Julian Cope presents Head Heritage

Bruce Palmer - The Cycle Is Complete

Bruce Palmer
The Cycle Is Complete


Released 1969 on Verve Forecast
Reviewed by Dave Furgess, 07/04/2001ce


I'll bet you didn't know that every member of The Buffalo Springfield had at least one solo album released, neither did I until 1985 which is when I found original Springfield bassist's Bruce Palmer's lone solo LP. I asked the following of myself, "did every member of every successful group of the 1960's manage to land a solo recording contract?". As I began to rumage thru second hand record shops the answer appeared to be YES!. Over the years I've found solo LP's by many unlikely candidates such as former Animals Danny McCullouch and Hilton Valentine, Tim Davis of The Steve Miller Band and even Ten Years After keyboardist Chick Churchill had a solo LP for fuck's sake!, WHAT'S GOING ON HERE?.

Well you'll be happy to know that along with Neil Young, Steve Stills, Richie Furay's post Springfield solo efforts the group's rhythm section was busy as well, Springfield drummer Dewey Martin and his group Medicine Ball had at least 2 LP's for UNI, but the real find is this LP by the band's mysterious bass player and resident illegal alien Bruce Palmer.

This is a really great trance psychedelic album with only 4 mainly instrumental tracks spread across it's 2 sides. The Palmer group is largely made up of unknowns but I do recognize Paul Lagos (drums ) and Templeton Parcely ( violin ) as members of "Incredible" era Kaliedoscope but then again I should mention the ever popular Big Black on congas.

The music presented here is a loose trippy sound that reminds me a great deal of Can's "Future Days" album in fact I put this record on a C-90 cassette back to back with the Can record and they compliment each other beautifully. In case you are wondering Bruce contributes both guitar and Fender bass to the record in addition to writing all 4 songs. I read somewhere once that Palmer had auditioned for the bass player role in Crosby, Stills and Nash but was turned down because his chops were not up to snuff, this seems ridiculous after playing "The Cycle Is Complete" because to my ears Bruce's bass playing is superb all thru this record.

Side One opens with "Alpha-Omega-Apocalypse" which is a lengthy often beautiful instrumetal piece that features Bruce's excellent acoustic guitar solo's, some real nice organ playing by Ed Roth and some fine work by Richard Aplan on oboe and flute, Aplan sounds like a mixture of Herbie Mann and Charles Lloyd. The only other track on Side 1 is "Interlude" which is just that a brief but thoughtful piano/acoustic guitar interlude that sets you up nicely for Side 2.

Side 2 begins with "OXO" which is truly beautiful, Palmer plays some brilliant trippy electric guitar lines that are somewhere between Jerry Garcia circa 1967 and Mike Bloomfield of the same vintage, Aplan plays a very aggressive flute on this one and the whole number ends up sounding like the "live" side of Traffic's "Last Exit" album, towards the end of the song a singer breaks in who sounds like Buddy Miles and Richie Havens blended into one, I think it is percussionist Rick Mathews.

The record finishes with "Calm Before The Storm" which is an eerie thing that sounds tailor made for the "Zabriske Point" soundtrack, kinda like if John Fahey joined Pink Floyd for "Heartbeat Pigmeat", this is really potent stuff for sure. And there you have it "The Cycle Is Complete" is complete. It's hard to imagine how Verve Forecast tried to market this record as it really didn't have a prayer of getting radio play. But in truth this is a well played, well composed record that just begs to be re-discovered, try to hear it if you get the chance.


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