Wednesday, March 21, 2007
J.K. & Co. - Suddenly One Summer, Can, 1968
In 1968, 15 year old guitarist/singer Jay Kaye trekked from Las Vegas to Vancouver, British Columbia. There, with a topnotch team of session musicians, he recorded Suddenly One Summer, a dark masterpiece of orchestral psychedelia intended to musically represent the life and death of a man.
The history of J.K. & Co. was little known, the details etched in admirably by Sundazed's CD reissue of their only album. The group was led by Jay Kaye, who was only 15 when he assembled J.K. & Co. in early 1968. With assistance from arranger Robert Buckley (also still in his teens), producer Robin Spurgin, and session musicians, he recorded a little-known album, Suddenly One Summer, for White Whale in Vancouver (to where he had briefly relocated from Las Vegas). His florid, melodic songwriting betrayed obvious debts to Donovan and George Harrison; his low-key vocals also recall George's late Beatle efforts. The sappier excesses of his lyrics haven't dated well, but his soothing arrangements (with low-key organs and saxes), beguiling melodies, and good-hearted, meditative ambience make him one of the worthier obscurities of the late '60s.
As a band, J.K. & Co. didn't really exist until after the album was completed, and Kaye formed a group to play the material live that included his cousin John Kaye on bass. Although the LP got a little bit of exposure on Californian underground radio stations, it was not well-promoted and remains barely known, even by many psych-heads. Their career was not aided by the label's bizarre decision to pull a 36-second-long track, the instrumental introductory piece "Break of Dawn," as the single. While they did play live in California, they broke up around the end of the 1960s, without releasing any more recordings. The rare album was reissued on CD by Sundazed/BeatRocket in 2001. ~ Richie Unterberger, All Music Guide