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Gong Radio Gnome Invisible Part 1 - Flying Teapot album cover
3.95 | 647 ratings | 40 reviews | 33% 5 stars

Excellent addition to any
prog rock music collection

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Studio Album, released in 1973

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Radio Gnome Invisible (5:33)
2. Flying Teapot (11:49)
3. The Pot Head Pixies (2:59)
4. The Octave Doctors And The Crystal Machine (1:44)
5. Zero The Hero And The Witch's Spell (9:37)
6. Witch's Song/I Am Your Pussy (5:05)

Total Time: 36:47

Line-up / Musicians

- Daevid Allen / guitar, vocals
- Steve Hillage / guitars
- Christian Tritsch / slide guitar
- Gilli Smyth / organ, vocals
- Francis Moze / VCS3 synth, electric & upright pianos, bass
- Tim Blake / VCS3 synth, vocals
- Didier Malherbe / soprano & tenor saxes, flute
- Laurie Allan / drums, percussion
- Rachid Houari / congas

Releases information

Artwork: Maggie Thomas with Tom Fu and Daevid Allen ("Dingo")

LP Virgin ‎- V 2002 (1973, UK) Inital edition 25 May 1973
LP BYG Records ‎- 529 027 (1973, France) Different cover art globally adopted except on Virgin label

CD Decal ‎- CD LIK 67 (1990, UK)
CD Charly Records ‎- CDCRH 114 (1996, Germany) Remastered

Thanks to ProgLucky for the addition
and to Quinino for the last updates
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GONG Radio Gnome Invisible Part 1 - Flying Teapot ratings distribution

(647 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(33%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(46%)
Good, but non-essential (18%)
Collectors/fans only (3%)
Poor. Only for completionists (0%)

GONG Radio Gnome Invisible Part 1 - Flying Teapot reviews

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Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by Sean Trane
4 stars 4.5 stars really!!!With this opening chapter of the Radio Gnome Invisible Trilogy , we find that the Flying Teapot is actually a spaceship emiting Radio Gnome waves to expand the minds and awareness of the Planet GonG whose inhabitants are Pot Head Pixies. Quite a programme as you can see.

Gong was always subject to personel changes and comes in Tim Blake and Steve Hillage , both will influence the music to a point that they are much instrumental in the success of YOU.

Side 1 has only two tracks and Radio Gnome Invisible takes you back at the Camembert days but with all the subtleties of the musical progress of the group. One of my favorite track is the title track and its 12 min filled with spacey noises over an infectious rythm. With this track on can listen on how YOU will be such a success. This is easily the highlight of the album.

Side 2 starts with two shorter track , one allowing Tim Blake to expand on his universe of early synths. But clearly the last two tracks are another highpoint of this album: Zero The Hero is another central piece of this album but also of the whole trilogy as well as it introduces the Frodo equivalent of LOTRing trilogy. It is filled with absolutely mirific ambiances and previews some of the beautyful athmospheres of Angel's Egg. Malherbe is again top notch here. The last track Witches Song/I Am Your Pussy is dedicated to Gilly Smyth's charater and is schizophrenic in musical style and provide a great end to this chapter.

Again for years , so many different reissues (both on vinyl and Cd ) of this album have not done justice to the great sleeve artwork which is absolutely necessary to understand (is that possible?) the story . Recently Charly Records released a mini sleeve Lp restauring the full original artwork complete with the innerfold (but strangely enough not the lyrics) on the Victor label, cat. # VICP 61172.

Absolutely delicious album under this form.

Review by Seyo
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars It takes some time and a few listens to swallow the eccentric psychedelia of Planet Gong mythology, especially for a non-English native. After it is done, you cannot but admire the positive lunacy of these "hippie" freaks in their effort to tell the story of Radio Gnome Invisible, Pot Head Pixies, Zero the Hero et al. This is the first part of the famous trilogy and it is already well-rounded concept with longer songs of which the title track is by far the best. The sound and production is however quite weak, at least on the Charly CD issue SNAP025CD. Still, very good piece of art which deserves a special place in a prog collection.
Review by Philo
2 stars While the whole Flying Teapot and Pot Head Pixies idea may have sounded like a stunning idea, once medicated with a headful of good acid and average weed, the end result is something of an anti climax. Under developed is one way to put it while ill advised another, or even not advised at all as those free reigned days of the seventies would seem to have had it. Luckily the whole concept/charade is, to a point, saved by some good solid and fluid musicianship which emerges sporadically throughout the entire exercise, especially the interplay between guitarist Steve Hillage and the synth work of Tim Blake. The whole narrative of the Pot Head Pixies does becoms cumbersome, even Allen sounds tired or is simply lost in a haze of dope smoke while lacking a depth of thought as he scrapes the barrel to make it interesting to take the parts somewhere? His voice, and definitely words, certainly grate on this listenerand never becomes amusing. The concept would get better with the following two efforts, but had they become a strictly instrumental act at this stage the album may have even garnered more response and respect. Surely a few of us could easily have envisioned the entire P.H.P thing with rich layers of psyche fused and charged music and no narrative? Daevid Allen seemed to have thought otherwise, so...
Review by ClemofNazareth
4 stars I unfortunately have a reissue of this record that does not include what I understand are extensive pictures, lyrics, and text to explain this bizarro-world of pot-head pixies, octave doctors, and planet Gong in general. No matter, I’m not a dedicated enough fan to try and figure it all out anyway, and for me an album like this is more for casual enjoyment than it is for detailed analysis and a multi-generational scorecard and landscape map. I have Tolkein and his ilk for that sort of thing.

Anyway, the humor here strikes me as a bit more European than what I would be likely to grab hold of. No matter – this is a fun album on its own merits. The heavy use of synth and keyboards make this an energetic adventure even without the story line. I especially like the use of saxophones because they are not meant to give this music a jazz/fusion flavor, which seems to be about the only time saxophones were used in this period. The crashing piano chords on “Flying Teapot” and elsewhere are totally fun and give the music a child-like adventurous edge.

I’m not sure what “The Octave Doctors and The Crystal Machine” is supposed to be about, but the tongue-in-cheek seriousness of the extended synth passages here seem to be setting up a pivotal moment in the record. Unfortunately for me, I don’t get that from the following “Zero The Hero And The Witch's Spell”, but I do get that this was 1973 and most or all of these guys were definitely experimenting with head candy of some sort.

“Witch’s Song/I am Your Pussy” left me stranded as if the album was not actually complete. As I understand it this is the first in a trilogy, so I guess that makes sense.

I may take the time to actually set down and read up on these guys and try to get the whole story behind this album and the tales it sets up, but for now I was just impressed to find a somewhat scratched up copy of it and thoroughly enjoyed the listens. Four stars.


Review by fuxi
4 stars If Gong's Radio Gnome Trilogy were available as a single set (I think I saw it in a record store once), I would undoubtedly award it five stars, such is the wonderful variety of music to be found therein. Taken on their own, however, none of the albums qualify as absolute masterpieces, for reasons I'll explain in three separate reviews.

FLYING TEAPOT has always been the part of the trilogy that is closest to my heart. The more conventional songs will brighten up your day (especially "Radio Gnome Invisible" and "The Pot Head Pixies") while the two longer "freakouts" ("Flying Teapot" and "Zero the Hero") will blow your mind. The first of these freakouts starts with floating sounds produced by Daevid Allen on 'glissando guitar' and by Tim Blake on synth. It soon turns into a prime space-rock jam session (tremenjous fun: space-rock about flying teapots!) which is dominated by Didier Malherbe's sax, and it ends on what must be one of the weirdest drum solos ever put to record. Malherbe is probably this album's star, since he is also given the chance to solo freely on "Zero the Hero", superbly accompanied on (among other things) rhythm guitar - but whose? Daevid Allen's or Steve Hillage's??? I only recently found out that Hillage actually appears on this album... He does not contribute any solos, though.

My only reservation about FLYING TEAPOT concerns the 'space whisper' and the witchy cackling of a certain Gilly Smith, a.k.a. Shakti Yoni. It's bad enough that old hippies viewed women as 'magick mothers' or sex kittens, but it's downright irritating that a woman gets to play only sex kitten roles on not just one, but TWO different parts of the Radio Gnome Trilogy. I never fell for all the whispering and cackling - nowadays I use my fast-forward button!

Review by Finnforest
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars Where's the party?

I remember talking to a friend once about the various characters of this album and if there were possibly deeper meanings behind some, etc. He looked rather amused as he said "Teapot is just an excuse for Allen to get really really high, get up on stage in his little costumes and dance around in front of the crowd, nothing more." I didn't argue but vowed to continue my investigations into the political significance of the Gnomes and Pixies at a later date.

I do love humor and the counterculture fantasies of the 70s as much as the next guy but I don't always love it mixed with my prog. It's a fine line. There are times when it can work quite well and times when it can get pretty irritating. I guess I would say musically that we're somewhere in Supersister territory here. The first half of the album is fun but by the time we get to "Witch's Song/I Am Your Pussy" I have most definitely had enough Tea for a while. "Pothead Pixies" though is so much fun that I have fantasies of taking over the airwaves and Ipods and playing that song at high volume to the unsuspecting masses until they snap.

I think it's fair to acknowledge that there are albums whose value to a listener will change based on where one is in life. At one time one's mindset and situation could make this album essential, a few years later this kind of album could be just silliness. That's a generalization to be sure but it's also true that one's circumstances may well play a key role in how valuable a piece of music is to them. Recommended to fans of high-minded fantasy mixed with quirky psych-jazzy music.

Review by UMUR
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars Radio Gnome Invisible Vol. 1 - Flying Teapot is the fourth full-length studio album by psychadelic jazz/ rock act Gong and as the title says the first in the Radio Gnome triology. All three preceeding albums have been good psychadelic jazz/ rock albums and Gong continue their wacky style on this album.

There are only six songs on the album but a song like Flying Teapot is over 10 minutes long so even though it is a rather short album you do get your moneyīs worth. The music on the album is a mix of psychadelic ( slightly avant garde) rock and jazz/ rock which means that there are equal portions of psychadelic moments with spacy synth sounds ( a bit like Hawkwind at times) and weird/ silly lyrics ( think Frank Zappa at his most silly and infantile) and jamming jazz/ rock sections with lots of saxophone/ flute soloing. Examples of the more psychadelic song oriented tracks would be Radio Gnome Invisible, Witch's Song/I Am Your Pussy and The Pot Head Pixies while Flying Teapot and Zero The Hero And The Witch's Spell features most jazz/ rock jamming.

The musicianship is excellent. The vocals from Daevid Allen and Gilli Smyth are psychadelic and adds greatly to the atmosphere of the songs and the band is very tight and well playing. I especially enjoy the fusion like drumming by Rachid Houari. Itīs noteworthy that Steve Hillage ( Arzachel, Khan) plays guitar on the album.

The production is good. You can easily make out everything thatīs being played.

Allthough I find Radio Gnome Invisible Vol. 1 - Flying Teapot to be a very enjoyable album and without a doubt a high quality effort Iīm gonna give it a 3 star rating. I understand if others find this to be a more essential listen than I do though.

Review by Sinusoid
4 stars How to describe this teapot...

A good word to describe this album is ''goofy''; at least on FLYING TEAPOT, Gong are a band that sound like they absolutely do not take themselves seriously in both the words and the music. This ''Radio Gnome Invisible'' stuff is just plain out of left-field, and Daevid Allen seems to punctuate everything with a very ''hippie'' tone in his voice.

Now, the music is very goofy, but it is by no means weak. Maybe there's a few dead spots on the album, particularly the last two songs, but FLYING TEAPOT has very many catchy moments. Francis Moze is the unsung hero here as his fat bass sound provides stellar grooves throughout, but particularly important on the title track. Speaking of the title track, that song is one of the best jam-y tunes I've ever heard with the great bassline, subtle yet sublime wah guitar licks, spacey keys and the chanting around the middle of the piece.

Another special shoutout goes to the ''Pot Head Pixies'' cut, the very first song from Gong that I ever got into. It has that party-like rockin' feel, but with some of the goofiest things I've ever heard from a prog rock group (particularly the middle section).

Be sure to be open-minded when exploring this album. This is not a serious work of art, but rather a happy escapism thingy. This is one of those albums where you must not overthink all of the details or you'll think that it sucks and regret getting into Gong. Let the craziness rub off on you and enjoy.

Review by friso
5 stars Gong's 1971 record 'Camembert Electrique' left me a bit un-impressed, mostly because of its chaotic and overly sloppy performances. I might as far as saying I actually prefer the psychedelic pop debut album of the band. By 1973 the band had become so much more professional, whilst keeping up its wildly creative vision implementing spacerock, pyschedelic rock, some comedy, jazz-rock, brass and lore-creating songwriting. The addition of Steve Hillage on guitar (whom I read still was honored to join Gong after recording 'Space Shanty') completed the line-up with masterful musicians on all instruments. 'Flying Teapot' sound as if its too short for Gong's musical aspirations and it would be hard to pin-point from what musical basis the band operates; but all songs are distinctly hippy trippy psychedelic without becoming overly naive towards the real world. In stead, Gong creates its own fantasy world 'Planet Gong' to experiment in - which in turn became the basis for the story of the 'Radio Gnome Trilogy'. Perhaps this is why the music has aged so well. The song-writing of the optimistic and lively performer Deavid Allen goes all over the place, yet the music is grounded in some fine melodies and instrumental explorations. The jazz-rock space section of 'Flying Teapot' would form a stepping stone for the style the band would further develop just a year later on the third installment 'You'. Gong's trilogy is corner-stone progressive rock and this first part is perhaps the most charming. Guarantied to raise a smile, every time.
Review by TheGazzardian
4 stars Have a cup of tea, have another one, have a cup of tea Have a cup of tea, have another one, have a cup of tea

In a sense, these lyrics from Flying Teapot summarize this album in two different ways. The first is obvious; this album is a little bit unusual. But what else could you expect from an album called 'Radio Gnome Invisible, Part 1: Flying Teapot'? If the title of the album didn't give it away, then surely the cover art, with some yellow men in a yellow teapot that is flying should have done so. If even that hasn't convinced you of the albums zaniness, then the track listing should have.

The second thing is that this is an album that you are going to want to keep coming back to. Jam packed full of psychedelic soundscapes, catchy vocals, and oft-times hilarious lyrics, this is an album that definitely rewards the listener. I don't do drugs, but it definitely sounds like one of those albums that would spawn some 'crazy trips'.

What exactly is Flying teapot about? Pothead Pixies coming from outer space in a Flying Teapot to broadcast the 'Radio Gnome Invisible' directly into peoples heads to teach them about the amazingness of planet Gong, or some such nonsense, is what I've picked up. Definitely a concept that will bring about hours of amusement.

The song writing is top notch, however. The short songs say what they have to say and catch the ear at the same time. "I am you are we are crazy" will echo in your head for hours after listening to the track Pothead Pixies. The two longer tracks (Flying Teapot and Zero the Hero and the Witch's Spell) both have more psychedelic soundscapes than the rest of the album, which of course works well with this album's content. Witch's Song/I Am Your Pussy is a surprisingly well crafted song, switching between female vocals and male vocals with mischievous horns running underneath.

Overall, this is an excellent album that I would highly recommend.

Review by snobb
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars First album from wellknown Gong trilogy "Radio Gnome Invisible". Starting from here, you can listen real Daevid Allen's Gong sound in it's best. The music is still quite different in styles, but much more focused, and generally could be named "space jazz-rock". Songs are better structurised as well, more dynamic, more melodies, more acoustic pieces. Perfect wind instruments. Starting from here, great guitarist Steve Hillage became regular band member.

So, don't think that the music is something very calculated. No way! But chaos of previous works ( which often was more negtive factor, destroying often interesting ideas) there is changed by innovative fusion, melodical explosions.

It looks, that music is produced from the same raw material as before, but inder hand of genius. This album represent all the best you can hear in Allen's gong. Personally me prefer next album of this Trilogy ( it is more different,but and less structurised at the same time).

But I can strongly recommend this album to all listeners, interested in Daevid Allen's Gong and good space-jazz-rock as well.

Review by Bonnek
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars Gong's Flying Teapot album is a nice continuation of the psychedelic avant-garde space-jazz style of Camembert Electric. It's also maintains the same inconsistency though. It's understandable, it must have been hard to stay focused given their doped state. It's even something of an achievement they managed to stir up their mindset to pull off the two great 10 minute psychedelic trips here.

The opening Radio Gnome Invisible has its moments but it's a bit too goofy really. People with more sense of humour then me will probably dig this a lot more. Serious experiments like Flying Teapot and Zero The Hero please me a lot more and take the space-rock of Floyd and Hawkwind even deeper into the cosmos. 4 star material. The rest of the album barely gets above 2 stars though.

If you still wonder what is to be found at the heart of space, Gong will be able to tell you it's basically one huge stash of pot out there. 3 stars

Review by Rune2000
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars Radio Gnome Invisible Vol. 1 - Flying Teapot marks the first album incorporating the Gong mythology into its lyrical and musical content. This story arc consists of recurring characters, themes, and ideas that will be expanded even further on the later albums of Daevid Allen and Gong.

I definitely recommend reading up on the basic storyline before actually listening to this music since many of the themes will make a bit more sense after that. This is also the first Gong album to feature Steve Hillage on guitar. Together with Daevid Allen, Gilli Smyth and the rest of the band Hillage will play an important part of Gong's sound over the years especially recently, in 2009, when the band released a new recording featuring many of the familiar names off this release.

The album is divided into six tracks with one longer track on each side of the vinyl record. These two longer tracks are the 12 minute Flying Teapot and the 10 minute Zero The Hero And The Witch's Spell. Both of these pieces are the most developed and coherent instrumental performances that beg the question of why the band just couldn't drop the shorter pieces all together or combine them into much more coherent performances. Clearly the rest of the material just isn't on par which is probably why this album is the lowest rated album of the whole The Radio Gnome Invisible Trilogy.

Eventually the band would make a few more adjustments to their lineup and return with two much more interesting albums. In comparison with those albums Radio Gnome Invisible Vol. 1 - Flying Teapot is just an uneven start of the trilogy. Considering that it includes an important chunk of the storyline I definitely recommend this album to fans of Gong, but to everyone else this is a good, but non-essential release.

**** star songs: Radio Gnome Invisible (5:33) Flying Teapot (11:47) The Octave Doctors And The Crystal Machine (1:51) Zero The Hero And The Witch's Spell (9:38)

*** star songs: The Pot Head Pixies (3:01) Witch's Song/I Am Your Pussy (5:09)

Review by AtomicCrimsonRush
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars "Banana, nirvana, manana (who knows)" It doesn't get any more psychedelic than this!

"Then when you're receiving, Perceiving your telepathic powers, Who knows why the wind blows through this window, Why you believe in me, We believe in you..." What the heck is this? Oh, just the first track of the first part of the infamous Radio Gnome Invisible trilogy, that's all. Only the most important Gong series of albums ever. This one was followed by the equally wonderful Angel's Egg and the masterpiece to end this You. The first album is a real trip introducing us to the 'invisible ideological empire' of Pot Head Pixies, Zero the Hero, The Octave Doctors and of course the Space Witch.

Gong are eternally surreal cosmic adventurers who always strive to produce the wackiest spaced out music on the planet. Gong were more than travelling Felini-esque circus, more than avant-garde musicians, more than cosmic clowns, or space rocking infidels, they were on another planet altogether. I read those thoughts somewhere but they are worth repeating.

Second track is as strange. The title track; "If you feel belief hi Pete, I got a story to tell you, Of a band of little green men, From a far away planet, If you want to know about love, Then ask the wee geezer, He can teach you telepathy, He can read your mind backwards, If you try to do the cat in You can only be a loser, Paranoia never touch him, He's got ways of laughter..." I don't know what else needs to be said. The music is worth mentioning consisting of a hyper psychedelic groove and very weird instrumentation. Daevid Allen is the guitarist, Francis Bacon plays VCS3 synth, electric & upright pianos, bass, Tim Blake plays the VCS3 synth, crystal machine, and Steve Hillage is the chief guitarist. He was the member that made the difference to the transition from underground pysch act to bonafide consummate professional Canterbury stars. Hillage's spacey glissando guitar is incredible, and he works in beautifully with the soundscape of Blakes keyboards creating an ethereal spacey quality that lifts each track to the stratosphere. He had a wonderful solo career after his stint with Gong, but he will always be remembered for this trilogy. The sax by Didier Malherbe is dreamy and surreal. As for Gilli Smyth... we will get to her later.

Next track, The Pot Head Pixies has tantalising sounds and lyrics to smoke a joint to, though I never indulged, "They got a Flying Teapot, don't need a taxi I am you are we are crazy! They're from the planet of love, the Pot Head Pixies, I am you are we are crazy! Ding dang dong, singing the song, it's pretty catchy..." It is really, a great catchy Gong sing-a-long song with a druggy philosophy. The sax is fun and disjointed sporadic drumming works along with those guitar swells. The way the women vocalise "crazy" is memorable and humorous. This may be their funniest song yet it is seriously well played instrumentally.

'The Octave Doctors And The Crystal Machine' is a short burst of sound, a spaced out instrumental, a synth soaked ambient queasy sound that hooks into you at a subconscious level. it has no time signature and is curiously cold and Tangerine Dream like compared to other Gong tracks. A nice transition to the next:

'Zero the Hero and the Witch's Spell' is very odd, the time sig is slow and the vocals are painful sustained cries; "I love your faaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaace, I love your spaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaace, I love your rays baby, And if you like I'll stay toniiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiight!". The sax that follows is fractured, zany and off kilter, but you will like this if you are into psych prog. I heard this many times live on "Live Etc" and always felt this was one o f the best Gong moments. There is an extended surreal section with ghostly moans and a hypnotic creepy riff, free form anti music, dysfunctional music at its highest level, this has to be heard at least once.

How does all this end? It doesn't really but the last track to finish the first part of the trilogy is delightful. 'Witch's Song/ I Am Your Pussy' stands out as do all of Smyth's contributions. Gilli Smyth plays the orgone accumulator er... orgone box, and of course is billed as the space whisperer. On this she sings the erotically charged 'I Am Your Pussy'. My cat likes this. The lyrics are orgasmically nasty; "I am your pussy, You are my tramp... Mioaw... mioaw... mioaw... You can be a cat too, Shadow tied to a tree, Sometimes I slide away To be free, Cover you with a warm dark mothering, Fill you with animal love..." . She is proud to be the space witch of the Planet Gong universe. She was heard on "Camembert Electrique" with 'I Am Your Animal' and will return on "Angel's Egg" with the 'Prostitute Poem'. She basically sings in sexy whispers and sounds quite intoxicating. "Be careful or I might scratch you" , Smyth whispers sardonically and this is followed by manic witchy laughter. You have to be in the mood, but its delirious disturbing fun.

So this is perhaps the weaker album of the Radio Gnome Invisible trilogy but still excellent showing how good this trilogy is. The first part seems to descend to darker atmospherics as the album progresses. I have not done it yet, but I think to hear this trilogy end to end would be a stimulating experience. None of the parts of the trilogy are dispensable, all have equal value, and I think they are outstanding examples of Canterbury psychedelia at its best.

Review by apps79
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars As known,Australian Daevid Allen was a founding member of THE SOFT MACHINE,but was forced to remain in France after his visa expired during a tour of the band.There he met Gilly Smith,with who he formed GONG along with sax player Didier Malherbe.GONG released three albums between 1969 and 1971,''Magick brother'',''Camembert Electrique'' and ''Continental Circus'',all of them having a hippie/psychedelic sound deeped into somewhat jazzy improvisations.Despite not being of significant prog interest,these albums show traces of where the band was heading to.In 1973 GONG record and release the first part of a three part trilogy,the album ''Radio Gnome Invisible Part 1-Flying teapot''.Now on board have only remained Allen,Smith and Malherbe from the first line-up with guitarist Steve Hillage and keyboardist Tim Blake joining.

STYLE: Jazzy spaciness?Psychedelic Jazz?Space Psych?Whatever you wanna call it,''Flying teapot'' is an album with its own style,a sample of Allen's unique personality.The concept refers to planet Gong,a fantastic planet where creatures with the name Pot Head Pixies live.The flying teapot is their transport thing,where some of the tracks of the album refers to separate characters of the album.While starting more in a psychedelic manner with ''Radio Gnome Invisible'',soon ''Flying teapot'' shows the real new face of the band.A spacey background of keys is blended with a jazzy musicianship with nice sax parts and an improvisational mood around a solid catchy thythm.''Pot Head Pixies'' is more of a funny Psych/Vocal track which helps the concept to unfold,while the short follower ''The Octave Doctors And The Crystal Machine'' is an instrumental VCS3 synth journey of Tim Blake.''Zero The Hero And The Witch's Spell'' sounds a lot like early FLOYD in the first notes with Malherbe taking over with some fine sax playing,before the track falls into a Space/Jazz chaos with Hillage's schizophrenic playing.''Witch's Song/I Am Your Pussy'' closes the album with Psych/Jazz sound,finding Malherbe on the front,Blake offering obscure electronics and Gilly Smith on sarcastic vocals.

INFLUENCES/SDOUNDS LIKE: GONG are GONG no matter which influences the band may had.Barrett-era PINK FLOYD along with SOFT MACHINE had definitely an impact on the band's style.Add some spacey synths and jazzy mood in the mix,but you have to listen to the band to fully understand the style here.

PLUS: First of all comes the trully original music of GONG,which has been a guide for many bands in the future.Longer cuts are trully interesting with a superb atmosphere created by the spacey keys and the excellent saxes of Malherbe.Improvisational parts are also very interesting and last as much as they should.

MINUS: The shorter cuts are where the band stucks in the past albums with Psych Rock being the main reference,which I do not like.Vocals come from another world,sometimes work well with the concept,but some other can be quite funny.Mediocre production.

WILL APPEAL TO: Mostly fans of Psychedelic and Jazz Rock,as well as to those into electronic sounds.

CONCLUSION/RATING: Back in 1973 ''Flying teapot'' could have been trully a shock to me with its psychedelic roots.With today's standards though,the album sounds very dated at moments,with only the two long tracks of the album sounding as a really nice prog experience to my ears.A fine mix of Psych,Space and Jazz overall.3 stars for this uneven yet important album.

Review by zravkapt
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars The first chapter in the Radio Gnome Trilogy, a tale about Planet Gong and the Pot-Head Pixies who live there, as well as Octave Doctors and a hero named Zero. Steve Hillage is here as a guest and will later become a full member. His playing here doesn't really stand out like it would on Angel's Egg. Magma bassist Francis Moze is here and will come back later for the album Gazeuse. This is the first album to feature keyboardist Tim Blake. Stylistically, this is somewhere between Camembert Electrique and Angel's Egg.

"Radio Gnome Invisible" has a great mantra in "banana, nirvana, manana". I like the Gnome vocals here. The word "invisible" is pronounced in the French manner. This song is like a mini- epic with the changing parts getting repeated. The title track opens with spacey sounds. Later goes into a groove with vocals. Gets jazzier when the overdubbed saxes come in. Lyrics are mostly repeated mantras. A little bit of piano at one point. Last two or so minutes is vocal noises and percussion before the whole band finishes it off.

"The Pot-Head Pixies" is a catchy song. Similar to some of the songs on Camembert. Basically jazzy hard rock with a French music hall section in the middle. "Zero The Hero And The Witch's Spell" starts with a repeated 2-note guitar. Other instruments come in including some nice flute. First part with vocals is slow paced. Then some jazzy bass and percussion with some phased scat singing from Daevid Allen. The music then becomes very jazzy with some sax soloing. Space whispers in the middle. Music gets spacey with random drumming. Then goes into a groove. Gradually the groove gets looser. Then it gets stronger again with a repeated guitar riff to end the song.

If it weren't for the lyrics "Witch's Song/ I Am Your P*ssy" might have gotten played on the radio. Another catchy song. The verses have Gilli singing with a sax riff. The chorus is more poppy with Daevid singing with wah-guitar. In between the verses and chorus is a part with guitar and sax and Gilli doing her whispers. I don't really understand the whole concept of the trilogy. I've read that Allen wanted to create a story and have lyrics to make the complicated music more accessible; sort of the same thing Zappa said about his music. There is not as much of a jazz influence as on later albums. Not as spacey as the next two albums either. I prefer this to Angel's Egg but don't like it as much as I do Camembert and You. I'll give this 4 stars.

Review by Warthur
4 stars I always think of the Radio Gnome Invisible trilogy as being about tension - the tension between short, snappy psychedelic songs as favoured by Daevid Allen on the one hand, and long spacey instrumental sections as performed with gusto by the band on the other. Angel's Egg is dominated by the first approach, and You by the second, leaving Radio Gnome Invisible as the album where the two are more or less in balance.

And I have to say that whilst it isn't quite the groundbreaking, landmark album that You is, it's still pretty damn good. Gilli Smyth gets a welcome chance to take on the lead vocals in Witch's Song/I Am Your Pussy, the magic trio of Didier Malherbe on sax, Steve Hillage on guitar and (especially) Tim Blake on synthesisers are firing on all cylinders, and Daevid's loopy tea-based mythology is presented with just enough of a knowing wink to let you in on the joke. Anyone who likes the more psychedelic and spacey end of the Canterbury spectrum would be well advised to check this one out.

Review by SaltyJon
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Where (many believe) the legend begins...

With Flying Teapot, Daevid Allen and company have given us the first part of the infamous Radio Gnome Invisible trilogy. While it's not the introduction of the saga (look to the previous album, Camembert Electrique, for that), it's the album I always consider to be the first full-fledged, full-concept album dealing with the Radio Gnome Invisible storyline which continues on and off throughout Gong's massive catalog. Some love it, some hate's the stuff of dreams, or nightmares, depending on how you look at it. For me, it's the stuff of dreams. The dreams in question, based on the music on display here, are off-the-wall, zany, and playful, yet never simplistic. This album, though not the BEST of the trilogy, lets interested listeners realize one very important thing: while Daevid and friends were probably...not quite in their right minds...while recording the album, they surely knew how to make some good music whatever the case may have been.

In a nutshell, the album is comprised of singing about such topics as flying teapots, pot head pixies, witches, radio gnomes, the planet GONG, octave doctors, the storyline's "hero" Zero, etc., all being sung over some well-played fusion-esque music. It's never quite that simple, though. The instrumentals have hints of avant-garde, and the vocals have their fair share of moans, groans, and just plain old strange noises (all of the above could be used to describe Gilli Smyth's "space whispers", which to some listeners could be the icing on the cake or the worm in the apple).

I think that to fully enjoy this album, listeners must agree at least a little bit with the band when they say "I am, you are, we are CRAZY!" I personally do agree with that statement, so the group's off-kilter sense of humor, bizarro drugged-out ideas and fun instrumental work appeals to me. The vocals are solid, the bass work (on this album, provided by Magma's Francis Moze) is great...everything's solid, really. Who needs drugs when you've got bands like Gong and albums like this one? While the trilogy gets better after this one (coincidentally, when Pierre Moerlen joins for the second installment, Angel's Egg), Flying Teapot is a strong album. I'd suggest starting with either Angel's Egg or You in your journey to the planet Gong, but this one's just about as deserving of many listens as those two are. Along with the other two installments in the trilogy, this is one of the best albums Gong released, by a long shot.

Review by Mellotron Storm
4 stars This is where the GONG spaceship started to really hit new heights. It certainly didn't hurt that Steve Hillage,Tim Blake and former MAGMA bass player Francis Moze had just joined the band. This is part one of the trilogy and while it's my least favourite of the three it holds a special place with me.

"Radio Gnome Invisible" opens with these strange vocal expressions then we do get vocals before a minute then the tempo picks up briefly as contrasts continue. I'm really reminded of Syd Barrett era FLOYD when it changes 3 1/2 minutes in. Sax comes in late. "Flying Teapot" is a great track. It's spacey to start then a beat comes in around 2 1/2 minutes and vocals follow. Catchy stuff. Vocals stop 4 minutes in as the sax,keys and more join the beat. Vocals are back before 6 minutes. Love the flute and atmosphere as the vocals continue. The music stops 9 1/2 minutes in as we get strange vocals reminding me of the In-laws for some reason. Percussion comes in to end it.

"The Pot Head Pixies" is a psych / pop tune that really reminds me of Syd Barrett. "The Octave Doctors And The Crystal Machine" is a short spacey piece. "Zero The Hero And The Witch's Spell" is another great track. Gentle sounds are heard until the vocal kick in. Flute continues then percussion and vocal melodies lead for a while. Sax and guitar come in. Vocals are back around 4 minutes and it's spacey a minute later. Sax and a beat 6 1/2 minutes in and we get an excellent sound when it starts to build. "Witch's Song / I Am Your Pussy" is catchy to start as female vocals join in. Some cackling going on here as drums and sax continue. Male vocals after 2 minutes.

A low 4 stars.

Review by GruvanDahlman
4 stars ...and then came Gong. From nowhere. I hade never heard of them before and I had no way of finding out, since this was before internet. Anyway, I found this CD in a record store and the cover caught my eye, the year of release made me decide there and then - I just had to have it.

I had no pre-conceptions and thus I was totally unprepared for it's contents. Wow! I was and am blown away by this amazing, spacey, out-there, fabolous album. It is a weird but together album. It falls perfectly in place. Crazy lyrics and musical landscapes which in a way defies description. For me this is the highlight of Gong's career. A great album, worthy of praise and ownership. Give it a go. You won't be the same afterwards.

Review by Neu!mann
3 stars Listening to Gong's "Radio Gnome Invisible" trilogy of albums is like watching a tightrope walker dancing over the Grand Canyon: you have to admire the dexterity of the performance, but underneath all the fancy footwork it's a lot deeper than you think. And so it goes with the pothead pixies from Planet Gong. Their music and mythology is totally benign and (mostly) harmless, and yet it contains all the ingredients necessary for driving your parents to anxious distraction: a little sex, some mind-expanding drugs, and a facsimile of rock 'n' roll played on crystal machines and orgone boxes.

Never mind that the proportions of each element are so lightly measured. And don't judge the band by Daevid Allen's earlier association with SOFT MACHINE. The Canterbury tag is just a convenient label for music that can't be easily defined by any readymade geographic or stylistic comparison. At this stage of their scrambled-egg evolution, Gong had already polished a unique blend of Jazz Rock Fusion, klezmer cabaret songs, and playful Space (or is it Spaced?) Rock.

Not being able (or willing) to follow the convoluted narrative only makes the music even more attractively weird (or weirdly attractive, if you prefer). Ditto the oddball cast of characters: octave doctors; extraterrestrial gurus; a hero named Zero; and a good witch named Yoni (nudge, nudge), disguised here as a cat while singing "I am your Pussy" (wink, wink). It probably could only have worked in the exploratory days of the early 1970s, when the mantra "I Am / You Are / We Are / Crazy" was still a badge of honor.

The album ends a little abruptly, but it's only the first part of a trilogy, so the cliff-hanger is forgivable. The music would become richer as the saga continued, in the albums "Angel's Egg" and "You". But this first chapter proved it was possible, even under the influence of too much dope, for a motivated group of counterculture misfits to create some truly eclectic and challenging music, with their collective tongues locked firmly (but not entirely) in cheek.

Review by siLLy puPPy
4 stars Although he can take credit for founding Soft Machine and pretty much kickstarting the whole Canterbury Scene of progressive rock only to leave that very band before the debut recording emerged AND a lengthy career to follow as a solo artist and beyond, Daevid Allen aka Divided Alien would best be remembered for the three albums that make up the RADIO GNOME INVISIBLE trilogy which began with VOL 1 - FLYING TEAPOT released on 23 May 1973 and was quickly followed up by "Angel's Egg" released on 7 December 1973 and "You" in October 1974. After three albums of pretty much leading his infamous GONG which juxtaposed his beat inspired pixie poetry with the radical free spirit psychedelic swing, Allen pretty much shook the GONG tree only to watch old members fall as totally new ones joined the ranks.

FLYING TEAPOT was the first incarnation of the much larger "classic" GONG era which would only grow larger for the following albums that concluded the trilogy. The first thing that is evident is that FLYING TEAPOT greatly expands the overarching sound of the GONG universe not only conceptually but in the lineup expanding from a mere five band members to a whopping nine which would include newbie Steve Hillage on guitar and ex-Magma bassist Francis Moze (who also contributes piano). The zany antics of Daevid Allen with his psychedelic swing band of the early 70s GONG found their greatest success and legendary status with their RADIO GNOME INVISIBLE series which initiates the great GONG mythology and is about, and i have to quote here since i could not make this up any better:

"The story begins on the album Flying Teapot (1973) when a pig-farming Egyptologist called Mista T Being is sold a 'magick ear ring' by an 'antique teapot street vendor & tea label collector' called Fred the Fish. The ear ring is capable of receiving messages from the Planet Gong via a pirate radio station called Radio Gnome Invisible. Being and Fish head off to the hymnalayas of Tibet (sic) where they meet the 'great beer yogi' Banana Ananda in a cave. Ananda tends to chant 'Banana Nirvana Maņana' a lot and gets drunk on Foster's Australian Lager."

Carrying on with the Canterbury whimsical jazz-rock of his earlier albums, the new GONG becomes laced with more surreal bouts incorporating sudden diversions into serpentine psychedelic meanderings that add enough humor to swear you really did drink too much of the magic tea and went on a Monty Python binge watch. The album begins the trilogy with an instant dip into the devilishly deviated tripper's paradise of the track "Radio Gnome Invisible" which not only includes Allen's happy hippie-go-lucky jittery jaunts into frenetic little time signature freak outs but offers a true glimpse into the entire career of the Cardiacs with this one song. Yeah, the jazzy trade offs with the freak fueled vocal capers just reek of the 80s zolo merry pronk-sters who simply added a little punk, Cockney accented attitude and an upped appreciation for the frenzied off-kilter zaniness of it all.

"Flying Teapot" the track, takes a different approach and debuts the psychedelic spaced detached segments that would become a staple on the following "Angel's Egg" and "You" with Hillage and newbie synthesist Tim Blake cranking out some of the meanest free form space jazz augmented by the sax and flute flexibilities of Didier Malherbe who stuck around for the wild ride. Allen also displays some of his most adept vocal skills as he basically raps while the bass slowly descends into a funky groove that emerges from the formless spaciness that preceded. As the longest track on the album (12.5 min) this one offers the most variety of little silly scenarios and the most adept track of blending Allen's silly psych swing jazz-rock with the synthesized space wind sounds. This one actually has GONG (the instrument) sounds in it!!!

"The Pot Head Pixies" is a pure Allen concoction most like his former albums offering a glimpse of how the stoner beatnik existed before the transition into the higher realms of the FLYING TEAPOT universe which is followed by the short "The Octave Doctors And The Crystal Machine" which contrasts by going purely space synth. The true treat of the album comes at the end with the one / two punch of "Zero The Hero And The Witch's Spell" immediately followed by the behexing charm of "Witch's Song / I Am Your Pussy" which together display the most sophisticated songwriting chops of the new band that show the evolution from the actors playing their respective parts to coming full force into a bona fide tour de force of a band sound that is the perfect teaser for the album's that follow. The former actually sounds more like a Pink Floyd track before it totally morphs into some fantastical tribal pixie world accompanied by some of the silkiest and smoothest sax blowing sessions on the album.

Gilli Smyth finally gets her day in the sun after being hidden behind the scenes for too long as she totally takes the bull by the horns and offers some of the swankiest poetic prowess permissible by law climaxing with orgasmic gleeful giggling as she narrates her promiscuous escapades with the sultry psychedelic swing jazz accompanying her seductive space whispers. FLYING TEAPOT is amazing! I totally concur that this is the weakest of the RADIO GNOME INVISIBLE trilogy but the first installment is never supposed to be that highlight or that would defeat the purpose! This one is totally satisfying and the absolute perfect album to whet the old appetite for the much grander and more sophisticated following albums that push the story and sound of GONG to higher dimensions. If this had been as good as those albums, the band would have blown their wad on this one album. Personally this one has been the hardest to get into mostly due to its poorer production compared to the next two, however this is one helluva fun album that is absolutely brilliant. If this didn't click the first time, do try again for it is one amazingly unique album even within the GONG universe itself.

Review by A Crimson Mellotron
4 stars Absolutely brilliant! The 1973 'Flying Teapot' album by Gong is an astonishing space rock odyssey, a grand enjoyment from start to finish, and a must-have, whether you dive in for the masterful psych explorations, or because of the corky, yet quite entertaining Gong mythology, this third studio album of theirs is among the band's best all time offerings. The jazzy sound blends seamlessly with the spacey, adventurous and quite unsober meanderings, resulting in one of the most unique listening experiences one could ever have, as I am yet to discover a band that sounds anything like 70s Gong.

Daevid Allen and Co. (and what an impressive company he has on 'Flying Teapot' - Didier Malherbe, Steve Hillage, Gilli Smyth, Tim Blake, and Francis Moze, among others) go all in on this epic but marvelously silly album that combines the love for psychedelia with the progressive leanings of these very gifted musicians, ultimately giving birth to one of the gems of the Canterbury Scene. The album is centered around the two longer pieces, both of which gradually develop until the reaching of the much-desired climax; simply, space rock classics! Opening track 'Radio Gnome Invisible' is certainly a goofier, borderline comical piece that sets the tone for the whole album (and dare I say, for the whole Radio Gnome Invisible trilogy) - far away from being too serious, always very trippy, but making no excuses when it comes to composing undeniably good musical landscapes, the 'principal rules' of Gong. Then comes the 12-minute 'Flying Teapot', the first real great composition by the band, an incredibly sophisticated psych-prog explosion.

Side two contains the catchy 'The Pot Head Pixies' and the idyllic 'The Octave Doctors and the Crystal Machine', both full of layers of synths and trippy sounds, maybe a bit corny, but ultimately enjoyable in the context of the record. The 10-minute long 'Zero the Hero and the Witch's Spell' is the other big highlight, much in the spirit of 'Flying Teapot', it is a song that gradually builds up until the band start their unapologetically satiating cosmic explorations. Finally, there is 'Witch's Song / I Am Your Pussy', one of the weirdest songs I have ever heard, this is all I am going to say.

All in all, 'Flying Teapot' is a too excellent example of the silly cosmic rock side of prog; Of course, it should not be neglected because of this, as one would hear some of the most intricate and coherent music that has been composed during the early 70s, topped by the unmistakable atmosphere of the Radio Gnome Invisible trilogy.

Latest members reviews

4 stars For this album, I'll be quite generous, I like its style a lot, and the fact that it's a multi-national band arouses my interest. however, I don't quite recall how did sound Camembert electric or Magick Brother (I'd need to dive into it again). The first track starts us off strong! with a rather ... (read more)

Report this review (#2757999) | Posted by OctopusFive | Thursday, June 2, 2022 | Review Permanlink

4 stars Funnily enough I managed to acquire this album in late 1973. I "found" it in a local record store while working in a small country town. As the cover suggests it is not most straight laced album or band on the planet and the store owners were as pleased to offload it as I was to buy it. This alb ... (read more)

Report this review (#1734580) | Posted by hi_t_moonweed | Friday, June 16, 2017 | Review Permanlink

5 stars Totally Original. Totally Fun. Gong is one of the few bands/composers that can make one laugh just through strictly instrumental music, but of course there are also funny vocals!. Add in great musicianship, a willingness to go out on a limb (and enjoy it), Gilly Smyth's provocative space-whisper ... (read more)

Report this review (#1697066) | Posted by Walkscore | Sunday, February 26, 2017 | Review Permanlink

4 stars This is the first part of the strange and amusing Radio Gnome Invisible. The concept is rather abstract and you can feel this only by having a look over the cover. A flying green teapot with two creatures(pot head pixies, the inhabitants of Planet Gong). I dont know if there is any mystic signif ... (read more)

Report this review (#368539) | Posted by petrica | Friday, December 31, 2010 | Review Permanlink

4 stars Listening to and reviewing Gong albums is a huge challenge if you are a straight, dull man like myself. Cynically speaking, the first installment of the Flying Teapot trilogy, this album, is very simple basic children rhymes with some added avant-garde fusion and flimsy female voices. That i ... (read more)

Report this review (#333293) | Posted by toroddfuglesteg | Wednesday, November 24, 2010 | Review Permanlink

5 stars 9.3/10 Incredible Whew!! Here we have it! Gong is on fire now, and getting even hotter as the band gets tighter, better musicianship, and an overall refined finish for a superb album. The pot head pixies and the Planet Gong concept are heavily underway here and the band plans on making a t ... (read more)

Report this review (#147243) | Posted by The Lost Chord | Friday, October 26, 2007 | Review Permanlink

4 stars 1. Radio Gnome Invisible:::::::::::::The album opens with spacey psychedelic horn intro with bass, guitar, and synth following behind it. It has a very magical/mystical feeling to it. Strong sax. Space once again...the bass starts again and here come the vocals and sax, oh boy this is trippy!!"R ... (read more)

Report this review (#127137) | Posted by Jake E. | Friday, June 29, 2007 | Review Permanlink

4 stars I have always preferred this to Angels eggs, and a deal of that is down to the more interesting Drumming which is down to a man called Laurie Allen. Tim Blake starts to flex his considerable talent on this recording and the combination of Hillage and Allen on Guitar works very well here. Choi ... (read more)

Report this review (#91908) | Posted by burgersoft777 | Monday, September 25, 2006 | Review Permanlink

5 stars Two or three years ago if somebody handed me something called "radio gnome invisible part one: flying teapot" and told me to listen to it, i would have told them to p*** off. But now that my musical tastes are expanding so much i am willing to listen to everything! i've wanted to hear gong for ... (read more)

Report this review (#62026) | Posted by Winter Wine | Wednesday, December 28, 2005 | Review Permanlink

3 stars Alot of Gong fans rave about this album,but I think it's one of Allens Gong's worse work. It's just plain boring to me. The Pot Head Pixies are the highlight for me on this album. I Am Your Pussy has it momements. Probably a big reason why I don't like this album is because the majority of ... (read more)

Report this review (#60868) | Posted by Hendrix828 | Monday, December 19, 2005 | Review Permanlink

4 stars On a long trek attempting to discover new obscure bands to listen to I recently came across GONG's 'Radio Gnome Invisible Vol. 1 - Flying Teapot'. I was a total virgin to Gong's sound and I was pleasently surprised and equally weirded out by what I was hearing. This album is hilarious and the ... (read more)

Report this review (#43148) | Posted by | Tuesday, August 16, 2005 | Review Permanlink

5 stars Oh Man this is great music. Have I said already that this is great music. The first album in the radio Gnome trilogie, tells the tale of the Pot-Head Pixies who fly about in their flying teapot, radiating Radio Gnome waves into the ether, probably to enslave the listening audience to their ... (read more)

Report this review (#39860) | Posted by DeathRow | Wednesday, July 20, 2005 | Review Permanlink

4 stars when i was a young lad,(early 70's) this music was just what was needed. come on, tony blackburn and his friends wouldnt touch this sort of thing! its a true cklassic- now the reason im writing this review!: i found synth player tim blakes email address on a website and wrote to him, saying h ... (read more)

Report this review (#35813) | Posted by | Wednesday, June 8, 2005 | Review Permanlink

4 stars The first volume of "Radio Gnome" by GONG is a great introduction to a magical and very original universe. Effectively, this band can be rattached to the canterbury scene. They mix rock with jazz and add some Floydian keyboards in their "Flying Teapot". But what makes this band so unique is a ... (read more)

Report this review (#27601) | Posted by H.NOT | Friday, April 8, 2005 | Review Permanlink

3 stars I love Angel's Egg. I like Flying Teapot. That's the difference. Both albums are very special, very weird. This one is spacier, the other one is stronger, with melodies that stay in your mind, even days after listening. ... (read more)

Report this review (#27599) | Posted by Eb.Eb. | Saturday, March 5, 2005 | Review Permanlink

3 stars I'd likely give 3 1/2 stars if I could, solid throughout and the initial installment of the Radio Gnome Invisible Trilogy, but the ensuing Angel's Egg and You really define their sound and represent the high water mark in Gong's existence, and are much more classic prog rock discs than is Flying Tea ... (read more)

Report this review (#27596) | Posted by Gonghobbit | Thursday, February 12, 2004 | Review Permanlink

5 stars Although many Gong afficianados will think that Angels Egg or You is the superior record (and I do agree that they are great), this one is the penultimate Gong album. It is the first of the trilogy, and sets the standard upon which Egg and You build. It also is the one to contain the most memorable ... (read more)

Report this review (#27594) | Posted by | Wednesday, February 4, 2004 | Review Permanlink

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