William Shatner - The Transformed Man

William Shatner
The Transformed Man

Released 1968 on Decca
Reviewed by Dog 3000, 16/01/2003ce

So "Os Selby" already wrote a review on this notorious kitsch classic -- everything he says about it is 100% correct. You all know about Shatner's unique! interpretations! . . . of . . . Bob DYLAN! and . . . the BEATLES!

But there's MORE! This album is a coherent piece, a freakin HEAVY CONCEPT ALBUM fercrapsake! So don't just listen to the "Golden Throat" hits, you gotta hear it all the way through, from start to finish in one listening!

Many of the absolute best moments are the original pieces written by Don Ralke and Frank Devenport! They are the heads who produced/arranged this gem!

The super-climax is the last three songs: the original "Spleen" which leads into the infamous "Lucy in the Sky" massacre and then on to the title track (another original!) According to the liner notes these tracks represent "utter dejection" followed by "super elation" and onto "earthly unreality - transitional awareness - contact with divinity."

How about this incantation from "Spleen" (utter dejection)!

" . . . and the earth is changed into a dank dungeon where hope, like a bat fluttering blindly, beats his wings against the walls and dashes his head on the rotting ceiling . . . and the long lines of gray rain reaching down become the bars of the huge prison . . . and loathesome spiders, like silent people, stretch threads to the depths of my BRAAAIN."

(DAMN! THAT'S POETRY!!! Shat continues:)

" . . . and long hearses without drums, without music, file slowly through my soul . . . HOPE! VANQUISHED! WEEPS! and despotic agony! plants on my bent skull! it's flag of BLACK!!!!!!!"


The "super elation" of "Lucy in the Sky" follows, which leads into the supreme grooviness of the climactic final/title track! Grok this "earthly unreality":

"I turned away from the city teeming with desperate and haggard faces, AWAY! from the peddlers of hate and vengeance, AWAY! from the clock that decrees time is money, AWAY! from the arrogant and infallible whose hands are stained with BLOOD! All this I left far behind me, and as a moth seeks light, as water seeks water, I sought the purity of higher regions . . . "

(hehehe he said "higher"! . . . after some rustic nature lovin' and navel gazin' (transitional awareness) we come to the "contact with divinity" part!)

"I lost track of the days! to count them never occured to me! cutting myself adrift from the past and the future, I became immersed in the flow of the living moment! the eternal NOWWW!!! Then one day, in the split of a moment! the shutter within flashed open! and a gush of light flooded my being! I became as a PURE crystal submerged in a transLUCent sea! I knew that I had been AWAKENED! I had touched the face of GAWWWDD!!!"

Cue sappy choir voices for musical tag, and that's it! The end of the album!! Heavy to the Nth degree, as in "far-out" not "metal"! I swear the whole thing is meant to represent an acid trip! Through POETRY!!! Recited over CHEASY-LISTENING MUSIC!!!

And the music under the Shat's ranting sounds GREAT on the CD reissue too. I mean, who knew "easy listening" could be so trippy? A lot of it recalls the music from the Star Trek TV show (you expect to hear the "mind-meld theme" any second . . . )

"The Transformed Man" is absolutely a unique work of Art with a capital "A"! Not just some "joke"! A MUST for any serious collector of 60's records!

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