The National Gallery

Performing musical interpretations of the paintings of Paul Klee.

Paul Klee is a abstract artist who practiced in the early 20th century. When I first glanced at this album, I thought it was going to be music to watch Paul Klee by -- i.e., lame instrumental fluff you could play in your art gallery while you enjoyed Paul's paintings. Much to my delight, I was wrong. This record is exactly what it says: musical interpretations of Paul Klee's works, done up in extreme beatnick style by a 60's band called The National Gallery.

The National Gallery Imagine you're in junior high school and the teacher asks you to look at some paintings and then write a song or a poem about them. That's exactly what Musical Interpretations is -- a series of incredibly unlikely tracks, each named for a Paul Klee painting, each with its own set of psychedelic lyrics that never cease to amaze you with their "interpretation" of the painting at hand. For convenience, a handy insert is included with full-color photographs of each painting along with the printed lyrics so you can follow along (maybe even sing along?).

On "Boy With Toys", based on a simple block painting of a child with a few wooden toys, the National Gallery gives us lyrics like "Boy with toys, alone in the Attic/ Choking his hobby horse, thinking of his mother". For "A Child's Game", the Gallery goes all out, giving us lyrics like "Grown ups in a city somewhere/Surrounded by uncertainty/Just objects of society/They play the children's game". There's even a musical interpretation of Klee's "Self Portrait"!

Whether you love Paul Klee, you love beatnick lyrics, or you just love the lengths to which musicians will go to be "different", Musical Interpretations is one of your best buys on vinyl today. Look for it at a garage sale near you.

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A Child's Game (MP3) When you grow up, what will you be?
Barbaric, Classical, Solemn (MP3) Laughter, hatred, half-dead, naked, where is the solution?
Self Portrait (MP3) Can you truly paint yourself, when so affected by unrelated matters?

See Also: Poe through the Glass Prism

Your Comments:

Meemee ( says:
I wrote about this LP for Uncle John's Bathroom Reader several years ago in the "Uncle John's Bottom 10" soceitn:"Four beatnik musicians from Cleveland tried to introduce hippies to the works of this German Expressionist painter by performing "rock-art" song versions of his paintings. Complete with nonsensical acid-drenched lyrics like "Boy with toys, alone in the Attic/Choking his hobby horse, thinking of his mother. Special bonus: musical arrangements by Chuck Mangione!" (05-18-2012)

Bob ( says:
Are you sure of your facts? I grew up playing music in Cleveland in the 60s and the song Long Hair Soulful sounds a like like the James Gang pre Joe Walsh. Glenn Shwartz on guitar, Jimmy Fox on Drums, Tom Kriss on Bass. After listening to a couple of these tracks on Amazon this track doesnt sound anything like the others. I dont think it is the same band. (04-11-2009)

Jim Witty ( says:
Does anyone have the full mp3's of these tracks? I would love to have them, and use them on my 60's podcast show.I would really appreciate it. You can find the podcast at (12-04-2007)

Terry Horn ( says:
This lp is great. Was an excellent compliment at the time of bands like The Tingling Mothers Circus," a circus of the mind." (03-25-2007)

Tanner Olsen ( says:
I am from america and i just descovered this band and i LOVE it some of the best since Pinkfloyd (02-10-2007)

bollixin nitrate says:
This one just got reissued on Fallout records. Probably a bootleg. Good stuff. (01-19-2007)

Leapday says:
This album has just been reissued on CD with both sides of the pre-LP 45 credited to Bhagavad Gita. Look for it on the Fallout label. (12-21-2006)

jack marsh ( says:
where can i purchase the album "poe through the glass prism"? (08-17-2006)

Markey Funk ( says:
"Barbaric, Classical, Solem" reminds me a part of Renaissance's "Wanderer" from their debut album. Haven't seen the credits but is there any connection between NG and John Hawken or Jim McCarty?
And what year was it released (if it's written somewhere on the sleeve or somebody knows maybe)? (08-03-2006)

Saturnus Moone says:
A very nice album indeed. Reminds me a bit of the only LP by Snow (Epic, '68), also imaginative and great vocals. AND both bands were from Cleveland.
What did they put in the water over there??? (07-31-2006)

Tim ( says:
this album is friggin crazy. (04-07-2006)

Jim O'Malley ( says:
Jigs, there are indeed lyrics, but I'm not aware that a vocal was ever released. The lyrics were printed on the LP sleeve in the original album, "Feels So Good." (08-24-2005)


THANKS! (07-09-2005)

Joe Dansak ( says:
Look at the personnel- Charles Mangione! I believe that is the more pretentious Kenny Gee of the flugle horn, Chuck Mangione! I'll nver forget when, during his 15 minutes of fame, Merv Griffin asked him who he'd like to thank for his success.
The Groovy chuckster, forgetting all the attempts for artistic direction and growth the relatively obscure Art Blakey had provided him, answered Merv thusly:
"The sun, the mpoon, the stars and the ocean, man." At least that's nearly a quote. (05-09-2005)

Maalox ( says:
Pretty good. (04-20-2005)

Pardon Me While I Rock You says:
Yes, it's THE Chuck Mangione on this album. And it's actually a pretty highly regarded psych pop album. But what I really want to see is the girl from the National Gallery and the girl from the Love Generation in a small room with some peyote, massage oil and whipped cream. Now THAT'S music! (03-31-2005)

hannibal ( says:
laugh all you want, this music ain't bad, and the female vocalist actually sounds good at times. (03-02-2005)

H. Turd Ferguson says:
I'm not sure if this is a good record or not, but it is original, and intelligent. These are 2 qualities you don't find in today's music. All of today's music is so homogenized, so bland. The same catchy pop beat with a different girl shaking her ass or hot guy with slick hair and a rolled up sock in his pants. Vinyl rules, for variety if nothing else. Turd 3:16 (11-24-2004)

Mad Dr. Matt ( says:
This makes me wonder if someday, some guy will find a hard drive in thrift store somewhere and take it home and power it up and say - look! How quant! They actually had 20-20 hindsight websites that poked fun at music made a decade or two beforehand. This is what people did for entertainment before we developed time travel! Hey, maybe we should get in our time machine and go back and kill all the dopey webmasters in their cradles. That would certainly make the early 2000's a MUCH better place to be! (11-16-2004)

Ahm says:
America might have full of magnificant, never-known & at-least-forgotten bands of 60's. Now we in Europe have possibilities to find them, like at Robert Crumb's comic collector.

"Fear behind the curtain" is my favourite, like it says "there's more fear - in front". (11-02-2004)

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