DAVID AXELROD is gone.
I know we really shouldn't keep dwelling about these recently deceased musicians, and I agree that it's probably a better idea to keep all the discussions in The 2017 RIP Thread. I just personally feel that David Axelrod in particular shares a pretty big significance for me, and a lot of you out there. Maybe we can just all share some appreciation for the man one last time.
I guess it never really connected with me to think of him as a religious artist. I wasn't sure that the Electric Prunes management had the original concept for Mass in F Minor, or if that concept was conceived with David Axelrod in the studio. I knew that it's inclusion in the movie Easy Rider was definitely a landmark for David Axelrod's career. However, that album was nothing in comparison to the magnificent Release of an Oath. The story of Axe kicking out the original Electric Prunes to make that album is now infamous. I feel that his work with Carol Kaye, Earl Palmer, Don Randi, and Howard Roberts was truly masterful. Songs like "Holy are you" displayed equal parts cinematic, orchestral, dark, soulful, and fun.
When I first listened to Release of an Oath it completely skipped past me that the Kol Nidre was basically Jewish church music. I knew there was some religious tones on that album, but the concept didn't push past the surface for me. I was at Fingerprints record store in Long Beach California when I came across my copy. The guy at the counter asked me if I heard the western sounding album by Axelrod. This was sometime in 2003, and I was totally a know it all Timmy dig-a-lot at this point. I knew that Axe did a bunch of shit in the 50's that I didn't have much knowledge about, but this guy clarified that there was another religious David Axelrod album that sounded like a psychedelic western made in the 70's.
This of course grabbed my attention, because this was around the same time that I discovered the comic book Blueberry, and Alejandro Jodorowsky's El Topo. Little did this guy know that if someone would mention a Psychedelic Western to me at this point of my life the hairs on my arm would stick up, and my spider sense would go crazy. Of course I kept my record digging poker face on, and acted like I've known about this record my whole life.
Me:"Oh yeah man, of course I heard that record are you kidding me.. What was the name of it again?"
Record clerk: "Messiah"
Me: "You guys got any copy's of it here?"
Record clerk: "It's past through here a few times, but we don't have any in store. Good luck finding one!"
So, I did a deep Google search for the Messiah record, but at the time not much popped up. I forget if I was doing Napster or Soulseek at that time. I just remember that Youtube didn't link to an audio clip of every record in existence at that time, and it was still hard to do research about records without knowing people, talking about it here on the strut, asking record dealers, or record store clerks. It actually took me a few years before I found a copy of this record on the wall of a local record store at a price I couldn't afford.
Later I got a chance to find the song online so I could finally hear Axelrod's so-called "Western", and it was FUCKING GREAT! I'm surprised I never hear people talk about this album, because to me it sounds like Ennio Morricone meets David Axelrod. Earl Palmer, and Carol Kaye return as the ultimate rhythm section, and it picks up right where the Release of an Oath sessions left off. You got Howard Roberts back in full on Jimmy Page shred face mode. Only this time David adds Cannonball Adderly. My ears had a total Hallelujah moment, and I've been looking for an affordable copy of this record in the wild ever since.
Rest in Peace Axe, Cannonball, Earl, Howard. Your music was and still is transcendent!