At first glance, one might wonder why this review is focused on two seemingly very different albums. The self-titled Smack features nine cover songs recorded by a quartet of American college kids in 1968. Eagle Death by Cerebrum is also a nine-song affair, all of which are originals and were recorded in Madrid in 1969. What ties them together is the reissue label they appear on, Shadoks Music.
In listening to a variety of Shadoks releases over the past couple of years, I have been consistently amazed at the amount of dedication and work they have put into releasing some of the most obscure psychedelic music ever recorded. By combining reviews of two of their latest releases, I am hoping to shed a little light on the label itself, as well as the albums in question.
The four members of Smack came together as music and art students of Kansas University in the summer of 1968. For all intents and purposes, they were a garage band, playing the hits of the day at parties and dances. They were especially fond of Hendrix and Cream. Although the exact details are a little unclear, it appears that a university advisor helped them secure studio time to record their album. According to the liner notes, 2,000 copies were pressed, retailing for the then exorbitant cost of $6.00 apiece. The band reported that they were so naïve that they actually had to pony up the six bucks for their own copies!
There are two things about the Smack album that make it such a find. One is the incredible rarity of the original. There are only two copies known to exist today. This fact adds quite a level of mystique to it, but the real attraction is the music itself.