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It's A Beautiful Day


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It's A Beautiful Day It's A Beautiful Day album cover
3.87 | 151 ratings | 22 reviews | 25% 5 stars

Excellent addition to any
rock music collection

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Studio Album, released in 1969

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. White Bird (6:12)
2. A Hot Summer Day (5:51)
3. Wasted Union Blues (4:09)
4. Girl With No Eyes (3:51)
5. Bombay Calling (4:29)
6. Bulgaria (6:14)
7. Time Is (9:38)

Total time 40:24

Line-up / Musicians

- Hal Wagenet / guitars
- Linda LaFlamme / organ, piano, electric piano, celesta, harpsichord
- David LaFlamme / violin, flute, lead vocals, producer
- Mitchell Holman / bass, backing vocals
- Val Fuentes / drums, backing vocals
- Pattie Santos / tambourine, bells, block, gourd, , backing vocals

- Bruce Steinberg / harmonica (2)

Releases information

Artwork: Kent Hollister (Based on the 1912 painting "Woman on the Top of a Mountain" by Charles Courtney Curran)

LP Columbia ‎- CS 9768 (1969, US)
LP Columbia ‎- CS 9768 (2012, Germany) Remastered by Willem Makkee

CD San Francisco Sound ‎- SFS 11790DA (1983, US)
CD TRC Records ‎- TRC 001 (1988, Germany) Remastered (?)
CD It's About Music ‎- IAM9858 (2010, US)

Thanks to ProgLucky for the addition
and to Quinino for the last updates
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Buy IT'S A BEAUTIFUL DAY It's A Beautiful Day Music

IT'S A BEAUTIFUL DAY It's A Beautiful Day ratings distribution

(151 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of rock music(25%)
Excellent addition to any rock music collection(47%)
Good, but non-essential (25%)
Collectors/fans only (3%)
Poor. Only for completionists (0%)

IT'S A BEAUTIFUL DAY It's A Beautiful Day reviews

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Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by Proghead
5 stars I might not be big on the the San Francisco psychedelic scene, but to me, this is one of the best albums to come out of that scene. The band was influenced by folk, classical, jazz, and even prog rock. The music, for the most part is also quite moody. The thing that defined the IT'S A BEAUTIFUL DAY sound is the vocals and violin of David LaFlamme. At this point, the band also had his wife Linda LaFlamme handle the keyboards (which include Hammond organ, piano, Wurlitzer electric piano, and harpsichord). The album opens up with "White Bird", this song was a staple of FM radio back in the good old pre-AOR days of progressive free form (the song still gets played, but only on rare occasions). The next song, is the more atmospheric "Hot Summer Day". They seemed to have captured the mood of a hot summer day on that song. "Wasted Union Blues" is a hard rocker, it's truly a stark contrast to "White Bird", to say the least. "Girl With No Eyes" is a much more classically influenced number, complete with harpsichord and violin. Hearing this song, you almost forget you're listening to a California band, as it sounds quite European. Side two consists of a killer instrumental, as well as "Time Is" with this unbelievable drum solo (in which a lot of echo was used to make it sound more majestic). The band sure brings back memories from many of the Baby Boomer types, and while I'm not a Baby Boomer (I belong to, but ashamed to belong to, the Gen-X crowd), I really surprise the Boomers when I bring up their music. They also have their detractors too who call their music "dated hippie fluff" as well. But unfortunately, the band fell victim to a very unstable lineup, and the wrath of their very greedy and unethical manager Matthew Katz.

Whatever you do, get the original LP (be it the American pressing on Columbia or the European pressing on CBS), never buy from San Francisco Sound, Katz's own label. His label has a bad reputation of releasing inferior products at a rip-off price, and he will not give royalties to the band members for each copy sold (Katz been spending the last 30+ years suing everyone from bands he used to manage to anyone who interferes with his unethical and illegal practices).

If you can get hold of an LP (not on the San Francisco Sound label), you're in for some really great stuff.

Review by Sean Trane
4 stars I am not sure why this band is present in our Archives but this is a very fine psych San Fran album much in the line of the fantastic JEFFERSON AIRPLANE (at least they should be in the Archives). Actually this album sounds a little too derivative of JA for me to give it another star but this is just as good as Surrealisic Pillow or the grandiose Crown Of Creation . Pattie Santos actually is the reason for this as she punctuates the male vocals much like Grace Slick did, twirling and twisting around , counterpointing their male counterparts. Hot Summer Day , White Bird , Bulgaria are real masterpieces along with Bombay Calling . This last track has eastern influences but also more than heavily influenced Deep Purple's Child In Time (actually it could be called plagiarism but the eastern sounds evident on Bombay Calling are absent in Child In Time - and Blackmore and Lord are from that generation where writing credits were not yet fully respected - see Jimmy Page in Zeppelin). The only weak part is the drum solo in Time is which is the only flaw of the album.

Very much worth your while and this does sort of belong in ProgArchives but so should other psych bands such as Spirit or Jeff Airplane

Review by Trotsky
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars The late 60s psychedelic scene produced a huge number of exciting bands, many of whom created exciting music that destroyed prevailing boundaries that existed within the music industry and paved the way for progressive rock. Whether It's A Beautiful Day is more progressive than its comtemporaries Love, Jefferson Airplane, Sprit, The Doors, Quicksilver Messenger Service and The Grateful Dead is certainly debatable. What is not in doubt is that this is an outstanding psych classic by an underrated band.

White Bird is one outstanding song, with great flute (or is it the celeste imitatiting a flute) and violin passages. Some might claim that David LaFlame's vocals should not have been allowed to drown out Pattie Santos' contributions and while I'd like to have heard more of her over the course of the album I think the combination works for this wonderful track. Hot Summer Day continues in a similar vibe with organ, harmonica and wah-wah guitar added to the mix, while the heavy blues-rock Wasted Union Blues proves a surprising change of pace, with some fiery violin work from LaFlame, whose then-wife Linda also deserves a mention for her great keyboard playing throughout this record.

The delicate Girl With No Eyes is a real heartbreaker. With a glorious mixture of harpischord, flute, organ, violin and classical guitar, this delightful slice of Baroque-pop alone should be enough to win any hard-core proggie over. The funny thing about this song is that every time I hear it I decide that its my new favourite song on the album, but when I spend time away from the album, White Bird sticks in my mind more!

If you've never heard the instrumental Bombay Calling before, it will come as a real surprise to you, because Deep Purple ripped off the intro and melody for their stunning song Child In Time. With another heady mix of organ, violin and wordless vocals, this is a lovely psychedelia-drenched song. Bulgaria is a deeper darker stoned exploration that I really enjoy. Time Is another surprising stomper that really rocks along for nearly 10 minutes without getting boring. Piano and bass does most of the driving, the organ solo is very nice, and even the Val Fuentes drum solo is very much to my taste (although perhaps a little too similar to some of the work Iron Butterfly's Ron Bushy laid down on In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida).

I must say that of all the great psych records I own, this is the one I can see appealing most consistently to prog-rock fans. ... 78% on the MPV scale

Review by memowakeman
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars This is the only album that i have listened of them, I can say that for 1969 year in which we see the court of the crimson king as the major album prog of the year, this one comes out for our ears , obviously does any competence to TCOTCK and maybe nobody knows it, but now that I listen to it, is an extraordinary album, without arriving at the height of that kind of mosnters, but anyway is a debut album with a great progressive sound , it is not so space , but it has something, here im going to including the greate two voices from a man and a woman in the front and back vocals, their music is beautiful and the last song is a masterpiece.
Review by ClemofNazareth
3 stars This is a band that I had never considered progressive in any way, maybe more of a an old folk group that fit in well in the late 60’s and early 70’s, but were largely overcome by the emergence of much slicker production and richer sounds of the latter 70’s. I’m pretty sure I bought this because of a girl in my teen years, and it sounded pretty old-fashioned even then. I don’t even think this is available on CD.

No wait – I just went and checked and it looks like this was released again on CD in 2001.

The band centered on David and Linda LaFlamme, with David playing violin and singing and Linda playing a variety of keyboard instruments. There was also a very hippy- looking girl named Pattie Santos who sang some and played tambourine and a few percussion instruments. A guy named Hal Wagenet played some pretty decent guitar for them in their hippy days – he’s joined the establishment today and is involved in local politics in northern California. The rhythm section were kind of forgettable – bassist Mitchell Holman still performs along the west coast of the U.S., and drummer Val Fuentes has played in a number of moderately successful other bands. I checked their web site and apparently It’s a Beautiful Day are still kicking around the oldies circuit today.

“White Bird” is a six minute song and a very typical late 60’s west coast folk-meets- psychedelic tune, with LaFlamme and Santos complimenting each other very well on vocals, although at times it almost seems they are both singing harmony. Wagenet’s guitar work is much closer to that day’s psychedelic sound than the rest of the band was. As I recall this was the song the band was best known for back then.

“A Hot Summer Day” finds Santos in Mamas and the Papas-sounding harmonizing, and LaFlamme and the rest of the band actually sound a bit like very early Santana. This is one of those hug-the-earth tunes that were so prevalent back then.

Some changeup on “Wasted Union Blues”, which starts off with one of the more discordant intros I’ve ever heard – Wagenet on guitar and LaFlamme on violin with some really uncomfortable grating flat notes and Santos just kind of wailing in the background. But after a bit LaFlamme kicks his violin into a bluesy riff and the rhythm section gets things sorted out. Even then this gives off an almost bluegrass vibe, and is a song that very much wears the 60’s on its sleeve musically.

“Girl With No Eyes” opens with some delicate harpsichord, a ice change of pace although a bit of an abrupt shift. LaFlamme and Santos sound very folksy here. I think the song is about a stoned chick or something.

Another abrupt shift with “Bombay Calling”, a piano heavy tune with David LaFlamme playing pizzicato on his violin, alternating with very long drawn minor chords. It’s a peaceful-sounding instrumental with the harpsichord drawing out the ending note for a good fifteen seconds or so.

“Bulgaria” is another tune heavy on harpsichord and violin, but I must say that in a few places the keyboards approach a grating sound. I think the band was trying to evoke an eastern European feel on this one, but the vocals really come off as an early 50’s film track. Somewhere around the middle Linda LaFlamme switches to piano for some reason, which I have to say serves mostly to make the song sound even more like an early pop tune and less of a folk or progressive work. The lyrics date this one though – lots of chanting about opening up your mind, some Indian yodeling by Santos, and even someone on bongos for a while. Peace and love, man.

“Time Is” rounds out the album, but in some respects it almost seems as if the band has gotten their second wind, as this one moves along at quite a nice pace compared to the two works that precede it. This is also the longest track, clocking in at nearly ten minutes.

I don’t believe that It’s a Beautiful Day were ever considered in the same genre with most of the progressive bands of that day, but they also were not heavy or overtly psychedelic either. I suspect they played to a lot of the psychedelic crowds back then, but possibly also coffee houses as well – not really sure. They're pretty laid back either way.

This is a pleasant enough album, but certainly not essential by any means. Try some very early Jefferson Airplane or Mamas and Papas for similar sounds that have stood the test of time much better. Three stars is the right place on the shelf for this one.


Review by 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 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.

Review by Certif1ed
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars It's a Beautiful Album

Nearly flawless, this piece of progressive psychedelic folk music is remarkable - not in the way it pummels you into submission with outstanding virtuosity (although there is plenty of virtuosity here in David LaFlamme's amazing violin playing), but more in the way the delicate subtleties creep upon you almost unnoticed and hook you in despite yourself.

The album's construction is unconventional - it's always the first track that attracts the most attention, and most often this will be an uptempo rocker that sets the overall mood for everything that is to follow.

Here we have the sublime White Bird, gently lulling us into a tranquil blue sky filled with resonating Hammond and what sounds like a mandolin - but is probably LaFlamme's violin played pizzicato in 3rds, providing a descending melody that is Venetian yet Eastern in flavour. The wonderfully transparent production allows the delicate guitar lines to shine through this, providing a sensual texture for the voices to harmonise over in a manner strongly reminiscent of the Jefferson Airplane.

But this is no carbon copy, despite the similarities. The guitar rhythms change subtly and the violin snakes its way around an instrumental before the next vocal section, during which the guitar interjects tasteful flamenco punctuation - all the while, the phased snare disturbing the whole edifice before it takes off She must fly... into a mellow build-up, packed with more guitar flamenco statements - and a couple of interesting modulations.

The violin solo that soars atop this flutters and chirps with wonderfully executed double-stopped trills - there is some really skilful playing here. Small wonder that LaFlamme was sometimes referred to as the Hendrix of the violin.

Clocking in at just over 6 minutes, this is a terrific piece of proto-prog.

Hot Summer Day begins with a surprise - a dark and slightly dissonant Hammond with satisfyingly rotating Leslie - which slides into a mid-tempo jazz-flavoured riff, with more beautiful punctuation from the guitar, and the violin's continual support of the harmonised vocals. The free feeling and melancholy mood of this piece carries flavours of Nina Simone's Feeling Good, with some superb kit work backing up the rhythms perfectly.

An unexpected breakdown around 3:10 brings a barrage of changes somewhat reminiscent of The Doors, with incredible tension building towards the all-too-short instrumental.

Next up is Wasted Union Blues, deliciously loose, yet rhythmically as tight as it needs to be, deeply disturbing in a Doors-like fashion before the opening chaos comes together in the main body of the song, the snarling guitar ripping at the balance that is trying to establish itself. Then in comes a killer piano line to drive the next vocal section into the instrumental - and just as it hots up, the guitar snarls in again to destabilise things. This inherent battle in the music provides an incredible dramatic tension to produce a section of full-blown progressive rock - before King Crimson managed to release their world-changing debut - and it happens again and again, and each time it is deeply disturbing and destabilising teetering on the borders of control, yet the musicians skillfully and collectively drive the piece to a conclusion that has a real Wow! factor.

A haunting harpsichord and dischordant electric piano kick off Girl With No Eyes, a twisted tale with twisted music. At 1:20, the music careers off into a different direction and key, backed with descending guitar and violin ostinato lending a peculiar otherwordly folk atmosphere to the piece, modulating cunningly back to a simple but tasteful harpsichord solo.

Side 2 of the vinyl begins with the now famous Bombay Calling, used as the foundation for Child in Time by Deep Purple, in case that fact has somehow passed you by. The familiarity of Child in Time meant that it took me a few listens to realise that this piece is every bit as good as the Deep Purple number when taken for itself. It's also incredibly progressive, with rhythmic changes and instrumentals that sound like improvisations, until you consider the tight-knit harmonies in the different voices. It's at this point you need to pinch yourself and remind yourself that this was released in 1969. Standard psychedelia this ain't.

Bulgaria follows - and is dripping with hippie psychedelic sounds. All together now... AU-U- U-U-U-UMMMMMM!!!. The bass is particularly notable - such a sumptuous and altogether DEEP sound even Chris Squire couldn't match. While the organ whistles in an uncomfortably high register, there is no getting away from the fact that every note is composed and in place, and, as the song unfolds slowly, you realise that there is a solid plan behind the scenes being acted upon before your very ears.

A lovely dischordant piano takes over from the whistling around 2:50 - it's worth sticking around for. Here we have music that builds slowly, as the music of Can did - but this is far more melodic than Can ever were. As the tempo picks up, ever so gradually, this piece really unfolds into something rather special, the female backing vocals pre-empting Renaissance a little, but the piece bearing entirely its own signature. This is pure Prog before the event, and worth owning the album for.

So, too, is the final track, Time Is, which seques masterfully from Bulgaria, then kicks into a 2-time, psychotic, ska-inspired dance. When the vocals start, the underlying tick-tock becomes clearer than the ska-dance, and the piano and guitar take it in turns to skew events in turn, before it's all stripped down, then built up again - LaFlamme again seeming to do his best to impersonate Jim Morrison. The next instrumental section is mad, as the clock ticks more insistently than before, and the instrumentalists play in what seems to be their own time dimensions to skew things further.

While it's tempting to provide a kind of running commentary for the rest of this piece, running as it does to 9 and a half minutes, I think it's one to discover. If Bulgaria was worth the price of the album by itself, this one makes it an utter bargain.

This may be a Proto-Prog album, but there are many moments of the genuine article on here - and even if it's not your personal idea of Prog Rock, it's in so many ways a blinding album with superlative musicianship and incredible compositions, the nuances of which are so skillfully assembled that you can simply drift along to the music with the analytical side switched off and still get immense enjoyment from it.

I'd love to award it the 5 it fully deserves, but I think that the psychedelic edge is too strong for me to vote it a masterpiece of fully-fledged prog.

It's a masterpiece in it's own right though - buy it - and thank me for the recommendation after the 10th listen :o)

Review by Mellotron Storm
3 stars A pretty good West coast Psych album from 1969. We've got male and female vocals with prominant organ and violin.The music here is kind of folky for the most part.

"White Bird" is where the dual vocals work trmendously well. I like how the organ sort of floats along. Violin after 1 1/2 minutes. When the vocals stop acoustic guitar comes in followed by violin and more powerful organ. Great section. This song and the next one are my favourites. "A Hot Summer Day" opens with organ as harmonica comes in and light drums. Dual vocals follow and the sound gets fuller. This is a laid back feel- good track. "Wasted Union Blues" is more aggressive and bluesy. It opens with some noisy guitar and piano. Vocals a minute in then violin. Not a fan of this one.

"Girl With No Eyes" is a mellow song with piano and reserved vocals. Some violin and harpsichord later. "Bombay Calling" is a pretty good instrumental with violin, organ and piano. Drums a minute in as well. "Bulgaria" has some atmosphere to start with as slowly sung male vocals come in. "Time Is" is the longest track at 9 1/2 minutes. It opens with piano and drums as the tempo picks up. Organ joins in.Vocals after a minute. A drum / organ melody after 3 minutes. Drums only 5 minutes in. Vocals are back before 7 minutes. Not a fan of this one either.

Just not an album I can really get into but still worth 3 stars for me.

Review by Tarcisio Moura
4 stars This is one album I had heard a lot about over the years but only recently I had the opportunity to fully appreciate it through a friend who was kind enough to lend it to me for a few weeks. Itīs a Beautiful Dayīs debut work is very impressive and promised a lot (which, unfortunately, was not fulfilled). Although there is not much prog in here, it was nevertheless an excellent CD for such new band and it did contain some very strong and sometimes unusual music for the period.

Side A of the vinyl is surely the best with the classic standout track opening: White Bird is surely their most remarkable song. A nice, haunting tune led by the dual voices of David LaFlamme and Pattie Santos, good Hammond organ lines and very effective acoustic guitar and fiddle solos. This beautiful song deserved to become such a celebrated item since. A Hot Summerīs Day follows through similar patterns and its melody , feeling and harmonica opening reminds me a lot of another hit around the time, the much more famous Sunny. The third track, Wasted Union Blues, is quite heavier than the previous two, with a strident intro I didnīt like. However, as the tune develops it turns out to be a good number (it might have sounded great live). Girl With No Eyes is another gem: a gorgeous ballad with a delicate, inspired melody, mysterious lyrics and poignant vocals. One of their best.

Side B is not as powerful, but still shows the bandīs enormous potential anyway. Highlights are the instrumental Bombay Calling and some interesting parts of the longest track, Time is (not the drum solo on it). David LaFlamme has a nice and soulful voice, but Iīd like to hear Pattie Santos sing at least one solo, which she does not here. She only harmonizes and her singing is also quite nice and reminds a lot of the way Grace Slickīs harmonies of the Jefferson Airplanes stuff (an obvious influence).

All in all it was clear that the band had very talented musicians and could go very far had they developed from this electrifying start. It is only a pity that internal squabbles and frequent line up changes would prevent it until they faded away altogether. Nevertheless, they did produce some great songs and most of them are here. Rating: 3,5 stars that Iīll round up to four because it was a really good effort for a new band and it left a lasting impression.

Review by octopus-4
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR RIO/Avant/Zeuhl,Neo & Post/Math Teams
4 stars This is my pot. Being grown up in the 60s I'm still fascinated by the hippy flavor. The fact that the songs are well built-up, never trivial, skillfully played and longer than the standard radio- size makes it very interesting.

This is mainly a flower-power psychedelic band, I think the reason why it's classified as proto-prog is mainly in the use of violin and the strong presence of organ so technically speaking a sort of instrumentation that appears more British than American.

What I consider being the most progressive track is "Girl With No Eyes". It's a folk tune to which harpsichord, violin and the vocals of David LaFlamme and Patti Santos give a medieval mood. Very hippy but also very prog, ut let's go track by track.

The opener "White Bird" can be considered a hippy song, but I think it's not much different in the style from early Renaissance, I mean the first two albums.

"Hot Summer Day" proceeds on the same line plus the wah-wah, the vibrato organ and some harmonica which make it bluesy.

"Wasted Union Blues" is heavy psychedelic. In the beginning the lead guitar is very acid so while the theme is typically blues it sounds Hendirxian. David's violin is not so much different from the cello of Caravan's Geoff Richardson when it plays the solo parts. The song is chaotic and acid, It's curious that it recalls to my mind the three 'J's Jimi Hendrix, Jim Morrison and Janis Joplin.

I've already said of Girl with no eyes so let's move to the most famous song of this album. "Bombay Calling" is Deep Purple's Child in Time. I opened a thread on the forum about this without knowing that another one had been opened before. The story is quite complicated and effectively also this song was originally written by an old bluesman, Vince Wallace in 1962 and "stolen" by David LaFlamme. I don't know much of this story that I've learned from PA.

However it fades seamlessly into "Bulgaria" which has a very psychedelic opening which initially reminds to early Pink Floyd. "Set The Control For The Heart Of The Sun" as reference. It has the same oriental mood increased by the violin as lead instrument.

To be honest, also the closer "Time Is" reminds me to something already listened, but I can't identify it. However it's a very good long song and an excellent closer almost psychedelic with some relations to the Doors, but I think it's good for Krautrock fans, too. In few words other than being an interesting document of a period and a place it's first of all a good album which deserves to be included in a prog collection.

Review by friso
4 stars It's a Beautiful Day - st (1969)

The late sixties have so much to offer, when it comes to early progressive music. 'It's a Beautiful Day's debut is one of these album that captures what the music of the time is about. Organ-chord progressions, folksy arrangements, some mild & heavy electric guitars, psychedelic vocals and duets and of course some exciting and atmospheric song-writing. The combined vocals of David Laflamme and Pattie Santos are really a winner, as they seem to complete each other perfectly in these melodic songs. The violins of David Laflamme give the music it's folksy sound (at times) whilst his sister Linda Laflamme does a great job on all key instruments.

The song-writing of this album is the main attraction here, but the musicianship is also strong. 'White Bird' is a melodic folk song with beautiful duo vocals. It is said this song became a big hit at the time. 'Hot Summer Day' reminds me a bit of the The Crazy World of Arthur Brown, but with less extrovert vocals. 'Wasted Union Blues' is at least as heavy as Led Zeppelin with it's very heavy distorted guitar licks that sound amazing. 'Girl with no Eyes' is an atmospheric, psychedelic song with nice ghost-house vocals and classy harpsichord sounds. On side two 'Bombay Calling' is easy recognized as the song that Deep Purple would jam on and eventually wright the all-time classic Child on Time on. The main theme and melody is however written by It's a Beautiful Day. The song itself is a bit folk-like, a bit like White Bird. The instrumental parts are particularly strong on this one. On 'Bulgaria' and 'Time is' the band has less focus on song-writing and we get to listen to some improvisations, solo's and the like.

My only complaint about this album is slightly flat sound, but it's recorded in '69 so I can't be to harsh on it. On my stereo the music really becomes alive when I put my treble full open and I have the CBS reprint; whose later pressings usually have a great sound.

Conclusion. This is one of these great proto-prog records that are both innovative, stylish and well played. The vocals are a real treat, whilst the rest of the band catches up during instrumental passages. I would strongly recommend this to fans of early prog, late '60 psychedelic rock and folk rock. Four stars. Don't be bothered by the 'Sound of Music'-like cover!

Review by ZowieZiggy
3 stars I have only discovered this band some seven years ago. Even if the San Fran scene was rather interesting, it was quite alien to this side of the Atlantic (except JA, but thanks to "Woodstock" mainly).

The music featured on this debut does remind an awful lot to the "Airplane" + some wonderful violin moments ("White Bird"). This debut is quite an interesting album: dramatically psychedelic, wonderfully melodic, and passionate: you name it all.

The extremely positive points about this release are the vocal harmonies which are combined with superb violin and harpsichord. Some over forty years after release, this album sounds fresh and modern. Of course, I am profoundly driven into the psychedelic years. A song as "Hot Summer Day" sounds just as an enchantment to my ears. A second highlight probably. The first being the great "White Bird".

I have to confess that "Waste union Blues" and "Girl With No Eyes" are not on par. To be fully honest (as I have always been), I came up to know this band thanks to "Bombay Calling". THE original opening part of the superb, gigantic, phenomenal, gorgeous, splendid "Child In Time".

Purple borrowed it as led Zep did with plenty of their songs from their first two albums. This instrumental is just crazy and deserve a listen. I guess that MANY "Purple" fans don't know anything about this previous act to "Child In Time".

As such, this version is really worth your listening: great violin that provides some nice Oriental flavour and beautiful beat (even if Ritchie's guitar is one of the best available on this side of the rocking planet).

This album closes on the good "Time Is" which is a long psyche ecstasy: loose, chaotic and totally out of the norms?

I would say that it was about time because "Bulgaria" was rather weak (third one of the type). As a conclusion, I would say that this is a good album. Few people have listened to it and I can only recommend you to do so.

Three stars.

Review by J-Man
3 stars San Francisco spawned some great bands in the late sixties', and although It's a Beautiful Day rarely gets as much recognition as Jefferson Airplane, Santana, or Blue Cheer, they are not one to forget about when discussing the city's musical landscape. Formed during the 1967 'summer of love', It's a Beautiful Day went on to release this self-titled debut in 1969 and, as it would turn out, this release would be remembered in history as the group's defining statement. Its charming mix of psychedelia, folk, jazz, and mildly progressive songwriting ideas makes for a unique listen, and although It's a Beautiful Day is not without some flaws, it is a strong and adventurous debut that still holds up over forty years after its release.

The tracks that you'll find here are actually quite varied - on one hand, there are light and flowery psychedelic tunes like "White Bird" (one of my favorites) and "Hot Summer Day", but on the other hand there are also songs like the experimental and menacing "Bulgaria" and the jam-oriented "Time Is". Somewhere in the middle you have the hauntingly beautiful "Girl With No Eyes", progressive instrumental "Bombay Calling", and the hard-rocking "Wasted Union Blues". If you listen to this one on vinyl (as I have been over the past few days), you'll probably notice that side two seems to be the more experimental and progressive half of the album. I don't care much for the extended jamming in "Time Is" and actually prefer the first side to the second one, although the quality is objectively high throughout the entire listen. In terms of musicianship, these guys (and gal) were certainly above what many of their psychedelic contemporaries were doing at the time - the vocal harmonies between David LaFlamme and his wife Linda are excellent, and David's virtuous violin playing in particular gives the album a very unique flavor. The ensemble is solid across the board, though, and when one also factors in the crisp production, it's clear that this is a very professional and well-made observation.

It's a Beautiful Day is the sort of album that every psychedelic connoisseur should take a listen to at some point or another; its unique style and charming arrangements are certainly different from anything you would've heard back in 1969, and although I personally don't care for "Time Is" (which takes up nearly one-fourth of the album's playing time), fans of free-form jams should enjoy it more than I do anyway. While some of the melodies feel a bit bland and song structures a tad clumsy, this is still a well-put together album that has aged surprisingly well. I've yet to hear any of the band's subsequent releases, but I'm definitely looking forward to seeing where It's a Beautiful Day went from here!

Review by Warthur
4 stars It's a Beautiful Day's debut album finds the band offering up a high-quality prototype for progressive rock, with some experiments reminiscent of less heavy versions of some of the ideas Deep Purple would play with around this time. In particular, take a listen to Bombay Calling, the intro to which Deep Purple would slow down a little and turn into the basic structure of Child In Time. When an album's so good even peak-era Deep Purple are borrowing from it you know you're dealing with something extra-special, right? Further psychedelic jams round out this charming era from the San Fransisco scene of the 1960s.
Review by siLLy puPPy
4 stars This band emerged from 'The Summer Of Love' during the hippie days of the late 60s in San Francisco. They played an interesting mix of psychedelic rock mixed with folk and some classical in a very original way. The male and female vocals add an interesting flavor that give this album a very unique sound. The songwriting here is outstanding and really brings to mind the times in which they were in. Musically I find them more interesting than some of the other bands around that scene.

The band never really achieved the success of other SF psychedelic bands of the same era. In fact they were almost invited to play at Woodstock. Michael Lang, one of the co-creators of the event was pressured by Bill Graham to put on one of two acts that Bill managed. He then listened to a tape of both IABD and Santana and couldn't decide so he flipped a coin. Guess who lost and guess who won and became instantly famous. Lots of experimenting on this one. Another great album from a great year in music.

Latest members reviews

5 stars A true Proto-Prog masterpiece! Not really sure whether this band or album was greatly influential to Prog or just happened to be flooded through the roof with Prog elements and overlooked? Anyway if I were to consider a band to truely fit the category of Proto-Prog no questions asked It's a Beau ... (read more)

Report this review (#2896596) | Posted by altered_beast | Sunday, March 5, 2023 | Review Permanlink

3 stars This band is mostly known for the influence they had on other bands............ and songs. There is no secret that Deep Purple borrowed most of Bombay Calling for their masterpiece Child In Time. It's A Beautiful Day did retaliate later on though by borrowing a large chunk of one of Deep Purpl ... (read more)

Report this review (#283116) | Posted by toroddfuglesteg | Saturday, May 22, 2010 | Review Permanlink

4 stars I don't mean, particularyly, to add or take away from what people above, and on other sites, have said, rather only to add a comment - one that I've not seen in three hours of assiduous searching out of bits and bobs about IABD (the _original_ LP release.) Walking down the sidewalk on f ... (read more)

Report this review (#112400) | Posted by jonesy | Saturday, February 17, 2007 | Review Permanlink

5 stars white bird is a wnderful and beautiful song. It emulates a very special feeling of a wonderful time in United States music history. It brings back fond memories of excellent song writing, with excellent instrumentals. There is also a special blending of the instruments that enhances the spirit ... (read more)

Report this review (#90798) | Posted by | Wednesday, September 20, 2006 | Review Permanlink

4 stars I don't, for the life of me,know what made me think of this song!I was 13 years old when i first heard it and it has stayed with me all these years. I thought, and still do, that it was one of the most beautiful songs that i had ever heard. Then when i was 14 years old, i got to sneak into a l ... (read more)

Report this review (#65470) | Posted by | Thursday, January 19, 2006 | Review Permanlink

4 stars Where does it stop being psychedelic and stop being progressive? These guys often have both in one song, seemingly. The classical influences are most evident on "White Bird", LaFlamme and Santos's vocals blend really well. The light feel of this track is balanced by the longer freakouts like ... (read more)

Report this review (#55768) | Posted by TheGreatGlorph | Thursday, November 10, 2005 | Review Permanlink

3 stars I can't deny this is a quite surprising record. It's a nice experience to hear the way traditional sounds (folk influences) create this kind psychedelic pop-music. White Bird is a very good song, I think it's the best one on this album. It's very funny to know that the song Bombay Calling, whi ... (read more)

Report this review (#33232) | Posted by Jaap | Thursday, February 10, 2005 | Review Permanlink

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