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TOUCH

Touch

Proto-Prog


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4 stars A wonderfull, lost album that has just been released on CD with bonus tracks. We feel fine the opener is a powerful opener which rocks hard with some great guitar. The best track is "Down at Circe's Place" which sounds like nothing else on earth. Production is stunning for the time (1969). This will appeal to both prog heads and those of you who like it heavier.

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Send comments to Steve Boyce (BETA) | Report this review (#34490)
Posted Tuesday, March 22, 2005 | Review Permalink
soundsweird
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars This album is the direct result of what happens when the band members take copious amounts of hallucinogenic drugs. Inspired and pretentious, brilliant and unfocused, pop and progressive, and above all self-indulgent. Imagine a blend of Vanilla Fudge, Jimi Hendrix, Pink Floyd and The Nice, but you still won't quite have a handle on it. I can't say I love this album yet (just bought it over the weekend), but I'm really glad I finally got it. It's like a missing link between psychedelic rock and progressive rock, and it's in a class by itself. One moment it's fairly tame 60's rock, the next it's a feedback and effects freakout. Note: the final bonus track, "The Second Coming of Suzanne", is an instrumental recorded several years later, with better sound and lots of mellotron. Even if you don't like the rest of the album, this track is sort of a prog masterpiece that meanders along quietly for a long time, and then turns into a barrage of loud rock and bizarre effects. It makes one wish that the main guy, keyboard player Don Gallucci, had stuck with it (the liner notes indicate that he became a producer). This album is not for purists, though. Most listeners will find something objectionable about each track (the singer's voice, the panning of instruments, the typical guitar work, the overall sense of excess), but the album is still worth having for its uniqueness.

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Send comments to soundsweird (BETA) | Report this review (#34491)
Posted Tuesday, April 05, 2005 | Review Permalink
Dick Heath
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Jazz-Rock Specialist
4 stars I grew up with progressive rock from its earliest days when I worked weekends in a local record shop and had ample opportunity to hear all sorts of music. The seismic change of progressive rock brought a revolution to my popular musicexperience, and came upon the heels of the British variant of the summer of love and then the British blues boom. And then the definition of "progressive rock" was simply music pushing the frontiers of rock into other musical territories, initially hybridised with folk, jazz, classics, blues, Indian music, etc.. The somewhat quirky and novel approach to arrangements made by American groups such as the Electric Prunes (e.g. "Mass" album) and Vanilla Fudge (e.g. "You Keep Me Hanging On", the UK single) would have given some British musicians ideas for change and innovation. Away from the pop charts, rock music progressed beyond the basic tune structure of verse/chorus/verse/chorus etc.. The unison of The Moody Blues with the Decca Records house orchestra, resulted "Days Of Future Past" , long said to be one of the earlier examples of progressive rock - musically something more ground-breakingl than derived, how ever unsatisfactory much of record was to many of us at the time.

However, an American recording slipped in the UK and really got me - it still holds on 37 years later. This was Touch's first and only album. And this was 1969. Friends whocould afford to regularly weekend in the London underground clubs, quickly picked up on Touch, buying the import. These clubs were where Hendrix and many of the rock celebs went after hours, where the DJs had to be on the ball with new music. I willing to gamble that members of Yes, Genesis and many other bands, then still to make the break into the big time, were listening to this stuff and were influenced. Some months after the USA release "Touch" was finally released in the UK by Decca on their Deram speciality label. At the time this release was rumouredto be in exchange for a Pentangle album being released in the USA!! (In passing, the difference between the US and UK releases: both were gatefolded, the US version folding out to a full 18 by 12, while the UK less clever but folding out to 24 by 12 and also included a poster -I still have it).

Touch's record readily meets my criteria for progressive rock: music that progressed rock music to new boundaries - and in 1967 to 68 when this was recorded, there was little risk of overlap with other bands' music. I don't deny that with the sun in west, the wind behind you and on a downhill run, you may hear their garage and psychedelic antecedents but.... But I point you to the ideas expressed in the lyrics on several of their tunes, that predate similar ideas touted better known prog bands, (e.g. the anti-school thing of Waters/Floyd in "The Wall", shown in "Miss Teach"). Compared to many prog recordings of the 70's, instrumentation here may sound primitive but the major developments in musical technology exploited by prog bands, occurred from 1970 onwards. Even so the playing is good, and the arrangement by Gallucci outstanding: it is evident innovative studio techniques were being used to produce new sonic effects. With the particular examples of the two tracks (particular long term favourites, played over and over again) "Alesha & Others" and "75" - particularly when run in sequence for a 13 minute plus prog gem - these have many forms of arrangement heard later in British prog releases, e.g. the rondoing used by Tony Banks.

Shift forward 20 years and the 90's. I couldn't understand why virtually every American acquaintance, who professes a long term love of prog rock, has never heard of Touch - remember I'm a Brit. Surely somebody recalls this classic album across the Atlantic? Edward Macan makes no reference to Touch in his book "Rocking the Classics" - although mention of Touch would throw one of Macan's central theses about the origins of prog, off kilter. Checking US web sites of prog artists you won't found reference to Touch until recently. Jerry Lucky's entry on Touch (Progressive Rock Files) is very brief. In deed a forgotten gem but a record which is seminal in the development of UK and USA progressive rock.

A fuller Touch discography: Touch (Colisseum/London Records,USA LP, 1969)· Touch (Deram DML 1033 [mono] SML1033[stereo] UK LP, 1969) · Touch (Remastered/remixed, inc. outtakes) (Renaissance CD cat no RCD1001, 1992) · Buried Treasures (outtakes plus tracks by Stray Dog and Gracious, Renaissance CD, cat no. RCD 1006, 1992) · Touch (for North American market: remastered/remixed, inc. all outtakes, Wild Places Records CD, 2003 - currentlyavailable directly from the label) Touch (for European market: remastered/remixed, inc. all outtakes on CD issued 2003, Eclectic Records , ECLCD 1005)

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Send comments to Dick Heath (BETA) | Report this review (#34493)
Posted Friday, April 15, 2005 | Review Permalink
Genovon@sti.n
5 stars To call this album anything less than a masterpiece would be a sin to prog rock. I first heard this record in (1969) and I have been hooked ever since. I have my original copy of their album and an 8 track I found in a bargen bin in Ohio in (1970). As a touring musicain I've never met anyone who had heard these guys before. But upon hearing them didn't get completly blown away.. After hearing there are other tracks on this new CD I've never heard is mind blowing. I also remember they produced a second album called "Stepson" I hope that also becomes available. Everything about Touch is unique. The four instruments are clealy heard on all tracks with very few over dubs. The keyboards are stunning compared to rock at the time and the vocals can only be compared to Led Zepilin's Robert Plant. Anyone who hears this for the first time has to belive it was recorded with modern equipment and the best engineners..I give it five stars with no hesitation.

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Send comments to (BETA) | Report this review (#34494)
Posted Tuesday, May 03, 2005 | Review Permalink
erik neuteboom
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars This is an extremely overlooked USA progressive rock band! The made their music in the era of Vanilla Fudge, Collosseum, The Nice and The Moody Blues but how many progheads know them? I didn't until I got this promo. Listening to their eponymous album I enjoy the powerful Hammond organ with strong echoes from Tony Kaye when he played in Yes. The compositions contain a lot of variety, along the Hammond organ I'm delighted about the piano play, from sparkling to swinging or jazzy. I notive influences from Yes and Fruup but Touch has a more raw and dated sound, typical progressive rock from the late Sixties. The producers must have had a painstaking job with the mastering but the sound quality remains at the level of an average bootleg, to me this was not a problem. Besides the original 7 songs, this CD contains 5 bonustracks including the unpreviously released single "We finally met today" and the movie soundtrack "The second coming of Suzanne (featuring majestic flute-Mellotron and fine pieces with harpsichord and piano). WITH A RUNNNG TIME OF 80 MINUTES I'M SURE YOU WILL ENJOY MANY PARTS FROM THIS EARLY PROGROCK MUSIC!

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Send comments to erik neuteboom (BETA) | Report this review (#38942)
Posted Saturday, July 09, 2005 | Review Permalink
Sean Trane
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Prog Folk
4 stars Touch is one of the definitive proto-prog album linking psychadelia with pure prog rock (along with Caravan's debut and Vanilla Fudge's Renaissance album) and was forgotten for many years. I encountered the first CD version in the mid-90's at the library , was sufficiently impressed by it to remember one day to buy it. Thanks to Dick's advice , I now have THE definitive version of this with the excellent bonus tracks.

The original album was impressive enough, especially the 75 track and Spiritual Death developping lenghty athmospheres very reminiscent of Vanilla Fudge's best moments , most notably in the torured Hammond organ sound , heavy drumming and even at times the vocals. The shorter tracks while still reminding you of VF, are more in acid-psych rock one might find on Kaleidoscope (US psych not UK folk group).

As for the bonus tracks , two are oustanding Blue Feeling and We Finally Met Today , both recorded at the time but not included for space reasons. Two other are live studio demos and less interesting , but the last one if not really in scope with the rest of the album is an excellent full-blown prog pieces written for 73 soundtrack (although never released). Eerie and grandiose...... Makes you cry that there was not another bunch of tracks like that one.

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Send comments to Sean Trane (BETA) | Report this review (#41563)
Posted Thursday, August 04, 2005 | Review Permalink
ofurglassi@ho
5 stars There is a great recent cd reissue of this album readily available so there is no excuse for not owning it and yet only a handfull of people can be bothered to check it out. This is a real shame because this album blows away much of the best output of the major bands and let's not forget the historical importance of this album. Touch is not a totally mindblowing album all the way through, there are 2 or 3 blah tracks however most of the album is totally delicious. The two long tracks on the original album are dominated by an organ that sounds really good and the manner in which the vocals are used on those tracks just makes my mouth water, the singer keeps screaming and his voice just sounds unbelievably awesome. The final track of the original album 'Seventy Five' is guaranteed to melt your face and the only epic that can stand up to it is Close to the Edge.

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Send comments to (BETA) | Report this review (#62298)
Posted Friday, December 30, 2005 | Review Permalink
Garion81
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Honorary Collaborator
5 stars Discovering a treasure long buried and finding with delight it was all that the rumors made it to be. That is how I would describe Touch. Over the years we have heard of its legend status only heard by a few of the members of the prog community. It turns out it is a heavy foundation to what prog became in the 70's.

In 1968 a group of musicians from the West Coast of the United States came together to record this shinning example of what we now call symphonic prog rock. Yes, it immersed in the psychedelic sound and yes, has some extremely popish moments but in the end you can't deny that you have heard prog rock. This album is NOT proto-prog it is prog.

The keyboards played by Don Gallucci are certainly on par with what Keith Emerson was doing with the Nice at the same time some great organ sounds and piano. He uses a variety of organs to achieve different moods since that would be his only choice at the time. The arraignments are very symphonic especially when you consider the time.

I contend that when you listen to Friendly Birds you will hear the origins of Yes and Genesis. There are parts of Alisha and Others and Seventy Five where I swear it is Jon Anderson signing. (Part of this is born out in the liner notes where it states members of Yes consider this an early influence). I hear Pink Floyd and Kansas in other parts. (Again Kerry Livgren states Touch and the song seventy five were a major influence on his writing). I can hear where Uriah Heep were influenced in the music.

If anyone out there cares about the origins of this great music we embrace you cannot ignore this CD. Having undergone a re-master process an re-released a in 2003 by UK Eclectic records you now can experience this again. Find it Amazon among other stores.

It has been unburied and the legend of this CD has to come to light. This album was written and recorded in 1968 and released in early 1969 before In the Court of The Crimson King. Unlike Piper at the Gates of Dawn and Freak Out this music is very structured using classical and jazz influences as well as having some of trappings of the psychedelic bands of the time. In other words it sounds more like the music from the period of 1970-5 than the music that became before it. It was also written and recorded in Los Angeles, Ca not England.

The only reason this CD is not well known is because the group refused to tour and it faded quickly after a successful start in 1969 because the record company would no longer support it. It is too bad because there are a couple of live in the studio tracks in the bonus section which showed these fine musicians could have pulled it off on stage. If they had then this album would be the album everyone would point to.

Ignore it at your own peril when speaking of the beginnings of the genre. It is essential to everyone who listens to prog. 5 Stars

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Send comments to Garion81 (BETA) | Report this review (#67462)
Posted Monday, January 30, 2006 | Review Permalink
antogall@eart
5 stars This record is not perfect, but close enough. Released a full year before King Cimson's 1st,this seems to be the original blueprint for many symphonic prog records to come. This must have sounded striking in 1968 . Sure, there were the Mothers, Velvets, Pink Floyd and other amazing bands preceding them, but none sounded anything like Touch.There is a real positive sound to this record, as if the musicians were reaching for something higher. Jimi Hendrix loved this record and even rented studio time to listen to it. The keyboard player, Don Gallucci, played on the KIngsmen's "Louie Louie" and later went on to produce the Stooges. This record is a 5 star masterpiece that should be in every prog rock collection. P.S. According to brief but informative review in Mojo, Dan Gallucci now works in real estate.

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Send comments to (BETA) | Report this review (#71593)
Posted Friday, March 10, 2006 | Review Permalink
5 stars Oh how in love I was with this album from the late 60s! I was somewhere around 13 or 14 and listened to this, Zappa's "We're Only In It For The Money" & "Lumpy Gravy" and whatever Beatles album was out at the time. I was seriously smitten.

Touch is the story of a record label saying, "You won't tour for this album? Ok, we aren't promoting it anymore." And just like that, friends I said "run and get this album" couildn't find it, nor get it via ordering.

Just like that the industry cut it's nose to spite it's face.

So what was such a big deal abouit a band called Touch? Some here will bring up it's historical meaning, being the first U.S. Progressive Rock album, and make no mistake, it was progressive. One listen to "Friendly Birds" "The Spiritual Death Of Howard Greer", "Down At Circ's Place" and "Seventy Five" brought about changes sometimes touched on by Frank Zappa, such as the at the time - revolutionary arrangements and voicings of these songs and the absolute startling reality that what came next was at once thrilling and unique. Even by "Zappa" standards.

Instrumentation was mostly bass, drums, guitar and a Pipe Organ that would see the first serious creative use of effects we take standard for today such as reverb, or as in Touch's case, slabs of reverb and reversed reverb; globs of echo effects planned to explode at various sections of the song as orchestral segments written by the band were delegated to a drum kit attempting to emulate an orchestral set of kettle drums and Tam Tams while guitar and organ played horn sections.

Nothing like this existed as a rock recording, let alone any recording as of 1968. And that was just a 3 and a half minute song that started as lounge jazz, onto abstract jazz, followed by a Gil Evans on Acid by means of Stockhausen transition to orchestral sections barely understood most likely by Touch, let alone the recording company that smelled proffit on it's hands....and most likely would have gotten it had the band caved in and tried to play this virtually impossible to play music live and on television sans the studio effects necessary to replicate the sound Touch needed.

As a completest thank you, several tests in the studio are performed, and while pretty good, the small but very important effects prove to be a problem. And so a record company played hard-ball, made getting this amazing album difficult and making sure the band was all but dead until their contract expired years later.

But now we can hear Touch again and while it isn't 2006 production, the sound repair is amazing. As listeners remember this was recorded in 1968 and released in 1969. Prepare for a bit of age in the production process and give this masterpiece a chance. Normally I am very sad listening to the albums I liked as a kid.That's not the case with Touch, which is great via a decent stereo and astonishing with headphones. Touch was a bold album and stands the test of time. Sit back and listen to the beginnings of Progressive Rock; the beginnings of a whole new way of recording and of using the studio as a creative tool as well as taking keyboards, especially organs, and creating a new wall of sound.

There are few moments were such massive changes meet the technical minded and the audience at the same time. Best of all, you can live the moment the world changed and our favorite form of music was born.

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Send comments to x_bruce (BETA) | Report this review (#79991)
Posted Thursday, June 01, 2006 | Review Permalink
4 stars Great album. I saw the group Touch in 1968 at a nightclub in Hollywood, Ca. I was impressed by their performance. I bought the album when it came out. I still have it. I enjoy all the songs. "We Feel Fine" reminds us of when everyone thought L.A. was going to slide into the ocean. "Miss Teach" reminds me of my high school days and the different teachers and their personallities we had to put up with. Then to the lounge sounding song "Alesha and Others' then it fades into "Sevent Five". Wonderul sound.

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Send comments to RikyLopez (BETA) | Report this review (#84104)
Posted Tuesday, July 18, 2006 | Review Permalink
jaydude214@cs
5 stars this is one of the greatest albums of all time... SO perfect. When I first heard it I didn't see what was so special about it but when I listened to it more something snapped and I was blown away, SO good. I highly recommend getting this album for all fans of any old school progressive rock or fans of any kind of classic rock. I am into a lot of bands from this time period, and this album is definitly one of (or possibly is) the best. It really is unfortunate these guys did not continue after this album, I cant even imagine the dankness and beautiful influence they would have bought upon music of the 70s. GOOD ALBUM.

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Send comments to (BETA) | Report this review (#101616)
Posted Monday, December 04, 2006 | Review Permalink
Mellotron Storm
PROG REVIEWER
3 stars I'm a little surprised at the high ratings for this one although it is one of the early Prog albums as it was released in 1968.The sound quality isn't the best either.TOUCH were an American band led by Don Gallucci a keyboardist who at 15 years of age played with THE KINGSMEN on their 1963 hit "Louie, Louie". Unfortunately he couldn't tour with the band because of his age and had to stay at home and go to school. By 1966 he had formed a band called DON AND THE GOODTIMES and scored a top 20 hit with that band. It was while recording a followup to their hit that Don decided to do something completely different. He states "The TOUCH album was first and foremost a spiritual quest put to music; a search for the holy grail of it's generation by way of sound. It was designed to go where no one had musically gone before in order to break down barriers and walls in the mind; to cause the listener to achieve an altered state of consciousness, not through meditation or drugs, but through music".These guys were smart because after they got a manager they held rehearsals in a Moorish castle in Hollywood Hills and invited record company executives to listen to their music.They would get them stoned and place them in the best spots to experience their unique sonic assault.The result was being signed for a then record breaking 25,000 dollar advance after much competitive bidding from labels.This allowed them to make the record they wanted to at Sunset Sound. Word got out and there certainly was buzz about this band and their unique sound. People started showing up to the studio, lots of people. Mick Jagger dropped by and spent a lot of time with them during these sessions, as did Grace Slick. Jimi Hendrix bought extra studio time just so he could listen to playbacks of everything the band had recorded. When the album was released it sold very well but it soon tailed off and when the record label suggested they needed to tour the band said no saying the studio album couldn't be duplicated live.

Kerry Livegren from KANSAS had this to say about TOUCH. "I first heard their music while driving back from a gig in western Kansas sometime in 1969 or 70. It was about 2am and I was listening to a powerful AM station out of Arkansas. I got about halfway through the song "Seventy Five" before I had to pull off the road and listen (it's been a long time since i've done that).The next day I bought two copies of their album, one to absorb and one for posterity.Their song writing, musicianship and arrangements were quite an inspriration to me.They were way ahead of their time, and one of the best American progressive bands". The music is good but I wouldn't consider this a 4 stars album by any means.

"The Spiritual Death Of Howard Greer" is my favourite although there is a poppy section around 5 minutes."Seventy Five" ends in an experimental manner which would have been unique for that time i'm sure. A good album that deserves to be heard just because of it's status as one of the first Prog albums.

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Send comments to Mellotron Storm (BETA) | Report this review (#368086)
Posted Thursday, December 30, 2010 | Review Permalink
5 stars I was in my first year at university when we spotted the unusual cover which the Touch album had at the time. Once hearing it for the first time, it immediately became one of our unique pieces of music that we shared many hours turning new listeners on to it. I would love to buy a new C.D. release of this album which would have all of the lyrics etc. on it just like the original. I gave it a 5 star rating but would like to have a studio copy, so perhaps some of you readers could assist me with my request, Steve Vasseur groucho4@rogers.com I would also like for the members of the band to know that they have not been forgotten and we hope that they are all enjoying life and in good health.

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Send comments to groucho (BETA) | Report this review (#455805)
Posted Wednesday, June 01, 2011 | Review Permalink
stefro
PROG REVIEWER
2 stars Touch formed sometime during the mid-sixties and, despite rubbing shoulders with some pretty big fish during their brief tenure as an up-and-coming band(Jimi Hendrix was said to be a fan) fate, fortune and luck seems to have been very much against them. An American outfit featuring former Kingsmen alumnus Don Galluci, Touch would issue just one fairly unsuccessful album, a self-titled affair, eventually disbanding before the 1960s were out. It's an album that has certainly grown in stature over the intervening decades since it's release in 1968, and it's fair to say that 'Touch' is one of the earliest examples of progressive rock to appear on either side of the Atlantic, coming across very much like a kind of Yankee version of Procol Harum and featuring a sound part influenced by the then burgeoning psychedelic scene, though much of the music is of a rather complex and curious nature that pre-figures the likes of Genesis, Yes and King Crimson. Very much a stand- alone release style-wise - this is nothing like the progressive rock produced by such leading American acts as Kansas, Styx and Journey - 'Touch' is genuine oddity that takes several listens to truly grasp. It's also an album that hasn't dated especially well, with a sound based around eccentric vocal harmonies and busy keyboards, strange lyrics and jerky rhythms. The album's real downfall, however, lies in a maddening lack of melodic invention, making this another entry into the 'interesting-yet-flawed' category of supposedly 'lost classics', albums that became obscure for a very good reason. Released on CD for the first time via Mark Powell's usually terrific reissue label Esoteric Recordings, 'Touch' is a frustratingly overwrought mixture of early prog meanderings, theatrical pop, and colourful, Brit-style psychedelia featuring perhaps too many ideas for it's own good. To put it simply: there is a genuine lack of memorable tunes. Only on the album's twelve-minute closer 'Seventy Five' does the group manage to work up a proper head of steam, yet even this is a composition flooded with overwrought instrumental passages, crudely stitched together to create an unconvincing whole. Those with a sincere interest in progressive rock's early days may find Touch's style more to their tastes, especially those who dig the likes of Procol Harum, Spring or The Byrds, though this is certainly no classic. Initially intriguing, and not completely without merit, yet ultimately 'Touch' is both frustrating and consistently unexceptional.

STEFAN TURNER, STOKE NEWINGTON, 2012

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Send comments to stefro (BETA) | Report this review (#661615)
Posted Friday, March 16, 2012 | Review Permalink

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