Originally released on Mercury in 1967, this is one of those cult favorite ?exploito? albums that has garnered a plethora of fans in the four decades since its release. It?s essentially the work of legendary session guitarist Mike Deasy, in association with genius boy wonder and arranger, Curt Boettcher and a myriad of session performers and vocalists that made up his Ballroom/Millenium/Sagittarius axis. Side one offers outrageous interpretations of the hits of the day, from a giddy ?Sweet Pea,? featuring Deasy?s lazy, backwoods drawl over some spectacularly phased effects and his inventive guitar fills to an unrecognizeable, slow-motion, Space Age Batchelor Pad reading of ?Louis Louis? [sic]. Deasy?s crisp jazz licks and the lovely background cooing of Michelle O?Malley, et. al. save the day!
There?s a medieval, country hoedown feel to Boettcher and Deasy?s arrangement of Cannonball Adderley?s ?Work Song,? with some screaming, acid-fried soloing from Deasy, and even Kim Fowley would die laughing at what the old Friar & Co have down to his old Hollywood Argyles? hit, ?Alley Oop!? The backing vocalists sound like they?re about three kegs into a drunken frat party, while Deasy?s deadpan vocals sound like a cross between Roger Miller and Ray Stevens! So while Side one rarely rises above Karaoke Night at the local tavern, it?s a thoroughly enjoyable feast for fans of wacky novelty records.
Side two is an entirely different matter, with the Friar?s half-dozen, self-penned collection of sunshine pop that boasts some of Boettcher?s more adventurous and experimental arrangements and studio chicanery, with giddy wordless backing vocals and Deasy?s shockingly out of place, but deliriously frenetic soloing that would surely quicken the hearts of garage/basement music fans! ?Ode To Mother Tuck? features particularly wild and screaming solos, with the rhythm section of Jim Troxel (drums) and Jerry Scheff (bass) particularly powerful on the rather ?Louie Louie?-esque ?A Record Hi.? And dig Deasy?s frenetic trawl up and down the scales, practically scraping the paint off his guitar neck!
Fallout continue their excellent habit of unearthing exceeding rare and out of print contemporary material for their reissues, and the album concludes with both sides of the two singles Deasy cut for the Vault label later in the year and released as The Flower Pot. The country rock flavored ?Mister Zig Zag Man? is a snappy sign of the times, as anyone familiar with Zig Zag?s products can attest, while the follow up, ?Wantin? Ain?t Getting?? opens with the sound of Deasy toking up before breaking into a groovy, laidback psychedelic ride on his sitar. A must for fans jonesin? over the disappearance of the beloved Electric Psychedelic Sitar Headswirlers series from a few years back!
So, while this is certainly not something you?ll play every day, air guitarists the world over will probably enjoy studying and trying to learn Deasy?s intricate finger work and fans of all things Boettcher will certainly want to complete their colleciton with this one. Heck, even Captain Beefheart and Zappa fans will find something to smile at with the avant garde shenanigans of ?Fendabenda Ha Ha Ha? and I?d swear that?s the future riff from Elvis? ?Suspicious Minds? that Deasy is creating throughout ?A Bit of Grey Lost.? 6/10 -- Jeff Penczak (17 July, 2007)