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Mass in F Minor: The psychedelic liturgies of The Electric Prunes
11:20 am


The Electric Prunes
David Axelrod

It’s the forty-sixth summer since the original “Summer of Love,” and June can’t go by without a psychedelia reference, can it?

The Electric Prunes, formed in the staid environs of the San Fernando Valley rather than the hip Haight-Ashbury neighborhood of San Francisco, were among the first psychedelic California bands typically associated with the free, experimental, blissed-out, drug-enhanced summer of 1967. The original Prunes were Ken Williams on guitar, James Lowe on vocals and autoharp, Joe Dooley on drums, Mark Tulin on bass and Dick Hargrave on organ. Their best-remembered song “I Had Too Much to Dream Last Night” was included on the Nuggets: Original Artyfacts from the First Psychedelic Era 1965-1968  compilation, which became hugely influential on the younger musicians who started punk a few years later.

Above, Mass in F Minor

However, some of Electric Prunes strangest work came in 1968, when their manager Lenny Poncher convinced them to make an electric, psychedelic rock version of the Roman Catholic mass, Mass in F Minor, written by composer David Axelrod.  Flower children probably did not dance to this album. Not surprisingly, Mass in F Minor has not been heavily used as actual liturgical music either, despite Catholic youth leaders’ desire to incorporate guitars into masses (in an effect to be relevant) for 30 years or so. This was followed up by another religious-themed album written by Axelrod, Release of an Oath: The Kol Nidre—a prayer of antiquity. This album combined Jewish and traditional Christian liturgy. The Kol Nidre service is intended to release a penitent from an oath “made under duress and in violation of his principles” according to the album’s liner notes and is still performed in synagogues today. Recording these two albums proved to be a stressful experience for the band, and they broke up during the recording of Release of an Oath. Axelrod had to bring in session musicians to complete the album.

Above, Release of an Oath

Above, The Electric Prunes do “I Had Too Much to Dream Last Night” on The Mike Douglas Show, and then they jam with Barbara Feldon, “Agent 99” from Get Smart!

Posted by Kimberly J. Bright | Leave a comment
Mark Tulin bass player for The Electric Prunes R.I.P.
04:11 pm


The Electric Prunes
Mark Tulin

Mark Tulin the bass player for The Electric Prunes died this past Saturday at the age of 62.

The Prunes, best known for their 1966 hit “I Had Too Much to Dream Last Night,” had re-formed in recent years and were working on new music with Smashing Pumpkin’s Billy Corgan producing. Tulin filled in as Smashing Pumpkins’ bassist for two shows in 2009, and played with the Corgan project Spirits in the Sky on a tour that year, as well as a tribute to the Seeds’ Sky Saxon.”

“I Had Too Much To Dream Last Night” is one of the seminal psychedelic garage rockers of the 1960s and still has the capacity to blow minds—sounds as fresh as ever.

Here’s a clip of The Prunes performing live on French TV in 1967.

Via The Daily Swarm

Posted by Marc Campbell | Leave a comment