Bliss was born from the ashes of U.S. garage band, The Sect, who were formed in 1966 in Mesa, Arizona by high school students, Brad Reed, Rusty Martin, Corky Aldred, Tom Smith and J.R. Lara.
Initially, the band were very much influenced by the sound of the British Invasion bands and were soon taken under the wing of radio DJ and producer, Hadley Murrell who introduced them to the recording process in his studio.
Two years down the line, all five members had graduated from school and decided to call a halt to the band. However, a short while later, Martin, Reed and Aldred got the bug once more, decided to reform as a power trio, and rechristened themselves, Bliss.
Still with producer Murrell guiding them, they recorded one album with the Los Angeles based Canyon Records in 1969. This does seem a strange choice of label to align with as they were more focused and famed for producing R&B, soul and funk artists, rather than psych and heavy rock.
Inevitably, through lack of promotion and given such low priority by Canyon Records, the album simply fell through the cracks. (So, it would seem, did much in the way of information about the band.Photographs too.)
The album resurfaced over twenty years later, when collectors of psych records picked up on the heavy, bluesy sound and original copies began to change hands for increasingly high sums of money, in some cases over four hundred pounds.
Of course, when this happens, albums are given a new lease of life via reissues, which allow the likes of you and I to add them to our collections.
‘Bliss‘ the album is nowadays considered a cult psych classic, and some tracks do certainly have that feel to them. Of the nine tracks, six are originals ‘ Ride The Ship of Fools, features hard, fuzz-wah guitar, driving bass and pounding drums. ‘ ‘Cry For Love‘ has a feel of The Zombies‘ ‘Time of the Season’ and ‘Visions‘ echoes Cream.
There are a couple of weaker tracks, it has to be said. ‘Make My Old Soul New’ in particular. But there are also three pretty solid covers: ‘Gangster of Love‘ I recognised from Johnny Winters‘ version of this Johnny Watson song; ‘I Want to be Free,’ a Joe Tex original and a good interpretation of B.B. King’s ‘Rock Me Baby.’
Overall, this is a decent, solid, heavy rock album, I think boosted some years ago by attaining ‘cult’ status.
Originals worth £400+? I’m not sure. Certainly on rarity and ‘collectible’ tag, then probably. But if like me you buy records for listening to, then I think the regular album price of £20 – £25 is more in line with the content.
Brad Reed – Guitar / Vocals
Rusty Martin – Bass
Buford ‘Corky’ Riley Aldred – Drums
|Ride The Ship Of Fools / Gangster Of Love||7″ single||1969||Canyon Records|