Opened in 1968, the “Cool Aid House” in Vancouver was a home for rambling homeless youth and Hippies. The commune drop-out vibe aside, the Cool Aid House was a non-profit that helped young people get off the street and back on their feet. As a non-profit, they relied heavily on support form donations and the Canadian government–a relationship that was threatened to dissolve by 1970. Come 1969, in steps UBC student John Walsh with an idea to record a benefit album to raise funds to save the house. All of the top bands in the Vancouver area offered to record songs for the benefit album and since the local music scene produced some of the best bands in Canada, the album that resulted is a stunning snapshot of Vancouver’s young music scene.
A long sought-after collector’s item, The Cool Aid Benefit Album was originally intended as a two-record set, however contractual problems with Capitol Records forced Walsh to drop tracks by Mother Tucker’s Yellow Duck, which with their inclusion now, make this the first reissue as well as the first release as the intended 2xLP. Other cuts include the strange proto-electronic burbles of Mock Duck on ‘As the Bullet Enters Anton’ and ‘Pointillistic Scherzo’, the vicious snarl of Black Snake’s ‘Carousel,’ and the strange Spalding Grey-ish acoustic song/poem ‘The Planet Man.’ Hydro Electric Street Car have left little behind them, but their lovely ‘High Memory’ sounds like a lost Grateful Dead track from their early, dreamy period.
Released by Lion Production in conjunction with Light In The Attic, The Cool Aid Benefit Album: Deluxe Edition is a stunning 2xLP package—limited to 1,000, hand-numbered copies—featuring Vancouver’s top bands of the day: Mother Tucker’s Yellow Duck, Papa Bear’s Medicine Show, Mock Duck, Hydro Electric Streetcar, Route Nine, Blacksnake Blues Band, Nancy, Spring, and Greydon Moore and Leo Jung. Obscure cuts available nowhere else, in a wide variety of styles: weird electronic sounds, heavy garage fuzz guitar freakouts, stoner rock, and acoustic folk.
For more info, audio samples and to pre-order The Cool Aid Benefit Album: Deluxe Edition click here!