Donald's Encyclopedia of Popular Music
Perhaps the most eclectic of all the West Coast groups in the 1960s, Kaleidoscope could and did play almost anything, a precursor to what we would call today a roots group, or Americana. The lineup coalesced into David Lindley on lead guitar, banjo, fiddle and vocals; Charles Chester Crill on keyboards, harmonica, fiddle and vocals; Chris Darrow on guitar, vocals; Soloman Feldthouse on guitar, vocals and various exotic instruments; and John Vidican, drums. The archivist is not helped by Crill's delight in assuming various names: Connie Crill, Fenrus Epp, Max Buda, Templeton Parceley. Or maybe Max Buda is his real name, we're not sure, but he has been a Darrow sidekick for decades.
Kaleidosope played at the Newport Folk Festival in 1968; their act fused American and ethnic elements and sometimes included flamenco and belly dancing; albums Side Trips '67 and Beacon From Mars '68 on Epic did not do much, but Jac Holzman, founder of Elektra Records, wrote in Follow The Music that Side Trips was his favorite album of all time, and Jimmy Page said that Kaleidoscope was his all-time favorite band. Vidican and Darrow were replaced by Paul Lagos and Stuart Brotman on Incredible Kaleidoscope '69 on Epic, which reached no. 139 on the Billboard LP chart, and Bernice '70 on CBS, which didn't. All were soon sought-after collectors' items. A reunion album When Scopes Collide '76 on Pacific Arts/Island may have included Lindley under the pseudonym De Paris Letante; another LP on Polydor was called Brother Mary (aka Zabriskie Point). Compilations Bacon From Mars and Rampé Rampé '83-4 on Edsel anthologized their best and most obscure material, including work with Larry Williams; Egyptian Candy '91 on Epic was another collection. See entries for Lindley and Darrow.