Artist: Quicksilver Messenger Service
Album: Happy Trails
Genre: Acid Rock / Psychedelic Rock
“Happy trails to you, until we meet again
Happy trails to you, keep smilin’ till then
Happy trails to you, till we meet again”
Ok, this ain’t no country album, the only semblance of cowboys and the old west from this album is the cover and the title song off the album (with maayyyyybe a little spaghetti western thrown into Calvary) but I couldn’t help but give a nice old cowboy shout right off the top here. I loved this album, I really did, a lot, a whole lot, so much in fact that I took a listen to it multiple times in a short amount of time. That’s how much I liked it.
There is a possibility though that I don’t really like it as much as I currently feel like I do. Sometimes when you’re going through what feels like dark times you encounter something relatively positive and being as it’s a bit of a shining light at that moment in your life, that little light can feel like a thousand suns shining down on you. When you discover that little thing that brings you a little bit of joy you take advantage of it being in your life and try to enjoy it for all it’s worth. Anything that brings you joy in that moment is better than nothing and it’s key to embrace it even if it’s only a fleeting moment. For me it was two things: 1) The DND session I had today, which gave me a few hours of escape with some great friends that was a total blast, and 2) this album. This album came at the right moment for me where I felt like I was falling into a pit of despair and it’s upbeat tempos and wah-wahing guitars just brought the right amount of happiness into my life that I feel like I needed.
Although my current feelings towards this album may be a little over the top, I don’t think I will ever not like this album. It really is a fun ride from start to finish and Quicksilver Messenger Service deliver on the guitar work. I feel like this was one of those bands that were incredibly talented but got way over shadowed by some of the bigger bands that were sucking away all their attention. No worries though because QMS would still be able to hold their own legacy, even if it is with just a small amount of the music loving community. This band actually got a big mention in my famous Roots of Rock N Roll class (or was it my Psychedelic Music class… I genuinely can’t remember. It was years ago and they honestly just blend together at this point). I believe it was their Who Do You Love song that was featured in that class. There was a particular moment I do remember from that class that involved one of our overly difficult exams. The teacher had a portion of the exam where he would play a song and you had to give the name, artist and two facts about it. Now, I can’t remember if I was right or not, but he played a song where I took a massive guess was the QMS song and when it came to facts I could not remember anything of importance and ended up putting some random bullshit answer instead. I got 98% on the exam.
This album seems to be another case of a band trying to capture the energy and vibe of their Live performances, with both sides seemingly being recordings from live recordings (but not really?). Hard to tell if this is a true live album or not. Side 1 has the band doing a cover of the Bo Diddley song Who Do You Love? and turning it into a 20+ minute suite (one would even say it’s pretty… sweet… HAHAHAHAHAHA). The original version was apparently much longer but had to be reduced to fit on the very limited vinyl pressing at the time. I wonder if there is the full version of it out there? Who knows, I’m too lazy to check at this moment… I’ll get back to you on that one… eventually.. maybe never. What I love about the suite is how they broke it down into sections using the five w’s (who, what, where, when, how and which in place of why… for some reason). Each section gives each band member their time to shine. Yes that even includes a drum and bass solo section as well! If that wasn’t enough for you, side B continues on their adventure with some more excellent guitar work as the band solos their way through every song. Side B is a collection of different songs but it flows so well I didn’t even notice the change of song, as if it was almost designed to go straight into the other without stopping. It also includes their original tune Calvary which is a 13 minute epic of epic proportions (that’s right, I said that. I wasn’t being redundant, I truly meant that. If you don’t like my sentence then tough titty milk). The closing song sticks out like a sore thumb, feeling like it’s of a completely different genre but feels like a nice finale, the band wishing you farewell at the end of this long and, dare I say it again, epic journey. (It would also be fitting for the band to end the album this way as it would be the final version of their quartet. Almost like they were saying farewell to their fans and not just the listener).
SO yeah, it’s clear I really enjoyed this album and how could I not? It’s such a fun and wild ride the entire way through. It does help that it came at a time where I was yearning for something positive to occur. If something brings you joy, no matter how inconsequential or unimportant it may seem, embrace it. Sometimes it’s about the little things in life. Those small joys that prop you up like little positivity pillars that make it more helpful to enjoy the bigger things in life as well. We have to start from somewhere to make our way forward and baby steps have always been the best way. Even if you can’t see the whole forest, the trees will always be there. So yeah, you may not be able to enjoy the big things in your life, but the little things will always be there waiting for you to help you out. Don’t you forget it!
Favourite Tune: Calvary