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Originally Published: May 1969
Alice Cooper, as most avid music buffs in this locality are no doubt aware, is not a newly-arrived musical counterpart to Kate Smith or one of the Lennon Sisters. Nor is Alice Cooper even another Janis Joplin or Aretha Franklin.
Instead, Alice Cooper is the name of a former Phoenix based five-man rock group which is well on it's way to achieving national prominence in the pop music field. This is being done through a string of so far well-received concert appearances (the latest one Friday night in the Coliseum with The Iron Butterfly), and by a first album, which is to be the main topic of today's message.
A word or two of background information would be in order first. The group, originally known as The Spiders and then The Nazz (not to be confused with another currently popular group bearing the same name), originated it Tempe and soon got to be quite well known in the Phoenix area before splitting for Los Angeles.
It was around then that the band's leader changed his name and the name of the group to Alice Cooper. The reason for the name change, according to a published interview with Alice by Johnny Neat, was that it had been discovered that the spirit of a girl named Alice Cooper who lived in the 17th century had taken over his body two years before. Alice, incidently, appears on the LP liner in a dress.
The other group members in addition to Alice are Neal Smith, drums and vocals; Dennis Dunaway bass guitar and vocals; Glen Buxton, lead guitar; and Mike Bruce, rhythm guitar, vocals, piano and organ.
Today, they are being promoted as "the epitome of psychedelic bands." Their album is called "Pretties for You" and appears on the Straight label (STS 1051), distributed by Bizarre. In order to provide an alternative to all the social criticism and pessimism about the state of the world found in so much contemporary music, the music provided by Alice Cooper is supposed to convey a happy, bright, optimistic attitude about life.
Aside from novelty cuts like "Titanic Overture," played on a massive concert organ, and "10 Minutes Before the Worm," starring a squirrel or some other species of rodent nibbling contentedly away at something, the music, all original, is quite comfortably at home in the "heavy psychedelic" category, whatever that means.
The two best cuts are, in my opinion, "Levity Ball," recorded live at the Cheetah, and "Fields of Regret." Others include "Swing Low, Sweet Cheerio", "Changing, Arranging", "Living", "Reflected", and "Apple Bush".
One hassle the album has encountered here has been the reluctance of certain local record merchants to display a certain segment of a cover painted by Ed Beardsley without a protective "censored" label. This is getting slightly ridiculous so far as this corner is concerned, considering the perfectly acceptable yet far more suggestive liner photos on some "good music" LP's I could name.