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Plain and Fancy

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

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Riverson - Riverson (1973 canada, folk psych, west coast style harmonies with incisive guitar to magical effect, Kismet 2012 reissue)

Riverson were a short-lived folk, psych band from Montreal, Quebec. They fortunately left us with one hell of an album and three 45's in very limited quantities and all are highly sought after. The album cracks my top 100 Canadian albums of all time. Due to the high quality, amazing lineup of talent, and rarity, the value of this record has been steadily increasing over the past 20 years - now a NM copy will set you back about $400-$500 if you can find one. A sealed copy sold for $320 back in '03. That copy has likely doubled in value.

The gatefold album was released on Columbia ES 90136 in 1973 and was accompanied by "Clear Night b/w Winter Garden" on Columbia C4-3077; "Eleanor Rigby b/w Can't Live Without You" on Columbia C4-3093; and "Sittin' - Waitin' b/w Chances" on Columbia C4-4003; the latter featuring two non-album tracks. All album tracks were original tunes, except for the one Beatle cover.

The band members were Frankie Hart (Freedom North, Life) on piano, acoustic guitar, recorder, lead vocals on "Can't Live Without You"; Rayburn Blake (Mashmakhan) on Acoustic guitar, electric guitar, banjo, lead vocals on "Clear Night"; Brian Edwards (Mashmakhan) on bass, lead vocals on "Stoney Day" and "Between the Lines"; and Graham Lear (Santana, Paris Black, Truck, Paul Anka, REO Speedwagon) on drums. Raymond Blake was with the Quebec band Le Triangle and released a rare 45 picture sleeve in the mid 1960's entitled "2 Miroirs b/w Les Montagnes Russes" on Gamma AA-1042. Both Rayburne Blake and Brian Edwards played and released "Transition" on Polydor 2424 071 with Cliff Edwards (member of the Five Bells) in the same year as the Riverson album, 1973. Rayburn Blake then went on to record with the Lisa Hartt Band, releasing "Starwatcher" on Rising RRLP 104 in 1976.

The Riverson album was produced by John Williams. It was recorded at Manta Studios in Toronto, Ontario. The engineer was Lee de Carlo. Produced by Riverson and Lee de Carlo. Management was Terry Flood. The album design was by Bob Lemm Promotional Agency Inc. The cover was by Freeman Patterson / Inside - Junior Brunet.

Enjoy this critical piece of our Canadian musical history.
by Robert Williston

1. Clear Night (Rayburn Blake) - 3:06
2. Winter Garden (Brian Edwards) - 3:19
3. Eleanor Rigby (John Lennon, Paul McCartney) - 4:14
4. I'll Be There (Brian Edwards) - 3:15
5. Empty Sky (Rayburn Blake, Brian Edwards, Franki Hart) - 4:31
6. Take Me (Rayburn Blake) - 2:55
7. Stoney Day (Brian Edwards) - 4:28
8. Between the Lines (Brian Edwards) - 4:10
9. Can't Live Without You (Franki Hart) - 3:07
10.Medallion Castle (Brian Edwards) - 4:27
11.Hermit Glen (Rayburn Blake) - 3:06
12.Sittin' Waitin' - 3:41
13.Chances - 2:21

*Franki Hart - Vocals
*Rayburn Blake - Guitar
*Brian Edwards - Bass
*Graham Lear - Drums

Free Text
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Hajul Ellah said...

This is harder to find than hair on a billiard ball. Thanks, Marios!

George S. said...

Many thanks Marios.

kobilica said...

Excelent album.Wonderful rare music.Many thanks"MARIOS"...

lmelis said...

Excellent post as always Marios.
Thank you!

Laurent said...

I hope you aren't able to read in my mind, Marios, because i was thinking to this cd reissue not earlier than this morning, after seeing it on a list of one of my record dealers. Another very fine album reissued by the Kismet label, that reminds me CSN&Y at his best.
Many Thanks for the sharing, Marios.
PS: if anyone have any information about the group "Taos" (US 1970), perhaps the same genre, even if i have no idea of what kind of music is it.

adamus67 said...

Both sides of their first two 45s also figure on their album. This was recorded at Manta Studios, Toronto. The band shared production duties with Lee De Carlo. Musically they conjure up a laid back West Coast sorta sound with nice folky tunes and alternative female/male vocals. Buffalo Springfield meets Jefferson Airplane, though it's not in the same class. Leaving aside a pretty dreadful cover of Lennon-McCartney's Eleanor Rigby, Edwards contributes four originals, Blake three, Hart one and all three combined to pen Empty Sky, which is notable for some good ringing guitar work. Edwards' Between The Lines culminates in some fine thrusting guitar playing and Franki Hart plays the recorder to good effect on Edwards' Medallion Castle. There are very few weak tracks and if this folky-based harmony pop is your scene you could enjoy this.
Marios...thanks for sharing it.
P.S.@Laurent:info Taos,sent to your e-mail

guinea pig said...

Thanks. Nice.

Marios said...

Hi Laurent,
Taos (New Mexico band) yes their sound is close to Riverson, but more varied styles, from country influences with a use of banjo etc., to like Beach Boys harmonies, and sunshine accents, it is in queue for the next days.
Thank you.

Laurent said...

@Adamus & Marios: Thanks for your info.
PS: There's a mistake on back cover on Riverson, there's is 13 tracks, not 14 (bonus tracks is not a track).

Unknown said...

Please let me know about the reissue.Is it ok? You know,sound,original artwork,add lines ann pics.Whatever.Thanks in advance.

Marios said...

Hi Unknown,
yes it's a very good reissue, excellent sound, front and back page and inner cover with pics by the band and informations.

Laurent said...

@Adamus: for sure it's not the same level than Jefferson Airplane, but nothing can be as good than Jefferson Airplane.

@Unknown: this album is great, the sound is perfect (as often with U.K. cd reissues, official or not), and the artwork made is excellent, even if of course can't be compared with the original LP cover. But when you see currently the price of a original copy in a near mint condition,see here:
, perhaps that you choose to dl. or purchase this reissue.
Thanks again, Marios.

Miles said...


Thanks for continually introducing me to older recordings that I seem to have missed on their 1st time around. This one a a keeper.