A Period Of Increased Activity

1. Tiny Crustacean Light Show
2. House of Edward Devotion
3. Arnold 4 Souls
4. It Always Rains mp3
5. Electric Trains
6. Don’t Thank Me
7. The Love Returned
8. The Magic’s Gone
9. Northampton
10. Who’s Little Girl mp3
11. Zion Like a Dove
12. Don’t Cry Princess
13. Ox Blood
14. Dull Grey Days

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Let’s Take A Walk Upon The Water

The plans for a new Donovan’s Brain album were put into motion at the end of 1997. In a lucky stroke both Seth Lyon and Kels Koch had just returned to Bozeman. At our initial meeting, it was decided that we would concentrate solely on recording, and forego live work. Jim Kehoe and Tony Sacco were invited as well, and joined later in the process. Colter and Ron arrived at the first session with several songs demoed and ready to record. The song later known as Arnold Four Souls was the first committed to tape. The first round of recording continued through May, when the rhythm section packed up headed towards opposite ends of the country. Enough material for an album had been recorded at the well organized sessions. As many as four songs a night were put down. Several older songs were updated during this time, including Electric Trains, House Of Edward Devotion, 22 Lost Marbles, The Single #2, and Ox Blood.

A major set back came mid year, when Colter took a new job in Boise, Idaho. At the end of the year, Colter was set to visit Bozeman, and wanted to record two new songs. Jason McKnight was called and he agreed to come in and play. The Next day Seth called to say he would be in town as well, and asked if there was anything for him to play on. Four songs were recorded; My Favorite Record, The Magic’s Gone, The Love Returned and a second attempt at Don’t Cry Princess. It’s probably not known that Don’t Cry Princess was written about Ken Stringfellow.

Ron, Karen, and Richard in YellowstoneWith the tracking apparently complete, a call went out to Richard Treece in London. Once again plans were made to have Ricky play on the album, this time in the relaxed atmosphere of Bozeman, in the spring of 1999. In yet another unexpected turn of events, a chance encounter with an old acquaintance from San Francisco, Dave Walker entered the picture. After a quick look at the situation, Dave settled in for the next year. A few days after Richard’s planned arrival, the Nomads would be stopping in for two days. Tiny Crustacean Lightshow was written over coffee on Saturday morning, a demo was recorded that afternoon, and the song was recorded on Sunday. Joakim, from the Nomads, recorded the drums that night as we did a sound check for the following day’s recording session. Two more songs were recorded the next day, Top Alcohol and Ron’s No Cops, Haul Ass. All four guitarists were featured on this storming instrumental. Dave picked up the tambourine for Top Alcohol. A very international weekend at GLEA.

Before Richard left, it was agreed Ron might join Green Ray on stage at the London Terrastock. A session in London was also planned for this trip. For the remainder of the summer and into the fall, Dave and Ron completed work on most of the songs. Shortly before departing for London, Ron wrote two new songs; Neuro Psych Trail Head and The Known Sea. Dave came back with Say Farewell. Unlike the previous London session the sessions would be held at Malcolm Morley’s. Sadly, Richard was ill, and not able to participate. The contributions Malc and Ken made to the songs can only be called monumental.

Back in Bozeman Ron took a small section of The Known Sea and expanded it into a new piece, The Ocean Of Storms. Dave sat at the piano and composed the lyrics on the spot. By this point, it was clear, there were two albums to be compiled from the last two years recordings. The first would be the rock album, though there a few reminders of the deeper Brain excursions. The remaining songs would be the foundation for the aptly titled The Great Leap Forward. Tiny Crustacean was mixed and presented to Get Hip early in 2000. Much to the band’s surprise, Get Hip balked at the cover presented. Even a trip to Pittsburgh didn’t resolve the issue. In the end Gregg relented and the CD was released with the revised art. While a small matter, it did lead to Donovan’s Brain leaving Get Hip and starting Career Records. This last effort proved to be one of the most popular Donovan’s Brain releases, and was the leg up to the future.


Reviews

Julian Gough

The third Donovan’s Brain CD collection, titled ‘Tiny Crustacean Light Show’, was released in November 2000. It features fourteen varied tracks, selected from a wealth of available material, and is the most confident and direct recording that has so far been released under the Donovan’s Brain banner. If you’ve heard the band’s music before then you’ll recognize the ancestry of this collection, but perhaps be a little surprised by the tougher edge and more polished finish on display here. If you haven’t heard the band’s music before (where have you been?) then this is undoubtedly the place to start.

Hans at GLEAThe album was recorded at God’s Little Ear Acre in Bozeman, Montana with some extra sessions being laid down at Malcolm Morley’s home studio in Islington, London. Production was by Ron Sanchez with help from Richard Treece, Dave Walker and Malcolm Morley.The first draft of the cover art shown here, shows a few subtle differences from the eventual finished version. Tom Azure, who also did Eclipse And Debris has created a superb psychedelic wrapping for a great slice of Brains magic. The inner wrapper features another of Karen Sanchez’s atmospheric photos, with Ron perhaps winning the prize for most spectacular headgear on the day.

Ron says of the new collection “We’ve got some great songs, with meaningful lyrics, and the singing is superb throughout. I do know there is a lot of guitar on these songs, and I promise I turned them up loud! I’ve finally recovered from the weeks of work mixing the lot. Winding up two years of work proved to be very exhausting. I’d done most of the work in February and the first weeks of March 2000. I wanted to have the whole album mixed before we flew off to Chicago to meet up with the Nomads where they were playing a warm up for the South By South West conference. The break proved to be invigorating, and the words of encouragement from the Nomads made the last round of mixing pass successfully.”

All Music Guide

There’s no doubt about it: This psychedelic rock outfit gets better as years go by. On this third effort, Ron Sanchez and company sound once again tighter, better, and more professional than before. But the biggest step forward is found in the writing. The track selection for this album has been focused on rock & roll (the more spaced-out material was held over for the next release), which may make it a bit easier to get into, but the real enjoyment factor at play is found in the melodies — because these are catchy songs (and you wouldn’t have thought about associating that adjective with this band before Tiny Crustacean Light Show came out). The arrangements are also more developed, paradoxically resulting in simpler songs.

Sanchez, guitarist Richard Treece, singer Dave Walker, and drummer Seth Lyon form the core of this incarnation of the band, but the usual suspects, including Colter Langan, Kels Koch, Jim Kehoe, Jason McKnight, and Tony Sacco, popped their heads into the studio at one time or another. A couple of songs take things deep into psychedelic territory (“Electric Trains” for instance, along with the album closer, “Dull Grey Days”), but in general things remain concise and punchy. “Northampton” is reminiscent of the Kinks, while “Arnold 4 Souls,” “Who’s Little Girl,” and the title track remind listeners of a time when psychedelic rock songs could climb high on radio charts. The arrival of Walker adds a dose of charisma (or is it teen appeal?) to the group’s sound. This album offers very good timeless psychedelic rock, and earns extra points for its title. – François Couture


The Songs

1. Tiny Crustacean Light Show
Joakim Ericson – drums
Richard Treece – bass, guitars, harmonica
Ron – 12 string and slide guitars, vocals

2. House Of Edward Devotion

Seth Lyon – drums
Ken Whaley – bass
Ron – Guitars, piano, synth
Colter Langan – guitars, vocals
Jim Kehoe – vocals
Dave Walker – vocals

3. Arnold 4 Souls

Kels Koch – bass
Richard Treece – guitars
Ron – guitars, strings, synth, vocals
Dave Walker – vocals

4. It Always Rains

Seth Lyon – drums, acoustic guitar, vocals
Kels Koch – bass
Richard Treece – guitar
Ron – guitar, 12 string, strings, vocals
Dave Walker – vocals, tambourine

5. Electric Trains

Seth Lyon – drums
Kels Koch – bass
Tony Sacco – piano, organ
Richard Treece – guitar
Ron – guitar, organ, synth, vocals

6. Don’t Thank Me

Seth Lyon – drums
Ken Whaley – bass
Jim Kehoe – guitar
Ron Sanchez – guitars, piano, organ, vocals
Dave Walker – vocals

7. The Love Returned

Seth Lyon – drums
Ken Whaley – bass
Tony Sacco – piano
Ron Sanchez – guitars, synth, vocals
Dave Walker – vocals

8. The Magic’s Gone

Jason McKnight – drums
Ken Whaley – bass
Richard Treece – guitars
Ron – guitar, piano, tambourine
Colter Langan – guitar, 12 string, vocals
Jim Kehoe – vocals
Dave Walker – vocals

9.Northampton

Seth Lyon – drums
Jim Kehoe – fuzz bass
Ron – 12 string, organ, tambourine
Richard Treece – guitar
Kels Koch – guitars, vocals

10. Who’s Little Girl

Seth Lyon – drums
Kels Koch – bass
Colter Langan – guitar
Malcolm Morley – piano
Richard Treece – slide guitar
Ron – guitar, slide, organ
Dave Walker – vocals

11. Zion Like A Dove

Seth Lyon – drums, synths, keyboards, percussion
Ron – guitar, synth

12. Don’t Cry Princess

Jason McKnight – drums
Ken Whaley – bass
Richard Treece – guitar
Tony Sacco – synth, piano
Malcolm Morley – piano
Ron – guitars, organ, synth, vibes, vocals
Dave Walker – vocals

13. Ox Blood

Seth Lyon – drums
Kels Koch – bass, vocals
Tony Sacco – piano
Richard Treece – slide guitar
Ron – electric, acoustic and 12 string, vocals
Dave Walker – vocals

14. Dull Grey Days

Seth Lyon – drums
Kels Koch – bass
Richard Treece – guitar
Colter Langan – guitar
Ron – guitars, synth, organ, piano, vocals
Dave Walker – vocals