Monday, July 28, 2008


@ the tail end of a merciless weekend record bender comes this firebrand...

Like the succinctly named Boffalongo, the mouthful of Canadian mush known as Mashmakhan certainly doesn't paint itself into any corners. From buzzy psych to baroque poofery, influences abound in the 1970 debut of these enigmatic million-sellers.

Pierre Senecal, Brian Edwards, and Rayburn Blake formed their first band in 1960 as teens and played local Montreal dance halls and perform on the local scene under the band names like the Phantoms, Ray Blake's Combo, and the Dominoes. In 1965 they were still playing together but with the addition of another Montrealer, Gerry Mercer, who stepped in to replace Edwards (who left the band for a short while). When Edwards returned to the band, Mercer stayed on to make it a quartet, and by now they were calling themselves the Triangle and backing up Montreal R&B singer Trevor Payne. They continued in this vein until 1969, when producer Bob Hahn recognized their talent and took them to Toronto, then the music capitol of Canada, and helped them get signed with Columbia Records. The name of the band was changed to Mashmakhan, after a type of drug being peddled by a local dealer, to become more hip with the young people, and the journey began. Pierre Senecal's "As Years Go By" was released as a single in an edited form, and became the group's first hit. The single sold 100,000 copies in Canada, 500,000 copies in the U.S., and over 1,000,000 copies in Japan, which led to a Beatlemania-like tour for the band in the latter country; it received much publicity and made Mashmakhan an international success story. The band followed the hit with two singles, "Gladwyn" and "Days When We Are Free." In 1970 Mashmakhan released its debut self-titled album, containing the three singles in alternate form, to international critical acclaim. Mashmakhan was one of two contributors to the musical score of the 1971 NFB film Epilogue/Fieve and recorded the song "Couldn't Find the Sun" for the movie. Then, for some unknown reason, the bottom fell out. Mashmakhan's second album, The Family, was released in 1971, and bombed; fan support was lost, and despite a couple of good singles, they did not have the right formula to make it back to the top. Although the album did sell well in Japan, the band split up shortly thereafter. ~ Keith Pettipas

For space reason (Compounded by abject laziness) I have cherry-picked some of the heavier tracks off the LP, but with its thick key work and expressive guitar leads, the entire record richly deserves your patronage. Do yourself a favor and grab a copy before it suffers a similar fate as the Gospel According to Zeus - i.e. Gets gobbled up as prime break beat real-estate.

Warning: Don't let the fluffy quality of the tracks fool you. You're about to get punched in the kidneys.

Days When We Are Free - Mashmakhan

Afraid of Losing You - Mashmakhan

1 comment:

italianbeat said...