Undeniably influenced by the West Coast psychedelia of The Jefferson Airplane, New York’s The Group Image released one album in 1968, A Mouth In The Clouds, that managed to go largely ignored by critics and rock fans. Despite having a wild stage show and a dynamic lead singer in Sheila Darla, the band received little national exposure.
The Group Image played for two years in various locations in Manhattan, NYC, including its own productions / shows at the Palm Gardens, and the Cheetah Club, and shows with the Grateful Dead in Central Park and the Fillmore East, and other outdoor shows in parks such as Tompkins Square Park in the East Village.”
While Sheila Darla shares some of Grace Slick’s hippie allure and a similarity in vocal style, her stage performance bears a striking resemblance to Patti Smith rather than the cool and collected Slick. One wonders if Patti ever saw Darla in action.
Time Magazine reviewed A Mouth In The Clouds in their November 18, 1968 issue. I don’t know who the reviewer is, but it’s amusing how hard he/she tries to get down with hipster lingo. “Liquid Eden” indeed.
This is the first recording by the Manhattan hippie tribe that has been turning on with sound and light in a couple of off-Broadway ballrooms; it will soon open its own permanent ballroom in the East Village. The five-man band has a driving, express-train beat, and a sharp and shimmering harmony, and a high voltage singer named Sheila. Their sound is all their own, but there are some familiar touches of The Lovin’ Spoonful (Grew Up All Wrong) and Jefferson Airplane (Banana Split). In Banana Split, two electronic zaps project the listener, as through a time warp, into a liquid Eden of tinkling bells and clicking percussion. The Group Image calls it the Twinkie Zone, and it’s a pretty good place to be.
By the end of the video, the band erupts in a punk rock frenzy worthy of the Plasmatics.
Presenting The Group Image performing “Hiya,” featuring my new obsession Sheila Darla.