This album was selected to be included in the Pandora music library and is available on Pandora. Congrats, Chet!
Lyrics & music to all songs by Chet Nichols
Produced, recorded and mixed by Stephen Barncard
Co-produced by Chet Nichols
Recorded at Wally Heider's Studio in San Francisco, CA 1970-71
Remix-mastering 2015 at International House Of Cubes Sebastopol
Instrumentation and vocals on all tracks by Chet Nichols, except:
"(Spinning On The) Time Loop" co-produced by Nick Gravenites
…… Lyrics and further credits shown on individual song pages
If you haven’t heard Chet Nichols, and love great original acoustic music, be prepared to have your socks blown off. He’s a wonder of nature that plays and sings these original, complex yet endearing melodies, and sounds like 3 people playing.
This state is enabled thanks to the gifts of incredible range and choir-boy quality of the voice, driving rhythms that may include hands, feet, rings, ( sometimes even a trick knee ) and special “open tunings” used to create the song space.
I first caught Chet back in KC in 1969, where he was headlining at the Vanguard Coffee House on Main street. I was blown away. An invitation is offered to come to play at KCJC, the radio station (where I was known as ‘NightFreak’) followed, and the rest is history.
That night at the radio station, I set up the news mic on Chet’s guitar (an old RCA 44) and another beat up 44 at my announcer’s position, and just let him play..
.. after an hour and a half of a stunning performance I realized we had to work on a project together at some point in the future.
And it happened - we ended up in San Francisco and were able to cut the tracks for this record between 1970 and 1971.
This release is the long-awaited 2015 remix of Chet Nichols' CD, "Beetles Are Coming". It features ALL-NEW HD/HiFi-quality restoration, re-mixed, re-edited and re-mastered tracks from Chet's ground-breaking first album, "Time Loop".
Great care was taken to preserve all that was on the original master tapes:
16track 2inch 3m or Ampex machine ——>
16 track Studer——>Digital HD 24/96——>
dithering-resampling to 44/16 in mastering—>
44/16 master file at Bandcamp—>
Bandcamp delivers file format of your choice.
This remixed-remastered version restores the vision we had had for this project all along. It just took a little time. We located some better takes and alternate parts and took away some others. We also fixed some pesky phase and polarity problems with the many microphone experiments, including stereo vocals.
Revisionism? Perhaps, but for the better. For the songs. For the Sound. This record is a special treat.
You can have the best experience if you download the larger Apple Lossless or FLAC files before burning to CD or placing in your library. We hope to offer a 24/96 version at some point in the future.
thanks for listening.
ALL SONGS Copyrights by:
Chet Nichols (ASCAP) & Magic Garage Music (ASCAP) - USA
ALL US & GLOBAL RIGHTS ARE RESERVED
These songs or any portion thereof (lyrics, music, samples, vocals) may not be reproduced in any form or media, distributed, transmitted, downloaded, shared or used in any manner whatsoever without the express written permission of the publishers. For permission requests, write to the publisher at email@example.com
, or addressed to "Attention: Permissions Coordinator," at the address below.
Magic Garage Music, PO Box 2398, Northbrook, IL 60065
More information at: www.chetnichols.net
Friday, March 1, 2013 by Blake Mitchner
Chet Nichols Is On The Time Loop Of Your Mind-
Here's One For You Freaky Folk Prog Fans!
In America and really worldwide in the early to late 70s the solo
artist or if you like "Singer Songwriter" came into his or her own
with classic releases by the likes of Emmit Rhodes, Carole King,
Todd Rundgren, and lesser known masterful artists like Pete Dello
and Clifford T. Ward who himself is only lesser known a bit in
America. Now there didn't have to be a whole band it could be
one person with a whole lot to say and a great melodic sense. If
you take away the valuable content and the great melodic or
creative sense you end up with some of the worst rubbish ever,
but in my mind at least the vast array of early 70s solo artists
could come up with some really briliant and interesting results.
Chet Nichols Gets Deserved Respect From Paul Major
And From Me
Chet Nichols probably got signed to Kama Sutra not because
he was a later west coast San Francisco progressive folk psych
mastermind who came up by himself with a full band sound on
his one album TIME LOOP, but probably because Kama Sutra
thought his eccentricities would be overlooked for the very
pleasant and inventive voice he has. Far removed from James
Taylor, Jim Croce, Leonard Cohen and the like Chet's music is
more comparable to British pastoral on-the-edge folk psych
progressive acts like Northwind and their lead vocalist Brian
Young and Dog That Bit People's John Caswell.
Back in the beginning with Paul Major we didn't agree on
everything and certainly he always had a weakness for the inept,
but he loved and hopefully still loves great British records and
that may be just one reason why he raved about Chet Nichols
ages later championing his album TIME LOOP as a work of
stunning somewhat strange folk psych.
When I first heard Nichols in 2002 I was very impressed by
the album, but I couldn't believe despite the sparse nature that
this was all one guy. Hearing him again now I can say that my
opinion hasn't changed. That means something. Paul was onto
something that really had merit with Chet Nichols and its a
shame that some other dealers don't share his views on the
album and have unjustly slammed it. Well to each his own
pleasures and prejudices and I'd say this album belongs in
every collection in my opinion.
I recently heard what is supposed to be the big monster on
Kama Sutra to most dealers/collectors Hackamore Brick's
ONE KISS LEADS TO ANOTHER and what a piece of garbage!
I actually got both records from the same record store on the
same day and ONE KISS went right out the door with Chet
securing a permanent home in my collection. Hackamore Brick
sound nothing like The Velvet Underground who they are
claimed to be just like. That could have been a good thing since
for the most part I hate Velvet Underground and most other
experimental New York noise groups like The Godz for instance-
I'll admit they were hugely talented revolutionaries, but myself
if I'm gonna go out there I prefer something more like Earth Opera.
Hackamore Brick is a bad plain country rock record with a
few other ideas thrown in that go nowhere and the whole album
sounds like the band were in a comatose or just plain sloppy and
lazy mindset when they made the album. Don't waste your time
and your dough. To get back to Chet Nichols his album
TIME LOOP really is special, but it doesn't get enough praise
for how brilliant and creatively inventive it is. Initially the album
was $50 to $75 and worth it and now the price fluctuates all the
time and proves that the price of an album means nothing.
I picked this up for $25 mint in the shrink and it is musically
even beyond $50 or $75 it's priceless. So now let me give you
the lowdown. Are you ready and steady to here my latest rant!?
Hold on coz a here it comes!
Spinning On The TIME LOOP With Chet Nichols An Extraordinarily Great Record
Chet Nichols only used other musicians on one track on his
TIME LOOP album and that is the title track with an appearance
on piano from the late and brilliant Nicky Hopkins. The title
track is a great song, but much more commercial than the rest
of the amazing record. Tracks like "Electra," "Tell Me What The
Count Is" and the bizarre short closing bit of madness "Quasar
Sleeper" are all vocals and instruments by Nichols himself. Even
when it is just a sparse backing of acoustic guitar and weird vocal
effects somehow this album is far from folky in the bad way and
much more roomy, much more progressive. I mean the kind of
progressive that was going on in the UK at the time and I apologize
for my slandering of Britain in one of my last blogs.
I shouldn't let stupid people put me off my favorite country
although I think England is really in a bad state of decline now
like much of the world. The songs tend to be a bit longer on here
than on Dog That Bit People and a bit shorter than some of
Northwind's, but both bands with their freaky mellow progressive psychedelic laced sound would be good comparisons especially
Northwind. There's a subtle moodiness here and some subtly
dark moments that might even bring to mind some of the eccentric ramblings of the aforementioned Earth Opera's Peter Rowan.
Unlike Rowan Chet Nichols had a voice that would have been
commercially marketable had he not been a really progressive
writer and singer with grand ideas and strong leanings towards
freaked out wasted psychedelia.
"Electra" begins the album and is a strong percussive number
with soaring vocals and a captivating sound to it that sounds half
California half England. The half California half England vibe
comes up a lot. It's a shame Paul Major and I have been so long
out of touch. I'd like to think that Paul will see this and be glad
because Paul is a great guy and I'm sad to no longer be in
communication with him. "Electra" has some very out there lyrics
and a nice balance between acoustic and electric instrumentation
with a nod to the past decade of the 60s and what the
counterculture could produce in terms of brilliant music.
Stoned looking Chet is definitely not a square guy- in fact
you could say he's pretty strange and definitely someone
who would defy authority.
"Water Sand Castles" delves into a nautical mood that is very
pastoral and pleasant with excellent vocals from Chet and
some great musical creativity flowing from this brilliant man.
He is very different from Todd Rundgren because he is coming
from a completely different background and a completely
different part of the country. Todd started out in a band. They
were called Nazz and they were a great band, but Todd abandoned
his Angophile phase before his solo career and became the East
Coast's foremost pop/progressive/weirdness purveyor before he
went completely narcissistic and crazy. I love Todd Rundgren, but
I prefer Chet Nichols. Chet has going for him that he only did one
album. He has going for him the UK meets San Fran vibe of songs
like "Water Sand Castles" with its oceanic sweetness, the
environmentally concerned thought provoking beautiful folk
pop of "Who Stole The Ivy" and the stark acoustic guitar and
voice intensity of "Lonely Woman." Every song on this album
tries something new.
There's a lot going on and a lot of pleasure to be had if you have
an open mind. "Who Stole The Ivy" would have fit perfectly on an
album from 1967 or 1968, but it is updated a little here to sound
more of the early 70s era. Most of the songs on TIME LOOP were
written between 1968 and 1970, but the album was recorded in
1972 and came out then. A sure sign that it was the 70s and not
the utopian 60s is the lyrically violent musically crazed closing
track on Side One "The Ballad Of Diamond Joe" about a guy who
kills 3 guys with a saw and then gets hunted down and killed by the protagonist which is of course Chet's character.
This kind of old West gone mad vibe was so popular in the early
70s, but it speaks of something that is as dark as the lyric Chet
wrote. Altamont had happened (To Hell with the Hell's Angels
says I!) and so had Kent State. The 60s were in retreat and getting
further and further from the dream of a beautiful world as the
70s went on. There were still places and still dreams of places
where there was a more relaxed and open life, but society and
authority were closing in leading to paranoia and disillusionment.
Side One of this album covers the ground from the hopes of the
60s right on through to the turning back on the world "We've Got
To Just Make It Alone" vibe of the 70s. Strangely, it isn't a sad
album. In fact, you may like me have a sense of joy or relief even
when you hear the sound more of the early 70s era.
Side Two begins with "(Spinning On The) Time Loop" a really
catchy commercial number and the only track to use session
players including Nicky Hopkins the late keyboard genius who
helped out The Rolling Stones and The Kinks. "(Spinning On The)
Time Loop" isn't like anything else on the record and it works
instead of sounding like something hastily thrown together to fill
"Tell Me What The Count Is" goes right back into the UK
and California gone twisted folk psych progressive vibes with
insightful wary lyrics and a real sense of intensity. Nichols does
a lot by working by himself. The least full sounding track is the
title track with the full backing of session players and something
like "Tell Me What The Count Is" speaks a lot for the true
eccentric solo artist who does it all ably by himself.
I, personally, would probably not sound half as good attempting something like this. I love Chet's voice it is so warm and crystal
clear yet so quietly intense. He has that gift for sounding real
and human that Brian Young in Northwind and John Caswell
in Dog That Bit People have. He gives you the facts. He sings
from the heart not the intellect.
"The Offing" is a very pleasant song with a nautical theme
again like "Water Sand Castles" and a really beautifully wasted
vocal sound that drifts along just like the sea he is talking about.
The lyrics are very pastoral and the sound is very warm and
honest with a magical vibe about it that the whole album has.
By contrast "The Beetles Are Coming" is a put down character
study of someone who has no real personality and is just a loser
trying to string other people along into his or her shallow
I know the type well. The hangers on had become even more
stale and annoying than they were in the beginning as the 1960s
dream was really getting far from view and it was the beginning
of a bad period of people pretending to live in that kind of
counterculture way who were just as conformist as those they
said they despised. I turned my back on most of the friends I
had when I was at my height of Hippy-in-my-own-way because
of all the fake people who were fucking my life around with their
narrow beliefs and drug abuse.
I still have a lot of counterculture-alike beliefs and believe in
living my life with a love for nature and other people and an
open mind, but it gets harder and harder. "The Beetles Are
Coming" nails it. Chet Nichols isn't as pissed off as Bob Dylan's
pissed off lyrics, but he certainly lets whoever this was written
for know that they are a loser.
Even when Nichols is at his most intense he remains more
gentle than overbearing although he isn't at all fragile sounding
in the way that someone like the brilliant much lamented
Clifford T. Ward was/is/will stay. Clifford T. Ward is far from
Chet Nichols in the kind of music he produced during his
all-too-brief life. Clifford was more British pop at its most
melancholic and refined. He wrote sad and tear jerking songs
and he wrote a few happy ones too, but Clifford was so British
sounding and England oriented that there can't really be an
American Clifford T. Ward without the word "Americana"
coming into play. There is a little Americana here and there
on TIME LOOP, but Chet Nichols is looking toward the UK
and then he sends you off into outer space with the crazy
mind-blowing psychedelic strangeness of "Quasar Sleeper"
which is more just strange sounds than a song.
This is a wonderful album. There's not a track I'd take off or
a thing I would change. Everything is so tasteful and so good
and Chet has so much talent that I'm glad he is back performing,
writing, and playing again with new interest in his music
making him smile I'm sure. Nichols never could have made
it on a pop/bubblegum label like Kama Sutra and it's unfortunate
that back in 1972 his album went largely unnoticed, but I'd like
to help out by my rave review here and Chet if you read this
drop me a comment and I'll be overjoyed. I will be overjoyed
if people go out and buy this record after reading this as it is
definitely a masterpiece and a very, very special work of
"Time Loop" record review
Chet Nichols : Time Loop
(Kama Sutra - 1972)
Category : criminally overlooked
If you're into smart and poetic Folky singer/songwriter stuff, then this
obscure release is a must have because of the high quality of the songs and the driven yet pleasant way in which they are performed. But as several of these Chet Nichols songs also have doses of Rock, I guess the album could also be of interest to fans of Classic Rock and Folk Rock.
'Time Loop' has a pure and honest and at the same time slightly
melancholic feel that's reminiscent of James Taylor or, to name someone more recent, José Gonzales. And it's just as good as the best material either of these artists released, which raises the question why this album didn't get the attention it deserved and why it didn't propel Nichols to stardom. One listen to the album highlights 'Electra' and
'Who Stole The Ivy' is enough to make you understand what a
gifted composer and lyricist he was. In fact, there's only one
average track on the entire album (not counting the superfluous
outro 'Quasar Sleeper').
A RECORD REVIEW:
“Time Loop” – a review
“Amongst the obscurest LPs on the Kama-Sutra label, bent loner
outsider folkie like a disturbed Tim Buckley at times, has a raw underground
edge that it gaining a big following with collectors. But it is still a bargain
having been released in the waning days of this semi-major label.
Weird song titles like "Who Stole The Ivy", "The Offing", "The Beetles Are
Coming", “Water Sand Castles” and "Quasar Sleeper, give an indication
that this guy was out there. But he makes the acoustic guitar really sing
and he creates some of the most unique guitar tunings ever created. His
voice is melodious and multi-faceted. His lyrics are spacey, yet, thoughtful
in an abstract way. The lyrics are borderline poetry. This record really
grows on you. Chet’s Co-Producer and Engineer, Stephen Barncard, states
at his website that Nichols was his guinea pig to help create the acoustic
guitar sound made famous by Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young. Nichols is
also quite a musician and plays all the instruments on this record, something
very rare in the early 1970s. He combines a Richie Havens feel, a Donovan
attitude with a Dylan prespective. The production is minimalist, yet
dynamic. On the title tune, "Time Loop", he has San Francisco's Nick
Gravenites producing and he brings in a back-up band that includes
piano by Nicky Hopkins (Rolling Stones-RIP), drums by Dave Garabaldi
(Tower Of Power) and bass by Peter Sears (The Airplane). Quite a
supporting cast. The record was recorded at Wally Heider's studio in SF,
so maybe he's outta California. This is a necessary LP for fans of outside
folk, since Nichols appears to be one of the pioneers of this unique genre.
I caught a concert that he played at Long Island University and he was
the best solo performer I saw play back in the 1970’s.”
A RECORD REVIEW:
"TIME LOOP is one of the BEST FOLK PSYCHEDELIC ALBUMS EVER MADE!
Thank you CHET for this KILLER ALBUM.
Warm Regards,......Miguel - Germany"
A RECORD REVIEW:
"I picked up a copy of your album, "Time Loop" on Kama Sutra yesterday. I had never heard of you, but it looked interesting. When I listened to it, I realised that it was a tragically overlooked album. There
isn't a bad song on it. Thanks for making such great music!"