The aptly-named Kaleidoscope were originally formed by the quintet of David Lindley, Solomon Feldthouse, Chris Darrow, Chester Crill and John Vidican. They emerged from the folk-rock era, but their music stood out from that of their peers for its eclecticism and daring. Most of the members were multi-instrumentalists, and they had a love of all things exotic and unusual. Therefore as well as guitar, bass, drums and keyboards, they also used fiddle, banjo, harmonica, dobro, dulcimer and mandolin, as well as ethnic stringed instruments such as bouzouki, saz, vina, and oud. They also incorporated middle-eastern musical themes into their sound, as well as folk, blues, jug band, country and jazz. Their debut album came out in 1967. Whilst much of Side Trips had a familiar psychedelic folk-rock sound, it was the exotic flourishes that made it stand out, and more importantly how they blended all these disparate influences into a cohesive whole is what made it so strong. The result was one of the most interesting and experimental psychedelic rock albums of the decade, and also a fantastic debut. Not many bands would have started their record with the middle-eastern-sounding "Egyptian Gardens", closed it with a rendition of Cab Calloway's jazz standard "Minnie The Moocher", and made it work.
|> A Beacon From Mars (1968)
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