Album of the week: Magic Lantern (1968)

Would recommend if you’re a fan of: Jefferson Airplane, The Human Expression, It’s A Beautiful Day, The Growing Concern

Haymarket Square – Magic Lantern, 1968

Our very first ‘album of the week’ rightfully goes to Chicago-based psychedelic rockers, Haymarket Square. Their debut, and as far as we know, only album Magic Lantern is a fuzzy psychedelic trip from start to finish. The music on the album accompanied the original Baron & Bailey Light Circus from Jun 25Jul 7, 1968. Something we could only dream of going to! 

Haymarket Square performing (date unknown)

Active from 1967 – 1974, the band consisted of drummer John Kowalski, and guitarist Bob Homa; the two of them had been in bands together before, but in 1967 decided they wanted to start their own band, they placed ads in the campus newspaper of the University of Illinois Chicago where they studied. Kowalski and Homa were quick to hire talented 17 year old Marc Swenson as lead guitarist (Bob Homa switched to bass) and Gloria Lambert as lead-vocalist.  Gloria and Mark Swenson married just before the band disbanded in 1974.

The album is full to the brim with hypnotic drum solos, alongside fuzzy ‘Blue Cheer-esque’ guitar riffs, and of course Gloria Lambert’s dreamy and dynamic vocals which could be compared to those of Grace Slick or Pattie Santos. Magic Lantern doesn’t fail to disappoint.  It’s one of those albums you can’t just pause and come back to, in fact, it’s pretty impossible to not listen to the whole 46 minutes and 52 seconds in one go, on that note, it’s also unlikely you’ll be able to stay still throughout the duration of the record – you might find yourself ‘doing a beetlejuice’…you know, the ‘day-o dance scene.’

Only 80-100 copies of Magic Lantern were pressed in 1968, an original copy is extremely difficult to get hold of, with the last copy selling on discogs...well…never. Fear not, it’s been reissued on CD and vinyl since, so you won’t have to sell a kidney or two to give it a listen.

It’s also on YouTube!


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