The Flock (1969) — Fusion, horn rock and so-called progressive rock were the thing when this album was released. Yet The Flock produced a sound unlike any heard elsewhere. Coming out of Chicago, their hook was putting violinist Jerry Goodman up front. Yet Goodman was a masterful player and Side 1 of this LP is stunning. “Clown” married the unique approach to basic horn band style and the cover of the Kinks’ “Tired of Waiting” is inimitable. A few years ago, Sony released Flock Rock, which contains Side 1 of this LP together with cuts from the band’s second LP and their unreleased third LP.
Welcome to Goose Creek, Goose Creek Symphony (1973) — All right, this is bluegrass. But you gotta remember country-tinged rock was popular in the early to mid-70s. And this is bluegrass like you ain’t never heard. One song alone gives you an indication of what a hybrid this is: “The Corn Won’t Grow So Rock and Roll.” Nor is there any doubt these boys could rock and roll. To make it even better, this is a wonderfully recorded and mastered album.
Come & Gone, Mason Proffit (1974) — Mason Proffit played a significant role in the development of the country rock movement. The band was a forerunner to groups that would hit it big but found little fame itself. This two-disc LP was actually a Warner Bros. reissue of the band’s first two LPs, issued in 1969 and 1971 respectively. This is well done countryfied rock which, thanks to the timeframe of the original LPs, also has a political tinge.
Circle Filled with Love, Sons of Champlin (1976) — Sadly, this is still unavailable on CD. The Sons were/are a Bay-area band unlike any other Bay area band of the late 60s-early 70s. Rather than the psychedelica coming out of the Dead, Airplane and other bands, the Sons were pretty much a combination of a blues, soul and horn rock band. They were popular around here in the mid-70s and this album is a bit slicker than their others but is far and away my favorite. Founder Bill Champlin eventually went on and joined Chicago and had a few solo LPs but the Sons still exist and hit the road.
The Uninvited (1998) — The Uninvited had a minor radio hit called “Too High for the Grocery Store” and a brief contract with Atlantic Records, which released the CD linked here. That CD actually is re-recorded versions of music on three CDs previously released on an indie label. (Artificial Hip is my favorite of those CDs). This music can’t be described as perhaps anything other than straightforward pop. Yet the humor of “Too High” or “I Talked to God,” the biting commentary on relationships of “That’s What You Get” and the beautiful appreciation of a street junkie’s musical ability in “Rose Street” demonstrates this is a band with a tremendous amount of range and talent that never got the exposure it deserved.
Music’s only as fine
As the silence it’s compared to
“To The Sea,” Sons of Champlin, Circle Filled with Love