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Paupers - Ellis Island (Digipak) (CD) 
Lion Records 4028596002013 
 
Genre: Psychedelic 
Recorded: 1968 
Released: 2007 
 
Still Sealed; 9 Tracks: South Down Road, Cairo Hotel, Can't Go On, Another Man's Hair On My Razor, Numbersw, Oh That She Might, Yes I Know, Ask Her Again, Julliana. // Ellis Island, the second album by the Paupers, contains a front cover color photo of the four bandmembers inserted on a Sgt. Pepper-style collage by Ollie Alpert. Inside the LP is a very psychedelic black-and-white picture of the group, which also features 16 single photos of Cambell, Mitchell, Prokop, and Beale -- photos which you can cut out to make a flick book. Like a trendy flicker ring with more sustain, you can see the musicians move in the optical illusion if you follow the instructions. Problem with this concept was that there was no Andy Warhol to splash his name on the cover and get the idea some attention à la the famous banana cover. If Verve had difficulty understanding the Mothers of Invention and the Velvet Underground, where the Paupers fit in was anybody's guess. Adam Mitchell takes seven of the nine lead vocals as the band touches on a variety of psychedelic styles, beginning with ''South Down Road.'' This opening track plays like Procol Harum battling the Electric Prunes -- it's eight and a half minutes of acid blues on an interesting album by an interesting crew. Mitchell's originals, four co-written with Skip Prokop, are an odd bunch. It seems Procol Harum won the war on the first song because ''Cairo Hotel'' sounds like they've now taken on Kaleidoscope U.K. in a battle of the bands. The intellectual display quickly disappears when the country comedy of ''Another Man's Hair on My Razor'' brings side one to a close. OK, it's amusing, but despite all the Sgt. Pepper trappings, there's no ''Lucy in the Sky'' in these grooves. Al Kooper guest stars on keyboards, and maybe they should have taken his ''This Diamond Ring'' and jumped the gun on Frijid Pink by reinventing that pop classic with a wall of distortion. Side two's opener, ''Numbers,'' could be ''Eight Miles High'' meets Simon & Garfunkel's ''Fakin' It.'' ''Numbers,'' with its Strawberry Alarm Clock guitars and Janis Joplin bassist-to-be Brad Campbell singing lead, is jarring, but that's the rule on this album. Campbell would go on to track I Got Dem Ol' Kozmic Blues Again Mama! and Pearl with Joplin, as well as Joplin in Concert. That live album was collected and assembled by Elliot Mazer with some of the tracks recorded by Fred Catero, both men involved with the Paupers' Ellis Island project. Interesting to note the credible resumés involved in this esoteric project. Skip Prokop's one solo composition is also his one vocal. The man who would perform on Live Adventures of Al Kooper and Mike Bloomfield and create the band Lighthouse does an off-key Keith Moon-style vocal over a dreamy track, the Small Faces phase shifting meets...you guessed it...Procol Harum. This track is minus the fuzz guitars, instead employing the strings, piano, and effects, giving the listener some breathing room. Adam Mitchell takes the vocals back from here on out -- it's a dramatic ''Yes I Know'' written by Campbell, Prokop, and Mitchell, six minutes and 23 seconds of more psychedelic blues. This music would've been a blessing for the latter-day Blues Magoos and Electric Prunes, groups who moved away from these types of sounds, much to the chagrin of their fans. Without the hit singles those groups enjoyed, the Paupers' Ellis Island never got the attention it kind of deserved. It is both vintage and obscure, which could make it quite collectable at some point in time. ~ Joe Viglione, All Music Guide 
10.99 EUR