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H. P. Lovecraft II

H. P. Lovecraft II is the second album by the American psychedelic rock band H. P. Lovecraft and was released in September 1968 on Philips Records.[1] As with their debut LP, the album again saw the band blending psychedelic and folk rock influences, albeit with a greater emphasis on psychedelia than on their previous album release.[1] H. P. Lovecraft II failed to sell in sufficient quantities to reach the Billboard Top LPs chart or the UK Albums Chart, despite the band being a popular act on the U.S. psychedelic concert circuit.[1] Legend has it that the album was the first major label release to have been recorded by musicians who were all under the influence of LSD.[2][3]

H. P. Lovecraft II
HP Lovecraft II.jpg
Studio album by H. P. Lovecraft
Released September 1968
Recorded June – July 1968
Studio I.D. Sound Studios, Los Angeles, CA
Genre Psychedelic rock, folk rock
Length 33:21
Label Philips
Producer George Badonsky
H. P. Lovecraft chronology
H. P. Lovecraft
(1967)H. P. Lovecraft1967
H. P. Lovecraft II
(1968)
Live May 11, 1968
(1991)Live May 11, 19681991
Singles from H. P. Lovecraft II
  1. "Keeper of the Keys"
    Released: November 1968

Contents

BackgroundEdit

Recording sessions for the album began in June 1968 at I.D. Sound Studios in Los Angeles, with the band's manager George Badonsky producing and British-born Chris Huston serving as audio engineer.[4] H. P. Lovecraft had toured intensively during the first half of 1968 and consequently, there was a lack of properly arranged new material for the album.[4] As a result, much of H. P. Lovecraft II was improvised in the studio, with Huston playing a pivotal role in enabling the underprepared band to complete the recording sessions.[4]

Huston was also instrumental in creating the psychedelic sound effects that adorned much of the album's contents.[4] The band's singer and guitarist, George Edwards, recalled the importance of Huston's contributions during an interview with journalist Nick Warburton: "Chris came up with a lot of very innovative techniques that prior to that record had not really been used. He was way ahead of his time. We had no material, the band was totally fried and Chris helped us make a record. That record would never have happened without Chris."[4]

Among the tracks that were recorded for the album were the Edwards-penned compositions "Electrollentando" and "Mobius Trip", the latter of which featured lyrics that music historian Richie Unterberger has described as "disoriented hippie euphoria."[1] In addition, the band elected to cover "Spin, Spin, Spin" and "It's About Time", both performed[5] by Terry Callier, an old friend of Edwards' from his days as a folk singer.[4] Both songs made effective use of the oddly striking vocal interplay and close harmony singing of Edwards and the band's keyboardist Dave Michaels.[1]

The band's newest recruit, Jeff Boyan, who had only joined the group in early 1968 as a replacement for bassist Jerry McGeorge,[4] was featured as lead vocalist on his own composition "Blue Jack of Diamonds" and on the band's cover of the folk standard "High Flying Bird".[6] The track "Nothing's Boy" featured a contribution from voice artist Ken Nordine,[4] and the cover version of Brewer & Shipley's "Keeper of the Keys" was issued as a single in late 1968, following its appearance on the album, but it failed to reach the charts.[2] The self-penned "At the Mountains of Madness" was based on the 1931 novella At the Mountains of Madness by horror writer H. P. Lovecraft, after whom the band had named themselves.[6] Written by Edwards, Michaels and lead guitarist Tony Cavallari, the song featured some chaotically acrobatic vocal interplay and made ample use of swirling, echoed reverse tape effects, which served to highlight the song's sinister subject matter.[1][4]

H. P. Lovecraft II was released in September 1968[1] and despite being less focused than the band's first album, it nonetheless managed to successfully expand on the musical approach of its predecessor. The album also shared the haunting, eerie ambiance of H. P. Lovecraft's first album.[1] Although it failed to chart at the time and had gone out of print by the early 1970s, the album's reputation has grown over the years. Richie Unterberger, writing for the Allmusic website, has described it as being "much more progressive than their first effort", although he also noted that it "showed the band losing touch with some of their most obvious strengths, most notably their disciplined arrangements and incisive songwriting."[7]

By the late 1980s, a revival of interest in the band's music had begun[6] which resulted in Edsel Records reissuing H. P. Lovecraft II and the band's debut album together on the At the Mountains of Madness compilation in 1988.[4][8] The album is currently available, along with H. P. Lovecraft, on the Collectors' Choice Music CD Two Classic Albums from H. P. Lovecraft: H. P. Lovecraft/H. P. Lovecraft II.[9] In addition, the nine songs that make up H. P. Lovecraft II are included on the Rev-Ola Records compilation Dreams in the Witch House: The Complete Philips Recordings.[10]

Track listingEdit

Side 1Edit

  1. "Spin, Spin, Spin" (Kent Foreman) – 3:21
  2. "It's About Time" (Kent Foreman, Lydia Wood) – 5:17
  3. "Blue Jack of Diamonds" (Jeff Boyan) – 3:08
  4. "Electrallentando" (George Edwards) – 6:34

Side 2Edit

  1. "At the Mountains of Madness" (George Edwards, Dave Michaels, Tony Cavallari) – 4:57
  2. "Mobius Trip" (George Edwards) – 2:44
  3. "High Flying Bird" (Billy Ed Wheeler) – 3:21
  4. "Nothing's Boy" (Ken Nordine) – 0:39
  5. "Keeper Of The Keys" (Mike Brewer, Tom Shipley) – 3:05

PersonnelEdit

MusiciansEdit

TechnicalEdit

  • George Badonsky – producer
  • Christopher Huston – engineer
  • David Michaels – string arrangements
  • Bob Schnepf – design
  • Tom Gundelfinger – photography

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ a b c d e f g h Unterberger, Richie. "Liner Notes for H. P. Lovecraft/H. P. Lovecraft II". Richieunterberger.com. Retrieved 2010-07-16. 
  2. ^ a b Joynson, Vernon (1997). Fuzz, Acid and Flowers. Borderline Productions. ISBN 1-899855-06-8. 
  3. ^ "H. P. Lovecraft II product description". Amazon.com. Retrieved 2010-08-12. 
  4. ^ a b c d e f g h i j "The White Ship: The Psychedelic Voyage of H.P. Lovecraft". thewhiteship.org. Retrieved 2011-08-02. 
  5. ^ "The New Folk Sound of Terry Callier". Allmusic. Retrieved 2016-02-20. 
  6. ^ a b c Jarema, Jeff (1991). Live May 11, 1968 (CD booklet). H. P. Lovecraft. Edsel Records. 
  7. ^ "H. P. Lovecraft album review". Allmusic. Retrieved 2010-08-29. 
  8. ^ "At the Mountains of Madness album review". Allmusic. Retrieved 2010-08-31. 
  9. ^ "H. P. Lovecraft/H. P. Lovecraft II". Collectors' Choice Music. Archived from the original on 2011-07-23. Retrieved 2010-08-29. 
  10. ^ "Dreams in the Witch House: The Complete Philips Recordings". Allmusic. Retrieved 2010-08-29.