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Orpheus' First Album    We just loved the first Orpheus album. We played it all the time at home and at parties. It was on local radio all the time. That was one big difference between Boston and the rest of the world; we heard these Boston Sound albums on the radio regularly. They were an extra chapter in our rock and roll book. That's also the reason I'm doing these pages, I guess. I see all these LPs on the same level as Cream, The Jefferson Airplane and Hendrix. Embarrassed by the Bosstown Sound? No, not at all. I enjoy them as music and a time machine to 1967-68 - great years to be on the Boston music scene.

The first album - ORPHEUS

   This album brings it all home. The LP was recorded in the fall of 1967 and released in January of 1968. The lush orchestrations by all reports the doings of Alan Lorber are a perfect accompaniment to the Orpheus voices, punctuating a phrase or enhancing the songs feeling. They move along smartly without weighing down the songs. The arrangements are light when they have to be, full and deep when required.
   The songs are so memorable and all fit onto the LP as a unified whole. Many have a wonderful lilt or swing not bothering to be rock at all. The ballads create a moody glow you sink into. It's a very romantic album. Can't Find the Time was the big Kahuna but absolutely every song here was thoughly digested by the Boston fans. Can't Find the Time was a big almost-hit, a fumble by the record company prevented a full blown hit.
I think that even now this would be an enjoyable musical experience for a new listener. Orpheus forth album

   When people said there was no common Boston Sound what they really meant was that Orpheus didn't sound like the rest of the groups. The Spinach and The Beacon Street Union were both in the ballpark, but put Orpheus in the mix and you have cognitive dissonance (Cognitive dissonance). This sort of thing never bothers me but it seemed to be a major problem in 1968 with all concerned. Too bad. Where would we be if we left Orpheus out of the mix? Poorer, much poorer.

   They had three more very good albums all produced and arranged by Alan Lorber. The second LP called Orpheus Ascending and the third called Joyful fulfilled the promise of the debut with wonderful songs throughout.
   The fourth album came out after a longer hiatus and deserves a little note. It was written entirely by Steve Martin who had contributed a few songs before and was considered 'the fifth Orpheus'. The difference is that Martin was now the majority song writer. CLICK for Steve Martin web site.The album has a much darker tone that the others and the production is more low key. It is on Bell Records not MGM like the others although Alan Lorber is still involved. Like all things Orpheus it's a class act.

   Now I'm not going to go on and on about Orpheus here. They have been very popular and have got their music out there along with favorable reviews, something unique when it comes to Bosstown Sound groups.
   The original Orpheus broke up in December of 1969.

  • Lowell, MA. Aug 31
  • Cheetah Club in Chicago March 22-24 1968 (info from Billboard)
  • NY State University at Geneseo April 5, 1968 (info from Billboard)
  • Surf Ballroom, Nantasket Beach, MA. April 19-21 1968 (info from Billboard)
  • Scarsdale, NY High School in June 21,1968 (info from Billboard)
  • Schaefer Music Festiva, NYC June 12, 1969 (info from Village Voice)

Orpheus Again    These days Orpheus is split into two entities. Bruce Arnold evidently has the rights to the name Orpheus. As of 2014 he is doings shows with the full orchestration of the records being performed. There are almost 20 musicians on stage. I saw a show on 10/12/2014 and it was a dream fullfiled. A gorgeous sound all around. Bruce is slowly releasing more and more Orpheus material. On stage they talked about a very large package with unreleased songs and alternate takes.
   Bruce Arnold has also released some new material in a CD entitled ORPHEUS AGAIN. All songs are written by Bruce. There is an altered (but not too much) version of Canít Find the Time. When you listen you hear THAT VOICE and itís hard to believe there is new material and itís 2014. There are arrangements but not at the level of the original LPís. Itís a worthy buy for Orpheus die hards.
   Bruce Arnold has a facebook page...Bruce Arnold Facebook page.
   He has one for the band...Orpheus Facebook page.
   Here is an 2014 interview with Bruce... It's Psychedelic, Baby interview

   The rest of the band has a new version of the group. Orpheus Reborn website.

   This site done by Martin and Eric Gulliksen has lots of info.

   Recent gig in Worcester Mass - CLICK HERE.

   Some YouTube Videos -CLICK HERE.

    Archived page on ORPHEUS. Click HERE


   Bruce Arnold/Orpheus at the Berklee Performance Center Oct 12, 2014.

   Bruce Arnold/Orpheus at the Berklee Performance Center Oct 12, 2014.

   Bruce Arnold/Orpheus at the Berklee Performance Center Oct 12, 2014.

   Bruce Arnold/Orpheus at the Berklee Performance Center Oct 12, 2014.

   Bruce Arnold/Orpheus at the Berklee Performance Center Oct 12, 2014.

   Bruce Arnold/Orpheus at the Berklee Performance Center Oct 12, 2014.
Billboard showing Orpheus on the charts.

   Here we see Orpheus on the Billboard charts on December 14, 1968. Right in the middle of some bubblegum, smaltz, and then some good stuff. They had been on the charts 12 weeks at this point, pretty good.

   Billboard April 6, 1968 has their original LP at number 151 (189 the week before) and that was the 5th week on the charts.

   Billboard June 8, 1968 has their original LP at number 132 (127 the week before) and 14 weeks on the charts at that point.

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   The show is at Brandeis but the ad was in the MIT newspaper The Tech.
Spinach in Chicago.

The Billboard from 1968 shows bothOrpheus and The Ultimate Spinach giging in Chicago.

Orpheus 02/10/68

The Billboard from Feb 10, 1968 shows Orpheus at the Chessmate in Chicago on Feb 11.

Orpheus in NYC wlith Jeff Beck

   Orpheus plays with Jeff Beck in NYC at the Schaefer Music Festival. This is an ad in the Village Voice 6/12/69
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   Billboard ad in section called Campus Attractions April 13, 1968.
Orpheus Sheet Music
   Sheet music to Can't Find the Time.
   This would be the single piece of sheet music produced by the entire scene.
Orpheus Love Like This
   Ad in Cashbox June 15, 1968.
Orpheus the single

   Can't Find The Time has a long and complicated history on the charts. In Billboard of March 9, 1968 it's a regional breakout in Boston.
Bubbling under

   A month later the Billboard of April 6, 1968 shows it in the national charts as Bubbling Under - Number 112.
    The next week 4/13/68 it was at 111 as shown above.
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    Lorber taking care of business.
Billboard July 13, 1968.

    Billboard gives Lorber some credit.
Billboard September 7, 1968.
Orpheus on the charts
    The single just makes the chart in Cashbox April 6, 1968 and the LP does the same thing - it's #100 in the same issue. Beacon Street Union is a few numbers above.
Orpheus and BSU
Dating Game
    A little on the Dating Game TV show they did.
Cashbox April 6, 1968.
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Copyright © 2006 Paul Lovell. All rights reserved.