Children of the Sixth Root Race Songs from the Source

Led by the magnificently bearded Father Yod, the Source Family dressed in long robes, served raw vegetarian food at the celebrity-studded Source Restaurant and recorded improvisational psych records in spiritual fraternity. Such was L.A. in the early ’70s. Before Father Yod died in a tragic hang-gliding accident, the Source Family were a thriving commune whose holistic lifestyles endeared them to the Hollywood crowd. Some would call them a cult (albeit a better-natured one than their Manson Family counterparts), while others, particularly former members who still adhere to Father Yod’s teachings, consider them "enlightened.” Many would agree that they made some pretty good tunes. While Children of the Sixth Root Race’s Songs from the Source, a recently retrieved rehearsal tape from 1973, is a far cry from Yod’s other act, the freaky Yahowa 13, it’s filled with heavy spiritual messages, and it doesn’t sound too bad either. More uplifting ’70s R&B than primal chanting, Songs from the Source is a surprisingly fun listen, despite warnings of an impending "nuclear war between three mighty nations,” after which "mankind will suffer mass hysteria and collective madness.” Even though these predictions failed to materialise (though who knows what the future brings), Songs from the Source is a neat listen on its own merits, and its wild back-story makes it worth owning. (Drag City)