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TOUCH

Proto-Prog • United States


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Touch biography
TOUCH may have possibly been the first American progressive rock band, although there are counterclaims from supporters of equally neglected/forgotten United States Of America and now the hindsighted claims for ZAPPA & The MOTHERS OF INVENTION. However, (unlike USA and ZAPPA) on hearing much of TOUCH's small catalogue of progressive music one might be forgiven for saying it was influenced by the early British prog bands, but for the facts they were formed in the mid 60's and released their only complete album 'Touch' in early 1969 in the USA/mid 1969 in the UK. In other words their music, their ideas and their special album, predates CRIMSON's « In The Court » and the first RENAISSANCE album.

Lead by the former garage pop/rocker Don Gallucci, (inventor of the timeless Louie Louie keyboard riff in 1963 when 15, then with the Kingsmen), he brought together guitarist Joey Newman and vocalist Jeff Hawks into Don & The Goodtimes. With TV appearances, they had a pop hit « I Could Be So Good To You ». But exposed to more ambitious bands, such as JEFFERSON AIRPLANES and the BEATLES expanding the language of rock, and The GOODTIMES themselves increasing in their music maturity, Gallucci and Newman felt compelled to move away from the limitations of 3 minute pop songs. As a result the innovative, seminal and specifically, archetypal prog song, 75, was written in early 1967. Musically and name-wise Don & The Goodtimes metamorphosed into TOUCH, while their fans thought they looked and had gone weird. John Bordorano and Bruce Hauser were added on drums and bass respectively. By late 1967, (to quote the band) "they had freed themselves of musical suppression and had a release of pent up creativity resulted in a flood of new musical ideas, while hallucinogenic experiences and metaphysical philosophy had given those ideas shape". And also during the end of 1967/early 1968 they had recorded their eponymously titled album.

Praise for TOUCH's music came from many well known rock artists, e.g. Hendrix (who part bank rolled studio costs of the recording), and Mick Jagger. Glowing endorsements as to the influence of TOUCH have been made subsequently by Jon Anderson and Kerry Livgren - see the liner notes of the Renaissance Records reissue on CD. And the album as an import, was played heavily by the DJs in the London underground clubs - where future British prog stars relaxed in the early hours of the morning, after a hard days night gigging.

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Buy TOUCH Music


TouchTouch
Remastered · Import
Esoteric 2012
Audio CD$10.56
$10.99 (used)
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Git Box : Touch Wood CD (1995) USD $3.25 Buy It Now 4h

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TOUCH discography


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TOUCH top albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

4.04 | 68 ratings
Touch
1968

TOUCH Live Albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

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TOUCH Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Touch by TOUCH album cover Studio Album, 1968
4.04 | 68 ratings

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Touch
Touch Proto-Prog

Review by 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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 Touch by TOUCH album cover Studio Album, 1968
4.04 | 68 ratings

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Touch
Touch Proto-Prog

Review by groucho

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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 Touch by TOUCH album cover Studio Album, 1968
4.04 | 68 ratings

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Touch
Touch Proto-Prog

Review by 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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 Touch by TOUCH album cover Studio Album, 1968
4.04 | 68 ratings

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Touch
Touch Proto-Prog

Review by jaydude214

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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 Touch by TOUCH album cover Studio Album, 1968
4.04 | 68 ratings

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Touch
Touch Proto-Prog

Review by RikyLopez

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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 Touch by TOUCH album cover Studio Album, 1968
4.04 | 68 ratings

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Touch
Touch Proto-Prog

Review by x_bruce

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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 Touch by TOUCH album cover Studio Album, 1968
4.04 | 68 ratings

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Touch
Touch Proto-Prog

Review by antogall

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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 Touch by TOUCH album cover Studio Album, 1968
4.04 | 68 ratings

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Touch
Touch Proto-Prog

Review by 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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 Touch by TOUCH album cover Studio Album, 1968
4.04 | 68 ratings

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Touch
Touch Proto-Prog

Review by ofurglassi

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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 Touch by TOUCH album cover Studio Album, 1968
4.04 | 68 ratings

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Touch
Touch Proto-Prog

Review by 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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