They scored only one real hit, but the magic of King Harvest's infectious invitation to go "Dancing In The Moonlight" has secured the song a regular rotation on many oldies stations. The members of King Harvest were all students at Cornell University in Ithaca, New York in the '60s when they began playing, partly to pay their way through college. David (Doc) Robinson, Eddie Tuleja, Ron Altbach and Rod Novak played all over the Northeast, developing a reputation that even helped them score a gig in the balmy Virgin Islands.
Things changed in 1969. Altbach went to Paris to study classical piano and the rest of the band drifted off to other pursuits. For three years the players performed film music and did what one member once called "bizarre stage shows". How bizarre? They were a vaudeville rock group called Nik. They played as the Chicago Beau Blues Band. They were even a country band for a time, working as E. Rodney Jones & The Prairie Dogs.
In 1972 the band cut "Dancing In The Moonlight" in Paris. Then they took another break. Two members cruised the Mediterranean on a tuna boat. A couple went to Switzerland. Meanwhile, tiny Perception Records in the States had secured the release rights to "Dancing" and promoted it into a hit. That inspired King Harvest to regroup and return to this country to tour, promoting the single and subsequent album, named after "Dancing In The Moonlight".
After one album for Perception and an unsuccessful follow-up to "Dancing In The Moonlight" called "A Little Bit Like Magic", the band dropped out of music for the most part, spending a little time touring, playing favorite places like Oleott, New York and fishing, racing sailboats on Lake Ontario and occasionally working on some new songs.
In 1975, King Harvest reappeared with those new songs. This time they were on A&M Records, doing an album called "King Harvest". Produced by music veteran Jeff Barry - who had written numerous hits and produced the likes of Andy Kim for his own Steed Records - the album was a pleasant mix of 70s pop styles. But even with the help of musical friends like Mike Love and Carl Wilson of The Beach Boys, Pete Cetera of Chicago and jazz ace Charles Lloyd, The group was unable to harvest any hits for A&M.
by Mark Marymont
1. Lady, Come On Home (Ronnie Altbach) - 2:45
2. Motor Job (Eddy Tuleja) - 2:47
3. Roosevelt And Ira Lee (Tony Joe White) - 5:32
4. Dancing In The Moonlight (Ronnie Altbach) - 2:40
5. She Keeps Me High (Eddy Tuleja) - 4:00
6. Think I Better Wait Till Tomorrow (Ronnie Altbach) - 3:00
7. The Smile On Her Face (Ronnie Altbach) - 2:55
8. You And I (Ennio Morricone, Ronnie Altbach) - 2:38
9. Marty And The Captain (Ronnie Altbach) - 2:17
10.I Can Tell (William Bell) - 4:45
*Ron Altbach - Keyboards
*Eddie Tuleja - Guitar
*Rod Novak - Bass, Saxophone
*Dave "Doc" Robinson - Keyboards, Bass, Lead Vocals
1975 King Harvest - King Harvest (Vinyl edition)