Kak: 'uneven but enormously promising'

Along with Morgen, Kak made arguably the best one-shot US psych LP of the late 1960s. From Davis, California (outside Sacramento), they consisted of Gary Lee Yoder (vocals / guitar), Dehner Patten (lead guitar), Joe-Dave Damrell (bass) and Chris Lockheed (drums). Despite having clear commercial potential and being one of the truest early representations of the West Coast sound, their album crept out in January 1969 and sank without trace. I thought I'd post the only contemporary references to the quartet that I've ever seen.

But first, here's the album itself:

As far as I know, two ads appeared - one in Rolling Stone and one in Go. Here they are:

In addition, Epic included Disbelievin' on their January 1969 Rockbuster sampler LP, and included a small picture of the band in a round-up of its new releases in Billboard at the same time:

Go, meanwhile, ran a very brief interview with their wah-wah wizard Dehner Patten:

Somewhat amazingly, the album was also promoted via a promo film, which has surfaced on youtube, and from which the outstanding front cover was extracted:

I've only encountered two reviews of the LP. The first appeared in Stereo Review in July 1969. I stupidly threw away the relevant issue, but it ran thus: 'Kak is one more group with a kooky name and more than a bit of debt to The Beatles. Yet their vitality is infectious, and they can sing and play up a storm. Their Electric Sailor, for instance, is a navvy from outer space with a "double-wide grin" and "sparks flyin' off his electric feet", and a positively galvanic personage, the way they sing of him. Everything's Changing is delivered with such conviction you begin to suspect maybe it really is. The quartet of white boys who make up Kak are not above helping themselves to whatever mannerisms are around and handy as grist to their mill, including a liberal dose of soul - as in a bluesy ballad called Disbelievin' - but they manage to assimilate what they borrow, and give it back as their own. High point of a fast-moving programme is a 'Trieulogy' of three contrasting moods, in each of which they open all the stops and really take off. A lively disc.'

The other review appeared in the UK underground paper International Times, penned by Barry Miles (later to become Paul McCartney's official biographer). As if Miles wasn't already hip enough, note how he casually refers to the 13th Floor Elevators, whom most critics in Texas had never even heard of at the time:

No fewer than three 45s were extracted - firstly the promo-only Everything's Changing (mono) / Everything's Changing (stereo), produced by John Neel:

Next came promo and stock copies of Everything's Changing / Rain (Epic 5-10383), also produced by John Neel. The 45 performance of Rain was different to that on the LP, with white labels being stereo and the rarer yellow-label stock copies being mono:

Their third and last 45 was I've Got Time / Disbelievin' (Epic 5-10446), produced by Gary Grelecki:

Kak split almost as soon as their LP appeared, having played only a meagre total of five concerts. Only one poster / handbill commemorating their live work seems to exist:

Following their split, leader Gary Yoder issued a so-so solo 45 before joining Blue Cheer, while drummer Chris Lockheed joined Randy Holden for his deafening Population II project. They weren't entirely forgotten, however - a couple of years later Lester Bangs praised them highly in his Rolling Stone review of Blue Cheer's Oh! Pleasant Hope (July 8th 1971):

In the decades since, many others have come around to Bangs' way of thinking, and the album is now widely regarded as a classic. The CD reissue on Big Beat has excellent liner notes and photos, and a great interview with Dehner Patten can be found here: http://www.rockandreprise.net/kak.html.