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Plain and Fancy

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

Saturday, February 22, 2014

Homestead And Wolfe - Our Times, The Gold Star Tapes (1973-75 us, extraordinary spiritual folk psych harmonies)

Originally released in 1975, Homestead & Wolfe's lone and unknown privately pressed LP is an artifact so lost to time, it has never appeared in any discography, list of rare records, or catalog, anywhere. However, exist it does, and now their story can be told.

This has been re-released by Anopheles Records has sat tight lipped on this discovery for the last year while researching and preparing this reissue from the original master tapes and with full cooperation of the group. Homestead & Wolfe was a folk-harmony group based around the United Methodist Good Samaritan Church in Cupertino, CA (near San Jose). Comprised of two female lead vocalists, one male lead vocalist, and buttressed with superb male and female harmonies throughout, H&W performed original material in a rich, melodic folk-rock-country style that is well executed, as well as earnest and personal. 

The patriarch, producer and lyricist of the group, Ernie Bringas, had dabbled in the record biz as one of two founding members of the "surf hot rod" early 1960s vocal duo, the Rip Chords, before leaving the music business to attend seminary school. As a Minister of Youth and master planner and motivator at Good Sam from 1969-75, Bringas assembled and encouraged this ensemble of counselors and students, eventually offering them an opportunity to record an album and have a shot at "making it" as artists. He gave them the ultimate "leg up" in the business, producing this finely crafted recording using his old Hollywood connections.

These 15 tracks were recorded at the legendary Gold Star Studios in Hollywood between 1973-75. Engineered by Stan Ross, these recordings feature top flight studio musicianship from legendary "wrecking crew" drummer Hal Blaine, guitarist Ben Benay (Goldenrod, Darius), acoustic guitarist Al Casey, monster bass player Ray Pohlman, not to mention one of the world's most renowned and respected pedal steel guitar players, Jay Dee Maness (Buck Owens, the Byrds' Sweetheart of the Rodeo LP). The harmonies and arrangements of H&W recall both the Mamas and the Papas and the Carpenters at times, but much of the music deals with darker themes: the story of Wounded Knee told in "See The Children Die", the organ fueled psychedelia of "Your Freedom's In Question", aimed at the Nixon administration at the time, remains apropos today, and recalls the work of Growing Concern, Birmingham Sunday, and Art of Lovin'.

There are plenty of surprises here, as we located 6 unreleased tracks to augment the 9 tracks on the original album, including the startlingly great and dynamic cut, "Beat of the Drum", which sounds as if the Bangles were hired to front Goldenrod for a one off single. The full color 16 page booklet tells the story in their own words, features images of the touring group and recording sessions at Gold Star, and maintains the high standard of archival work Anopheles Records is known for. Homestead & Wolfe represents a highly unusual and strikingly original blend of unproven but talented young vocalists, top quality session players and engineering, and a truly rare chemistry that makes this one of the great folk-rock discoveries of the last 10 years. 

1. Slow Down (Sheryl Johnson, Ernie Bringas) - 3:35
2. Love Comes Through My Door (Joanne Avery) - 3:26
3. King Of The Mountain (Joanne Avery, Ernie Bringas, Brian Gundy) - 2:13
4. If I Never Show (Joanne Avery, Ernie Bringas, Brian Gundy) - 2:32
5. See The Children Die (Joanne Avery, Ernie Bringas) - 3:27
6. Do I Love You? (Joanne Avery, Ernie Bringas) - 2:47
7. Your Freeson's In Question (Joanne Avery, Ernie Bringas, Ted Larson) - 3:33
8. I Am Cain (Joanne Avery, Ernie Bringas, Brian Gundy) - 2:22
9. Roll On, Tumbleweed (Ernie Bringas, Brian Gundy, Ed Gundy) - 2:20
10.Beat Of The Drum (Ernie Bringas, Brian Gundy) - 3:42
11.Rhythm Of The Wind (Joanne Avery, Ernie Bringas, Brian Gundy) - 3:41
12.You're All That I See (Joanne Avery) - 2:53
13.Mary Jane (Ernie Bringas, Brian Gundy) - 3:10
14.See The Children Die (Alternative Mix) (Joanne Avery, Ernie Bringas) - 3:21
15.Beat Of The Drum (Instrumental) (Ernie Bringas, Brian Gundy) - 3:54

Homestead And Wolfe
*Joanne Avery - Vocals
*Janice Gundy - Vocals
*Dave Rupel - Vocals
*B.J. Avery - Vocals
*Ernie Bringas - Vocals
*Brian Gundy - Vocals
*Ben Benay - Guitar
*Hal Blaine - Drums, Percussion
*JayDee Mannes - Pedal Steel Guitar
*Ray Pohlman - Bass
*George Poole - Flute
*Don Ralke - Piano

Free Text


Philipp said...

Wow, one of the best albums of Harmony Pop, which I have listened.
Many, many thanks, Marios!

mscmichael said...

Thanks very much...

Anonymous said...

This is very cool and unexpected. Thanks for sharing Marios!

Anonymous said...

wirklich unglaublich; vielen dank für diese grossartige musik - hab ich nie was von gehört.
BUT: i know it´s a lot of work doing all these artwork scans... therefore i always wondered how the quality
of your scans is so extremely poor; i mean, 600 dpi and such a miserably
quality... no harm meant.
Anyway, many thanks, and thanks again for sharing.

zappahead said...

This is excellent stuff....never heard or seen anything of them before so....nice to be introduced to something new....very much obliged....thanks.

kost mah said...

High Quality,One of the best albums posted here.Respect for you Marios and many thanks for this.

paul said...

Truly fantastic resource, this blog. Thank you so much!

Sergey said...

thank you very much!

Anonymous said...

Outstanding. Thank you for sharing this as well as all the other wonderful music you post.