Cotton Mather – Kontiki Deluxe Edition

January 01, 1970

Apple Kingdom)


Cotton Mather was one of those bands that deserved wide
acclaim and mass adulation but never seemed sure of how to achieve either. Even
after being championed by Noel Gallagher, they never gained ample traction, the
result of intermittent personnel changes, a lack of airplay and failure to find
a record company willing to support their aspirations. Consequently, the band folded
after only three albums and an EP, fading into obscurity with scarcely any
appreciation they could cling to.


Or almost anyway. Kontiki,
the band’s best album – a mini masterpiece and one of the finest power pop
entries of the past twenty years – gets the deluxe reissue treatment, nearly
doubling the original 13 songs courtesy of twelve bonus tracks recorded around
the same time and conceived as candidates for the finished album. While the
band opted not to use them for one
reason or another, there’s not a single tune here that feels out of place or
obviously inferior. An early take on the album track “Operator”
adds a pleasant acoustic sheen to the original’s Beatlesque obsession, while a
preliminary version of “Pine Box Builder” imbues a slow drift that wasn’t as
obvious on the original. Singer Robert Harrison possesses a marked Lennon-like
drawl, which comes in handy with trippy offerings like “Baby Freeze Queen No.
1” and “Flying Annie’s Kite,” as well as the psychedelic strains of “Private
Ruth,” Aurora Bori Alice,” “The Gold Gone Days” and “Spin My Wheels.”


In retrospect it’s readily apparent that much thought and
skill went into the initial effort, making it no surprise that even the
outtakes also weigh in admirably. Maybe that’s the mark of a great album. It
not only enhances but actually affirms the fact that even now Kontiki is still a classic.


DOWNLOAD: “Operator,” “Gold Gone Days,” “Pine Box Builder” LEE ZIMMERMAN

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