The Joup Friday Album: Sagittarius – Present Tense

sagittariusRemember the Nuggets compilation album(s)? The dusty, trippy, and fantastic psychedelic “artyfacts” documenting all the mostly unheard and wonderful music banging out of the halls and garages of any and everywhere in the 1960’s? Debuting in 1972, but getting very deserved re-issues on various formats over the last four decades, Nuggets introduced me to so many amazing artists whose sometimes sole releases I have been attempting to track down for years now. A lot of these are hard to find, or at the very least are pretty pricey on the collector’s market, but one of my successes was the 1968 album Present Tense, by the psych-pop band Sagittarius.

My Ebay addiction was unparalleled a few years ago.

Sagittarius was primarily the project of songwriter and producer Gary Usher, who worked with The Beach Boys, The Byrds, and Dick Dale during his career, and found him paired with a group of studio and session musicians on Present Tense, crafting a quick and hummable album of west coast pop, harmonious folk, and psychedelic textures. The breezy record feels like walking through a poppy field on a sun-drenched day, a kind of quintessential 60’s vibe embodied by years of movies and TV shaping and molding our collective mind’s eye of days long past. The organs groove. The strings are warm and comforting. The harpsichord sounds old and new at the same time. And the vocals seem instantly familiar, just begging to be sung along to. It’s definitely a poppier psych record than a lot of other stuff coming out at the same time, but it’s fun and infectious nonetheless.

The album is just over 28 minutes, so you really don’t have an excuse to not listen to it today. It’s also been reissued, so be sure to buy it if you like it. And get Nuggets too if you don’t already have it.


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Thomas H Williams

Thomas H Williams

From a bunker somewhere in Central Texas, Thomas H. Williams spends most of his time with his wife, his two sons, and his increasingly neurotic dog. He listens to a lot of music, drinks a lot of excellent beers, and gets out from time to time. For even more shenanigans, visit

One Response to The Joup Friday Album: Sagittarius – Present Tense
  1. Shawn C. Baker Reply


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