The original LP cover, though this track was ripped
from an oddball Command/ABC/Probe records sampler (see below)
Listen – Mystic Number National Bank – Beautician Blues – MP3
I hope the beginning of the new week finds you well.
The tune I bring you today is by one of those groups, where I knew the name years before I had any idea what they sounded like.
The late 60s was filled with ludicrously named bands, so much so that I could probably list five or ten of them, make up five more, mix them up and you’d never know the difference. I seem to remember a George Carlin AM/FM routine where he namechecks an imaginary group called the Indoor Outdoor Electric Protestant Blues Band (or somesuch…).
The Mystic Number National Bank is one of those (real) bands.
What little I’ve been able to find out about them, suggests that they hailed from Kansas City. They were – as ‘Beautician Blues’ reveals – yet another in a long line of whiteboy, overdriven electric blues machines, of which there was a decided surplus in the Woodstock era.
Much in the same way that I dig the Vanilla Fudge’s visions of excess on the soulful side of things, in which the Wilson Pickett is crossed with a healthy dose of hallucinogenics, then refried, amplified and shot out of a rocket, I dig the Mystic Number National Bank’s mélange of Blind Lemon Lunchpail (or Rutling Orange Peel as the case may be…), wrapped in an impossibly large heap of long greasy hair, leather lunged wailing and what I’m sure was a slightly straight looking horn section working the back of the stage. There’s a 1969 festival mud vibe running through the record that’ll take you away if you let it.
I also dig that the drummer was apparently the vocalist, and was doing his level best to shout down the less than inspiring twin lead guitar attack, which has a sloppiness that suggests to me that the producer was either stoned, or dealing with some kind of corporate time constraints that allowed for one take and one take only.
So take off your shoes, let the mud swallow your toes and shake your ass to the sound of the Mystic Number National Bank.