It's a Beautiful Day - ST (1969)


" was the sixties..."

Ah, the Sixties, the exalted era of rock'n'roll, when the battle cry was "peace love dope!" and Simon & Garfunkel were considered "edgy." Certainly, the Sixties remain one of the most important decades of the past hundred years, both politically and culturally. I guess it also something to do with the coming of age of the baby boom generation - just as I romanticize the unlikely resurgence of ska and swing during my college years, so does my father romanticize the musical revolution of his time.

Only - he kept all his records, and I still can't find my Cherry Poppin' Daddies CD. Oh well.

It's a Beautiful Day is the perfect sixties time capsule. In other words, it's one freaky-deaky acid trip of a record. From the very first track, "White Bird," to the sprawling closer "Time Is," it's like listening to musical gypsies jam with Captain Beefheart in Provo Park. I can almost taste the LSD. 

In fact, when I put this record on for the first time, all I could think about was another piece of sixties nostalgia that my dad exposed me to when I was younger - the film "Easy Rider."

For the uninitiated, "Easy Rider" is not exactly children's fare. It's a movie about two dudes making their way across the country on motorcycles, experiencing the sixties and all that entailed. Which means drugs. Mostly. And sex. But a lot of drugs. The movie actually ends with its own freaky-deaky acid trip, which could easily have been scored by a track from It's a Beautiful Day. (Watch it here.) I apologize if that's the first thing you watch this morning.

Was it awkward for me to watch something like that with my father? Yes. But it was tempered by the fact that he was excited for me to see it. It was like he was sharing with me a time capsule from his formative years. In the same way, I hope to share with my children the definitive film of the late nineties - "American Pie."

Anyway, the music itself here is pretty darn good. It meanders at times, but that lends the album a sense of immediacy. When "White Bird" snaps back into the chorus after a full two minutes of jamming, you can practically hear a gaggle of stoned hippies smile and clap, as they happily remember that they were in fact listening to a song, not riding a dragon into an oversized mailbox. "Wasted Union Blues" actually rocks pretty hard, with a loose, rolling drive that picks up steam as the song goes along. If your tastes are a bit more bizarre, try "Bulgaria" or "Bombay Calling," both of which are little musical trips to their respective titular locations. ("Bombay Calling" starts with some incredible violin, which is a total soft-spot for me.)

In the end, It's a Beautiful Day only gets 3 out of 5 Dads. I feel like dads may be a little embarrassed to admit that they're really into something so esoteric.

However, the record does receive 4.5 Sons, because one time I was playing this stuff at a party, and a girl said, "Hey Nelson - this is fantastic guacamole, and this music is sexy as hell!" (She was a burlesque dancer.) Seriously, though, this music is just anachronistic enough to be cool again.
3.0 / 5.0 DADS

4.5 / 5.0 SONS

Inside Cover - Amazing, right?
Inside Cover