December 16, 2003

re: Giddy for Happy the Man

Posted at 04:10 AM Found, Written
Presently listening to:
On Time as a Helix of Precious Laughs - Happy the Man - Debut LP

Ah yes, Happy the Man. Almost certainly the best music I've ever heard -- and for the longest time one of the most difficult titles to find anywhere.

My roommate in 1st year at RIT turned me onto a whole bunch of new music. I'd already been pretty adventurous in high school, but how musically obscure can you get in the backwoods of New Hampshire? I lived on "Deer Run Lane," fer krisakes! There was Mahavishnu Orchestra and its complex and enigmatic leader John McLaughlin, master guitarist. And Gentle Giant. He had a soft spot for the heavy stuff, like Robin Trower and Sabbath, but his was a sophisticated and eclectic taste in music. Scads and scads of trippy fusion, Tangerine Dream, everything Todd Rundgren, and a mysterious duo called Jade Warrior that sent you to the Far East. I had my first and only out of body experience stretched out at home listening to Jade Warrior's Floating Wave album.

Steve "Rockin' Guru" Guy. I think he always wanted us to just call him "Guru". We saw Jethro Tull co-headline with a power progressive band called UK. Toni Iomi, free of Black Sabbath, came to town with his band Rainbow. Gentle Giant played this little theatre and blew both doors and minds.

I thought I'd arrived at University having already lost my musical cherry. Well, the first time is an experience you'll never forget, but it's usally not the best experience you'll ever have.

Happy the Man. I'll always associate Steve with Happy the Man. Their sound is fresh even today.

I had a copy of their first album, plainly entitled Happy the Man, found in cut-out bin while visiting friends at the University of New Hampshire. What a find! But 17 years later it was worn and scratched from thousands of hours of repeat play, it was about to give up the ghost so I desperately wanted to replace it. More than that, I wanted the second album, Crafty hands. Their most elegant and forceful work. I hadn't heard a single song from it in 17 years, since 1981 when I last saw Steve.

Every record store I ever went into, I'd scan the 'G' section for rare Genesis, but only after hopefully, and carefully, leafing through 'H' for Happy the Man.

There was often some Genesis or Peter Gabriel I hadnt picked up yet. Steve Hackett, Genesis Guitarist, would sometimes pop up in 'H' with an entry from his deceptively massive solo catalog. But only ever once a Happy the Man.

And then one day I was sitting at home in Whistler, there before the snows fell, yet the sky swung low and ominous like grey metal ships sailing into harbour, all menace and might. I watched the wind chop and whisk Alta lake into a frothy wavy chaos. As I tapped away on my new computer, surfing and building places to surf, it occurred to me there was one heckuva big, unexplored 'H' section right there...and I found it. Found it and more...

From: Patrick Jennings
Sent: Tuesday, November 17, 1998 11:42 AM
To: Aeon Music
Subject: Giddy for Happy the Man

I hope you still have these:

Happy the Man: Happy the Man (USA) Arista-USA/77
Considered by many to be one of the greatest American progressive LPs (by one of the great American prog bands).
CC, PSTR, SL RW, SL BTC VG---/E--- $19,
or CC VG++/VG- $18

Happy the Man: Crafty Hands (USA) Arista-USA/78
Their excellent second LP. One of nicest copies I've ever had.
SM SCOC VG++/E-- $31

Happy the Man: 3rd "Better Late..." (USA) Azimuth-USA/83
Their last studio album, recorded in '79 but not released until '83.
RW G-/VG+ $16

If so, I would be happy to purchase them all!

I am in Canada, so surface mail will be adequate. If for some reason that is not possible, then air-mail is OK.



Aeon Music replied:

Dear Patrick,

I received your message, and I have the Happy the Man "Happy the Man" ($18 copy) and "Crafty Hands" LPs that you requested set aside for you. Unfortunately the $19 copy of the "Happy the Man" and the "3rd, Better Late..." LPs have already sold. The total with surface mail postage is $57.

Payment for the reserved items must be received by Dec. 15, '98, using one of the methods mentioned in the catalog. (If you pay by money order or check, please make it payable to Aeon Music.) If payment is not received by due date, the albums will be made available to other customers. Or, you may pay by credit card.

Thank you for your order!

Aeon Music
P.O. Box 421544
Los Angeles, CA 90042

Patrick gushed

Excellent! It is "Crafty Hands" that I am most determined to get. Already have a copy of "Happy the Man" though it's a bit scratchy. I'd never heard of "3rd, Better Late..." until seeing the title on your site. Now I'll have to go track that down.

I'll have a cheque out to you for $57US by week's end for the two albums above.



Of course, since then everything and more has been reissued on CD, and I've stocked up on all those too.


Always seeking:
Happy the Man


Always seeking:
Happy the Man


Always seeking:
Happy the Man


Always seeking:
Happy the Man


Always seeking:
Happy the Man


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