presents...

Poe through the Glass Prism

Quoth the Raven, "Oh my God!"

Here's another one of those "concept albums" that people used to do back in the 70's before musicians realized that it was a bad bet to expect people to have any interest in actual artistry. This one has the bold idea of recording a series of rock tunes set to the poetry of Edgar Allen Poe. All in all, it's not a bad idea, and one that must have been largely lost on the dope-smoking rock-n-roll record buyers of the era.

The music on this album is really pretty cool. Check out "The Raven", which I understand hit the charts for at least a little while in 1974. Its wailing Hammond organ sounds and monotone vocal delivery are pretty catchy. I also enjoy the way the band combines early-Beatles haircuts with late-Beatles costuming. Who can possibly resist a band with a velvet jacket and a giant black bird? Not me!

Poe through the Glass Prism
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Songs:

The Raven (MP3) Once upon a midnight dreary...

See Also: The National Gallery

Your Comments:

Mike Bell says:
I got a real kick when I saw this site included The Glass Prism. We saw them so many times. They were the best and The Raven was our song.
Great to see that they are getting some recognition for being the most important band in the Northeast. (07-30-2004)

Royce R says:
Interesting idea. I like the song. It could have been a big hit. (07-27-2004)

song bird says:
For those interesed there are currently 2 Poe Through the Glass Prim albums and 1 On Joy and Sorrow albums on ebay. These are regular sellers so for those interested good luck. Nice to see The Glass Prism getting the recognition after all those successful years building their legendary status. I'm hundreds of miles from Scranton but if you see Louie tell him he has my vote as the missing link in the reunion line up of the Glass Prism. For that, I'll be there. (07-21-2004)

A Scranton Fan says:
Hello! Is it safe for regular fans to get back on this website? It was getting pretty strange there for a while. Anyway. I wanted to answer Bryan D's triva questions , which he asked a while ago. I am the fan who sees Rick, Augie and Louie from time to time. I learned from Rick that Carl came up with the name Glass Prism. He got it from a science book he was reading (he was a teacher at one time) and though it would be appropriate. As for the second question, Augie told me they played as many as 8 verses of the Raven , in concert. Now , I recently had the opportunity to speak to Tom and he said he is definity ready for a Glass Prism Reunion , as are Augie and Rick, but Carl does not want to do this. Louie is our hope , but he told me that this is not his music and that if Carl wanted to do , I would not be asking him about it. I believe that he still can be swayed , but interested parties have to contact him and convince him to do it . Louie had always been, and still is a much better all around musician than Carl, and would be much better in a Glass Prism reunion, not to mention there would be a Shenadoah reunion along with it. You can get in touch with Louie at his website cossasmusic.com
or see him in person friday night at the Holiday Inn in Dunmore , performing in Solo Two. It may not be too late for a reunion , but please act soon and try to talk him into it. Remember he feels that people will be looking for Carl. the show would be soooo much better with Louie. let me know that! (07-19-2004)

JAN says:
THIS GROUP IS UNFORGETTABLE. (07-09-2004)

Peanut Head says:
Looks like everyone forget bout GRASS PRISON...dey NOT BAD, but NOT JAMMY OSMINDT...HE iss DA bomb fer sure...

I try to buy dis LP onna Ebay, but dey want $20!!! I kin buy udder stuff fer dat kinda dough...like mebbe 3 or 4 JAMMY OSMUNDT posters frum Epay.

Next time, try playin' GRASS PRISMOM AN JAMMY at da same time....yer head gonna get big and warbly an den you gonna git nekkid, DEN....oops...yes Mommy?...(I haveta go now...bye).. (07-09-2004)

Steve says:
In the late 60's and early 70's I spent some time on the air with a radio station in PA. When The Raven was first released it seemed like it would be a big hit. Back then you would look at Billboard, CashBox and Record World and find ads. Most importantly there would be picks. They would pick which songs would chart to hit the top 40 and which ones would hit the top 10. The Raven was picked to go top 10. We were getting calls regularly to play it. However, we were also given a list of what to play by our station manager. In the first few weeks the Raven was on the list and we were told it would be a hit for sure. We had interest because the Glass Prism was a PA group and would probably be the first act to hit the charts. Then something strange happened. The Raven was taken off the play list. Even though the calls requesting it had increased. We would slip it in but not as often. Soon songs like Yummy Yummy Yummy took it's place. As some may know it was a time of the payola scandals. That is, radio stations being paid to play certain songs. I am really not sure what happened with The Glass Prism though I did look into it. At this point I will just say they got a raw deal. If things had gone differently this song, at least, would have probably been a classic and your classic rock stations might still be playing The Raven and other songs by The Glass Prism. Having seen them a few times I can tell you they had what it takes.
Also, in December when we did our top 100 hits of the year it was chosen by the fans to be in the top 4 songs of the year in many areas that I was aware of. So what happened throughout the rest of the country? The politics of the recording industry are tricky. That much I can tell you. (06-27-2004)

joe bumstead says:
I do believe Alan Parsons version was far better (06-27-2004)

Trace says:
I understand that the albums of The Glass Prism have been selling on ebay for the last few months. The sellers, all dealers say the albums have always sold well. Hard to believe that an album recorded 35 years ago has such popular appeal. You have a chance to get a sealed album if your lucky. I've got mine. One word describes it, CLASSIC. (06-25-2004)

Paula Ross says:
This is site that I guess was not to be taken seriously. However, I really think that The Glass Prism took their approach to Poe seriously and did a great job. I like the song, the lead singers voice, and the great arrangement. (06-22-2004)

Liz B says:
Not bad. This sounds like a serious piece written to interpret the words of Poe put to music that really seems fitting. Even though it was done some 30 years ago I like it. (06-20-2004)

Milt Bonner says:
For those who didn't get to see the Glass Prism live let me tell you, they were a great power rock band. They did have great voices and some of the material on the concept album was really good. However, their live show was something else. They could rock with the best of them and they didn't always dress in those edwardian outfits. The powerful guitar playing and drums was much different live then on the album. (06-19-2004)

Richard Cranium says:
Oh PLEASE David...

Forgive me that ONE typing error...yes, wince instead of Winch....by the way...played that first Iron Butterfly LP just today for old times sake and it was pretty good.

Honestly though.....most folks take this stuff FAR too seriously, like our friend 'David Crosby' here....

David, I commend you for your forthright replies and I have the utmost respect for you (and indeed for Glass Prism).

A note for David Crosby....chill out, pal. Lookit my name......Richard Cranium (that would be Dick Head....get it??)

Have fun, peeps......this is a great website... (06-19-2004)

Owen Cross says:
You critics are trying way too hard. This song is just good and the band is alright for their time.

Hats off to the Glass Prism for their efforts. (06-19-2004)

David Douglas Drummond (musicpublisher@musichelpweb.com) says:
Mr. Cranium, sir:

You may indeed call me 3D, as long as you don't claim to have invented the appellation.

I did not compare Glass Prism to Iron Butterfly. I compared them to Procol Harum, which they do very strongly resemble. I also said that they weren't very good at it. If I understand your initial post correctly, we should be in agreement here. (Yes, I get it. The albums on this site are here because they are not very good. They are the William Hungs of vintage LP records. That is why I clicked on to this site. I also have an extensive collection of Song-Poems, which, in case you are unfamiliar with them, are so hideously bad that they are wonderful, and you should Google the term right now because you will laugh your ass off, I mean it.)

Unlike yourself, however, I forgive the Prism their shortcomings. It was, as I said, a naive time, and we were all excited and inspired by any experimentation, even the less-than-successful variety. It just spurred everybody to try harder, and push the envelope further. So, once again, props to all the prog rockers of the sixties and seventies. God bless 'em, every one.

Oh, and no, I do not WINCH at my old Iron Butterfly albums. I wince. I lack the heavy equipment necessary for winching. (06-18-2004)

David Crosby says:
Hey guys, cut it out. It's only music. Unless you have something better that you have done, I think you should leave the put-downs out of this.

It's pretty obvious that The Glass Prism did a nice job and were probably a great band for their time. I would love to hear the album and I'll make an attempt to do so.

The key word here is "respect". Respect for each other as human beings and in this case as musicians who took the time and energy, and had the guts to produce some ok material during what was arguably the most creative years of rock and roll.

Think of the groups they had to compete with:
The Beatles, Rolling Stones, Cream, Jimi Hendrix, The Doors. You had to have talent, nerve, and a bunch of balls to stand on a stage knowing how people would compare you. And believe me that's what the audiances did. They compared every guitar player to Hendrix, Page and Clapton, every singer to Lennon, the harmonies to the Beatles etc etc etc.

My hats off to all those great bands of the 60's and 70's who had the guts to try. (06-18-2004)

David Douglas Drummond (musicpublisher@musichelpweb.com) says:
Actually, the influence on this group seems fairly obvious. Procol Harum had a throaty, soulful lead vocalist, arty-poetic lyrics, and arrangements that involved dual keyboards. That piano-organ combo was a very distinctive sound, and Glass Prism appears to me to have been mimicking it. Unfortunately for them, they weren't doing it terribly well.

The melody line, while ambitious, is monotonous. There needed to be more to it, or maybe a B-section, to break up the verses. The lyrics Keith Reid wrote for Harum were all very much alike in terms of rhythm and meter, but Gary Brooker made each song distinctly different.

The Prism needed to polish up their playing skills, as well. I'm not sure what that resolution chord is on the instrumental bridges, but the guitar and the organ are clashing terribly.

That said, it was a much more naive time, and we all listened to some pretty naive stuff. I wince a bit when I listen to my old Iron Butterfly albums today. Those guys paved the way for a lot of adventurous music, though, and I gotta hand it to every one of 'em.

By the way, Mr. Cranium, are you a professional curmudgeon? Because you curmudge so well, that I figured you must do it for a living. :o) (06-17-2004)

Susan Ashkar says:
We saw the Glass Prism many times back in the 60's and early 70's. Seems like our weekends were filled with seeing live bands. The Glass Prism were the best. They had a great stage show. They were really a rock band. Much more powerful than the music on their albums. I have both albums and I still like to play them. It brings back some great memories. (06-16-2004)

Diane Longo says:
Just found this site. It's really cool to see the Glass Prism still gettin recognition after all these years. I saw them many years ago and they had a great show. I love the Raven it's one of those songs that sounds good everytime, year after year. (06-16-2004)

Billy the Kid says:
OK, here's the facts about my favorite songs on this album. Oh yes, it can be had in a number of places. RCA must have printed alot cause it is out there. My album was purchased in Philadelphia at a record store that specializes is vinyl. Anyway, if you get it here is what you can check out.

1. The Raven - Lead singer is great. Sounds like some of the singers of that time but is unique. The arrangement is tight the way the piano and keyboard work sort of counter leads with the bass. Somehow, everything fits.

2. ElDorado - Lead singer is also great but not the same guy who sings The Raven. The song has really sharp harmonies and it rocks. I really like the ending.

3.Dream Within A Dream - Back to the same guy that sings the Raven. Also, using those great harmonies like on ElDorado. Nice guitar lines. This is one of my favorite songs on the album.

4.Hymn - Same guy that sings El Dorado. Pretty song, different that all the others with an organ solo at the end. I like it.

5. Conquerer Worm - Same set up as The Raven. They use piano and organ and the same lead singer. It's more uptempoed and hot. Great song.

These are some of the things I really like on the album although the other songs are equally well put together. I think there are four different lead singers which is unusual. All the music is tight. I really like the drums. It's that simple but complex thing that only could have happened back in the 60's. (06-16-2004)





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