Friday, April 10, 2009

"Squirt gunfights in the dark, shrieks from the kitchen"

“Possessed people, reaching a once-distant goal, almost close enough now to touch. Squirt gunfights in the dark, shrieks from the kitchen, Brookey-poo down the hall. Nights in hotels, endless bars, a year and a half getting tight; now the precious moments on stage, when all is right and their music is real and we all become sound an electricity for a too-soon ended instant. The road home is dark and lonely. Few make it.”

– Robert Rouse (From the liner Notes of 'Country Funk')

Lets get this outta the way right off the bat. The record is neither country, nor funk. It ain't even Funktry, which is strange concidering I just made the word up (Surfabilly anyone?). Rural-Psych is another classification which I've heard bandied about, but that makes even less sense. What it is, consequently, is a heavy hybrid. Accustic and fuzz-ladden in the same breath. This 1970 release is both the debut and swansong these LA vagabonds . Overly sentimental, but w/ a little crack of doom, it certainly is a strange cross-polinization in the Moby-Grape kinda vein. Apparently Beck sampled this LP on the Odelay album. Confirm, or deny!?

"Oftentimes when a new group comes out, people pay attention to the wrong things. A group's music is frequently ignored and too much importance is placed on irrelevancies. The color of Country Funk's collective eyes or if they dig pizza and ice cream really don't matter. What matters is that they are into music and music has brought them together.

In the spring of '68 the group, consisting of Hal Paris, Adam Taylor, Joe Pfeifer and Jeff Lockwood, headed for the West Coast to cut an album and take it from there. This was a reunion for Hal and Adam, because they had been together in a group back in the eighth grade and at different times later in their careers. After some rehearsing they auditioned at Kaleidoscope. Amps blew, tempers flew, there was trouble with the p.a. and the audition flopped. Some weeks later they did a stint of five weeks at Gazzari's on the Strip in the summer of '68.

Autumn came and the group broke up; Hal and Adam stayed in Hollywood, trying to get a new thing going. A formidable song-writing team, the nucleus of COUNTRY FUNK, was formed. They found James Lanham through an ad in Wallach's Music City and began rehearsing with Joe Pfeifer. A week before their first gig Joe split and Verne Johnson, whom they met through the Union, took over the drums. They came to Vermont in the winter of '68 to play the ski clubs. When they left, Verne had split and Joe was back. Then it was off to Amherst to play the Woodrose Ballroom. This started the group giving concerts and led to Cambridge for the summer of '69, where they soon became part of the Boston scene. Ray Paret of Amphion Productions put them on the road back to L.A. and the Record Plant to produce their debut album on Polydor. While it was being cut, Joe split again and Verne, who was floating, came back to the Funk, bringing all the original members together once more.

With the release of their first album, COUNTRY FUNK stood the way it started: with Adam Taylor playing lead guitar, Hal Paris on piano and rhythm guitar, Jim Lanham playing bass and steel guitar, and Verne Johnson playing drums and jews harp. They are together and from here, let their music speak for them."

- original press release, 1970

When I'm Without You - Country Funk

Poor Boy - Country Funk

Apart of Me - Country Funk

No comments: