The Millennium – Again

After a little break whilst I looked at the mono masters of The Jimi Hendrix Experience, we finish the month looking once again at the work of Curt Boettcher and the band he produced his masterpiece with, The Millennium. This seven piece band included a number of musicians that Boettcher had worked with on previous projects. Guitarist/singers Lee Mallory and Sandy Salisbury had been a member of The Ballroom. Drummer Ron Edger in The GoldeBriars. Their ‘Begin’ album is one of the few rediscovered albums that actually lives up to the hype. Is is a great record. Columbia records invested an estimated $100,000 into the LP, making it the most expensive record recorded up to that point. You can hear when’re the money went. The production is superb. 

As good as it was, the album and singles did not sell and only came to the attention of most record buyers years later. Now, as with The Ballroom recordings, The Millennium produced a number of songs after the ‘Begin’ sessions finished with ‘Just About The Same’ being put forward as a potential single release. It did not come out due to the commercial failure of the ‘Begin’ album and the fact that none of the singles charted. These additional recordings, including a number of demos have be released on a series of compilation albums since the late 1990’s. 

Looking over the ‘Magic Time’ compilation and ‘The Millennium At Last’, there were a number of songs listed under The Millennium name and I wanted to see if there was enough material for a second album. After playing through them, I found that I had so many that I could put together an LP as well as a number of singles. The production is nowhere were as lush or sophisticated as ‘Begin’, but that is understandable as many of these songs were demos or basic backing tracks that are waiting for additional instrumentation. 

The Millennium did not get the chance to finish this record but no one seems to know why. Some people claim others were dropped by the label, they just decided to split (keeping together a seven piece band cannot be easy) or say that Boettcher himself was fired and the rest of the band decided to call it a day. Whatever the reason, by the end of 1969 The Millennium was over and their one artefact was all but forgotten until being rediscovered in the 1990s. Luckily for fans of Sunshine Pop, the band left enough music for possible what-if second album projects such as this. 

Side 1

  1. Come To Me Baby
  2. I Just Don’t Know How To Say Goodbye
  3. Can You See
  4. Suspended Animation
  5. Dying With You
  6. Share With Me
  7. Little Lost & Found

Side 2

  1. Together In The End
  2. Baby, It’s Real
  3. A Younger Me
  4. Midnight Sun
  5. Sunshine Girl
  6. Magic Island
  7. I Can Still See Your Face


  1. Just About The Same
  2. Blight
  1. Good People
  2. How Much I Love You
  1. Navajo Girl
  2. Sometime Or Another
  1. Will You Ever See Me
  2. The Blue Marble

The cover for this compilation is from the Poptones compilation of the same name with the Columbia logo added.

This compilation could not be reproduced due to more than one song not being available on Spotify.

The Jimi Hendrix Experience – The Original Mono Masters

On 12th May 1967, The Jimi Hendrix Experience released their debut album, ‘Are You Experienced’. American Hendrix had been brought to the UK by ex-Animals bass player, Chas Chandler, who had seen the potential the guitar player. Chandler recruited band members Mitch Mitchel and Noel Redding and the group started performing live gigs. It was through his performances that the great and the good of the UK music scene watch him perform. By the end of 1966, their debut single, a cover of ‘Hey Joe’ was released. The single crashed into the top ten of the UK singles charts and the band went into the studio to record an album. 

‘Are You Experienced’ featured a diverse number of styles with rock, R&B, traditional blues and even a science fiction inspired song called ‘Third Stone From The Sun’. The album peaked at number two in the UK, only being kept off the top spot by ‘Sgt Peppers Lonely Hearts Club Band’ by The Beatles. Number 2 is still pretty good considering there was a lot of competition in 1967.

Hendrixs’ homeland seemed to be immune to his charms until the band performed at the Monterey Pop Festival. Performing a literally inflammatory set which included string fire to his guitar, Hendrix went from being a no one to someone promotors wanted to book. The Experience played gigs with Big Brother & The Holding Company as well as the Jefferson Airplane. They even went on tour with The Monkeys, but as the audiences of the two band were at polar opposite’s to one another, this arrangement only lasted six shows. The story goes that The Monks requested the Experience join them on tour because they were fans of Hendrix. Chandler said he had engineered this to get the group some publicity. Whatever the truth, these six shows must have been something to see just for the sheer contrast of the groups. 

The band returned to the studio and the more experimental ‘Axis: Bold as Love’. This was released in December 1967. Using more new studio effects such as phasing where the sound revolves around the listener, ‘Axis’ paved the way for what was to come next in the masterpiece that is ‘Electric Ladyland’. If any artist was born to master the stereo format, Hendrix was it. This was still the time when mono mixes were the ones artists would spend the time on as the majority of the record buying public would only have players with one speaker. This was also before FM radio so if you heard a song on the wireless, you would have only heard it in mono anyway. 

With ‘Axis’, Hendrix was showing what an album could sound like if time was taken on the stereo mix but as was the trend at the time, these first two albums were released in mono as well as the singles. In celebration of the 55th Anniversary of the release of ‘Are You Experienced’, here is a complete collection (as far as I know) of the mono mixes released by the Jimi Hendrix Experience. This includes the first two albums and all off the single mixes. It also includes some rare mono mixes as well. These include a number of songs recorded for ‘Electric Ladyland’ that sneaked out in mono, even if the parent album in its entreaty have not. On Disc 1, I have included the single mixes of “Electric Ladyland’ songs, most of which were mixed for DJ’s so they could be played on the radio. Disc 2 includes all of the songs from the Uruguayan version of ‘Electric Ladyland’. This was more of a highlights release as it was only one disc, but it was released in mono. Was this just a fold down of the stereo or dedicated mixes. Unfortunately, my ears are not tuned enough to tell the difference. The same configuration of tracks was released in mono in Brazil as well but I have not been able to track down a version of this one. 

I am surprised that Experience Hendrix, the company set up by the Hendrix family to manage his name, likeness and music have done something like this themselves, considering the amount of material they have put out down the years, some of which can be best described as scraping the barrel. The nearest we got was when the first two albums were re-released in 2017, but these were on vinyl only. 

Disc 1

  1. Foxy Lady
  2. Manic Depression
  3. Red House
  4. Can You See Me?
  5. Love Or Confusion
  6. I Don’t Live Today
  7. May This Be Love
  8. Fire
  9. Third Stone from The Sun
  10. Remember
  11. Are You Experienced
  12. Hey Joe
  13. Stone Free
  14. Purple Haze
  15. 51st Anniversary
  16. The Wind Cries Mary
  17. Highway Chile
  18. Burning Of The Midnight Lamp
  19. The Stars That Play With Laughing Sam’s Dice
  20. Crosstown Traffic (DJ Promo Single Version)
  21. Gypsy Eyes (DJ Promo Single Version)
  22. All Along The Watchtower (DJ Promo Single Version)

Disc 2

  1. EXP
  2. Up From The Skies
  3. Spanish Castle Magic
  4. Wait Until Tomorrow
  5. Ain’t No Telling
  6. Little Wing
  7. If 6 Was 9
  8. You Got Me Floatin’
  9. Castles Made Of Sand
  10. She’s So Fine
  11. One Rainy Wish
  12. Little Miss Lover
  13. Bold As Love
  14. ….And The Gods Made Love
  15. Have You Ever Been (To Electric Ladyland)
  16. Crosstown Traffic
  17. Little Miss Strange
  18. Long Hot Summer Night
  19. Gypsy Eyes
  20. Burning Of The Midnight Lamp
  21. Still Raining, Still Dreaming
  22. House Burning Down
  23. All Along The Watchtower
  24. Voodoo Child (Slight Return)

The Ballroom – The Lost Ballroom Albums

The Ballroom were a band that Curt Boettcher put together in 1966 and included Sandy Salisbury, Michelle O’Malley and Jim Bell in the lineup. I came across the CD, ‘Preparing For The Millennium’ by accident in a second hand record shop near where I use to work. I cannot remember if I had bought the CD reissue of The Millennium’s ‘Begin’ album before this, but it would make sense if I had done. The word millennium on The Ballroom CD used the same font as that used on ‘Begin’ so that might have been why I connected the two and bought it. When I got home and gave it a play, there were some really good tracks but it did not have the consistency of the Millennium album even though both records share a number of songs. This CD contained what was said to be 11 of the 13 songs that had been put forward for that album. It also included a number of other songs which purported to be related to Curt Boetthcer. At the time, the rest of the songs were stuck in some sort of music licensing limbo. 

The notes for the CD were quite extensive and showed Boettcher as being ahead of the game by trying to produce music that would recreate the psychedelic experience. The band did not have a record deal when the record was recorded but Warner Brothers showed an interest and pressed up a single with the songs ‘Spinning, Spinning, Spinning’ and ‘Baby, Please Don’t Go’ on it. The record never made it past promo stage and it would seem Warners went cold on the group. Nothing more came out under The Ballroom name for another 30 years, but that did not mean that their records were there for everyone to hear if you knew where to listen. 

When Boettcher was bought out of his Our Productions contract so Gary Usher could take him to Columbia as a staff producer, a number of as yet unissued masters came too. Columbia felt it was time to make good on their investment so a number of these songs were used on the Sagittarius ‘Present Tense’ album. Some would later receive some remixing and/or additional instrumentation and see the light of day on The Millennium’s ‘Begin’ album.

The original versions and a number of other songs would remain in the vaults until 2001 when Sundazed Music released the ‘Magic Time’ compilation, which contained music from this period in Boettcher’s life. These included a number of Ballroom songs. Looking at when these songs were recorded, it could argued that the band had enough material to release an album in 1966 and another in 1967. This is what you are presented with here. 

The Ballroom – the Ballroom

Side 1

  1. Would You Like To Go
  2. You Turn Me Around
  3. Love’s Fatal Way
  4. Lead Me To Love
  5. Forever
  6. Crazy Dreams

Side 2

  1. I’ll Grow Stronger
  2. It’s A Sad World
  3. Magic Time
  4. Musty Dusty
  5. Baby Please Don’t Go

The Ballroom – Returns

Side 1

  1. Spinning, Spinning, Spinning
  2. A Time For Everything
  3. Kepper Of The Games
  4. 5 A.M. (Original Version)
  5. The Island (Original Version)
  6. Wild Mountain Thyme – Lee Mallory (& The Ballroom)
  7. Sunshine Today

Side 2

  1. I’m Not Living Here
  2. Opus To A Friend
  3. Believe You
  4. Another Time
  5. Karmic Dream Sequence #1 (Original Version)
  6. Sun Arise

Both albums are under 20 minutes a side, but this was the 60’s. Labels were interested in how many songs were on the album; not how long they were. They do hold up as albums but they don’t quite have the polish of The Millennium or Sagittarius recordings. 

I was really surprised that both of these Ballroom albums could be reproduced on Spotify.

The covers for these Ballroom albums come from the great but no longer maintained site Through A Vast Crystal Sphere. 

The Lost Cinemas of Richmond Upon Thames

Today, you can still pay a visit a cinema in Richmond Upon Thames. It was also home to a number that are no longer there. Join The Squire as he takes you on a journey to show where they were and what happened to them.

Various Artists – The Curt Boettcher Connection

In another dimension, Curt Boettcher would have been a superstar performer and producer, spoken about the same way that Brian Wilson and Phil Spector are. In Phil Spector’ case, just his music he produced, not the mad shit and murder he was later in the press for. Anyway, I digress. Boettcher died in 1987, all but forgotten but as with artists such as Nick Drake, his work has be reassessed in the years that followed  and today he is lot more famous than he was, but he still not a well known name to the mainstream. 

He first started recording his music with his band The Goldebriars. This was his flirtation with folk rock scene that was gaining traction at the time, even though The Goldenbriars did not have a hit, they did make an appearance in the film ‘Once Upon A Coffee House’. After The Goldenbriars split up, Boettcher formed Our Productions with Steve Clark from Vee Jay records and started to produce work for other artists whilst continuing to make music of his own. He started off with Tommy Roe and his LP ‘It’s Now A Winter’s Day’  but he really stamped his new Sunshine Pop sound on a little known band from Los Angeles called The Association. They recorded ‘Along Comes Mary’ and that became a top ten US hit. They follow this up with ‘Cherish’ which was also massive hit and everything would have looked rosey. However, The Association decided to change their management and this prevented Boettcher from working with the band again. 

Boettcher was not one for resting on his laurels and formed a new band called The Ballroom. They recorded a massive amount of material but only one single was slated to be released at the time, even though it got no further than the promo stage. The recordings would not surface until the late 1990’s. One time Brian Wilson collaborator Gary Usher then bought Boettcher out of his Our Productions contract and sets him up as a staff producer at Columbia Records. Usher uses Boettcher on his Sagittarius project which yields the hit single ‘My World Fell Down’, but the follow ups and album are not successful. The recordings do well enough for Columbia to finance Boettcher’s next project, The Millennium. 

Many records are called lost classics but this is one that truly deserves that title. The album and singles are masterpieces but none sell particular well and the band folds. Usher goes on to form Together Records and brings Boettcher on board and though second Sagittarius album is released, it is like its forebear and is not a success. Boettcher continues to work within the music business but little of his output is successful. He sings backing vocals on some Elton John sessions and is the mix down engineer on Emitt Rhode’s ‘Farewell To Paradise’ album. He did produce a 10 minute disco version of the Beach Boys’s, ‘Here Comes The Night”. He continued to work but none of these records matched the heights he achieved in the 60’s. 

I looked at the works of Curt Boettcher in two Podcasts, the links of which are listed below. What this compilation covers is not only the bands that Boettcher was in in the late 60s (The Ballroom, The Millennium, Sagittarius) but some of the acts he produced (Sandy Salisbury, Michael Fennelly, Lee Mallory etc).  What you get is a masterclass in 60s Sunshine Pop that should have lead to a considerably more successful career than it actually was. 

Disc 1

  1. Prelude (Demo) – The Millennium
  2. To Claudia On Thursday (Demo) – The Millennium
  3. Would You Like To Go – The Ballroom
  4. Love’s Fatal Way – The Ballroom
  5. Forever – The Ballroom
  6. Keeper Of The Games – The Ballroom
  7. The Island – The Ballroom
  8. I’m Not Living Here – The Ballroom
  9. Sing To Me – The Millennium
  10. Magic Time – The Ballroom
  11. It’s You – The Millennium
  12. Some Sunny Day – The Millennium
  13. It’s A Sad World – The Ballroom
  14. I’ll Grow Stronger – The Ballroom
  15. A Time For Everything – The Ballroom
  16. Blight – The Millennium
  17. Song To The Magic Frog (Will You Ever Know) – Sagittarius
  18. Lead Me To Love – The Ballroom
  19. Artificial Light (Of All The Living Lies) – Sagittarius
  20. Glass – Sagittarius
  21. I’m With You – The Millennium
  22. You Turn Me Around – The Ballroom
  23. Suspended Animation – The Millennium
  24. Believe You – The Ballroom
  25. There Is Nothing More To Say – The Millennium
  26. Anthem (Begin) – The Millennium
  27. Just About The Same – The Millennium

Disc 2

  1. Come Softly – Sandy Salisbury
  2. Baby It’s Real – Curt Boettcher
  3. Measure Of A Man – The Millennium
  4. A Younger Me – The Millennium
  5. All I Really Have Is A Memory – Sandy Salisbury
  6. Our Love Is An Unwritten Song – Sandy Salisbury
  7. If Only You Knew – Curt Boettcher
  8. I Sing My Song – Dotti Holmberg
  9. It Wont’ Always Be The Same – The Millennium
  10. Dying With You – The Millennium
  11. Together In The End – The Millennium
  12. The Good Ol’ Good Times – Sandy Salisbury
  13. Dancing Dandelions – Michael Fennelly
  14. Ships – Gary Usher
  15. Cecily – Sandy Salisbury
  16. Magic Island – The Millennium
  17. Lament Of The Astral Cowboy – Curt Boettcher
  18. Share With Me – Curt Boettcher
  19. The Blue Marble – The Millennium
  20. Misty Mirage – Curt Boettcher
  21. Come On In (Ode To The Be-In) – Lee Mallory
  22. Back Where You Belong – Sandy Salisbury
  23. Bring Me On Back Home Again – Sandy Salisbury
  24. Believe You – Michele
  25. Sunshine Today – The Ballroom
  26. The Truth Is Not Real – Sagittarius
  27. Love At Last – Lee Mallory

The Works of Curt Boettcher 

Part 1 –

Part 2 –