Note: This New York based 60's group should not be confused with the artist "Gandalf" from Austria who did the soundtrack for "Labrinth" in the '80's, or the more recent GANDALF metal band from Finland.
Peter Sando (Guitar)
GANDALF, formerly the RAHGOOS prior to their LP release, appeared at various New York clubs throughout the '60's; such as "The Phone Booth", Scott Muni's "Rolling Stone", "The Electric Circus", Murray the K's "World", and the legendary "Night Owl Cafe" in Greenwich Village. It was there that the RAHGOOS met songwriters Garry Bonner and Alan Gordon who brought the band to the attention of record producers Koppelman & Rubin. K&R signed the band and immediately started work on an album for their newly formed "Hot Biscuit Disc Company" label which was distributed through Capitol. K&R suggested various name changes which did not sit well with the group. However, they ultimately decided to forfeit their name and local fan recognition to appease K&R. During a gig at the "Rolling Stone", drummer Davey Bauer was passing the time reading Tolkien's "The Hobbit" while the rest of the band went through the ritual of brainstorming a band name. Davey chimed in, "How about "GANDALF AND THE WIZARDS". That name stuck. The project was delayed after the deal with Capitol fell apart. In the interim, the band lost faith and also dissolved. Subsequently, K&R & Capitol parted ways with the agreement that two more LP's would be released on the Capitol label, and GANDALF was one of them. It was finally released in early 1969, with no band to back it and little promotion. Two songs were penned by guitarist Peter Sando and one, "Can You Travel in the Dark Alone", received a flurry of FM play. The late Allison Steele, "The Nightbird", on WNEW-FM New York, would introduce the song with a lengthy dose of her inimitable psychedelic poetry.
The album has been bootlegged several times on vinyl, and finally legitimately re-released on CD by the UK based See For Miles label in 1997 and then, back in the USA, on SUNDAZED in 2002. The single, "Golden Earrings", also appears on the UK Temple Records compilation disc "Psychedelic Frequencies" (TMPCD027). "Hang On To A Dream" is included in "Hippy Dip" on EMI (CDEM 1623).
GANDALF 2, a fabulous
stash of spellbinding demos, live tapes, and acetates
from Sando's vault, unheard for decades, was released
in 2007 by the folks at SUNDAZED. It has sold
out but still streaming on digital platforms.
now, a 21st century
GANDALF album in the spirit of the legendary 1969
original! (see below)
Back by popular demand, A 21st century GANDALF album in the spirit of the legendary 1969 original. Produced by original GANDALF singer-guitarist, Peter Sando, it will feature songs by Tim Hardin, Fred Neil, Garry Bonner & Alan Gordon, Jack McMahon and Bob Jenkins, plus 6 new Sando originals.
The LP will come in Orange/Gold vinyl and the accompanying CD will include two bonus tracks.
Tears Of Ages
This song appeared as a live version on Gandalf 2, recorded in the last days of the band’s existence. Sando has added a 3rd verse and produced a proper studio recording that serves as the title track.
Misty Roses On A Stone (Tribute to Tim Hardin)
Peter explains “A few years back, while visiting my friend and co-writer Jack McMahon in Oregon, we paid our respects at Tim's resting place. Jack picked some fresh roses from his garden and I threw my Martin 00-18 in the backseat. We then set off for Twin Oaks cemetery and sang some tunes along the way. It was a somber and moving experience, and we later wrote this song based on that visit.”
Bonus #2 You’re Free (a/k/a Don’t Get Surrounded By Everyday Things)
This track was intended to be a followup to the Barracuda’s “The Dance At St. Francis” in 1969, but was shelved due to production issues. Now, this lost Bonner & Gordon gem has been lovingly recreated by Peter from an acetate preserved in his library. Jack Nitzsche’s stunning arrangement, coupled with Sando’s spot-on vocal, serve up a colorful pop masterpiece in the spirit of the classic sounds of the late 60’s.
GANDALF - Capitol Records 1969
Cover Design: Lockart
GANDALF 2 - Sundazed Records 2007
Cover Design: Eric Schou / Line Art: Blossom
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