THE FIFTH ESTATE
ROCK & ROLL BAND
The BEST OF THE FIFTH ESTATE - ALBUM LINER NOTES
By: Joe Tortelli
A passage through space and time...
Should some cool-minded spaced-out extraterrestrial from planet OZ have landed on earthly soil and planted his outer-hip pad
in the middle of Greenwich Village during the 1960s, he would have heard these musical grooves by The Fifth Estate emanating
from any one of the far out, vibrating and rocking Village night clubs! Or on other nights, and in other places,
blasting through theaters, arenas, and coliseums across the country.
He'd probably heard some earlier rock and roll over OZ planet's souped-up communication devices over the years
before he left for Earth. But what a transformation now?? What has happened in and to 1967? It's far more than the
familiar 1950s rock and roll, created by super-fingered six-string human axemen Bo, Chuck and Carl. It had been emancipated
in some strange way. Yet, is still recognizable enough for him to know he was on the right teen-rockin' planet. To him all that
offbeat change was a fairly sobering thought coloring a psychedelic age. But the more he listened, the more it morphed into an
exhilarating - shall we say? - even mind-expanding experience!!
Apparently some rock and rollers had broken free of those primitive crazy-beat three chord creations. The OZ-man soon learned
mid-'60s Anglo rock and roll pioneers like The Beatles, The Kinks, The Who, The Animals alongside such trans-Atlantic Adventurers
as The Byrds, The Remains, The Lovin Spoonful, The Fifth Estate and The Left Bank were all competing and cooperating and conceptualizing to broaden not only minds somehow, but also harmonic horizons. AND things had changed. YES, the OZ-being
was indeed in the RIGHT place. AT THE RIGHT TIME. Certainly the most interesting, unconventional, outlandish of times
musically, culturally, and vibrationally speaking - EVER!
It seemed like everyone was exploring something. The Fifth Estate had creatively merged solid rock and roll performances with some uniquely experimental rock and roll alchemy - they traveled across Movie Musicals 30-years on, Bach Fugues 200-years on,
Michael Praetorius Renaissance Dances 300-years on, shaped by doses of the latest and coolest 1960s fuzz guitar, Baroque
harpsichord, marching drums, screaming bagpipes, buzzing crumhorns thrown in, not to mention a Munchkin or Dwarf here
and there. Thereby incorporating the timelessness of melody, harmony, and musical instruments for all the ages, and all sizes, large
and small, and squeezed it into great entertaining and way-out rocking vibes for that 1960s time and NOW and way beyond..>>>
Now that's liberation, a great big, grand and often brilliant exhilaration! And the OZ-man is digging it, and keeps repeating
his favorite phrase, "FAR OUT!" But then he clearly recognizes that it isn't any farther IN even these days, whenever
these days might be, as he's getting a little woozy and no longer sure where he is or when it is. But how could he know when it's
always said if you remember the SIXTIES, then you weren't really there. And OZ was there, or at least thought he was.
So he time tunnels several decades ahead to the 21st Century Digital Age Village Record Shop out there in some virtual reality.
Or unreality, how could he know? He cops a downloadable BEST OF FIFTH ESTATE album from an internet that didn't exist back in
those paisley plasticized 1960s. Hum?? Just ask the Wizard, or Dorothy, or Toto, or go ask Alice, or White Rabbit, or The Mad Hatter
who found themselves reborn on the cover of The Fifth Estate's original '60s vinyl "Witch" album manufactured by a small size record company called Jubilee. Unfortunately or maybe fortunately, as the case in some alternate reality may be for the lads of The Fifth
Estate, the label also proved too small-minded to appreciate songwriting, exploring, innovating, and most everything else those
five young musicians were all about.
But OZ-man heard, and understood. Now with his red-hot digital coexisting with cool-black vinyl, OZ trips back into his 1960s strobe-lit
pad, where he dives in ear first, his brain soon to follow. His mind and head spinning, he imagines: "Why this is a totally uninhibited
embrace of freedom, cultures, and space time - with some sounds in the 1600s. Some in the 1700s. Some in 1950s. Much in the 60s and beyond. Some haven't even happened yet." First baffled, then amazed, Oz-man grooves to songs that transcend the Age of Aquarius.
Four songs will not even be recorded until the Age of Digitalus. OZ-man figures if he can listen to no-vinyl no-tape music, what's so
surprising about hearing music yet to be imagined, recorded, or produced. One number is titled "Time Tunnel." "That's cool," thinks OZ. "They wrote that one in some futuristic age for me. Now. And next." Past. Present. Future. All shaking, all vibrating, all exploding through
the 1960s. And beyond. Far beyond. He listens. He's transfixed. It's MUSIC-TIME-TRAVEL without frontiers!!!!!! Back on OZ they
hadn't figured that out yet. Nor had they on most of planet Earth. But it's in Greenwich Village in the 1960s - Right on, MAN.....
someone's sussing out just about everything and more...
... And it seems a good deal is happening right here. Musically, that is.... on
The BEST OF - The Fifth Estate
INFO AND COMMENTS FROM OZ AND EARTH ON 21 OUTASIGHT FIFTH ESTATE TRACKS
1 Don't You Know (Wayne Wadhams - Don Askew) The first record release by The Fifth Estate when they were still known as The D-Men, "Don't You Know" is the clearest example of the band's youthful British Invasion-influenced style. With its dueling guitar licks and melodic hooks, radio listeners in the New York/Connecticut region probably thought "Don't You Know" was the latest sound from Liverpool or London. Instead, it came from the five lads in nearby Stamford, a city in the Nutmeg State. Like so many of the teenagers in the region, OZ man freaked out when he learned that the musicians lived nearby, rather than on the other side of the Atlantic.
(Veep Records single #V 1206; November 1964)
2 I Just Don't Care (Rick Engler - Don Askew) The second single by The D-Men/Fifth Estate, "I Just Don't Care" rocked out to Ken Evans' driving drum beat and Rick Engler's searing guitar licks. It exemplified the crunching garage rock the boys had already started developing, even before the Beatles conquered America in 1964. A snarling response to the British bands, the Stamford quintet made a musical statement: "You English lads may have the pretty accents, but we got the musical goods." They performed "I Just Don't Care" on tv's Hullabaloo in March, 1965, with none other than Brian Epstein watching and co-MCing from the far side of the Atlantic.
(Veep Records #V 1209; March 1965)
3 So Little Time (Wadhams - Askew) Powered by Rick Engler plugging his Fender Strat into his then novel VOX AC30 amplifier and Bill Shute countering with a sterling 12-string riff. Obviously, The Fifth Estate had advanced far past the three-chord phase on this 1965 single. "So Little Time" unveils the core sound of The Fifth Estate: keyboardist Wayne Wadhams takes the lead vocal; drummer Ken Evans sings the backing high note; bass guitarist Doug Ferrara handles the middle harmony; guitarist Rick Engler delivers the lower harmony. Over time, the vocal mix changed somewhat, and the lead vocal often shifted, particularly with Rick stepping into the role of onstage frontman. Except for varying lead singers, it is essentially the same group musical and vocal arrangements on songs throughout this album. Originally released by the group under the name The D-Men. (Kapp Records single #K-691; September 1965)
4 Love Is All A Game (Wadhams - Askew) Hum? Not on the planet OZ it isn't. Nor was it all "love and games" in the recording studio when The Fifth Estate created this pop rock gem. Studio time was expensive; getting it right was essential. Some basic tracking was done in the band's own Camp Ave. studio. Listen to Bill Shute's guitar licks interweave with Wayne Wadhams' piano passages throughout the song. "Love Is All A Game" is just about as perfect a blend of mid-60s folk rock and Anglophile pop as any American band ever came up with. Released on the storied but fast-fading Red Bird label, this is the first record on which they used the group name The Fifth Estate, a major change from the earlier D-Men. As The Fifth Estate, the same five musicians continued on for a very successful six year career making records and performing at top nightspots and large arenas and stadiums, along with appearing on top pop music television shows. Somewhat unusual for the 1960s, The Fifth Estate composed most of their own material, arranged their songs, played the studio tracks, and sang the leads and harmonies on all their recordings from day one. No need for the Wrecking Crew or other pro session musicians at Fifth Estate recording sessions! (Red Bird Records single #10-064; May 1966)
5 It's Waiting There For You (Wadhams - Askew) Another tune with all the Greenwich Village stuff in there, Bleecher Street, bright lights, cash, hash. "It's Waiting There For You" resonates with the coffee house daydreams that produced great folk rock groups like The Lovin' Spoonful. At the time, someone dubbed it "good time music." Whether you call it folk rock, sunshine pop, or goodtime music, the whole thing is just waiting there for you. (Jubilee Records single #JB-5595; October 1967)
6 Kisses For Breakfast (Wadhams - Askew) "That's what I want to munch in the morning also," thinks the OZ man, grooving OZ-like to the romantic lyrics. But the Bill Shute / Rick Engler perfectly synchronized and picked guitar riff snaps his attention back to the brilliant music track underpinning the words. And to that deadly and highly memorable guitar riff, which is so catchy that a million people swear they have heard it before - but can't quite put their finger or ear on it. Whether an OZ-ling or Earth-ling, you simply never forget a "lick" like that. Especially in the A.M. - whether radio dial or clockwise! Often played by radio stations to this day as a morning drive time special. Makes the folks feel fresh and ready, the DJs say. Although, in those early days Ricky Engler's overloaded guitar solo pushed the recording needles into deep red, driving the studio engineers absolutely crazy. But the band and most listeners love it still. Listen for the remarkably well-executed double guitar solo. Bill and Rick are locked into the riff during the song, but then at the break, Rick takes the upper lead while Bill takes a lower counter lead. Pretty cool for 20-year old musicians in those times. First written and played by the band in early 1966, maybe even late 1965.(Jubilee Records LP: Ding Dong! The Witch Is Dead #JGS 8005; 1967)
7 Lost Generation (Wadhams - Askew) Now there is something they don't put in music much anymore or anywhere - an all night party. So here it is. Neurotics and painfully true Generation Gap comparisons and all. A good time going on in that one for sure, courtesy of Wayne Wadhams' calliope organ sound. A circus. A carnival. A Lost Generation. A Now Generation. Doesn't really matter. That gives OZ man the party-feel that he's been swept into many times.The BEATS burning the past behind them. A good time going on for sure. But why?
(Jubilee Records single #JB-5588; August 1967)
8 No. 1 Hippie On The Village Scene (Wadhams - Askew) Oh man this is too much. Even an intensely recognized cultural change from The Beats to Hippies makes the song list. Easy to hear which the band prefers. I guess we don't call these guys "beat" groups for no reason at all, or even one reason at all. But wait OZ man always thought on OZ that it was for - the beat???? Corduroy pants and all the back issues of Superman?? Whatever?? "No. 1 Hippie" swings with that very now-generation 1960s goodtime music vibe.
(Jubilee Records LP: Ding Dong! The Witch Is Dead #JGS 8005; 1967)
9 Ding Dong! The Witch Is Dead (Harold Arlen - Yip Harburg) Now we're really getting lost in space and time and OZ. Marching drums and harpsichords and Munchkins and maybe a crumhorn or two. Wait? Harpsichord aficionados need to know: What century are we grooving in? Or have these guys just lost it? Or maybe they just found it and are straight out having the biggest and best blast any band has never had. Just cool Greenwich Village camp, exhibiting where things are in 1967. And things are about to go to. OZ man knows, whenever and wherever he is, it sure ain't Kansas anymore. With a touch of wizardry, The Fifth Estate's biggest hit and Baroque pop smash resounded just as "Penny Lane"/"Strawberry Fields Forever" fell off the charts and a couple of months before the earthshaking Sergeant Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band. What a happening moment at the heart of the Summer of Love. (Jubilee Records single #JB-5573; April 1967)
10 The Rub-A-Dub (Wadhams - Askew) What? Ooh my brain hurts - but in a fun sorta way!! Oh wait - it's filling with "light." I think I found OZ! But I'm not sure. Is this a national dance craze or just a craze with Mary had a little lamb, a few years before Paul McCartney and Wings got back to nursery rhyme pop. As the B-side to "The Witch" single, "The Rub-A-Dub" gave Wadhams and lyricist Askew a generous songwriting bonus, anyway. Awh - cheesh, this is getting outa control or maybe outa sight. Not sure? Hard to tall, I mean tell.
(Jubilee Records single #JB-5573; April 1967)
11 Heigh Ho! (Larry Morey - Frank Churchill) Dwarves & Munchkins and all and everyone get together and have a blast. Grand openness - like that OZ movie or this snowy celluloid animation. From the autumn of 1967, the Fifth Estate's second Baroque pop adaptation from a film score. This one features Wayne's Bach-inspired classical embellishments. It's all coolllllll!!!!!!!!! and good for all people large and small - AND with LUV for all! Sunshine pop animated by Baroque rock! Or is it the other way around? Made the top 40 in Canada. Paying tribute to their keyboardist, The Fifth Estate lightheartedly credits the arrangement to W. Wadhams and J.S. Bach on the original seven-inch record label. (Jubilee Records single #JB-5595; October 1967)
12 That's Love (Engler - Askew) Rick Engler sings lead on the guitar rocking "That's Love." This captures the band's live sound more accurately with guitars everywhere and the Evans-Ferrara rhythm section unleashed. Crank it up umpteen decibels, toss in 10,000 screaming fans, mix it all through the primitive sound systems of the day, and you get a sense of what The Fifth Estate sounded like in concert back in 1968. At OZ-arenas or earth-bound stadiums, it was a wild time! (Jubilee Records single #JB-5617; April 1968)
13 Do Drop Inn (Garry Bonner - Alan Gordon) Occasionally for a pint with bagpipes. Garry Bonner and Alan Gordon, the songwriting team responsible for The Turtles' "Happy Together," composed "Do Drop Inn," a heavily layered production number. Another rock and roll first? How about a parade of bagpipes, brass section, and marching drums? "Do Drop Inn" introduced the highlander sound to pop music at just about the same time Eric Burdon and The Animals unfurled their bagpipe-laden anti-Vietnam War opus "Sky Pilot."
(Jubilee Records promo single #JB-5617; February 1968)
14 Coney Island Sally (Alan Gordon - Bob Brass) Composed by Alan Gordon, this time collaborating with Bob Brass. Brass had previously co-written "This Diamond Ring," a chart topper for Gary Lewis and The Playboys. Nice New York image, with tattoos already in the 60s. Talkin' about being a few decades ahead of the curve. Yup more sitar as well and plenty of almost "lead" rock glockenspiel, what??? Not another rock oddity says the OZ Man. Who says,' Yup, sounds like "Rockenspiel" to me.' For further far out madness, the released single included amusement park sound effects, which have been stripped down to this cleaner previously unreleased version. "Coney Island Sally" is the final song recorded by the authentic Fifth Estate for Jubilee Records. Bobby Lee Klein, plays drums, sitting in for Ken Evans who was then taking law exams. Wayne, Doug and Bobby Lee handle the vocals on "Coney Island Sally." Like the entire Fifth Estate, Bobby Lee Klein hails from Stamford, Connecticut. Rejoining today's Fifth Estate, multi-instrumentalist Klein contributes vocals, keys, and guitar. [First time on any album; previously unreleased mix] (Jubilee Records #45-5627; July 1968)
15 Night On Fire (Wadhams - Askew a/k/a Sal Paradise and Harry Krishna) Always a good way to end a cracking rock 'n' roll album with a psychedelic night on fire, a socio/political topical song with the band building to its dynamic screaming conclusion. With Ken Evans playing drums on this recording, the band sounds just as it sounded live back in 1968/69. A generation gap anthem about parents not knowing what the hip sixties kids were getting into. Adding a touch of Woodstock-era humor, "Night On Fire" was composed by Wadhams and Askew under the assumed beat pseudonyms Sal Paradise and Harry Krishna. The Wadhams-Askew team used those hippie-styled names on the songwriting credits when "Night On Fire" was later re-recorded and released on a single by the group Medicine Mike. Along with Wadhams, Doug Ferrara and Bob Klein made up the rhythm section on that second recording, which is included on The Fifth Estate: Anthology 1. To OZ man, now almost an OZ-hipster, why it looks like teenagers are burning the past behind them here with these lyrics. Then back to planet OZ to spread the word that what's truly being created is a "new musical future." Or were The Fifth Estate just igniting a fiery exclamation point to the far-out SIXTIES! (Recorded at Syncron Sound Studios, Wallingford, CT - now called Trod Nossel Studios) [This version first released on The Fifth Estate - Anthology 1, Disc 2, Fuel Label Group, 2012]
16 Tomorrow Is My Turn (Wadhams - Askew) Twin bass guitars battling it out. And one of them is wildly fuzzed. OZ man asks: What no tubas? Nope. Doug Ferrara plays his standout bass guitar riffs; Rick Engler switches on the fuzz bass licks, shooting this one into OZ planet orbit. One of the most requested Fifth Estate tunes on Earth and on OZ, "Tomorrow Is My Turn" mirrors the late 1960s psychedelic atmosphere lyrically and musically. The quintet introduced "Tomorrow" as a concert fave in 1966, a year before they cut this studio track. (Jubilee Records single #JB-5607 and #45-5627; December 1967 and July 1968)
17 Morning, Morning (Wadhams - Askew) "Powerpop" years before it had a name. Yet it was really quite a bit more as an uptempo essential, seminal harpsichord, and guitar driven Baroque Rock-Power Pop! Whatever you call it, the band shines on this one. Wayne Wadhams composes, plays harpsichord, and sings lead. With those clever ringing guitar riffs and all those harmonies, "Morning, Morning" surely stands out as one exceptional, complete musical statement by the five musicians in The Fifth Estate. Their "mature" core sound. It did particularly well for them in Australia hitting the Top 10 on some radio stations and record charts. Today, "Morning, Morning" still gets spins on the radio, whether Down Under or up above on satellite Sirius XM. It is basically a story of what the band experienced for most of it's first 6 years; playing all night and getting back to the pad as the sun comes up. Recorded at Mirasound, NYC, with Ron Johnson engineering. (Jubilee Records single #JB-5607; December 1967)
18 Time Tunnel (Ken Evans - Rick Engler - Doug Ferrara - Bob Klein) The Fifth Estate transcend times and eras with the title track from their 2011 album Time Tunnel. OZ man, himself, is baffled. Is it the Sixties or the new Millenium? It's the best of both: The eternal Spirit of the Sixties powered by the Sound of Two Thousand plus Eleven. It's the energy of garage rock kicked into another gear. And is that the legendary record man Shel Talmy of Who, Kinks, Easybeats, Bowie fame producing with the group? Why, yes 'tis.
(Roxon Records Time Tunnel CD; 2011) [remastered 2016 using original unmastered Shel Talmy mixes]
19 Perfect World (Engler - Klein - Evans - Ferrara) Folk rock, psychedelia, and other hidden musical treasures updated for the Time Tunnel CD. Rick Engler works his guitar magic into riffs that connect, well, perfectly. The band's newest member Bob Klein, an old musical rival and mate from Stamford in the 1960s, adds harmonies and rhythm guitar. OZ man thinks: "Who cares what decade or century it is? This sounds just like good music should!"
(Roxon Records Time Tunnel CD; 2011) [remastered 2016 using original unmastered Shel Talmy mixes]
20 One Of A Kind (Engler - Ferrara - Evans - Klein) Showing their exceptional vocal harmonies, The Fifth Estate deliver this melodic guitar-drum powered rocker. That they were singing like this in their 20s is one thing. To be doing it without missing a beat or a high note in their... well, let's just say they are rocking out smashing-ly in the 2000s. "Why," Oz imagines, "it's so hip, it conjures up the high-flying
Sixties while belonging to today. No wonder they call it the Time Tunnel!"
(Roxon Records Time Tunnel CD; 2011) [remastered 2016 using original unmastered Shel Talmy mixes]
21 Liar's Dance (Engler - Ferrara - Klein - Evans) The Fifth Estate always had an accomplished prog-rock side to them. They integrated classical passages and harpsichord into their music at the first stages of Baroque rock. And they have never stopped. From Bill Shute's beautiful acoustic textures to Doug Ferrara's cello impression, "Liar's Dance" builds into a crescendo of electrified progressive rock 'n' roll. Whether dubbed garage or British beat or folk rock or Baroque, The Fifth Estate has always filled the grooves with its unique and passionate rock 'n' roll. That goes for the Sixties; that goes for Today. (Fuel 2000 Records Take The Fifth CD; 2014) [remastered 2016]
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