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Plain and Fancy

"I hope for nothing, I fear nothing, I am free"

Monday, June 6, 2011

Ashes - Ashes (1965-71 us, marvellous psychedelic folk rock with essential female vocals)

The Ashes were a folk-rock group formed in 1965 that included John Merrill (guitar/ vocals), Alan Brackett (bass/ vocals), Barbara Robison (vocals), Spencer Dryden (drums) and Jim Cherniss (guitar/ vocals). Before they were known as the Ashes, the group called themselves the Young Swingers and released two long lost 45s under that name: "Love Her Every Day" b/w "Or Else You'll Cry" (Courtney 746) and "Let's Take Our Love" b/w "The Winds Up High" (Portafino 901) .

From the summer of 1965 up until May of 1966, the Ashes served as the house band at a club in Santa Monica called the Waleback. They released their first single under their new moniker in 1966: "Is There Anything I Can Do?" b/w "Every Little Prayer" (Vault 924). The a-side was written by Jackie DeShannon and featured a fine lead vocal from Barbara Robison. This 45, along with its follow-up "Dark on You Now" b/w "Roses Gone" (Vault 936), also appeared on the 1967 compilation WEST COAST LOVE-IN (Vault 7980). Around the time of the first Ashes single, Spencer Dryden left to replace Skip Spence in Jefferson Airplane. Jim Cherniss also exited the group at this time.

 With the addition of two new members, the band was transformed into the Peanut Butter Conspiracy, who of course recorded two albums for Columbia in 1967. John Merrill resurrected Ashes in late 1968, around the same time that Alan Brackett was working on the tracks that would ultimately constitute the PBC's FOR CHILDREN OF ALL AGES album. The new Ashes recorded their debut LP for Vault Records that year; it stands today as a staple of the collector's market, routinely fetching $50 or more on eBay. The album also featured singer Pat Taylor standing in for Barbara Robison (who could not appear on the record due to contractual obligations). The LP's release was delayed until 1970, while two songs from the record-- "Homeward Bound" b/w "Sleeping Serenade" (Vault 975)-- were issued as a 45 in 1971.
by Jason Penick

1. Gone To Sorrow (Jackson Browne) - 3:07
2. Sleeping Serenade (John Merrill) - 2:48
3. Homeward Bound (Paul Simon) - 2:34
4. Sands of Love (John Merrill) - 2:18
5. My Life Has Changed (John Merrill) - 3:14
6. Return Home (Alan Brackett) - 2:23
7. Her Invention (John Merrill) - 2:14
8. Look Around Rock (Penny Nichols) - 2:34
9. The Now (John Merrill) - 2:52
10.Rainbows (John Merrill) - 2:17
11.Simple Complexities (John Merrill) - 2:06

*Al Brackett - Bass, Vocals (1965-)
*Jim Cherniss - Guitar, Vocals (1965-66)
*Spencer Dryden - Drums (1965-66)
*John Merrill - Guitar, Vocals (1965-)
*Barbara Robison (aka Sandi Robison, aka Sandi Peanut Butter) - Vocals (1965-66)
*Pat Taylor - Vocals (1968-)
*Jim Voight - Drums (1968-)

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Mr. Clem said...

Marios, this sounds quite interesting. Thanks for the share.

Jamie (tacobueno) said...

Thank you very much! Pre-Peanut Butter Conspiracy + Spencer Dryden - cool!

cudawaver said...

All I've known from this line-up are the tracks contained on the "Spreading From the Ashes" compilation. Thanks for this essential music Marios!

reichea said...

The download link is not working. Can another link be set up? This is an essential addition to the collection of anyone who is interested in this genre of music and groups. Thanks very much!

Marios said...


reichea said...

Thank you very much, Marios!