17 January 2019

HASTING’S STREET OPERA – Slippery When Wet 2019 (LP/CD Out-Sider Music)




Out-Sider Music keeps on surprising us in the most wonderful and unexpected way, in 2019 too! This time, with the very first re-issue of a 1969 private pressing (originally were released less than 100 copies, housed in hand-made covers) by a completely unknown New Jersey band (at least to me) called Hasting’s Street Opera!

The press release reads:

“Unknown until now US private pressing from 1969. Underground psychedelic electric jazzrock / improv sound with mellow folk-rock moves and homemade / basement atmosphere. Mostly instrumental with some cut-up vocal sounds and effects. A mix of self-penned songs and amazing cover versions of classics like “Summertime”, “Scarborough Fair” or “A Taste Of Honey” turned into hip, extended jams not so far away from the sound of the pioneering psychedelic ballroom bands from San Francisco. Electric & acoustic guitars, bass, drums, flute… Recommended if you like similar private psych-jazz obscurities like Elysian Spring. Named after an old Detroit blues LP, Hasting’s Street Opera was formed in Montclair, New Jersey by a group of young friends (Harry Wellott, Gordon Carlisle, Don Hathaway and Chris Nelson) influenced by blues, rock, jazz and the eclectic sounds emanating from freeform / underground FM radio stations: Blues Project, Butterfield Blues Band, Miles Davies, Pharaoh

Sanders, Jethro Tull… Initially born as a blues band, HSO eventually evolved into a true improvisation collective unit. “Slippery When Wet” was recorded in 1969 at Don’s house using a portable recorder operated by their math teacher, the famous old-time music preserver Charles Faurot. It was a vanity pressing of less than 100 copies, housed in hand-made covers which were distributed among friends and family. For this, the first ever reissue, original band member and visual artist Gordon Carlisle has designed a new vintage styled cover using old photos of the band”.

“Slippery When Wet” (and I’m deeply curious about how did they give that title) consists of 8 tracks clock ticking in a total of 46 minutes! The opener “Nobody Knows” starts with a vocal-preaching-spoken intro (sample from a radio or TV maybe) sooner to be transformed into a groovy hippie instrumental jam with an intense West Coast feel, reminding a little bit of the most adventurous moments of Grateful Dead, with a middle section in which the drummer of the band show his skills and doing his ‘thing’! “Fool-August” is more mellow, a rocking acoustic low-fi improvised tune with the flute sound in the foreground and a darkie folkish atmosphere in the background. Their cover on the classic “Scarborough Fair” is performed in a free-form improvised way with a lovely flute sound, an adventurous rhythm section, and a strong ‘jazzy’ bass-line, a really trippy version! “Lo-De-Lo” is not even a song (ha!) the band is just having fun singing “lo-de-lo lo-de-lo” for about 21 seconds… “Perch” is blues-rock oriented with a jazz mood that is built upon a ‘hip’ flute sound while the rest of the band is on an endless dreamy let-loose jamming reminding the trippiest moments of The Blues Project! On “Taste Of Honey” the band creates a psych-a-like background but remaining faithful to their familiar hippie free-form instrumental motive! “Think Of Me” has a jazzy piano under an electrically psychedelic let-loose atmosphere. The album closes with an extended but remarkably astonishing version of Gershwin’s “Summertime”, a hippie jam improvisational cover with a great “Live Dead” feeling! Despite the homemade/basement atmosphere, this reissue is simply a Majestically Stunning record! (TimeLord Michalis)



Label: Out-Sider Music

Format: LP, Album, (First ever reissue. Comes with an insert with liner notes by the band members and photos. Download card is included)

Format: CD, Album

Release Date: 17 January 2019



1 Nobody Knows 07:21
2 Fool-August 03:53
3 Scarborough Fair 06:23
4 Lo-De-Lo 00:21
5 Perch 04:46
6 Taste Of Honey 03:42
7 Think Of Me 05:29
8 Summertime 13:55



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