The original Gandalf LP appeared in the late 60s, all moody baroque-pop and acid guitar. Over the years it amassed a sizable cult following and saw several reissues, both legitimate and bootleg. Now, nearly four decades on, comes the sequel. Even Meat Loaf didn’t wait that long.
But the title proves something of a misnomer. Gandalf 2 serves not so much as a follow-up to Gandalf, as a catch-all for main man Peter Sando’s non-LP recordings from the era. These include post-Gandalf solo cuts, singles by short-lived studio concoction The Barracuda, demos and live recordings. Altogether, it’s a heady and diverse assemblage, with enjoyable side trips into country-rock introspection (I Won’t Cry No More) and bluesy crunch (Bad Dream, Downbound Train). Bird In The Hand, a 1971 studio effort, qualifies as Sando’s genuine lost classic here, a ringing psychpop number with an exotic beat, whistling flute, and a big, bounding chorus to boot.
The folks at Sundazed have done a fine job sequencing the tracks, favouring listenability over chronology – but even top-notch mastering can’t iron out the large sonic differences between the studio cuts and the live and demo recordings. A valuable collection, to be sure, but not really a unified set.