The Sub-Sylvian Litanies
01."Kalyani" – 3:52
02."You Can't Ever Come Down" – 3:02
03."Moonsong: Pelog" – 3:47
American Bedmusic - Four Dreams For A Departing President
04."Patriot's Lullabye" – 2:49
05."Nightmare Train" – 3:20
06."Invisible Man" – 3:33
07."Mister 4th of July" – 1:48
Gospel Music For Abraham Ruddell Byrd III
08."Gospel Music" – 4:29
The Southwestern Geriatrics Arts and Crafts Festival
09."Sing-Along Song" – 4:05
10."Elephant at the Door" – 5:13
11."Leisure World" – 2:36
12."Sing-Along Song (Reprise)" – 0:48
The album is most noted for "The Sub-Sylvian Litanies" which opened Side A. This three part-suite has been described as "an entire acid trip in 11 minutes".
Other album highlights include the similarly-oriented "The Elephant At The Door", and the politically-charged "Invisible Man", written for and aimed squarely at President Lyndon B. Johnson.
Two of the more unusual tracks on the record are "Mister Fourth Of July" - a ragtime tune complete with scratchy 78RPM-style effects, and "Leisure World", featuring narration from long-time ABC voice-over and "Ghoulardi" originator Ernie Anderson in an ode to California's first retirement mega-community.
Among the musicians featured on the record are prominent West Coast studio musicians Tom Scott and the late Ted Greene, who is credited with the album's stellar guitar work in one of his few recorded appearances. Meyer Hirsch was a member of the Buddy Rich Big Band and is an experimental composer.
Vocalist Victoria Bond has gone on to a prominent career as a classical composer, conductor and vocalist. Fred Selden, a student of Byrd's at UCLA, joined the Don Ellis Orchestra (led by Byrd's partner in the UCLA New Music Workshop), received a Grammy nomination, and later returned to UCLA to receive his PhD.
The extensive use of effects, delays, echoes, backwards vocals and other recording tricks and techniques are reminiscent of some of the experiments and work carried out by George Martin on behalf of The Beatles during their psychedelic phase of the late 1960's, as well as Pink Floyd.
Prior to its re-release, mint vinyl copies of The American Metaphysical Circus were sold by collectors for prices sometimes in excess of $100US, and the both the original 1969 issue and 1996 CD still command premium prices on collector Web sites.
Trippy Moog and electronics noodling mixed with stunning bursts of fuzzed out guitars and acid-damaged lyrics"