy as the original LP. Those curious about the original Kak because of its high reputation among some collectors might be disappointed by its average, often derivative (particularly of Moby Grape) San Francisco psychedelic rock. Some of the more folk-rock-oriented numbers are pleasant, however, especially "I've Got Time," "Flowing By," and "Lemonade Kid." The ten bonus tracks do much to round out the picture of the little-recorded band.
These include the 45 version of "Rain" (which is different than the one that appears as part of the "Trieulogy" medley on the LP); 1968 acoustic versions of four songs from the album that may actually be more attractive to some ears due to their folkier bent, along with one acoustic rendition of a song ("Bye Bye"/"Easy Jack") that was not included on the album; Gary Yoder's solo single "Flight from the East" and "Good Time Music"; and three Yoder demos from late 1967 with Blue Cheer's Paul Whaley on drums and Bruce Stephens on guitar. The Yoder solo material is pretty routine heavy late-'60s San Francisco rock, and not up to the level of the Kak stuff.
Richie Unterberger]


Kak (Studio Album) (1968, Epic)
Everything's Changing (Single) (1968, Epic)
I've Got Time (Single) (1969, Epic)
Lluvia (Rain) (EP) (1969, Epic)
Kak-Ola (Compilation) (1999, Big Beat)


Gary Lee Yoder - Rhythm Guitar, Acoustic Guitar, Lead Vocals
Dehner C. Patten - Guitar, Vocals
Joseph D. Damrell - Bass Guitar, Sitar, Tambourine, Vocals
Christopher Lockheed - Drums, Tabla, Harpsichord, Maracas, Vocals

Kak ‎– Kak-Ola
Label: Big Beat Records ‎– CDWIKD 187
Series: Nuggets From The Golden State
Format: CD, Album, Reissue 1999
Country: UK
Released: 1969
Genre: Rock
Style: Psychedelic Rock, Folk Rock


01. HCO 97658     1:40
02. Everything's Changing     4:07
03. Electric Sailor     3:08
04. Disbelievin'     4:00
05. I've Got Time     3:41
06. Flowing By     3:58
07. Bryte 'N' Clear Day     3:47
Trieulogy     (8:12)
08. I  Golgotha     
08. II  Mirage     
08. III Rain     
09. Lemonaide Kid     5:56
10. Rain (Single Version)     2:06
11. Everything's Changing (Acoustic Demo)     2:54
12. I've Got Time (Acoustic Demo)     2:06
13. Medley: Bye Bye / Easy Jack     4:14
14. Bryte 'N' Clear Day (Acoustic Live Version)     6:10
15. Medley: Mirage / Rain (Acoustic Live Version)     5:53
Gary Lee Yoder
16. When Love Comes In     2:50
17. I Miss You     3:59
18. Lonely People Blues     4:16
19. Flight From The East     4:13
20. Good Time Music     2:20

Arranged By – Lockheed, Patten, Yoder, Damrell
Art Direction – Bob Cato, John Berg
Backing Vocals – Billie Barnum (tracks: 19, 20)
Bass – Jim Keylor (tracks: 16, 17, 19, 20), Ralph Burns Kellogg (tracks: 18)
Bass Guitar, Sitar, Tambourine, Vocals – Joseph D. Damrell (tracks: 1 to 15)
Compiled By, Liner Notes – Alec Palao
Design – Gary Grelecki
Drums – Paul Whaley (tracks: 16 to 20)
Drums, Tabla, Harpsichord, Maracas, Vocals – Christopher A. Lockheed (tracks: 1 to 15)
Engineer – Robert Breault, Rafael Valentin, Terry Dunavan
Flute – Richard Berger (tracks: 17)
Guitar – Bruce Stephens (tracks: 16 to 18), Bryn Haworth (tracks: 19, 20)
Keyboards – Pete Sears (tracks: 19, 20), Ralph Burns Kellogg (tracks: 18)
Lead Guitar, Vocals – Dehner C. Patten (tracks: 1 to 15)
Lead Vocals, Rhythm Guitar, Acoustic Guitar – Gary Lee Yoder
Painting [Cover] – Edward Kaspar
Producer – Gary Grelecki (tracks: 1 to 10), Kak (tracks: 1 to 10), Milan Melvin (tracks: 19, 20)
Written-By – Chris Lockheed (tracks: 1, 3), Dehner Patten (tracks: 1, 3), Gary Grelecki (tracks: 1, 2, 6 to 7, 8.II, 8.III, 10, 11, 14, 15), Gary Lee Yoder, Joseph Damrell (tracks: 1, 3)

MP3 @ 320 Size: 185 MB
Flac  Size: 423 MB

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