Touch - Touch (Music CD)

Release Date: 30 January 2012
Artist: Touch
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Touch's only album briefly enjoyed legendary status during its recording and again shortly after its release, but all too rapidly entered the realm of the well-kept secret. It may or may not be the very first progressive rock album, but what is indisputable is that few bands engineered a more satisfying collision of rock, jazz, psychedelia, and classical music during the genre's heyday. Much of the album's effectiveness stems from the soaring imagination of the band's leader, keyboard player, and principal composer, Don Gallucci, incredibly just 19 years old. Throughout, he plays only piano, clavinet, and what sounds like a cheesy old theater organ -- no Mellotron, no synths -- yet he does so with a virtuosity tempered by the kind of restraint that would become all too rare among bands like ELP, Yes, and other behemoths of the prog era. Opener "We Feel Fine" demonstrates that this is a band that can rock, too -- an impression confirmed by the band's single "Miss Teach." But it's "Friendly Birds" that confirms that Touch could do a lot more than kick ass. Essentially a trio for piano, guitar, and bass -- with a brief vocal introduction -- its dynamic range alone makes it remarkable. Over the course of just four minutes, it swoops and soars as piano and guitar trade phrases in a manner more typical of chamber music than rock. More remarkable yet is Gallucci's ability to weave melodies and riffs together without ever resorting to mere rhetoric. "Friendly Birds" finally soars into the distance after a series of shattering climaxes all the more impressive for the fact that no drums are involved. "Down at Circe's Place" is, in its way, equally extraordinary, effectively fusing a link between the psychedelia of the late '60s and the more expansive styles to come. Its climactic two minutes, best likened to the sound of Santana on a really bad trip, has to be one of the most satisfyingly cacophonous noises in all of rock, despite the total absence of electric guitars. The album also contains two epic tracks in "The Spiritual Death of Howard Greer" and "Seventy Five," only one of which really comes off. But while the former drinks deep from the well of hippie pretension, with its tale of some straight who's, like, spiritually dead but doesn't know it (and throws in everything from Gregorian chant to good-time boogie), the latter is a genuine tour de force. Here it's not just Gallucci's organ playing that shines. Vocalist Jeff Hawks gets to demonstrate a truly formidable vocal technique -- one moment up close and breathy, the next shrieking up a storm -- while guitarist Joey Newman also turns in a genuinely thrilling solo, featuring a curiously harsh, lo-fi tone that was entirely his own to round off the album. Both CD reissues feature extra tracks that never come close to matching the original album, but the Eclectic version benefits from vastly improved sound quality. ~ Christopher Evans
Release Date: 30 January 2012
Artist: Touch
  • 1. We Feel Fine
  • 2. Friendly Birds
  • 3. Miss Teach
  • 4. Spiritual Death of Howard Greer
  • 5. Down at Circe's Place
  • 6. Alesha and Others
  • 7. Seventy Five
  • 8. We Finally Met Today
  • 9. Alesha and Others (live studio demo, 1968/Bonus Track)
  • 10. Blue Feeling
  • 11. Spiritual Death of Howard Greer (live studio demo, 1968/Bonus Track)
  • 12. The Second Coming of Suzanne

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Catalogue No: ECLEC2310