This was the project of Arizona based composer and conductor Steve Forman, The Eclectic Mouse is where classical rock meets pop and jazz.
Written by: Eric
ARTIST: The Eclectic Mouse
ALBUM: Everything I’ve Got
SERIAL: SKA 0-395
CD REISSUE: Discogs Reissue List
COUNTRY OF ORIGIN:
LINEUP: Steve Forman – conductor, percussion * Harry Anglum – drums, vocals * Jack Wilkerson – vocals * Jerry Manfredi – bass * Rick Felix – tuba * Barry Downs, Billy Gonzales – trumpet * John Renner – tenor saxophone * Ernie Santos – alto saxophone * Ben Harvey – trombone * Joe N. Corral – flute * Tim Downs – drums * Dennis Lynde – guitar * John Smart – french horn * Kristen Engstrand – piano, organ
TRACK LISTING: 01 1st Movement: Everything I’ve Got * 02 2nd Movement: Where Do The Hounds Go? * 03 3rd Movement: Trialogue I, II, III * 04 4th Movement: Discovery * 05 5th Movement: Pre- Dawn Retrospective Chant * 06 6th Movement: Spirit Singing
Another relatively unknown early American progressive rock gem you won’t find on the other prog web sites. The Eclectic Mouse was the vehicle for one Steve Forman, a Phoenix, Arizona conductor who is still in the music business apparently, but never got around to recording a follow-up.
How this album and The Eclectic Mouse came together is unknown as precious little information is available anywhere, but it was released on Capitol who had enough confidence to back it with a single release. Never on CD, copies in the original thick cardboard gatefold sleeve are hard to find and very expensive these days as its reputation continues to grow.
‘Everything I’ve Got’ is a product of it’s time-when classical, pop and jazz styles fused as one. A blip on the continuum when Mason Williams’ ‘Classical Gas’ reached the American Top 40 all the way to number two, The Nice unleashed Leonard Bernstein’s ‘America’ while burning the American flag and psychedelia was very much in the air. This is classical rock at its best as The Eclectic Mouse plugged into the fuzzy, colour splashed spirit of the new age.
Now I have to say Steve Forman’s blurb on the inside cover is a lot of esoteric nonsense and as an example the quote – ‘We Must Feel, We Must Think, We Must Change’ reads like another absolutely clueless Obama rant forty years after the fact, but I digress.
The concept here is pretty much the story of a guy trying to find himself in the world and as tired as that well-worn tale sounds, musical it’s a fun listen. It’s not just classical, but jazz that provides the albums musical colours and the vocalists are good, no complaints there as the songs all written by Forman are uniformly interesting.
The album’s single which was edited for the masses sounds like Jethro Tull mixed with Blood Sweat & Tears. Nicely done, and come to think of it that’s a pretty good synopsis of the album as a whole.
While it’s still a little confusing trying to figure out over several listens why this record never took off, ‘Everything I’ve Got’ is a fascinating ride and one I take often.
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