Sunday, July 10, 2011

The Human Zoo - The Human Zoo (1970 us, psychedelic garage rock with funky vibes, 2010 edition - MP3 320k and FLAC)

Originally known as The Circus, The Human Zoo were a rock band from Westminster, California. For the first time since its original release in 1970, an exact re-issue of The Human Zoo album, taken from the original master tapes, with all album artwork faithfully replicated.

The Human Zoo's great claim to fame among garage/psychedelic fans is that they were managed by Jim Foster, guitarist with the Human Expression, the West Coast psych act that scored a modest hit with the song "Optical Sound." That's not a lot to base a reputation on, but the lone album the Human Zoo left behind is pretty good stuff, and suggests with better promotion they could have risen to much more impressive heights.

Boasting two lead singers (Roy Young and Jim Cunningham), the Human Zoo worked up a full and dynamic sound with impressive harmonies on these sessions, and the rest of the band shows off some solid chops -- John Luzadder and Larry Hanson are a capable guitar combo, with Hanson also doubling on keyboards, while bassist Bob Dalrymple and drummer Kim Vydaremy hold down the rhythm with strength and confidence.

While the Human Zoo could add a trippy edge to their songs (such as "I Don't Care No More"), they (at least as captured on this album) were at their best when they rocked out, and it's on numbers like "Na-Na" and "Funny" that the Human Zoo really connect, while "Gonna Take Me a Ride" and "Help Me" reveal they weren't bad with blue-eyed soul stuff, either.

The production is simple, but also captures the performances in a clean and natural fashion and is thankfully short on the studio trickery often inflicted on lesser-known psych acts. The recording seems to favor the band's live sound, and if the Human Zoo sounded this tight on-stage, it's hard to say why they didn't attract greater notice at the time.

Mark Deming

1. It's Got To Be (Roy Young) - 3:01
2. Na-Na (Larry Hanson) - 2:07
3. Help Me (Jim Cunningham, Larry Hanson) - 3:11
4. I Dont' Care No More (Larry Hanson, John Luzadder) - 2:36
5. Funny (A.Morettini, D.Leonards) - 5:09
6. Late To My Resurrection (A.Morettini) - 3:07
7. When Papa Started Drinking (Bob Dalrymple) - 2:27
8. Gonna Take Me a Ride (Jim Cunningham, John Luzadder) - 3:31
9. Stone Sassy Fox (Jim Cunningham, D.Leonards) - 3:16
10. The Human Zoo (Roy Young, John Luzadder) - 3:12
11. The Time Was Over (Bob Dalrymple) - 2:36

The Human Zoo
*Roy Young - Vocals
*Jim Cunningham - Vocals
*Larry Hanson - Guitar, Horn, Keyboards
*John Luzadder - Guitar
*Bob Dalrymple - Bass
*Kim Vydaremy - Drums

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