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ALAN JENKINS: The Magic City
Had their guitarist not been eaten by a crocodile on a mystical Everglades retreat in 1966, the 1000 layers of the Tripes and Onions, born out of a chance meeting in City Lights between two of San Franciscoís early-onset acid casualties, might have been the spokespeople of their generation instead of all those rather tame songbands. Much weirder than the Doors or the Airplane and far further out there than the Dead or Vanilla Fudge, the 1000 layers layered organs and guitars (and a trombonist when she was sober) over heavy hypnotic beats. Bassist Lucy Cerulean, three-quarters deaf, was always way too loud, but too scary for anyone to ask her to turn down, and it was that unique sound that won them fans and a top of-of-bill at the Fillmore East in November 1966. Lemmy Waronker immediately offered a record deal - and thatís when tragedy struck. Although the Layersí manager Spice Cohort tried to convince them to go on with another guitarist (Al Kooper was approached), they broke up. And that seemed to be that. Like the Giant Sun Trolley, everyone raved about how great they were but since no recordings existedÖ.who knew? And then, 25 years later, a whole live show turned up - a desk recording by trainee engineer Bob Fuzzymountain - of their celebrated Harvard Psychedelic Club performance (look it up on Google if you donít believe me). Found in a seed tray in Wisconsin and given to a Salvation Army store in Merrimac, the tape finally wound up in the office of cigar-chomping entrepreneur Alan Jenkins, who is now trying to pass it off as his own work. Such transcendent psychedelic genius is hardly made in Birmingham Alan (you thought Chicago was the Magic City?) - and this shit is as transcendent as it gets. Close your eyes, turn off your mind and float downstairs; this is the real deal. Itís how music could have been if everything had worked out better. No, really. Buy it.