The Upshot: As late ‘60s rare artifacts go, this one is worth searching for!
BY TIM HINELY
Apparently on the rare record collector circuit this one was a real rarity and was much sought after for years. I think the Rev-Ola label out of England had reissued it at some point (perhaps on cd) but I believe that this is the first vinyl reissue of a record that came out 50 years ago (1967 was a great year!). F.J. McMahon was a Santa Barbara, CA folkie (as he had just returned from Vietnam) who I’m guessing liked to carry his guitar with him wherever he went (I could be wrong about that) and he released this one record that had a real limited pressing. I’m guessing that though McMahon had plenty of talent, it sank without a trace as some records that don’t have the publicity machine behind them do. The Anthology label has done us all a big favor here by reissuing this folk-rock gem.
Upon initial listen I occasionally was reminded of Tim Buckley (in the vocals dept, and even a little of Oregonian Tim Hardin..both he and Buckley died way too young). Musically McMahon has a real laid back style and the record was recorded in a warts-and-all style, the production ain’t pretty, but that only adds to the record’s charm. Cuts like the wobbly “Sister , Brother” belie a sense of no frills bedroom recordings while the gorgeous “Early Blue” could’ve/should’ve been a hit with it’s relaxed, easy-going beat. Elsewhere, “One Alone Together” sounds like it was recorded far far away, or at least the drums do, while it has some of McMahon’s most inventive guitar work (from jangle to blues and back again) and on “Enough it is Done” he adds a little wizard guitar while McMahon’s vocals soar a bit more effectively.
Apparently McMahon for many years had no idea there was any interest whatsoever in his much until he decided to Google his own name. There he found a whole world out there interested in what he had done decades prior. The booklet has some informative liner notes and some great pics (including one of his late 80’s/early 90’s “psychedelic rockabilly band” The Melted Fourheads). As late 60’s rare artifacts go this one is worth searching for and the Anthology label has just made it s while lot easier.
DOWNLOAD: “Sister , Brother,” “Early Blue,” “One Alone Together” “Enough it is Done”