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The Human Expression

But for a 1967 decision about which single to record, The Human Expression might've been a lot more than an obscure but beloved psychedelic band from Los Angeles. The band was formed in 1966 by Jim Quarles (lead vocals), Jim Foster (rhythm guitar), Martin Eshleman (lead guitar), Tom Hamilton (bass), and Armand Poulin (drums), with Quarles providing the name and Foster's father as their manager. They cut a demo single ("Everynight" b/w "Readin' Your Will," which got them a recording contract with Los Angeles-based Accent Records. An official single of "Everynight" b/w "Love at Psychedelic Velocity" was issued soon after.

The band played played local clubs and USOs, and built up a great reputation for their hot live performances -- they good deliver on-stage what most groups scarcely achieved on record, an intensely virtuoso musicality coupled with punk defiance and a charismatic projection of all of these elements. In a different reality, they might've been a more mature and serious competitor to the Seeds, perhaps even succeeding at doing what the Doors did, only without the literary pretensions or personal excesses -- equally impressive was the fact that most of the songs that the Human Expression played were originals by Quarles and Foster, who were entirely self-taught songwriters; Quarles later admitted that he wrote from his heart and instinct, without over-intellectualizing any of it, and the results seemed to pay off when coupled with the band's musicianship -- their demos were as good as many contemporary groups' released singles. A second single, "Optical Sound" b/w "Calm Me Down," released in 1967, showed the group becoming more experimental, utilizing studio electronic effects. "Optical Sound" itself, as a title, was extremely clever, carrying with it connotations out of both psychedelia and film. It was impressive, but that single wasn't the breakthrough that the band had hoped for.

The Human Expression's downfall came with the decision over what was to be their third single. Offered a pair of songs to choose from, they selected a number called "Sweet Child of Nothingness." The one they rejected was a song authored by Mars Bonfire called "Born to Be Wild," because Quarles had some doubts about the lyrics. This decision, which proved disastrous when Steppenwolf took their version of the song to the top of the charts, coincided with a major personnel shake-up -- lead guitarist Martin Eshleman was injured and had to be replaced, and Quarles didn't like the new lin-up and exited. The Human Expression's history ended, though Quarles continued writing songs and pursued some solo recording, and later establish his own studio. In 1994, Collectables Records released a 14-song CD (Love at Psychedelic Velocity) of the complete Human Expression demos and released singles, rounded out with a quartet of Quarles solo sides. ~ Bruce Eder
full bio

Selected Discography

x

Track List: Garage Beat '66: Readin' Your Will!

x

Track List: Nuggets: Original Artyfacts From The First Psychedelic Era

Disc 1

1. I Had Too Much To Dream (Last Night)

2. Dirty Water

3. Night Time

4. Lies

5. Respect

7. No Time Like The Right Time

8. Oh Yeah

10. Moulty

11. Don't Look Back

12. An Invitation To Cry

13. Liar, Liar

14. You're Gonna Miss Me

15. Psychotic Reaction

17. Romeo And Juliet

18. Sugar And Spice

19. Baby Please Don't Go

20. Tobacco Road

21. Let's Talk About Girls

22. Sit Down I Think I Love You

24. My World Fell Down

25. Open My Eyes

26. Farmer John

Disc 2

1. Talk Talk

2. Last Time Around

3. Nobody But Me

4. Journey To Tyme

5. No Friend Of Mine

6. Outside Chance

7. Action Woman

9. Sweet Young Thing

10. Incense And Peppermints

11. I Ain't No Miracle Worker

12. 7 & 7 Is

14. Going All The Way

15. I'm Gonna Make You Mine

16. The Trip

18. Why Do I Cry

19. Laugh, Laugh

21. I Wonder

22. I See The Light

23. Who Do You Love

24. Double Shot (Of My Baby's Love)

25. Live

26. Steppin' Out

28. Strychnine

29. Little Girl

30. (We Ain't Got) Nothin' Yet

31. Shape Of Things To Come

Disc 3

1. Let It Out (Let It All Hang Out)

3. At The River's Edge

5. Follow Me

8. She's About A Mover

9. Little Bit O' Soul

10. Put The Clock Back On The Wall

12. Run, Run, Run

13. I Need You

14. Knock, Knock

15. Primitive

16. Psycho

17. So What!!

18. You Must Be A Witch

19. A Question Of Temperature

20. Maid Of Sugar - Maid Of Spice

21. You Ain't Tuff

22. Sometimes Good Guys Don't Wear White

23. She's My Baby

24. Story Of My Life

25. I'm Five Years Ahead Of My Time

27. Bad Little Woman

28. Double Yellow Line

29. Optical Sound

30. Journey To The Center Of The Mind

Disc 4

1. Are You Gonna Be There (At The Love-In)?

4. Are You A Boy Or Are You A Girl

5. Wooly Bully

6. I Want Candy

8. One Track Mind

9. Out Of Our Tree

10. I Think I'm Down

13. Johnny Was A Good Boy

14. Stop - Get A Ticket

16. The Witch

17. Get Me To The World On Time

20. Just Like Me

22. I Live In The Springtime

23. Mindrocker

25. Love's Gone Bad

26. Why Pick On Me

27. Bad Girl

30. Blue's Theme

x

Track List: The Human Expression & Other Psychedelic Groups

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