Where on earth did these guys come from? And more important – where on earth did they go?
Well – the question is obviously rhetorical. We know they came from the Kingsmen and after forming Touch and producing just one album they went on to the Stooges. But regardless of their history, progressive rock would not have been the same if Californian Don Gallucci and friends had kept Touch alive for a bit longer.
Touch's only album has been remastered, and Eclectic Discs re-released it in 2003. It recalls the essence of early prog, a bit of pop, a lot of fusion, elements of humor, lots of experimentation, heavy in parts, light in others, and most important, no two songs are the same. In addition to the original 7 songs, there are some bonus tracks including demo versions of two tracks. It is interesting to program your CD player to run the demo version and the final mix back to back, and play them several times over. In the case of the 9-minute "The Spiritual Death of Howard Greer", you might be surprised to find you prefer the demo track with all its raw, unrefined, original enthusiasm. And although the remastering has been very well accomplished, you'll never mistake this for an over-produced saccharine production from 2003. The flaws and the rough edges are still there and starkly obvious – which makes this music all the more charming. It is an old, 1969 production, and it sounds like it, but the remastering brings every instrument to the fore and lets all that charm shine through.
Some tracks are very adventurous rock, while others have a soft fusion style to the instrumentation and only the vocals rescue them from hotel-lobby-pianist status. Both mixes of "Alesha and Others", for example, drop from rock into pure soft-jazz half way through its 3½ minutes. "Seventy Five" is a favorite. It feeds off a snarling, aggressive Hammond, and goes through more tempo changes than you can count, all the while developing and re-developing a melodic theme that will have you rocking your head throughout. The sound here is an interesting mix of soft jazz, hard rock, and Woodstock-era psychadelia all wrapped in an avant garde disregard for convention.
Excuse the use of an American idiom here, but this stuff is a blast. It deserves to be at the top of every serious prog fan's collection alongside Yes, Genesis, and King Crimson. If you don't have Touch, get this remaster. You won't regret it..
Now if we could just figure out where these guys went, perhaps we could get them back for an encore?
We Feel Fine 4:33
Friendly Birds 4:52
Miss Teach 3:29
The Spiritual Death of Howard Greer 8:50
Down at Circe's Place 3:59
Alesha and Others 3:04
Seventy Five 11:45
We Finally Met Today 3:40 (Unreleased single 1968)
Alesha and Others (Live demo 1968)
Blue Feeling 11:44 (Unreleased track)
The Spiritual Death of Howard Greer 8:50 (Live demo 1968)
The Second Coming of Suzanne 14:07 (Unreleased Film Music 1973)