Rarities From TX Psych Kings Space Opera

 

Unreleased material from the Fort Worth band’s
seventies heyday.

 

By Blurt
Staff

 

Possibly one of the most underrated
music groups to emerge from Fort Worth, Texas
is the legendary Space Opera, whose music has been described as “serious,
complex, satisfying music, blending rock, folk, jazz and classical influences
to achieve their distinctive sound”. Much to the delight of Space Opera fans
worldwide, ItsAboutMusic.com has released on CD ‘Safe At Home’; 9 rare unreleased recordings from the early ’70s,
around the time the band was recording their first album. Also included in this
definitive Space Opera collectors item are 6 unreleased gems from 1975, 1977 and 1978 as well as liner notes
from founding band member David Bullock. (Details, song samples here.)

 

The backstory:

 

Space Opera was
forged in the Texas
summer heat of 1969 by David Bullock, Scott Fraser, Philip White, and Brett
Wilson. Already, their young lives had been a history played out on roadhouse
bandstands and in the coffeehouses and ballrooms of Texas. They had worked as studio sidemen in
exchange for long hours spent arranging and recording their own songs at
producer T-Bone Burnett’s studio in Fort
Worth.

 

Space Opera’s first
major appearance was at the legendary Texas International Pop Festival. They
refined their unique style during years of touring Texas and the eastern seaboard, headlining
shows and opening for such groups as The Byrds, Jethro Tull, Johnny Winter, and
Jefferson Airplane. The band’s sound was defined by the dense counterpoint of
chiming electric 12-strings, crisp, subtle percussion, and choir-like vocals.

 

“Our sound by this time was a blues-infused,
spacey, folk rock that juxtaposed lightly structured songs and long
improvisational pieces”, David Bullock recently explained.

 

“Space Opera,” an album produced by the band at Manta Sound
in Toronto, was
released in 1973 by Epic Records. Rock critic and author Ritchie York called
the album “incredibly outstanding, deliriously brilliant.” The group
lived and worked in New York, Canada and Texas during the 1970s and ’80s, often
augmenting their live sound with symphonic instruments.

 

A music journalist
once observed that Space Opera had arrived at “an early, undeserved
obscurity.” Describing the band’s music, he wrote, “They don’t just write
songs, they compose miniature symphonies, three-to-five-minute pieces that
combine musical elements that would seem to have no place in rock.”

 

Over the years the
musicians disbanded and regrouped as they saw fit. In 1997 Space Opera played a
‘reunion’ concert at the Caravan of Dreams in Fort Worth. New and old songs were woven
together in a suite-like concert that music writer Dave Ferman of the Fort
Worth Star-Telegram found “…musically stunning. Moving from mood to mood
and using subtle shadings of 12-string guitars, oboe and accordion… Space
Opera lived up to its legend and pointed the way to a fresh new start.”

 

Today, Space Opera
continues to record and perform, creating music that is uniquely its own for
the entertainment of a small but devoted audience.

 

 

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