MUSiC: The Youngbloods

The Youngbloods best known hit, Get Together, looks and sounds like a hippy anthem, in the rear view mirror of music history. And so it was. Although it had a more convoluted history than its light and happy vibes might suggest.

I’m not sure if it’s a false memory, or, indeed, what it is, but I have these dim and distant memories of a mixtape cassette a childhood friend made for me, purporting, in one lengthier segment, to be The Youngbloods jamming with Jimi Hendrix. Whatever it actually was, that was some great music.*

The same pal introduced me to early T Rex (Jewel) and Beefheart (Pachuco Cadaver!). So I feel I owe him a debt of gratitude. Thank’ee, Edwin, wherever ye may be now? I last saw him (Ed’) in Ely, looking a bit like a mental health casualty of war. I rather fancied his sister Eleanor, back in the day.

But back to the present. And presents – Amazon gift vouchers – are what allows me to indulge, as I have just done, in a musical gamble: I just ordered two ‘3-in-2’ sets, both by BGO. The first collects The Youngbloods, Earth Music (both ‘67), and Elephant Mountain (‘69), whilst the second gathers together Rock Festival (‘70), Ride The Wind and Good And Dusty (both ‘71).

The only official release album I won’t have will be 1972’s High On A Ridgetop. There are some other related recordings of interest, such as drummer Joe Bauer’s Moonset (1971), and something called Crab Tunes/Noggins! Which seems to basically be The Youngbloods, sans Young, and under a different name.**

I hope this first foray into what is, for me, basically uncharted territory, proves better than my recent Harry Partch experiment. I bought The Harry Partch Collection, Vol 1, and have listened to it a couple of times. I got it ‘cause Iggy Pop mentions getting stoned and listening to it with his Stooge bandmates, and I’ve kept ‘hearing about Harry’, in relation to Beefheart and Tom Waits. I found Partch’s music really doesn’t do it for me. The ideas are more interesting than the actual sounds, which, frankly, wind up irritating me.

Reckon I’ll be returning this…

But as to The Youngbloods, in a day or two I should have the discs. And I’m hoping to bask in what I anticipate being an eclectic hippy-era melange of folk, blues and whatever else they might serve up. The cats certainly look pretty cool:

Drummer Joe Bauer was intending to be a jazzer…
Multi-instrumentalist Lowell ‘Banana’ Levinger, and friend!
Jesse Colin Young.
The early years group was a quartet: Young, Jerry Corbitt, Bauer and Banana.

* Every now and again I look into it, and usually I come up with naught. But just looking again now, I found a load of stuff with Hendrix playing with Lonnie Youngblood. That must be the Hendrix/Youngblood connection? But it’s not the music on my friend’s cassette!

Best avoided, apparently!

** After a bit of digging I’ve discovered that Noggins was the nominal group, and Crab (Crap?) Tunes was the title of the album. The album artwork and personnel make it look intriguing and inviting. But apparently it is an appalling musical turd, and very deliberately so, as it was fulfilling a ‘contractual obligation’ to the band’s record label. But this doesn’t quite stack up with the chronology: their first three albums are with RCA, then Corbitt left. Their next four albums were for Warner. And the last of those, High On A Ridgetop, came after this. Weird!?

This, on the other hand, might be worth checking out.

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