Robert Christgau: Dean of American Rock Critics

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The Serpent Power

  • The Serpent Power [Vanguard, 1967]

Consumer Guide Reviews:

The Serpent Power [Vanguard, 1967]
Think of the Serpent Power as the Bay Area's version of the Velvet Underground. Led by poet David Meltzer, with Meltzer on untutored post-folk guitar, Meltzer and his wife Tina singing his songs, poet Clark Coolidge clattering behind on drums, and the soon-vanished John Payne fixing a hole on organ, their music was minimalist folk-rock with noise--the climactic, electric-banjo augmented "Endless Tunnel" goes on for thirteen minutes. Some songs began as poems, other didn't, but all feature notable lyrics--some romantic, some gruff, some both. And all but a few are graced by excellent tunes, none more winsome than that of the lost classic "Up and Down." [Rolling Stone: The 40 Essential Albums of 1967]

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