Happy Trails – Quicksilver Messenger Service (1969)

Album no. 154/1001

If you’re a fan of lysergic acid diethylamide, chances are you’ll probably get a big kick out of Quicksilver Messenger Service – San Fran’s psychedelic rock fellas.

This was their second album that was eventually awarded a Gold Record in the US and their only entry on this list.This was also mostly recorded live at the Fillmore East and Fillmore West in San Fran, so that’s pretty impressive.

Warning: There’s a lot of guitar noodling and very few lyrics on this album. So prepare yourself.

Have you listened to this album before?

CL: I’ve never heard of this band. I really am hoping the ‘Happy Trails’ name is a tongue in cheek sort of thing and not a sign of the country music to come…

NK: I definitely haven’t.

Standout track

CL: LUCKILY IT’S NOT COUNTRY! What a bonus for me.

NK: I mean, they play ‘Who Do You Love’ for twenty minutes and I’m still not sure if they finished it. I kept drifting off while listening to this. The only properly recognisable song is ‘Happy Trails’ a weird country number stuck in at the end, and it’s bad. This album went on forever and I did not enjoy it.

CL: Well, hot diggity damn. ‘Who Do You Love (Part 1)’ is pretty fresh. AND ANOTHER BONUS FOR ME – it’s an album where all the songs flow into one. I like that. Extra points from me. Oh wait – it’s really just one song that’s been broken down into smaller chunks. STILL GOOD. I also really liked ‘How You Love’. There’s also a pretty banging version of ‘Mona’! Haven’t heard that one since The Rolling Stones back in 1964.

When would be the best time to listen to this?

CL: There aren’t a lot of words on here, which is fine – maybe a touch too much noodling, but you know, there’s a time and a place for such things. 

NK: I think you might need to be properly off your face to enjoy this meandering mess of aimless guitars. To be fair most of this was recorded live in San Francisco in 1969, so chances are everybody was tripping balls.

Why has this album been included on the list?

CL: This makes a pretty big stand for instrumental rock music. This is the sort of thing I think of when people talk about psychedelic music. Not weirdo psychedelic folk like The Incredible String Band or Love, but proper acid rock. In that sense, they nailed it.

NK: Yeah not sure. Some of the guitaring is good I suppose, but it’s certainly no better than some of the other stuff we’ve heard. This is pretty self-indulgent, lots of long extended jams that didn’t go anywhere. When John Fogerty said that he didn’t like the 45 minute guitar solos and that music should get to the point a bit quicker, he could have been talking about this very album. Quicksilver Messenger Service were from San Francisco, so chances are he was.

Will you be listening again?  

CL: Yeah, I will. It wasn’t AMAZING, but I still liked it.

NK: I very much doubt it.

Rating

CL: This is possibly one of the worst things I’ve ever heard. I’m removing it from my iTunes without delay. It was offensive to my eardrums.This is possibly one of the worst things I’ve ever heard. I’m removing it from my iTunes without delay. It was offensive to my eardrums.This is possibly one of the worst things I’ve ever heard. I’m removing it from my iTunes without delay. It was offensive to my eardrums. It’s almost a 4, but the second half sort of lets it down.

NK: This is possibly one of the worst things I’ve ever heard. I’m removing it from my iTunes without delay. It was offensive to my eardrums.

Listen to Happy Trails on Spotify or buy it in iTunes.

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