Earth People

Under Appreciated

My own theory is that Crystal Mansion suffers from the same “problem” as last month’s UARB, the Human Zoo:  The band has real variety in its material and doesn’t sound the same all through the record.  The Allmusic article on the band, by Lars Lovén, starts off:  “The Crystal Mansion’s relatively short story is that of a white R&B band moving towards groovy psychedelic rock in the ’70s.”  Joe Viglione writing for Allmusic grudgingly acknowledges this about the final track:  “‘Earth People’ is reminiscent of ‘Calling Occupants’, the hit for the Carpenters and Klaatu.  It is the highlight of the album.  Let’s call it Crystal Mansion’s ‘I’m Your Captain / Closer to Home’.”  The reference of course is to the closing song on the Grand Funk Railroad breakthrough album, Closer to Home (1970), “I’m Your Captain”, although Crystal Mansion was able to craft their memorable song in barely one third the playing time of the Grand Funk track. 
Billboard magazine has an appreciative review of the 1971 album in their May 27, 1972 issue:  “A fluid rhythmic feel permeates the texture of the Crystal Mansion album.  Johnny Caswell has a strong, although not overpowering, voice that he uses to good effect.  Their arrangements are uncomplicated and clean, their sound chiefly blue-eyed soul.  Standout cuts include ‘Boogieman’, ‘Satisfied’ and ‘Earth People.” 
The Crystal Mansion has R&B, funk, country, psych, progressive, and pop influences sprinkled among its 10 tracks.  The stronger material is on the album’s second side, with “Earth People” preceded by a foreboding trio of introspective tracks, “Someone Oughta Turn Your Head Around”, “Boogieman” and “Let Me Get Straight Again” (with the first and last being penned by the band as a whole), followed by the calming “Peace for a Change”.  But Side 1 also has several good cuts, such as the opening song “There Always Will be More” and the catchy “Satisfied”. 
(August 2015)

Last edited: March 22, 2021