The Crazy People – Bedlam
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Crazy People and Bedlam have been the subjects of some busy conjecture by various 1960s Sherlock Holmes types, and several theories regarding the album's genesis have been proposed throughout the years, including the mention of such era obscurities as Wild Man Fischer and the heavily shrouded psychsploitation figure Johnny Kitchen, but what an album invariably comes down to is the music contained in its grooves. And inside the grooves of Bedlam lies some dramatically unhinged stuff, a schizophrenic, psychedelic mutation unlike any other from the era. From the opening few bars of "Parade at the Funny Farm," the direction of the album is evident -- that is, that there is no direction per se. If you borrowed all the weirder sound-collage stuff, satirical performance-art, and politico-comedic humor from the early work of the Mothers of Invention or the Firesign Theatre and superimposed it over some oddball, calliopic melodies and eclectic stylistic jump-cutting, you would begin to approach the mayhem of the sole effort by Crazy People. For example, "After Six" is a really beautiful, swaying kaleidoscopic pop tune. Or it could have been pretty. Over top of the music, however, a stoned philosopher narrates an involved story (an amusing amalgam of fairy tale, cartoon, Bible epic, and Greek tragedy delivered, nevertheless, with an absolutely stony-faced tone) in a manner similar to Cream's kooky "Pressed Rat and Warthog." "Head Games and Other Assorted Crap" is a partly a sound collage a la the Beatles' "Revolution No. 9," but the collage arises out of a lovely sunshine-pop tune that ultimately gives way to bits of jazz and tribal music, and even a choir at one point. The album is very much a product of its times, and the humor very much endemic to the era, rendering Bedlam as a perfect, encapsulated historical record of the times: part bollocks, part inspiration, and all intriguing, even when it falls on its face.