During my stint as a construction inspector, I came across a rod-buster (that’s a guy who puts the reinforcing steel together before the concrete is poured), an old hippie type, who told me he was in a band about twenty years ago (this was 1993) called White Witch. Though I never remembered his name (I don’t think he even told me), I did remember to look out for the band. Checking their Web press (Ultimate Band List) I didn’t find much, and since they posed for the album photos a long time ago — and they wear mystical (Satanic?) face paint — I don’t know if Mr. Rodbuster was pulling my leg or what. Nevertheless, I’ve got their debut album in-hand and I’ve given it a few spins.
It’s very difficult for a knowledgeable critic, like myself, to call anything “dated.” How, for example, can anything be dated when, for instance, a lot of music from the 1960s and 70s blows 1990s tripe out of the water? So don’t get me wrong when I say a song or two on this re-issue really does sound dated. Hey, some of the Velvet Underground’s stuff is really dated (e.g., the “pop” songs with lyrics about Vietnam). A bit of White Witch sounds like the Strawberry Alarm Clock on speedballs (e.g., “It’s So Nice to Be Stoned”) and the rest is sort of a prog rock Dante’s Inferno .
It’s a bit of Monty Python and the Beatles meet Queen in between where Iron Butterfly left off covering the Allman Brothers and Kansas picked up. (Far out!) There’s plenty of weird keyboards (read: Moog) and spacey pop blues guitars throughout the album, great for a “trip.” Beware: the last song, “The Gift,” should not be listened to at night or in the dark anywhere. You will be fooled by the generally benign feel of the first ten songs; the gift is a quickie freak-out that comes out of nowhere.
Capricorn Records, 2205 State Street, Nashville, TN 37203