The Cassette Years

 
                                                       

Compact Cassettes

 

4 Track And  8 Track Experiments

The 4-track Tascam Porta One and  Fostex small format 8-track reel recorders were the perfect tools to help develop the Donovan's Brain sounds. It was always exciting to hand out copies of our tapes to friends, no matter how rough they might now sound to our ears. These three compilations represent five or six years work. The leaps in quality are dramatic. Parts of Butterfly Wheel and Shambaholic pretty well define most of what was to come. Surprisingly, there are moments on the earliest recordings that hint at the familiar Brain styles heard on the official releases. Four songs from Butterfly wheel and nearly all of Shambaholic have been released in one form or another, some more than once.

 

Peer Pressure League (1990)

peer pressure1. Albatross (PA Green)
2. Into The Wind (Dolan)
3. Broken Time Code (Sanchez)
4. Montana Eyes (Dolan)
5. Lowlands (Sanchez)
6. Drifter's Escape (Dylan)
7. SNJ/UFO (Sanchez) mp3
8. Walk On The Water (Fogerty)
9. Head Held High (Reed)
10. Miles Behind (Sanchez)

"Live Time" Bonus Tracks
11. Perky Pat (Sanchez) mp3
12. Cat Nip (Glass) mp3

The first recording to appear under the Donovan's Brain banner. Mostly 4-track, but the the last few things were 8-track. Recorded between March 1988 and March 1990. The Live Time performance was broadcast live on KGLT-fm, 12 June 1989. Cat Nip, one of the songs performed was taken from an obscure Australian EP by the mysterious Viet Nam vet, Ony J Holy. Broken Time Code was rewritten as Human Is, which appeared on Great Leap Forward. Perky Pat is the oldest song here, and has reappeared in various forms, depending on who is playing it. A bit of it was tagged on the the end of Bondi Tombstone. Not much else to say about this, except this is all you will ever hear of it.

Ron Sanchez - guitars, keys, bass, vocals, drums - Kels Koch - bass, guitar, vocal - Paul Rose - guitar - Karen - bg vocals

 

Butterfly Wheel (1991)

ButterflyLoaded Deluxe LD 2001
(1991) Cassette Only

1. Underdose (Sanchez)
2. Cary Grant (Kehoe) mp3
3. Groovy (Kehoe)
4. Follow The Shining Path (Sanchez)
5. 50,000,000 Years (Sanchez)
6. House Of Edward Devotion (Herlihy-Langan)
7. Fashion Magazine (Kehoe)
8. Beautiful Enigma (Sanchez) mp3
9. Wreck (Kehoe)
10. Pioneers Of The West (Morley)
11. Sorry The Swamp Thing Ever Got Out (Sanchez) mp3

"Recorded at Egg studios in Seattle, and at God's Little Ear Acre in Bozeman, Montana. Butterfly Wheel was produced by Ron Sanchez and Scott McCaughey, and engineered by Ron Sanchez and Conrad Uno. This neatly produced cassette only release is a tight and professional little package, well worth seeking out if you're new to the delights of Donovan's Brain." - Julian Gough

A quantum leap in song writing, performance and recording. The original idea was to release an EP of the Egg sessions, but this was scrapped pretty quickly. In most cases, Jim performed his songs, and Ron his own individually. The one collaboration was Jim's Cary Grant. I'm sure we had the Stones in mind when we recorded this one. Colter finally joined in at this point, and eventually became the other principal songwriter in the band. Beautiful Enigma is one of the missing links. It sounds like QMS meet the Cure. 50,000,000 Years was the first song of the next phase, and was released on our Get Hip 45.

Working with The Young Fresh Fellows was a serious learning experience. It kicked up the quality of everything we did afterwards.

Ron Sanchez - guitars, bass, keys, vocals - Jim Kehoe - guitars, bass, harmonica, organ, vocals - Colter Langan - guitars, keys, vocals - Tad Hutchison - drums  (1,3,4,7) - Jim Sangster - bass, guitar (1,3,4.7) - Sly and Dai - bass and drums on all others

 

Shambaholic (1994)

Shambaholic1. Dandelions Are Back (v2) (Sanchez)
2. Interlude #1
3. Highway 94 (Carroll, McCaughey, Silva)
4. Hit Me In The Face (Kehoe, Sanchez)
5. Pollyanna Disillusioned Sanchez) mp3
6. Make A Noise Quietly (Sanchez)
7. Holly Green (Kline, Langan, Sanchez)
8. Interlude #2
8. Heavy Water (Sanchez)
9. Kew Observatory (Sanchez)
10. Interlude #3
11. Sleep Deep (Jones, Sanchez)
12. Everything I Know Is Wrong (Sanchez)
13. Shambaholic (Sanchez) mp3
14. Pollyanna #2 (Sanchez)
15. Row Out (To Sea In A Leaky Boat) (Sanchez)

 

May 2011

The restoration of Shambaholic has been discussed for several years. In 2005, Ron, Colter and Ron Craighead spent a few days rebuilding the song Sleep Deep with the intention of submitting it to Dream Magazine for the #6 compilation. This song had only appeared on the LIght Proof Visions EP, and in an edited form. George Parsons chose Dim Gem for his release, but the results we such that work on the remaining songs seemed inevitable.

When Ric Parnell was engaged to play drums on the new album it was decided to have him also work on the Shambaholic project. Ric understood the situation and has approached the twelve songs with enthusiasm. I had prepared the songs for drum overdubs two years ago. In a wine fueled moment Jason Lytle had agreed to have a go. When common sense prevailed, he realized his solo album was of more importance, and handed in his resignation.

I don't know that there will be any other major work done on the songs. While preparing Carelessly Restored Art for release, I did redo the vocal on Kew Observatory and completed a new mix. LIstening to the rough mixes I did for the overdub sessions, a few songs revealed some part which were buried in the original mixes. There may be the need for a few small repairs, but the original tracks hold up well. The addition of Ric's drums dramatically change the feel of the album, but only in good ways. The carefully crafted drum machine parts (credited to Terry Moto) are no match for the talents of a drummer as skilled as Ric. All the missing elements have now been located and uploaded to master file. Make A Noise Quitely is now considered finished and mixed. With this in the can, it is apparent the final results willl meet expectations.

Twenty years ago work began on material which became Shambaholic, and parts of every Donovan's Brain album released, including the one currently under construction. To finally see what should have been our debut album completed the way in had envisioned it in 1994 is immensely gratifying. The only downside is this all comes at a time when Donovan's Brain, the band, has been as productive as I was in the early 90's. The new album is the prime objective at the moment. I will begin mixing the rebuilt Shamhaholic tracks as time allows.

Four tracks from Butterfly Wheel have also received the same treatment. There are no firm plans for the ultimate relase of these songs. The amount of material on the table is overwhelming, It does guarantee that there will be a stead stream of releases for the next few years.

After the release of Butterfly Wheel, recording resumed at a more serious pace. A number of songs that would appear on the next four albums were written during this period. In 1991, it became apparent that there was a thread running through several of the songs. Make A Noise Quietly was the final piece needed to tie it all together. In fact, it's a variation on the same musical structure as Row Out. Before the album was finished, we were asked to contribute a track to the first volume of the Hit The Hay series. Jerker Emmanuelson chose Dandelions Are Back, which meant the version we gave him is slightly different from the version that appears here.

It was always intended that Shambaholic would be released in this form, and we shopped it around to a number of labels. Magical Jack was the first to take an interest and asked for an EP. Shortly after that, Get Hip asked for a single. That would mean six songs from Shambaholic would be released before there was a deal for the complete album. Fans of Shambaholic included Martin Ace from Man, and Deniz Tek.

While waiting for these deals to move forward, a new Donovan's Brain line up was put together. Jason McKnight came in on drums, and Paul Rose picked up the guitar. Jim Kehoe rounded out the line up. The original plan was for everyone to write songs, and we would all handle bass as required. Jim never brought any original songs to the band, despite  our pleas. The only Shambaholic song this band performed was Pollyanna Disillusioned. Several of the unused songs from this period of song writing did make it to the new Brain set list including: Central Services, Two White Spiders, Dull Days, and Moon Shines. The story continues with the band beginning work on the album that will come to be known as Eclipse And Debris.

Ron Sanchez - guitars, keyboards and vocals - Colter Langan - vocals - Jim Kehoe - bass and vocals - Paul Rose - guitars and vocals - Terry Moto - drums - Tony Sacco - harpsichord, organ - Joe Howard - bass - Bill Jedrzejewski - guitar - Tony Zanella bass on Shambaholic

 

8-track studio

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