Record Store Day 2018 Spotlight: David Axelrod - "Song Of Innocence"
David Axelrod began his career producing and composing for artists such as Lou Rawls, Cannonball Adderley, and The Electric Prunes. In the case of the Prunes, Axelrod wrote and produced two albums for them, but the music was too complex for the band members to grasp, so the album was recorded by other musicians and released under the Electric Prunes name. These "other musicians" were all high-ranking members of the legendary "Wrecking Crew" of session musicians. They also happened to be Axelrod's go-to group at the time: guitarist Howard Roberts, bassist Carol Kaye, keyboardist Don Randi, and drummer Earl Palmer. Axelrod's next project was the recording of his first solo album, Song Of Innocence, which was based around a 1789 collection of poems by William Blake. Released in 1968, with guitarist Al Casey subbing for Roberts, Song Of Innocence's blend of rock, pop, funk, classical, and theatre music went far over the heads of both critics and customers at the time, however over the years Axelrod's musical stew approach has been hailed as innovative and highly influential. His work been heavily sampled by hip-hop artists such as DJ Shadow, Ghostface Killah, De La Soul and many others. In his review of Song of Innocence, AllMusic's Thom Jurek wrote: "Using a rock orchestra, Axelrod created a suite that blended pop, rock, jazz, theater music, and R&B that has withstood the test of time, and has been revisited and sampled by electronica pioneers such as DJ Shadow and DJ Cam. ... This was visionary work in 1968, and, to commit heresy, withstands the test of time better than the Beatles Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band album that allegedly inspired it. Axelrod's psychedelia is implied; its compositional form and feeling that drive him to celebrate the wildness and folly of youth with celebration and verve. And as a result, the music here sounds fresh, free of cynicism and hipper-than-thou posturing, remaining new each time it is heard."
Remastered from the original tapes in a new transfer, with extensive liner notes and unpublished photos, Song Of Innocence will be available on Record Store Day 2018.