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Get Together: The Youngbloods Reissued, Mick Fleetwood Visited By George Harrison, Peter Green On Wounded Bird

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Wounded Bird may fly a bit under the radar, but over the past couple of months, the no-frills reissue specialists have recently restored to catalogue well over 30 titles of interest across multiple genres!  For jazz fans, Wounded Bird has offerings from George Benson (1976’s compilation Benson Burner), Airto Moreira (1978’s Touching You…Touching Me, which alas, doesn’t have a Neil Diamond cover on it!), Ramsey Lewis (1974’s Solar Wind) and Maynard Ferguson (1981 compilation Maynard).  If you’re in the mood for some country, eight of Willie Nelson’s classic RCA albums have been reissued on four two-fers: Country Music Concert/The Willie Way, My Own Way/Minstrel Man, Before His Time/Angel Eyes and Make Way for Willie Nelson/My Own Peculiar Way.  If edgy political satire is the order of the day, you could hardly do better than this quartet of releases from The Fugs:  1967’s Tenderness Junction, 1968’s It Crawled Into My Hand, Honest, and 1969’s Golden Filth and The Belle of Avenue A.  The releases truly are an eclectic lot, with more titles from Redbone, The Bay City Rollers, David Essex and Mary Kay Place.  Among this batch are many releases from the RCA vaults, including Mick Fleetwood’s guest-packed 1981 effort The Visitor, and This is The Youngbloods, the 1972 two-album set from the band best known for “Let’s Get Together.”

During 1981, drummer and band namesake Mick Fleetwood became the third member of Fleetwood Mac to release a solo album, following both Stevie Nicks and Lindsey Buckingham.  For The Visitor, however, Fleetwood would travel far beyond the confines of Los Angeles.  Fleetwood journeyed to Ghana in the early months of the year, setting up camp at the Ghana Film Industries Studio.   Despite the locale, though, Fleetwood brought his background in rock and blues to the album.  Fleetwood, bassist George Hawkins and guitarist Todd Sharp were joined there by musicians including percussionist Lord Tiki and vocalist Ebaali Gbiko, as well as two groups.  Vocals and percussion were contributed by the Adjo Group and The Ghana Folklore Group. Also on hand were guitarists Todd Sharp and bassist George Hawkins.

The Visitor may be most notable today, however, for its guest appearances.  Founding member of Fleetwood Mac Peter Green emerged from the shadows to re-record “Rattlesnake Shake,” a song which originated in 1969 on the Mac’s third studio album, Then Play On.  Even more attention-grabbing might have been the presence of George Harrison, armed with his usual slide guitar as well as a 12-string.  Harrison contributed guitars and backing vocals to “Walk a Thin Line,” the Lindsey Buckingham song which had just appeared on 1979’s Fleetwood Mac epic Tusk.  The Visitor, released on RCA Records, scored a respectable No. 43 placement on the Billboard chart.

C’mon, people now, hit the jump for a look at the Youngbloods, plus track listings for both titles!

The Youngbloods’ most famous song almost didn’t make it.  The band’s cover of Dino Valenti’s “Get Together” (“C’mon, people now, smile on your brother/Everybody get together and love one another/Right now!”) was recorded in 1967, and the Youngbloods were just one of the bands to tackle the song.  Despite being tailor-made for the flower power generation, it was actually introduced in 1964 by the Kingston Trio and subsequently tackled by We Five and Jefferson Airplane on record, and even by Joni Mitchell and Judy Collins in concert.  The Youngbloods’ single only reached No. 62 upon its release in 1967, but it had an unexpected resurgence when The National Conference of Christians and Jews chose it for a radio public service announcement in 1969.  RCA re-released the track that year, at the height of the psychedelic era, and its call for brotherhood struck a resonant note.  This time, “Get Together” climbed to the Top 5 and became one of the 1960s’ most recognizable and beloved recordings.

In 1972, RCA Records released a two-record set compiling the best of the Youngbloods’ oeuvre, drawn from the albums The Youngbloods (1967), Earth Music (1967) and Elephant Mountain (1969).  Its 20 tracks still make it a comprehensive survey of this early period in the band’s history, and it has a number of track deviations from its closest modern equivalent, the 21-track Get Together: The Essential Youngbloods (RCA/BMG Heritage 07863 65117-2, 2002).  You’ll hear the sweet sounds of lead singer Jesse Colin Young and guitarist/vocalist Jerry Corbitt; as one Rolling Stone critic wrote, their vocal blend gave “the impression that only one person is singing.”  Producer Felix Pappalardi (Cream, Mountain) helped hone the band members’ sound on their first two albums, a synthesis of folk, rock, blues and country.  The Youngbloods’ third album, though, is largely considered the band’s best.  Elephant Mountain was produced by a pre-“Devil Went Down to Georgia” Charlie Daniels, and impressed no less a thorny eminence than Lester Bangs with its widescreen canvas taking in styles as diverse as FM rock and even bossa nova of the Brasil ’66 variety!  Unfortunately, it marked a parting of the ways between Young and Corbitt; the latter man left the band, leaving Young to soldier on with Joe Bauer on drums and Lowell “Banana” Levinger III on piano.  The Youngbloods followed their stint at RCA by setting up an imprint at Warner Bros., but the unit only remained together until 1972, at which point this compilation was originally released as a retrospective.

Both The Visitor and This is the Youngbloods are in stores now from Wounded Bird Records.

Mick Fleetwood, The Visitor (RCA LP AFL1-4080, 1981 – reissued Wounded Bird, 2011)

  1. Rattlesnake
  2. You Weren’t In Love
  3. O’Niamali
  4. Super Brains
  5. Don’t Be Sorry, Just be happy
  6. Walk A Thin Line
  7. Not Fade Away
  8. Cassiopeia Surrender
  9. The Visitor
  10. Amelle (Come On Show Me Your Heart)

The Youngbloods, This is the Youngbloods (RCA LP VPS-6051, 1972 – reissued Wounded Bird, 2011)

  1. Get Together
  2. The Wine Song
  3. C.C. Rider
  4. Fool Me
  5. Tears Are Falling
  6. Grizzly Bear
  7. Beautiful
  8. Monkey Business
  9. Don’t Let The Rain Get You Down
  10. All Over The World (La-La)
  11. Sunlight
  12. Quicksand
  13. The Other Side Of This Life
  14. All My Dreams Blue
  15. Darkness, Darkness
  16. Euphoria
  17. Don’t Play Games
  18. Sugar Babe
  19. Smug
  20. Ride The Wind

Written by Joe Marchese

November 16, 2011 at 10:49

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