The Youngbloods "Elephant Mountain" (RCA, 1969)
Like their East Coast counterparts, John Sebastian and the Lovin' Spoonful, Jesse Colin Young and the Youngbloods were a psychedelicized hippie jug band that successfully wed their folk music roots with a profound pop savvy. Their peace and love anthem, "Get Together," was a chartbuster in the Fall of '69 (and remains a staple of classic rock radio to this day), and having scored a Top Ten hit, these San Fran-based Boston expatriates became a hot item at the dawn of the new decade. They signed with the counterculture-identified Warner Records, with a deal that gave them creative control over the albums on their newly-formed Raccoon imprint, and this cleverly-titled, spacy live album was their first release. Yeah, maybe it wasn't the commercial success the Warner suits hoped for, but it sure shows the band in fine form. Their country-roots side is largely subsumed to a mellow space-jazz/jam band style, all full of love and peace vibes. Anchored by Lowell "Banana" Levinger's dreamy keyboards, the group grooves through several of their best-known songs, as well as other, loosely-formed new tunes -- perhaps as professional and competent as hippie rockers got, back in the day. Those who, on principle, hate hippie-stoner bands will find plenty to roll their eyes about here, but anyone with an open mind, and an ear for starry-eyed, rambling melodies, will find this quite pleasant.
The Youngbloods "Ride The Wind" (Warner/Raccoon, 1971)
The Youngbloods "Good And Dusty" (Warner/Raccoon, 1971)
The Youngbloods "High On A Ridge Top" (Warner/Raccoon, 1972)
The Youngbloods "Beautiful: Live In San Francisco" (Sundazed, 2005)
A live set from 1971 that tilts towards the rock end of the spectrum... Recorded for the legendary freeform FM station, KSAN, which stood at the heart of the SF Bay Area hippie counterculture.
The Youngbloods "Get Together: The Essential Youngbloods" (RCA, 2002)
A collection of their early stuff, posing the eternal question: where do these guys fit in? Should I really include them in a survey of hippie-era alt-country artists? Oh, why not... After all, their first chart hit was the twangy, goofball "Grizzly Bear," which is still as catchy now as it was back then... There's plenty of electrified rock on here, too, but twangfans might wanna check it out anyway.
Hick Music Index