Gandalf Murphy & the Slambovian Circus of Dreams: Glide
Gandalf Murphy & the Slambovian Circus of Dreams: Living With God (live, WXPN)
At least four of our regular contributors have heard Gandalf Murphy & the Slambovian Circus of Dreams, the upstate NY-based Pink Floyd-meets-The Allman Brothers hillbilly psychedelic folk rock band which takes over the dance and main stages at our fave folk festival each summer for successive evenings of total mayhem and their infamous extended ecstatic jams. I know, because you can hear it from every distant tentsite - and for three years running, the energy has brought me out of my own camp circle like a will-o-the-wisp to dance in the moonlight with the young'uns, umbrella at the ready, already festooned with lightsticks for the journey.
The band members, several of whom are related by blood or marriage, but not one of whom is named Gandalf Murphy, style themselves as the sonic spirit guides to a mythical state of being somewhere between nirvana and Atlantis, where kindness and love reign supreme. Their leather-and-lace costumes are outlandish and cosplay-retro-fantasy, as befits their ridiculous backstory, but the mythos works: their followers are legion, known for travelling hundreds of miles to attend one of their pre-Halloween Grand Slambovian Hillbilly Pirate Balls, and I'm fast becoming one of them, thanks to those few precious nights of uncontrolled wantonness which they provide for me every summer.
Like the Grateful Dead before them, studio recordings from the Grand Slambovian camp offer but a faint hint of what their live performances provide, and so much of their recorded output is in fact live recordings released officially; appropriately, then, I've included not one but two tunes above, the first from their 2003 sophomore studio release, the second a truncated teaser from a live radio show the following year, so you can hear the difference. But really, travel the hundred miles if you can. We'll make a Slambovian of you yet.
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