50 Essential Albums of 1967

From the Doors' debut to Aretha Franklin's first smash

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The Serpent Power, 'The Serpent Power'
The Serpent Power, 'The Serpent Power'43/50

The Serpent Power, 'The Serpent Power'

Think of the Serpent Power as the Bay Area's version of the Velvet Underground. Led by poet David Meltzer, with Meltzer on untutored post-folk guitar, Meltzer and his wife, Tina, singing his songs, poet Clark Coolidge clattering behind on drums and the soon-vanished John Payne fixing a hole on organ, their music was minimalist folk rock with noise – the climactic, electric banjo augmented "Endless Tunnel" goes on for 13 minutes. Some songs began as poems, others didn't, but all feature notable lyrics – some romantic, some gruff, some both. And all but a few are graced by excellent tunes, none more winsome than that of the lost classic "Up and Down."

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