Archive for Charlie Daniels

Your Sister’s (Record) Rack: The Youngbloods

Posted in Rock Classics! with tags , , , on April 26, 2010 by 30daysout

Diggin’ around in my sister’s record collection today, I found a forgotten classic by one of the best bands of the 1960s.   The album is Elephant Mountain, from the Youngbloods, which came out in 1969.  The Youngbloods were the folk-rock band from California that many people compared (then and now) to the Lovin’ Spoonful – a likeable rock group with strong, radio-friendly songs.

The ‘Bloods came out of the Northeast in 1967 with a self-titled debut that contained the song “Get Together,” the well-worn hippy-dippy brotherly love anthem.  Upon its initial release, it only struggled to about No. 62 on the pop charts.  Two years later, the Youngbloods were a trio after founding member Jerry Corbitt left, and the band had moved its base of operations to the Bay Area.

Jesse Colin Young was the band’s lead singer, bass player and main songwriter, Lowell “Banana” Levinger was a multi-instrumentalist who mainly played guitar and piano and drummer Joe Bauer could play jazz.  After lead guitarist Corbitt left in early 1969, Levinger moved over to electric guitar.

The songs on Elephant Mountain put a polished pop-rock sheen on the jam-till-you-drop vibe shared by many of the era’s Bay Area bands.  Young knew his way around a hook, and one grabs you right off with the great “Darkness, Darkness,” which opens the album.   Opening with the ominous strains of a fiddle over an acoustic guitar, “Darkness” is probably the Youngbloods’ best moment on record.  The song certainly is a Sixties classic, perhaps because many soldiers in Vietnam shared the song’s sentiments of hope fighting off fear by embracing the darkness.

Continue reading