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Rock CEO's "You gotta hear this!" #6 : It's A Beautiful Day

January 31,2012

For the first installment of the new year, I want to start off with an album bright and sunny, just like the group's name itself - "It's A Beautiful Day."

"It's A Beautiful Day" is the self-titled first album by the San Francisco psychedelic group, and while the name itself is wonderful, the cover art is also really beautiful. I remember when I was still in middle school buying this album on impulse after seeing how great the art was.

And when the needle dropped... oh man, it was like a huge shock to my senses.

With the amazing combination of such pure, delicate male and strong female vocals by contraries, accompanied by the perfect blend of gypsy violin and blues harp, it created a comfortable and relaxing atmosphere that is hard to describe.

The flow between the first and second tracks, "White Bird" and "Hot Summer Day," is absolutely amazing. When you listen to this sequence in the middle of summer under the burning hot sun, you can feel the melody sink all the way into the deepest parts of your heart.

And so we start 2012 with an important but not very well known album from the golden age of psychedelic rock, "It's A Beautiful Day."

It's A Beautiful Day
It's A Beautiful Day
San Francisco Sound (November 13, 2001)

The first thing I want you to notice is the cover art. The jacket features a beautiful woman staring up at a clean, fresh summer sky. Like one of the "Woman with Umbrella" paintings by Claude Monet, the woman looks as pure as an angel, radiating kindness and beauty. To relate it to another jacket ... actually, I can't even think of anything that is as refreshing as this piece. Interestingly enough, this is the same woman from Quicksilver Messenger Service's "Happy Trails" album that I introduced in back in the fourth installment of this series.

And then there's the music. We touched on the softness and sweetness of the first two tracks earlier, but from the third track on, the music goes in a much different direction with the addition of fuzz guitars and shouting vocals, and then a rocking groove that sounds like it's being tossed around in the middle of a storm in "Wasted Union Blues." There's still a video around of this song performed live that I really want to recommend. The performance took place at Kralingen (in the Netherlands), coincidentally, in the middle of a storm. The fervor of the vocals and violin gets absolutely insane, like they are combining with the ferocity of the storm, and you can really feel the intensity. You definitely need to look this up on YouTube right now.

(By the way, the British group Family also had an amazing performance at this festival.)

They did a great job packing the feelings of both calm and energy into the first half of this album.

Unfortunately, the second half of the album doesn't have quite the impact as the first. With that said though, you can definitely still enjoy listening to it leisurely, and it's easy to tell just how skilled they are as a band. In particular, anyone who listens to the song "Bombay Calling" will notice that it's extremely similar to Deep Purple's famous "Child In Time." "Bombay Calling" was released first, and it is said that John Lord, a fan of "It's A Beautiful Day" at the time, wrote his song in homage of the group. Go ahead and listen to both and compare for yourself.

The group's first album definitely ranks in historically as one of the best albums of its time. The following albums, however... don't have quite the same impact. Actually, the first track on the second album, "Don & Dewey," is pretty good and worth a listen. When I was in elementary school, it was used as the opening to a FM radio rock show I used to listen to so I have a lot of memories with it. It's got a good rhythm and unambiguity.

To those of you who listened to this album and liked it, go check out Affinity, Flock, Curved Air, or any artist on the Neon label too. I'm sure you'll like it.

"It's A Beautiful Day" - buried and forgotten by history. You gotta hear this!