Limited to 500 Copies.
In late 1968 or early 1969, a six-piece group walked into a Chicago recording studio to record an album. As they weren’t signed to a label, they had made the booking themselves. The group featured three singers, all female. One of whom also played acoustic guitar. There was also double-bass player and a drummer, both male. A female guitarist filled out the band. After the tapes had finished rolling, what was recorded was quickly pressed onto an album: a private pressing, organised and paid for by the band. Not many copies were made, perhaps 100, maybe 500. The albums were sold at live shows or given to friends and relatives. And that was it. The band was called All In One, and the outline of their story is similar to many do-it-yourself musicians from the Sixties and later who wanted to document their existence, what they sounded like. It’s good to have a physical object saying “here we are, this is what we do.” During the Seventies punk era, it’s what Buzzcocks did with their Spiral Scratch EP. Taking the DIY path had precedents.
It was an approach which meant there was no mediation. Control was in the hands of those being recorded. Naturally, these obscure and rare records can attract interest. Some Sixties examples, like All In One’s untitled album, are great and need to be heard more widely. This first-ever reissue reveals the band to have been mysteriously spectral, with an intensity which would have been reined in had they been on a mainstream label and given a regular production. The rough edges would have been smoothed off. From its opening moments, the album telegraphs that All In One were uncultivated: a band in the raw, and one with its own ideas of its identity. Until 2004, the All In One album was so obscure it was barely known by collectors. That changed when it was included in the Acid Archives website’s gazetteer of rare psychedelic-era records. The description ran “Late 1960s low-key nocturnal folk/folk rock with excellent female vocal harmonies, stand-up bass, occasional congas and understated drumming. Partly in a late folk-boom Simon & Garfunkel type mood, but also with appealing California psych moves on tracks like Errant In A Time and the great Days Of My Life, which has moody modal chords and atmospheric bells. Not a hippie scene, more like serious young ladies contemplating the world from a college dorm room.” In February 2005, a copy sold on eBay for $375. The auction’s starting price was $80. In 2012, another copy sold for $495.
Interest continued. In late 2019, the Listen To This website got to grips with All In One and said the album is “Very much a quiet ‘wow’ record. Bare-bones, baroque-pop harmonies over simple guitar parts and percussion, pegging them on first listen as Bacharach-tinged lo-fi bedroom folk contemporaries of Peter, Paul & Mary (fittingly, Rich Man, Poor Man is a cover of a Peter Paul & Mary song, originally released in 1968). But! There’s more – there’s an unsmilingly blunt closeness to the vocal quality of Marine Girls, The Roches.”
Pegging All In One can depend on the ear of the beholder. That 2005 auction entry declared it to be a “psych-influenced folk album.” The band consisted of Katharine Parsons (guitar, vocals), Kathryn Davis (vocals),