tisdag 6 juni 2017

Hearts and Flowers - Now is The Time For (US 1967)

270:- (24-Bit Limited Remaster Edition, US 1967 (Album som gavs ut av Capitol Records 1967. Låter ungefär som The Byrds, mkt välgjort och välljudande album. Har nu givits ut av "Pink Pink Records, Korea.)

This debut album is an overlooked precursor to country-rock, echoing the late-'60s Byrds, Stone Poneys, Gene Clark, and most especially, as Brian Hogg points out in his lengthy liner notes, the Dillards. Earnest vocals and conscientious harmonies on this subdued, acoustic, and countrified take on folk-rock, with mild Eastern/psychedelic dabs of autoharp. The songs mix original tunes with covers of Donovan, Tim Hardin, Hoyt Axton, Kaleidoscope, and Carole King. There's little to criticize, but it lacks the innovative spark that characterizes the best folk-rock of the time.

Hearts and Flowers were one of the most eclectic groups on the Southern California folk-rock scene in the '60s, skewing more to the folk side of the equation and often adding flourishes of psychedelia and, most importantly, bluegrass and country music. The group was founded by guitarist Larry Murray, a Georgia native who had come to California in the late '50s and played with a bluegrass group called the Scottsville Squirrel Barkers. At various points, the Barkers' membership included Chris Hillman and Bernie Leadon, and they recorded a rare album for Crown in 1962 before breaking up. Murray went on to play in several other bands, including another one with Hillman called the Green Grass Group, before forming Hearts and Flowers with vocalist/guitarist Dave Dawson and vocalist Rick Cunha, who had worked together as a folk duo in Hawaii. 

The trio played the Los Angeles club scene, sometimes by themselves, sometimes with a rhythm section, and eventually landed a deal with Capitol. Their debut album, Now Is the Time for Hearts and Flowers, was released in 1967 and echoed work by the Byrds, the Stone Poneys, and the Dillards. Its eclectic originals and wide-ranging taste in covers meant that it didn't sell very well, however, and at Capitol's urging, the group underwent an overhaul, adding Terry Paul and Dan Woody to flesh out their live sound, though both left before the group completed its second album. So too did Cunha, who was replaced on guitar by Leadon. The group's sophomore effort, Of Horses, Kids and Forgotten Women, was released in 1968 and featured more elements of pop and psychedelia than their debut, in spite of the fact that the band had taken to playing folk-rock arrangements of country tunes almost exclusively at their live shows. Of Horses didn't sell either, and the group disbanded not long afterward. Murray and Cunha both went on to release solo country-rock albums.

01. Now Is The Time (Larry Murray)  01:28
02. Save Some Time (Marty Cooper)  02:40
03. Try For The Sun (Donovan Leitich)  02:42
04. Rain, Rain (Larry Murray)  02:33
05. The View From Ward 3 (Marty Cooper)  03:00
06. Rock & Roll Gypsies (Roger Tillison)  02:20
07. Reason To Believe (Tim Hardin)  02:10
08. Please (Mark Freedman/David Feldthouse)  03:00
09. 1-2-3 Rhyme In Carnivour Thyme (Rick Cunha)  02:10
10. I'm A Lonesome Fugitive (Liz Anderson-Casey Anderson)  02:45
11. Road To Nowhere (Gerry Goffin-Carole King)  03:28
12. 10,000 Sunsets (Hoyt Axton)  02:33