The School

The People’s Victory Orchestra and Chorus presents “The School” A Musical Work in Two Parts: The Girl’s School, The Boy’s School.

Nobody has been able to find all the members of this little-known band. Based in Queens Village, New York this completely enigmatic, underrated early '70s outfit, presents an eclectic bag that mixes stoner folk rock, soulful hippie boogie blues, & experimental freak acid. This LP is divided into a 'girls side' & 'boys side'. From ballsy blues rock to folk, to out & out psyche, this LP is legendary for it's semi-home-made cover art & inserts. Despite all that, little is known about the band itself. Some rumor that they were musicians who were under contract and used the P.V.O.C. guise to record their own stuff on the sly. Another rumor is that they were high school (and/or grammar school) music teachers, which could partially account for the large number of musicians that appear on the record, or could be based on the fact that the record is called "The School". This is their obscure 2nd LP, considered the best of their three releases, featuring special guests Holly Woodlawn (from Andy Warhol Factory days and Lou Reed’s inspiration for "Walk On The Wild Side"); Erin Dickens (early Manhattan Transfer member); Melissa Manchester (released her first solo album a year afterwards); and Alan Gerber (ex-Rhinoceros singer / keyboard player). One thing can surely be said about the female vocalist, Carla Lund... this woman's got range! She goes from sounding like Janis Joplin to Grace Slick to Kate Bush... all within the first three songs. And it doesn't let up. A few standouts: "Ballet For A Small Apartment", which builds from a piano ballad into a bizarre extended tangent of swirling violins, shimmering tracked vocals & found sounds, to a completely tripped-out klezmer drum circle... and back again. Epic and droning and incredible! "Children's Anthem / Let Us Sing A Love Song," which is actually a chorus of children who somehow manage to avoid sounding neither oddly creepy, nor cloyingly cute. One can only assume that these are the same children who both open and close the album. "Did You Ever See A Lady Act That Way", which sounds like an outtake from the Stones' 'Exile On Main Street', and which possesses such rawkness that Neil Hagerty can only dream of one day matching its quality. Serious mixtape fodder here. "Long Way From Home," with its Randy Newman-esque beer-hall piano & bouncing jaw harp presents some frighteningly catchy stuff. "Black Crow Country" features an almost stereotypical early-70s sound with totally hot fuzz guitar, sounding straight off of Edgar Broughton Band's "Wasa Wasa". Overall, the music on this is very different and difficult to describe. Some cuts sounds like Van Dyke Parks going mad, some others sound like the Beatles (Abbey Road-era), some like Janis Joplin (Cozmic Blues-era), some others like a US version of the group 'A To Austr'. There are weird effects all over the place, stoned weirdness, fuzz leads, stunning guitar explosions, violin, slight orchestrations, some choirs and also ultra-stoned female vocals mixed with real guttural male vocals. "The School" was apparently a concept piece, though the plotline was totally lost on me. Musically the set covers alot of ground, including several selections of Stones-styled rock ("Super Music Man"; the fuzz guitar propelled "Waiting At The Theatre" and "Did You Ever See a Lady Act That Way"). Sporting occasional horn arrangements "A Long Way From Home" and "Round, Round The River" are more Americana in styling, while the ballad "Ancient Words" sounds like something off of a Monkees LP, with the singer baring an uncanny resemblance to Davy Jones. In any case, this lost classic of early '70s private-press rock, is extremely rare, and in demand. Carla and her partner at the time Richard (or Robert) Alt, were the producers and driving creative force behind the band. They were living above Lund's fathers shop in Queens, and enlisted local musicians (names unknown) to play on the albums. Neighborhood children were invited to participate. The 7" x 5" cover photo (which is mounted on with actual photo-corner mounts) pictures three guys and the attractive Carla. Unfortunately the almost complete absence of liner notes doesn't shed any light on their background. Selections are: Super Music Man; Songbird Of The South; Ballet For A Small Apartment; Waiting At The Theatre; Children's Anthem / Let Us Sing A Love Song; Did You Ever See A Lady Act That Way?; A Long Way from Home; Ancient Words; Black Crow Country; Round, Round The River. Includes lyric insert; PVOC Catalogue, and original front cover photo. The record appears in overall Mint condition!