Sunday, April 27, 2014

The Electric Flag ‎– A Long Time Comin' 1968

Writer Jeff Tamarkin says "ex Butterfield Band guitarist Mike Bloomfield, drummer Buddy Miles, and others put this soul-rock band together in 1967. This debut is a testament to their ability to catch fire and keep on burnin'." That The Electric Flag do so well -- they appeared at the Monterey International Pop Festival with the Blues Project, Paul Butterfield, and Janis Joplin, and all these groups had some musical connection to each other beyond that pivotal festival. A Long Time Comin' is the "new soul" described appropriately enough by the late critic Lillian Roxon, and tunes like "She Should Have Just" and "Over-Lovin' You" lean more towards the soul side than the pop so many radio listeners were attuned to back then.

Nick Gravenites was too much of a purist to ride his blues on the Top 40 the way Felix Cavaliere gave us "Groovin'," so Janis Joplin's eventual replacement in Big Brother & the Holding Company, Gravenites, and this crew pour out "Groovin' Is Easy" on this disc. It's a classy production, intellectual ideas with lots of musical changes, a subdued version of what Joplin herself would give us on I Got Dem Ole Kozmic Blues Again, Mama two years later, with some of that album written by vocalist Gravenites. Though launched after Al Kooper's the Blues Project, A Long Time Comin' itself influenced bands who would go on to sell more records. In the traditional "Wine," it is proclaimed "you know Janis Joplin, she'll tell you all about that wine, baby." As good as the album is, though, the material is pretty much composed by Mike Bloomfield and Barry Goldberg, when they're not covering Howlin' Wolf's "Killing Floor" and adding spoken-word news broadcasts to the mix. More contributions by Buddy Miles and Gravenites in the songwriting department would have been welcome here.

Tracklist

01 Killing Floor
02 Groovin' Is Easy
03 Over Lovin' You
04 She Shoul Have just
05 Wine
06 Texas
07 Sittin' in Circles
08 You Don't Realize
09 Another Country
10 Easy Rider
11 Sunny
12 Mistery
13 Look into my Eyes
14 Going down Slow

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