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Plain and Fancy

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Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Rich Mountain Tower - Rich Mountain Tower (1971 us, magnificent folk psych country rock, 2014 issue)



"Rich Mountain Tower's debut self-titled album, released in the fall of 1971, combines southern rock with acoustic ballads and psychedelic flourishes to create a sound well ahead of its time. Originally issued in quadrophonic sound, it's a superb recording that shows just what a fine and underrated band this Tennessee quintet was.

Really, though, these folks are mainly anchored in psychedelic folk, with a driving, rock rhythm and lots of jangly guitars and Southern-style slide balancing out the nascent twang. The lyrics are very hippie-dippie and diffuse, spacy, celebratory stuff about being alive and in nature, sung in airy harmonies with pedal steel an 12-string guitar providing sweet counterpoint -- all in all, a very Byrds-y sound. 

A few Nashville studio pros were brought in to beef up the band's sound -- Charlie McCoy lays down a few hot harmonica riffs, and steel player Weldon Myrick adds gorgeous accompaniment throughout. There's not a lot on here that I would call "country," as opposed to rock, and a few songs may get irritating if you're just in search of country sounds, although for psych/folk-freak fans this record is a real treat. A mixed bag, but a great document of its time. 


Tracks
1. Uncle Bob White - 5:08
2. Circle Sky Moon Mix (Randy Haspel, Tom McNamee) - 4:14
3. Thank You, Maggie - 3:47
4. If You Don't Look Back (Randy Haspel) - 3:13
5. Our Passage Home - 3:37
6. He Ain't Got No Color, Boys (Bob Tuccillo, Dana Paul, David Carr, Sandy Garrett) - 4:06
7. Song Of The Sea - 2:54
8. The Same Thing Applies To Me That Applies To You - 3:51
9. One Last Farewell - 2:39
10.Marie - 2:32
All songs by Dana Paul except where stated.

The Rich Mountain Tower
*Dana Paul - 12 String Guitar, Keyboards, Lead Vocals, Harmonica
*David Carr - Lead Guitar, Acoustic Guitar
*Sandy Garrett - Bass, Vocals
*Randy Haspel - Guitar, Vocals
*Bob Tuccillo - Drums, Percussion
Additional Musicians
*Lamonte "Skip" Ousley - Congas, Percussion
*Charlie McCoy - Harmonica
*John "Hoffy" Hoffmann - Banjo
*Sonny Pitman - Bass
*Weldon Myrick - Steel Guitar
*Don Tweedy - Moog Synthesizer, String Arrangements

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