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It's A Beautiful Day - It's A Beautiful Day CD (album) cover

IT'S A BEAUTIFUL DAY

It's A Beautiful Day

 

Proto-Prog

3.83 | 100 ratings

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Easy Livin
Special Collaborator
Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin
4 stars It's a beautiful song

Ask anyone who has heard of IABD to name one song by them, and the answer you will invariably get is "White Bird". That particular bird may have become an albatross around their necks, but without it the band would have struggled to find any measure of success. The song has certainly been exploited over the years, with writer and band member David LaFlame having released a solo album of that name. There has also rather cheekily been a an album by a band called What a Beautiful Pinball (sic) called "White Bird" which also includes that track.

"White bird" opens this album, and despite all its subsequent exploitation it remains a masterpiece of west coast prog pop. The song is delightfully understated and simplistic in its structure, with a laid back hook and spacey backing. The harmonised lead vocals of David La Flamme and Patte Santos (now sadly departed) give the song a unique atmosphere, enhanced by La Flame's violin playing. Probably the most under appreciated contribution to the album though is Linda LaFlamme's (David's wife at the time) keyboards. The organ backing in particular lays the basis on which the band's sound is constructed.

While the rest of the album rather sits in the shadow of the magnificent title track, there is some excellent music here. The general feel is on the folk side of psychedelic, probably due to the male/female harmonies. LaFlamme's violin work is quite jazzy, but the overall mood is laid back.

"Wasted union blues" is strikingly different, Hal Wagenet's lead guitar work getting a rare promotion to centre stage. The song is considerably heavier than most of the album, with Mitchell Holman's bass-work driving the song like a runaway train gathering speed. The song is a sort of cross between the Doors and Jimi Hendrix, with some classic 60's phasing to conclude.

"Girl with no eyes" shows the band's most delicate side, LaFlamme's violin dramatically orchestrating the folk influenced piece. "Bombay calling" has subsequently become infamous due to Deep Purple's use of the main theme on "Child in time". In reality, while Deep Purple clearly (and admittedly) borrowed the theme, the two songs are quite different. This is an eastern influenced instrumental which allows the band to improvise away from the basic theme on several instruments.

Ironically, the vocal theme to the following "Bulgaria" also bears comparison to Ian Gillan's vocal on "Child in time". The song is a haunting, understated, bass driven piece. The closing "Time is", which runs for over 9 minutes is driven on by piano and organ, LaFlamme's distinctive voice sounding more than ever like Jim Morrison. There are similarities too with the work which would follow from BEGGAR'S OPERA. As the sound disintegrates into a muddled section of freeform, Val Fuentes rather opportunistically slips in an unnecessary drum solo, the low point of the album. David and Linda LaFlamme comes to our rescue to close the album with a climactic ending.

When assessing this album, it needs to be borne in mind that it was recorded in 1969, well before any of the classicprog albums. The influence it had on the bands who followed, notably in the UK, is undeniable. The songs have structures which venture far beyond the psychedelic music of the band's west coast peers, and the album has a diversity which sets it apart from most others of the period. A classic album.

Easy Livin | 4/5 |

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