Fans of West Coast psych should not hesitate to grab this
.../...right along with the best of the Airplane, the Dead, QMS and Love. Derivative? Sometimes, but who cares? Kak absolutely NAILED this idiom. If you like the above-named groups, you simply have to check out KAK-OLA.
Although formed in Davis, California, Kak were based in San Francisco for a good part of 1968, when they recorded their only album. Lead singer, guitarist, and primary songwriter Gary Lee Yoder and lead guitarist Dehner Patten had been in the Oxford Circle, an obscure early Northern Californian psychedelic band that had cut one garage/psych single ("Foolish Woman"/"Mind Destruction") and played some shows on the San Francisco psychedelic circuit, while bassist Joe-Dave Damrell had been on a 1965 single on Scorpio Records with Group "B".
The self-titled Kak LP was minor-league San Francisco psychedelic rock colored by a lot of influence from bigger Bay Area bands, particularly Moby Grape; the vocal harmonies and curling guitar work on tracks like 'Disbelievin'" and "Everything's Changing" in particular sounded like a more pedestrian Moby Grape. There were also more distant echoes of Quicksilver Messenger Service (in the guitar work) and the Grateful Dead (in faint traces of country-blues-rock). Kak were best, and least derivative, at their quietest, as on the gentle country-tinged rocker "I've Got Time, " the good-time wistful psych-folk-rock of "Lemonade Kid, " and the harpsichord-decorated ballad "Flowing By, " which was as derivative of Donovan as much of their other songs were of Moby Grape.
Kak's album was barely promoted and sold little. It didn't help that the band played less than a dozen shows before breaking up in early 1969, Damrell having already quit prior to the split. Yoder did a single for Epic and and then joined Blue Cheer. The Kak album eventually became a pricey collector item, and was reissued on CD by Big Beat (with the new title Kak-ola) in 1999 with plenty of bonus cuts, including previously unreleased acoustic demos and Yoder solo tracks from the late sixties. - Richie Unterberger
None of the plodding riffs, histrionic vocal stylings, or blues posturing that plagued many similar groups of this era mar this collection of melodic, tasteful progressive hard rock (as well as some mellower country-rock songs). Leader and main songwriter Gary Yoder would eventually join Blue Cheer and add his distinctive stamp to that band's sound. The 1999 Big Beat CD, titled Kak-Ola, includes everything from the Kak LP, but also adds eleven bonus tracks. These include the 45 version of "Rain"; five previously unreleased acoustic cuts, four of them versions of songs from the LP, one ("Bye Bye/Easy Jack") of a tune that was not included on Kak; the "Flight From the East"/"Good Time Music" Gary Yoder solo single on Epic, released after Kak had split; and three Yoder solo demos from late 1967. - Jim Powers
15 Tracks from 60's Psych Legends Kak plus Five Bonus Solo Recordings by the Band's Leader Gary Yoder (Later of Blue Cheer).
01. Hco 97658 1:40
02. Everything's Changing 4:07
03. Electric Sailor 3:08
04. Disbelievin' 4:00
05. I've Got Time 3:41
06. Flowing By 3:58
07. Bryte 'N' Clear Day 3:47
08. Trieulogy 8:12
09. Lemonaide Kid 5:56
10. Rain (Single Version) 2:06
11. Everything's Changing (Previously Unissued Acoustic Demo) 2:54
12. I've Got Time (Previously Unissued Acoustic Demo) 2:06
13. Medley:Bye Bye / Easy Jack (Previously Unissued) 4:14
14. Bryte 'N' Clear Day (Previously Unissued Acoustic Live Version) 6:10
15. Medley:Mirage / Rain (Previously Unissued Acoustic Live Version) 5:53
16. When Love Comes In (Previously Unissued) 2:50
17. I Miss You (Previously Unissued) 3:59
18. Lonely People Blues (Previously Unissued) 4:16
19. Flight From The East 4:13
20. Good Time Music 2:20
Gary Yoder (Blue Cheer)-vocals,
Dehner E. Patten-guitar,
Christopher Lockleed-drums & tabla