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Ladies W.C. - Ladies W.C.

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Artist: Ladies W.C.

Album: Ladies W.C.

Label: Shadoks

Review date: Sep. 15, 2004

This late-í60s Venezuelan band is another fine discovery from Shadoks, who seem to be unearthing an endless stream of worthy, neglected psychedelic albums. The liner notes leave many questions unanswered, but the story appears to begin with Venezuelan-born American Steve Scott. A bassist and singer, he found two Venezuelan brothers, Mario and Jaime Seijas, and they then completed a foursome with Adib Casta. Inspired by the times, they recorded one album and became quite popular, playing regularly to large crowds. Thereís no information, though, about where the strange name came from, or what happened to the group.

In any case, drummer Mario Seijas and Scott lay down a strong, solid rhythm section, with the bass more prominent than usual on records of this time. Jaime Seijasí rhythm guitar generally lies low and lets lead guitarist Casta wah and wail his way around the songs. That turns out to be a good idea, because Casta can really shine, whether playing clear melodic lines, warbly wah-wah, or intense fuzz leads.

The 10 songs here represent, for the most part, prime acid rock. Recorded in 1969, it feels like it, with wah and fuzz represented in spades. Scottís vocals are strong and clear, with that high-end wail you can hear in so many Nuggets-era bands. Showing some of their blues heritage, they pull out the harmonica for emphasis on a number of songs, with "Put That In Your Pipe and Smoke It" a particularly good example of Scottís skill there.

The 34 minutes range from "I Canít See Straight" and its harmonica and guitar lead to the vocal harmonies of "And Everywhere I See The Shadow of That Life," with a break featuring some truly blazing psych lead guitar. In general, actually, this album belongs to Castaís lead guitar displays. From brittle, high-end twangs to watery wah and, best of all, totally space-bound fiery fuzz, he makes me wish the band had recorded more albums.

A few of the songs veer from the blues-centered rock. "To Walk On Water" is really a pop song, slow and more orchestrated than most of the others here. The vocals are more in a crooner style than the usual rock feel, but it still works. "The Time Of Hope Is Gone" feels somewhat more calculated, very much of its time. With organ and ending with a portentous spoken-word section, itís a reasonable attempt at overtly mystical psychedelia.

The studio work throughout the album contains a number of nice touches, as they toss in sound effects to liven things up. From the opening toilet flush to a baby crying, they were clearly having fun with it.

Definitely a good find, Ladies W.C. can stand with many of the psych stars of the time. If youíve been enjoying some of the other Shadoks finds like Spectrum and Iota, you wonít be sorry if you pick this one up. You may wish, like me, that the band recorded more than 34 minutes.

By Mason Jones

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