The Damon recordings are amongst the most sought-after and widely-loved of the late-sixties underground scene. Simply put, they convey emotion and power in a very concise and believable way. Song Of A Gypsy is is an excellent psychedelic album and both gatefold/non-gatefold versions are monster rarities. There's lots of fuzz guitar and a mystical feel about tracks like Do You and The Night. I Feel Your Love which has a sleepy, stoned atmosphere sounding rather similar to The Deep. Another track, Birds Fly So High, has 'snake charming' music, again creating a sort of Eastern mystical feel.
Based in Los Angeles, David Del Conte and Charlie Carey had already pursued careers in popular music for many years before deciding to embrace the underground rock movement. Del Conte released a considerable number of 45s; it is possible that as much as half of his discography will be found to be too early to fall within the time-frame of this book. The last recordings he made pre-Damon (aside from a handful of acetates never made available to the public) may be of interest to readers. As Damon Lane, he issued at least three singles on the Del Con label - these possess a unique Byrdsy jangle over which his trademark authoritative voice presides.
The first Damon single has a non-album 'B' side and a different lead vocal than the album version of the 'A' side. (It is, by all accounts, significantly rarer than the album and fortunately these tracks are included as one side of a 7" EP of bonus material with the reissue on the Little Indians label.) The record set the tone of the band's campaign which ran the course of 1968 - the message of love and self-expression coupled with an almost arrogant disregard for the establishment:
The album itself is made up of (similarly) short, urgent tracks that overflow with Carey's amazing distorted leads and Del Conte's powerful, otherworldly voice. The title track opens Side One in dramatic fashion; the opening lyric "Today I feel like cryin', Today I feel like dyin'" delivered in a most convincing manner. It's obvious right away that you're listening to something very special. If there really is such a thing as psychedelic music, this is surely it.
It should be noted that the sound quality of this album is exemplary. Like the Cykle album, the fidelity is so good that even the bootlegs impress...
Del Conte and Carey, despite living roughly a thousand miles apart, continue to perform together and collaborated on a new album project in 1998. The resulting CD release, Gypsy Eyes has much to recommend it, not the least of which is the fact that it sounds like a second Damon album! The closing track, The Gift, is truly mindblowing, as good as anything on the first album.
Atley Yeager subsequently performed and recorded as Atlee in Southern California.
You can also find the LP version of Song Of A Gypsy on Love, Peace And Poetry: American Psychedelic Music (LP & CD), but obviously, the Damon album is an essential purchase.
For more information on Damon, see the following website: http://www.damonthegypsy.com.
(Clark Faville/Vernon Joynson)
01.Song of a gypsy
02.Poor poor Genie
03..Don’t you feel me
04.Did you ever
05.Funky funky blues
08.I feel your love
09.high 09.Bird fly so
10.The road of live