It’s time to present one of my all time favorite albums, Here in the Land of Victory (1970) by Rex Holman. A man and artist that has been present throughout the many decades yet lingering in the shadow. This album is in the genre of psychedelic folk and it is declared to be a cult album by us connoisseurs, it is mentioned but not well known, referred to yet undistributed and with all right a masterpiece. It was the only album he ever released, at the age of 42. Here I want to dedicate a post to him and about his life as far as possible.
This album is so well played and stands out on a mystical plane compared to other albums in the genre from that time. The soundscape in it is fractal and I hear new details over the years I listen to it. The lyrics are vivid, dreamy, serious and dark and sometimes camouflaged in psychedelic idleness. The musicians (but they were really sensitive and good) were anonymous due to some record label issue – maybe that’s why it remains in dimness and did so from the release of it.
1 Here In The Land Of Victory (3.16)
2 Pink Lemonade (2.10)
3 Rowing (2.34)
4 Today Is Almost Here (3.09)
5 Listen To The Footsteps (2.58)
6 Red Is The Apple (4.20)
7 Sit And Flatter Me (3.35)
8 Copper Kettles (2.25)
9 Come On Down (2.40)
10 Debbie (2.30)
11 The Chosen One (2.57)
12 I Can’t Read My Name (2.27)
The album starts of with the title track and it’s floating rhythmic guitar that is accompanied by tables, flute and a wonderful bass. Holman’s lyrics are dreamy and carry you along and away in different realms of imagination, especially listening to them in good stereo or headphones while lying down, relaxing, meditating and inviting the magic.
Copper Kettles is a song with a waddling and gloomy psychedelic style. A harpsichord plays the melody in left stereo, a guitar is present in just the right moments and in the right side of the soundscape Holman sings out the extremely dreamy and imaginative story. I wonder how a man at the age of 42 went to the studio and managed to bring the musicians together and get this album recorded. All while working with supporting roles in various films and series. Copper Kettles is only 2:25 minutes but I experience it differently every time, sometimes it feels like being half an hour long. That is what manifests a quality psychedelic album.
Red is the Apple is a surreal story and a very beautifully phrased song, with saxophone, piano and electric guitar in a very odd jazzy feeling straight out of the colorful underworld. As always on this album Holman’s lyrics crystalize an endless flow of fractal associations together with the music. Just to mention, there is one more song from him that he wrote for the band Vision of Sunshine called Bizarrek Kind.
It’s very hard to find any information about Rex Holman (born Roy Eugene Baker). There are some clips from parts in films and movies he’s been in, where he often had the role of a villain. We can see that he was an elegant and handsome man with a good looking face. The best info I found on him was from an interview in Starlog Magazine issue 152 from 1990. It was a sci-fi magazine and the reason for his interview was that he played the character first seen on screen in Star Trek – Final Frontier. A very short role but important because it sets the mode for the rest of the film. He is among the few to have been in both the Star Trek Original Series and a film. Back in 1968 he played a mean sinister cowboy in black in the episode Spectre of the Gun.
At the time of the interview in 1990 he had been financially supporting himself as an actor for 33 years. At the time of the interview he lived in the Californian desert close to the Apple Valley. On IMDB I also did find some discussion posts from some people curious about him and some replies from a person who’d been in touch with him. Rex Holman is described as a real and honest person, full of life and adventure. A former neighbor tells about how he used to come over and play cards with his grandmother and son. Another actress tells about his pleasant attitude during filming and that he had a good singing voice. As we hear on the album, where his characteristic vibrato is just right for it.
Here are hi-res scans of the interview from the Starlog Magazine issue 152 – save them, zoom in and read.
What do you think?