Image may contain: 4 people

This is the only UK album released by US West Coast psychsters The Peanut Butter Conspiracy. ‘The Great Conspiracy’ it was released in the UK in 1967 on the CBS label in mono and stereo. The Peanut Butter Conspiracy was an Los Angeles-based, psychedelic pop/rock group from the 1960s. The band is known for lead singer Barbara Robison and for briefly having Spencer Dryden of Jefferson Airplane as a band member. If you don’t know them just think Jefferson Airplane and you’ll get their direction.

Formed in Los Angeles in August 1966 from the folk rock group “The Ashes”, which included John Merrill (guitar/vocals), Barbara “Sandi” Robison (vocals), Alan Brackett (bass/vocals), Spencer Dryden (drums), and Jim Cherniss (guitar/vocals). The group had earlier been known as The Young Swingers, who released two obscure singles. The Ashes released a first single on the Vault label in February 1966, “Is There Anything I Can Do?”, written by Jackie DeShannon. Dryden left The Ashes (May 1966) to replace Skip Spence in Jefferson Airplane, Robison left (June 1966) to give birth, and the group temporarily disbanded. Alan Brackett hooked up with a new guitarist, Lance Baker Fent, and a new drummer, Jim Voigt, naming the new trio “The Crossing Guards”. Merrill and Robison rejoined and the five-piece band became The Peanut Butter Conspiracy.

Brackett  recalls, I got together upon John’s recommendation with Fent and Voigt and, with the help of Owsley, we learned 50 or so songs in one day and went out that night and got our choice of about three gigs in Hollywood. We played at the Sea Witch on Sunset Blvd. as the Crossing Guards. We were a power trio, and then John and Barbara joined back up with us and we changed our name to the PBC. The PBC was a name that Voigt came up with– actually it was the Peanut Butter Controversy originally, but we changed it to Conspiracy.

Hard to find in great condition as a UK original for some reason but worth hunting down.

The Great Conspiracy was the second long-player from the Peanut Butter Conspiracy it was much more a reflection of their live sound than their debut effort, the pop-driven Peanut Butter Conspiracy Is Spreading (1967). After solidifying their lineup, they inked a deal with Columbia Records, which assigned staff producer Gary Usher to work with them. His well-meaning but over-the-top production style diffused the band, which came off sounding more like the Mamas & the Papas than the Jefferson Airplane or It’s a Beautiful Day both of whom also sported female lead singers. However, by the time of this release the Conspiracy were sonically asserting themselves with a decidedly hipper approach. This is especially evident on the stretched-out and psychedelic “Too Many Do” and the deliciously trippy “Ecstasy” — which sports frenzied and wiry fretwork similar to that of Quicksilver Messenger Service string man John Cipollina Equally inspired are “Lonely Leaf” and the somewhat paranoid and darkly guilded “Time Is After You.” These contrast with the somewhat ersatz hippie fodder “Turn on a Friend (To the Good Life),” the 38-second throwaway “Invasion of the Poppy People,” or the simply wretched “Captain Sandwich.”

In 2000 the Collectables reissue label coupled both The Peanut Butter Conspiracy Is Spreading and The Great Conspiracy on a single CD. Also included were the 45-rpm sides “I’m a Fool” and “It’s So Hard” as well as the previously unissued track “Peter Pan.”

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.