I bought this single when I was in Spain last month. Pan & Regaliz were part of a great scene of progressive psychedelic music in Barcelona around 1970.
On “Magic Colors” they float phased vocals and flute over a heavy beat as the guitar shifts from syncopated chords to full-on riffing during the chorus. The flip “A Song for Friends” is in the tradition of vaudeville, certainly the very worst choice of genre for any band to revive, so I won’t feature it here.
The band started in the Gracia district of Barcelona as Els Mussols (Muchuelos) in 1967, a teenage Catalan folk group who were part of the local “Nova Canço” movement. In 1969 they changed musical direction, renaming themselves Agua de Regaliz (translates as Licorice Water), which comes from a series of childrens’ books by Richmal Crompton about a boy named William.
At the start of 1970, they recorded for Angel Fabregas’ company Als 4 Vents, under its Diabolo imprint. Their first single was “Waiting in the Munster’s Garden” / “When You Are So Bringdown”. I’d say their sound at this point is reminiscent of early Jethro Tull.
By the start of 1971 Als 4 Vents was having legal and financial problems with its distributor, Movieplay, causing the band to jump ship and sign with the Dimension subsidiary of the Ekipo label of Barcelona. The group wanted to rename the band Pan, but added Regaliz so people would recognize their former incarnation as Agua de Regaliz.
The band at this point consisted of Guillen Paris on vocals, flute and harp; Alfons ‘Muiti’ Bou guitar; Artur Domingo bass and Pedro Van Eeckout on drums and percussion.
As Pan & Regaliz, they released their next singles “Dead of Love” / “Thinking of Mary”, followed by “Magic Colours” / “A Song for the Friends”.
In May of ’71 they went into Miguel Casas’ Gema studio in Barcelona to record a few more songs for their LP, and on May 22nd they played a major outdoor music festival in Granollers. However, soon after their album’s release Pedro Van Eeckout left to join a jazz-rock group, Jarka, with keyboardist Jordi Sabates. Arturo Domingo went into the final line-up of the German-Spanish group Evolution, who had also cut some excellent psychedelia on the Dimension label.
Guillem Paris remade the group with former Agua de Regaliz drummer Arturo “La Paca Ferocisima,” then recorded a solo album that was rejected by his label for being too uncommercial.
For some reason I’ve only ever heard Magic Colors in mono, while all their other work appears in stereo on reissues. Someone correct me if I’m wrong.
Sources include: La Caja de Musica