The Wizards from Kansas: The Wizards from Kansas (1970)

Wanted to make sure I'm hitting the more obscure corners of my collection as well as the better-known stuff, so... meet The Wizards from Kansas, a briefly-lived psychedelic/folk-rock outfit from... well, Kansas, obviously.  And while there are more long-forgotten psychedelic bands from the late 60s than anyone really needs, most of whom managed a decent single suited for a Nuggets or Pebbles compilation, these guys actually cobbled together one pretty damn solid album, something that any fan of the Jefferson Airplane or Moby Grape would want to chase down.

The album kicks off with a bit of a ringer, "High Flying Bird," a frequently-covered folk rock chestnut probably best known in its Jefferson Airplane version (and recently revived by Neil Young), here showing off the Wizards' harmonic skills and psych-blues guitar shredding; it's probably my favorite version.  But the originals here are plenty strong as well -- you've got mellow folk rock like "Hey Mister," ably holding up alongside the Byrds and Moby Grape; "Freedom Speech," a mid-tempo Airplane-like rocker; the eclectic, jazzy "Flyaway Days" moving them into a bit of post-psych prog territory; "Misty Mountainside" is pretty, laid-back Americana more in the CSNY camp; and "Country Dawn" features some beautiful Byrdsy/Dead jangle.  The album closes with "She Rides With Witches," which manages to squeeze in a drum solo and some guitar jamming, while still remaining relatively concise.

Will this album change your life?  No.  But it holds up much better than most records of its ilk, a near-classic that easily stands up alongside far better remembered monuments of late 60s West Coast psychedelia.  Give it a shot, I'm pretty confident you'll dig it.

If you aren't Spotify-enabled, here's an audio rip of the entire album:
And here's a video someone made for "High Flying Bird":