Monday, November 7, 2011

Mad River - Paradise Bar & Grill 1969

One of the oddest San Francisco Bay Area bands of the late '60s, Berkeley-based Mad River cut two albums that are highly regarded by psychedelic collectors. After releasing a rare EP on a tiny local label in 1967, the band signed with Capitol and released their self-titled debut the following year. Perhaps the most ominous San Francisco band of the time, the group often sounded like an extremely dark version of Quicksilver Messenger Service with a bit of Country Joe & the Fish's minor-key melodies thrown in. Their material veered between drawn-out angst jams and frenetic numbers, spotlighting David Robinson's shimmering, blistering guitar leads and leader/songwriter Lawrence Hammond's mournful, quavering vocals. Unpredictably, their second and last LP (1969's Paradise Bar & Grill) found the band drifting into laid-back country-rock with less memorable results.
The band chills out considerably here, largely eschewing the creeps for lazing-by-the-country-stream picking. Laurence Hammond's vocals are still uniquely pained, and cuts like "Equinox" and "Academy Cemetery" show traces of their facility for haunting guitar lines, but it doesn't come close to the impact of their debut. Countercultural hero Richard Brautigan makes an appearance on "Love's No Way to Treat a Friend." AMG.

listen here


Post a Comment

Popular Posts