The Naked Truth
Every once in a while, a record presents itself so defiant in its refusal of categorization that it becomes the bane of those poor vinyl archaeologists whose business it is to file and classify. The aptly-named The Naked Truth (1975) is one such artifact; a wayfaring stray of an album that weaves its insouciant magic through the edgelands of sound. The musical provenance is palpable -- an electric blend of spiritual jazz, rhythmic black psychedelia and far-out exotica -- but where it's headed remains a mystery, echoing shapes so strange that they fit no musical crevice. This is an album whose grooves are slow and deep, with a languid, balmy, and irresistibly pensive aura. It's moody: cosmic abstractions ooze from every sweet inflection, lulling arpeggios lose themselves in a haze of forgetfulness. The late Owen Marshall and his band run wild over this record, and their experiments with sound are compelling, occasionally bizarre, and chock-full of strange paradoxes. So much of what can be heard here is playful, free, imbued with a sense of wonder and pure joy usually ascribed to that most natural genius of the imagination -- the child. And yet there is a knowingness at work here -- a certain subdued polish tempering these otherwise passionate excursions. The full force of this can be seen in Marshall's use of instruments; among the saxophone, the synth, the percussion, and the electric piano, you will hear the "Hose-a-phone," the "Tube-phone," "Ply-tar," and "Boonet." These are instruments that Owen built himself -- in order, he said, to enable him to "tap the very depths of his creative resources... to make music fun to play, and entertaining to listen to." This is a private-press album that begs to be public. The Naked Truth is an album that wants to be listened to, it wants to be heard and take your hand and lead you far, far away -- it wants to wander with you deep into the woods of imagination, just as Owen himself must have done all those years ago. All tracks fully licensed and digitally restored from the original master tapes. Includes original liner notes written with the assistance of the Marshall family.