In-flight Music on Owsley Airways

Land Behind the Mirror (Ear X-tacy)
Thee Flying Carpets

By David Lilly

Got psychedelic screen saver? If so, follow this prescription: turn off the lights, let the screen saver kick in, sit back and let the sound of Land Behind the Mirror wash over you a while.

That's right kids - and everyone who was young and reasonably cognizant during the mid-Sixties - 21st-century Louisville has a British invasion band: Thee Flying Carpets. The first three or four times I listened to this CD, its overall sound reminded me of early Stones and The Hollies' hit, "Bus Stop." Even the artwork and the band's attire hearken to that era. While some folks might be wrinkling their noses in distaste at this point, I should point out that everything I've said so far is meant as praise. Why? Cause I do it weird, that's why.

Besides TFC's playing being very much the honeymoon fit (maybe because they practice, practice and play, play?), Doug Norman's lead vocals earn adjectives like rowdy, made-for-this-music, genuine and well-done. As for particular songs, TFC turned on the black light in my head with 36 seconds of backwards noise and what sounds like a man's voice reciting part of "Mary Had a Little Lamb" on either a 78 rpm or cylinder recording. That's called "Intro." After that, while I consider this CD nearly 40 minutes of musical substance, the first really catchy song is actually "Stoner Chick," which is the second "sound" and actual first song. Due to the era this record sounds like "Stoner Chick" might actually pass for a rowdy outtake from Dylan's "Highway 61 Revisited." Don't quite buy that? Listen for yourself. The title song is a psychedelic gem that has a certain something - perhaps a somber feel - in common with the Stones' "Paint it Black."

To hear what I mean, check out "Land Behind the Mirror" for yourself. "Thee Dirty Side" is yet more righteous psychedelia from the TFC garage, this time with "my little baby girl staring back at me." On the only number not sung by Norman, we have drummer Paul Tandy singing about a daughter or a significant other? It's an arresting image in the context of the song. Several substantial and entertaining songs later, the full-out paisley party rocker, "Me Love You," closes the album. If your psychedelic-garage-rock sensibilities are even in the same section of town as mine, when you hear this music, ye shall desire more of Thee Flying Carpets.

Contact the band with your questions and/or comments via normantrophy@juno.com