Asylum Choir - Look Inside The Asylum Choir (1968)

The Asylum Choir was the name of a short-lived studio collaboration between Leon Russell and Marc Benno.

Both Leon Russell and Marc Benno worked throughout the 60s as musical handymen - playing in various bands as well as doing session work. Russell, originally from Oklahoma, found success as part of Phil Spector's studio group and appeared on all sorts of big records in the 60s as a sideman. The younger Benno moved to L.A. in the mid 60s, where he became a much sought after session guitarist. It was here he met Russell, and moved into his studio home.
The two of them started a group called the Asylum Choir, and recorded this psychedelic rock album in 1968. It's a bizarre, wacky affair, a real product of the 60s, with all sorts of studio manipulation and sound effects. Both of them sing, but it is Russell's voice that is the dominant force throughout. For the two artists it was perhaps little more than a bit of fun in the studio at the time, as they made their money as sidemen. Both of their real solo debuts wouldn't come out until 1970. But underneath the layers of psychedelia is some really great musicianship and some solid songs, which prevent it becoming just a strange historical artefact - it's a genuinely good album from start to finish, the studio experimentation never quite succeeding in drowning out the backbone of good music, and this is what keeps it fresh to this day.

|> Asylum Choir II (1971)



Anonymous said...

Outstanding quest there. What happened after?
Look at my site ; affiliate

Anonymous said...

Would it be possible to repost this. I'd love to give a listen. Asylum Choir II is one of my all time favorite listens. Thanks

goinsidemyhead said...

It seems so lame, yeah it has an encyclopaedia of some rudimentary psychedelic sounds in the mix but it comes off as the usual lame fake psychedelic record by studio guys who have no ides what is a psychedelic experience. It totally lacks charm. Their other record is way better and has great tunes and way more charm.
awesome post