Sunday, June 17, 2007

The Hello People - Fusion (1969)

One of the most unique rock groups of the 1960s, The Hello People, was created during late 1967 in New York by producer Lou Futterman. The idea for creating the group stemmed from Marcel Carné's film Children of Paradise (Les Enfants du Paradis). Etienne De Crux, the father of French mime, plays the part of Bapties's father in the film. During the sixties De Crux taught painting to a group of musicians. Since these musicians learned to paint so quickly, De Crux reasoned that musicians could also learn mime and apply it in some new way to create a new form. The manager of the musicians De Crux taught, Lou Futterman, decided he would implement this new concept. He then put together a new group of musicians who would perform in mime makeup and do mime routines between songs, never speaking a word to the audience.

The group recorded for Philips Records and although the group didn't have a hit record, they were often seen on major network television shows such as The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson and the controversial Smothers Brothers Show. The group reorganized and moved to the Los Angeles area during the early 1970s and toured with comedians Richard Pryor and George Carlin. Later, two members left the band leaving it a four-piece group for the remainder of its days.

The Hello People went on tour with Todd Rundgren in the '70s and became a part of his touring group. During this period George Kiernan joined the group as an extra mime performer holding signs for the group.

The Hello People continued as a group through the late seventies then went their separate ways. Though by their breakup, the band had been releasing flimsy lightweight rock for a number of years, their first few albums were strange forays into psychedelia. "Fusion", the album featured here, is perhaps the most well-known of those early releases. Though it doesn't possess any monumental qualities, it is a charming slice of listener friendly folky psych. Considering its rarity, there was no question about its inclusion here. Download away!

3 comments:

Anonymous said...

I have been searching for this for years! Many thanks for the post.

psyberjef said...

Can you put your hands on the Fusion cover? Please look inside on the bottom right at the few bars of Jelly Jam and tell me what the time signature is. I remember it being very odd, but I can't find my album. Thanks!

Anonymous said...

psyberjef, my memory may be faulty, but I believe Jelly Jam's time signature is 5/4.

If you like odd sigs, check out the Don Ellis Orchestra.