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Glass Harp's latest CDStark Raving Jams

Glass Harp

Su per no va ( soo'per-no've)n. 1.A rare celestial phenomenon involving the explosion of most of the material in a star, resulting in an extremely bright, short lived object that emits vast amounts of energy. 2.The brief but intense career of Glass Harp.

In the late '60s and early '70s a power rock trio from Youngstown, Ohio called Glass Harp reached for the stars. They must have made contact, as references to stellar events seem to pervade much of their music. As a reviewer of their debut album observed,"...no fewer than five songs mention the sky, and three of the remaining ones talk about things like stars, rainbows, and the moon."

They were a bare bones group in the tradition of Cream, Jimi Hendrix Experience, and fellow Ohio band, The James Gang. But Glass Harp developed a signature sound of their own-a progressive one that allowed the members, collectively and individually, to stretch beyond the confines of standard form; breaks in songs for guitar, bass, flute, and drum solos were de riguere , as extended improvisations that would take the bands performances into the late hours.

The trio's following was particularly amazed by the lighting style and precise technique of the bands 18 year old guitarist Phil Keaggy, who aside from his youth, had the use of only nine fingers. Neither strike impeded his ability to produce highly lyrical solos. Combined with the tasteful, rhythmic bass lines of Daniel Pecchio and the sharp, assertive drumming of John Sferra, Glass Harp created a wall of sound that would thrill sell-out capacities across the upper Midwest and beyond.

While the band dissolved on the cusp of achieving mainstream rock stardom, they garnered a large and loyal regional following. National notoriety followed as they toured with the likes of, Traffic,Yes, The Kinks, Humble Pie, Alice Cooper, Ted Nugent, and Grand Funk Railroad. " They were just the warm-up group," recalls a journalist of the day, "But it was the first time I had heard a local group and felt that I had heard the headline concert."

With the release of their first album came more national attention, and even more enthusiasm back home-none of which was lost on the record company advertising execs, who exploited their burgeoning popularity with such ad copy as;

 

"The Glass Harp epidemic began about two weeks ago in Ohio and has been spreading so rapidly it has already affected some 36,000 in Cleveland alone. There is conclusive evidence to suggest that a new rock group Glass Harp is responsible for this epidemic. The release of their LP coincides almost exactly with the outbreak of this phenomenon.Contact your MCA Distributor today and become a carrier of the Glass Harp epidemic."

 

In all, the band's recorded output consisted of three critically- acclaimed LPs- all released on the Decca(MCA) label-Glass Harp, Synergy, and It Makes Me Glad. In spite of their short lived life, the band managed to imprint an indelible mark on the history of rock 'n' roll. Performing with some of the biggest bands of the day on stages ranging from the Filmore to Carnegie Hall.

-John August Schroeter

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