Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Hearts and Flowers - Now Is The Time For (1967)


Όπως έχω γράψει και άλλες φορές, οι Ελληνικές εταιρείες δίσκων πριν από 20 χρόνια, παρατηρώντας το σκηνικό που γινόταν με τις παράνομες ανατυπώσεις, ξέθαβαν ότι τυχών είχαν στα δικαιώματα τους και το ανατύπωναν για να είναι μες τη μόδα. Κάπως έτσι εμφανίστηκε από το πουθενά και ο δίσκος των Hearts and Flowers που βλέπεται στην φωτογραφία. Βέβαια επειδή ήξεραν ότι απευθύνονται σε άρρωστους δεν έδιναν καμία απολύτως σημασία σε διάφορα πράγματα. Όποιος για παράδειγμα έχει το δίσκο ας δει με προσοχή το οπισθόφυλλο και ας μου πει τι παρατηρεί.

Εδώ λοιπόν έχουμε ένα κράμα Αμερικάνικης folk και country διανθισμένο με αρκετές μελωδικές στιγμές, που συνθέτουν ένα πολύ ευχάριστο δίσκο. Ομολογώ πως τον άκουγα για χρόνια κυρίως όταν ήθελα ηρεμία. Θα ξεχωρίσω το πανέμορφο Road To Nowhere αλλά θα ακούσουμε και μία πραγματικά όμορφη εκτέλεση του Please, των αξεπέραστων και αγαπημένων μου Kaleidoscope (USA) που θα πρέπει σύντομα να βρω χρόνο να ανεβάσω.

Personnel:
RICK CUNHA vcls A
DAVE DAWSON gtr, vcls A B C
LARRY MURRAY gtr, vcls A B C
TERRY PAUL B
DAN WOODY B
BERNIE LEADON gtr C

ALBUMS:
1(A) NOW IS THE TIME FOR HEARTS AND FLOWERS (Capitol ST-2762) 1967
2(C) OF HORSES, KIDS AND FORGOTTEN WOMEN (Capitol ST-2868) 1968
NB: (1) and (2) reissued by Bam Caruso in 1986.

45s:
1 Please/The View From Ward 3 (Capitol P-5897) 1967
2 She Sang Hymns Out Of Tune/Tin Angel (Capitol P-2167) 1968
3 Road To Nowhere/Rock And Roll Gypsies (Capitol P-5829) 19??

An excellent and still underrated group from Los Angeles, Hearts and Flowers produced two albums mixing folk rock with Californian harmonies and country folk.
Born in Weycross, Georgia, Larry Murray moved to Los Angeles in the late fifties and joined the Scottsville Squirrel Barkers, one of the several Bluegrass groups playing the Southern California circuit. The personnel of the Barkers fluctuated and included future Byrd Chris Hillman, Kenny Wertz and Bernie Leadon. The group disbanded in 1962 after releasing an album for the Crown label, Bluegrass Favorites, which is now extremely rare.

Murray temporarily retired from the music scene, became a TV actor and worked at the Troubadour Club in L.A.. In 1965 he met a folk/rock duo formed of David Dawson and Rick Cunha and they started working together and playing live without a drummer. They secured a deal with Capitol and their first album was released in June 1967. Masterfully produced by Nick Venet (Fred Neil, Stone Poneys, Euphoria, Mad River), Now Is The Time For Hearts And Flowers is a real gem. The choice of material is outstanding, with excellent covers of Tim Hardin's Reason To Believe, Hoyt Axton's 10,000 Sunsets, Carole King's Road To Nowhere and Donovan's Try For The Sun, plus two songs of contemporary groups: Please, the Kaleidoscope song and Rock And Roll Gypsies by Gypsy Trips. Their original songs were penned by Murray, Cunha and Marty Cooper. The vocals are brilliant and Venet added some good production tricks, with some effects, violin and electric bass.
The sales were unfortunately extremely poor and Capitol decided to give them a push: two new members, Terry Paul and Dan Woody, were drafted to reinforce their live impact and a promotion campaign began at the end of 1967; with limited results.

Murray and Dawson started working on their second album. Cunha, Paul and Woody left and Bernie Leadon arrived. Of Horses, Kids and Forgotten Woman was released in July 1968 and got the same results as the first album: critical acclaim but low sales. It notably contains She Sang Hymns Out Of Tune, a song originally recorded (but not released) by Jesse Lee Kincaid with the Rising Sons.
Due to their lack of success, the group disbanded and their records sank into obscurity before being rediscovered in the mid-eighties by Bam Caruso.
Larry Murray went on to record a good country folk/rock album, Sweet Country Suite (Verve Forecast FTS 3090) 1969, with backing by Swampwater, Paul Parrish, JD Souther and two Nitty Gritty members, Fadden and McEuen). He also worked with Kris Kristofferson and Jessi Colter in the early seventies. Rick Cunha would later work with Linda Ronstadt, have a career as a songwriter and sesion man and also released two decent country rock albums: Cunha Songs (GRC GA 5004) 1973, with Dave Dawson and Moving Pictures (CBS ) 1977.
Compilation appearances include: Rock 'N' Roll Gypsies on Nuggets, Vol. 10 (LP) and Rock A Delics (LP).
(Stephane Rebeschini/George Gimarc)

Tracks:
1. Now Is The Time
2. Save Some Time
3. Try For The Sun
4. Rain Rain
5. The View From Ward Three
6. Rock & Rock Gypsies
7. Reason To Believe
8. Please
9. 1-2-3 Rhyme In Carnivore Thyme
10. I'm A Lonesome Fugitive
11. Road To Nowhere
12. 10000 Sunsets

1 comment:

leno said...

great music from these guys. somehow i missed them the first time around, but recently got to hear this album, and wow, it's really good.! Great post.